Getting to know your hair’s type and needs helps you create a hair-washing schedule that prioritizes the health and appearance of your locks. “Determine your hair type” starts with looking at your hair’s texture, then the wave/curl pattern (or lack thereof). The texture of your hair refers to the thickness of each individual strand. Your hair type refers to its general shape, whether straight, wavy, curly, or coily.
I. Determine Your Hair Type: Texture
Hair texture can be compared to the thickness of a single thread. If you happen to have a spool of thread lying around, grab it and compare the thickness to a strand of your hair.
Fine hair is thinner than a piece of thread. You’ll know you have fine hair if your hair doesn’t have a lot of volume, is generally smooth, or is light-colored.
This type of hair has a smaller diameter than medium or coarse hair because it’s missing the medulla, the innermost part of hair strands. If you lay a strand of your hair next to a thread and it’s thinner, you have fine hair.
Medium hair is about the same width and thickness as a piece of thread. Most people have medium hair texture. Medium hair does contain the medulla, the innermost part of the hair strand.
This makes it a little thicker than fine hair. If you lay a strand of your hair next to a piece of thread and it’s about the same thickness, you have medium hair.
Coarse or thick hair is thicker than a piece of thread. This hair texture is noticeably more robust than fine or medium hair. Coarse hair always contains the inner medulla.
It’s known for tolerating heat and chemical processing well. However, it also tends to get frizzy and takes longer to dry. If you lay a strand of your hair next to a piece of thread and it’s visibly thicker, you have coarse hair.
II. Determining Your Hair Type
Now that you know your hair’s texture, let’s find out what your hair type is. Your hair type refers to the general shape of your hair strands.
Type 1: Straight
Straight hair doesn’t have any bends, waves, or curls. It dries naturally straight. You might notice that your hair gets oily fast. This is because, without the bends and turns present in wavy or curly hair, sebum (an oil) is free to travel down your hair strands faster.
Type 1 hair can be divided into subtypes:
- 1A: Pin straight and very fine hair texture
- 1B: Straight and medium hair texture
- 1C: Straight and coarse hair texture
Type 2: Wavy
Wavy hair is considered type 2. It’s not quite straight, but the bends in the hair don’t form complete curls. Wavy hair tends to get oily faster when the hair texture is fine.
Wavy hair can be divided into 3 subtypes according to the extent of the wave and the texture of the hair:
- 2A: Slightly wavy and fine or medium texture
- 2B: Wavy, possibly frizzy, and medium texture
- 2C: Very wavy, tends to be frizzy, and coarse texture
Type 3: Curly
There’s no mistaking type 3 hair – it’s curly! Curly hair tends to be frizzier than straight or wavy hair. It may look straight when wet, but it always regains the curl as it dries. Curly hair tends to be drier than straight or wavy hair as well. It can be divided into 3 subtypes:
- 3A: Curly, slightly frizzy, and can have fine or medium texture
- 3B: Tightly curled, frizzy, and can have medium or coarse texture
- 3C: Very curly, frizzy, and usually coarse texture
Type 4: Coily
Type 4 hair is curlier than type 3. This type is sometimes called coily or kinky hair. Coily hair is usually fragile, dryer, and coarse in texture. The subtypes are based on the extent of the kink and curl in the hair:
- 4A: Tight curls, soft to the touch, and coarse texture
- 4B: Very tight curls, soft, and coarse texture
- 4C: Extremely tight curls that may not look like traditional curls
III. How Often To Wash Each Hair Type?
Now that you’ve identified your hair’s texture (fine, medium, or coarse) and type (1, 2, 3, or 4), let’s look at how often you should wash your hair based on your type. Your hair’s texture plays the most important role in how often you should reach for the shampoo.
Check below to see how often your specific texture should be washed for the best hair and scalp health. We’ve also included a spot-on shampoo recommendation for each hair texture so you can get the most benefits when you wash it!
1. How Often To Wash Fine Hair?
Fine hair has a smaller diameter than other hair textures. It’s easily overwhelmed by the natural sebum, or oil, that the scalp produces. Fine hair should be washed every day (fine, straight hair) or every other day (fine, wavy hair).
This frequency is required to keep the hair from appearing greasy. Since oil travels unimpeded down straight strands of hair, it might need daily washing to look its best. Waves slow the travel of oil down a bit, so you can wash every other day.
Since fine hair needs to be washed more often, a gentle shampoo that builds volume without weighing down already fine strands is in order. That’s exactly what Biolage Volumebloom Shampoo delivers. It’s paraben-free and makes hair more voluminous and shiny. It has a subtle lilac scent that will leave your tresses with a dainty fragrance.
2. How Often To Wash Medium Hair?
Medium hair is a bit thicker in diameter than fine hair, so it can stand to go a little longer between washes. Medium hair should be washed every 2 to 4 days. If you have medium straight hair (type 1B), aim to wash it every 2 days.
If you have medium wavy hair (2A or 2B), you should try to wash it every 3 days since your hair won’t get oily as fast. For curly hair with a medium texture (type 3A or 3B), you can go up to 4 days between washes.
When you wash medium hair, aim for a shampoo that cleanses deeply and delivers plenty of lightweight hydration for strands. Since you’re going 2-4 days between washes, you need a shampoo that supplies your hair with enough moisture to last.
3. How Often To Wash Coarse Hair
Coarse hair doesn’t get oily as fast as fine or medium hair. This means you can go even longer in between washes if you have coarse hair. Hallelujah! You should wash coarse hair every 3-7 days.
- Your hair type really matters here. Straighter hair should be washed more often (around every 3 days), while curly and coily hair might only need one wash per week.
- If you have straight, coarse hair (type 1C), you should wash your hair every 3 days. This gives your hair a good rest in between washes but doesn’t wait long enough to let your hair get oily.
- For wavy, coarse hair (type 2C), aim for washing every 4-5 days. This will keep your strands clean without overly stripping them of natural oils.
- For curly, coarse hair (type 3B or 3C), you should wash your hair every 5-6 days. Coily hair (Types 4A, 4B, and 4C) should be washed every 6-7 days for optimum hair health.
Coarse hair is thirsty hair. It’s almost impossible to over-hydrate coarse hair, so opt for a shampoo that really brings moisture.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide. While you’re here, be sure to check out our other articles to learn about the best hairstyles, hair products, and much more.