4 basic hair types and how to identify them

Determining your own hair type has always been an obstacle to activities whether shopping for hair care products or trying out styling tools. So how can we accurately determine the hairstyle and type of hair we have?

There are many factors that determine your hair type. These include your hair’s density, strand diameter, porosity, oiliness, elasticity, and frizz. In this post, ApoGroups will shed more light on the different types of hair and how to identify each.

Hair density

Hair density depends on how much hair (the number of individual strands) you have on your scalp. Hair density is different from hair diameter – a person can have a thinner hair diameter with a thicker density and vice versa. There are three levels of hair density, and these levels can be determined by mirror testing: Divide the amount of hair in half and part it in the middle, the exposed scalp that you see determines the density. your hair.

  • Sparse density: If you can easily see your scalp, you have fairly sparse hair density. That means your hair count may be less than someone else’s, which could be due to genetics or to frequent hair loss.
  • Medium Density: If you can see part of your scalp from underneath your hair, you have medium hair density.
  • Thickness: If you can barely see your scalp, you have thick hair density.

Hair diameter

The diameter of the hair is also understood as the width of each hair. Determining your hair diameter is the most accurate way to determine your hair type. Perform a hair diameter test by:

Hold a lock of your hair between your thumb and index finger.

  • Thin hair: If you can barely feel the hair between your fingers, you have a fairly small hair diameter. In some cases, the hair can be so thin that it cannot be seen.
  • Medium hair: If you can feel the hair in your hand, clear or not, it means you have medium hair diameter.
  • Thick hair: If you can clearly feel each hair, you have thick hair.

Alternatively, you can also check by comparing your strand of hair to a thread of sewing thread. Place a strand of hair along the length of a sewing thread. If it’s just as thick or even thicker than the thread, you have coarse or thick hair. If it’s the same thickness or less than the thread, you have medium hair diameter. If the strand of hair is significantly thinner than the thread, you have thin or soft hair.


Porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. The higher the porosity, the higher the moisture content in the hair and the faster the product is absorbed. However, too much porosity can cause damage to the hair. Knowing your hair’s porosity can be helpful in choosing the right product for your hair. To measure the porosity of your hair, dip a strand of hair in a cup of water:

  • High porosity: If the strand of hair sinks to the bottom of the cup, you have high porosity. Hair with high porosity is more susceptible to damage because they can easily absorb chemicals from products. High porosity fibers are also more prone to frizz and roughness than other hair types.

The high number of pores in the hair cuticle results in high porosity. It is often caused by frequent use of chemical-laden products or treatments. When you have a highly porous hair, it is never watery enough.

  • Medium porosity: You may find your hair will float in the water and balance in the center of the cup if it has normal porosity. This hair type has the right amount of moisture. After washing, your hair feels wet but not sticky. Medium porosity hair does not require much maintenance, can hold hair easily and is less prone to damage.
  • Low porosity: If you have low porosity, your hair will float on the surface of the water. This means, your hair takes longer to dry. Your hair cuticles have fewer pores, which reduces your hair’s ability to absorb water.

Water tends to stay on the surface of the cuticle and products used are more likely to stay on your hair than sink in. After washing your hair, your hair will stay wet for hours and feel sticky.

Oiliness of hair

Knowing your hair’s oil level can make it easier to plan your shampooing and conditioner, as well as being able to choose the right products, such as cleansing shampoos and conditioners…

To test the oiliness of your hair, wash your hair thoroughly before going to bed and let it dry. After waking up, you can press the tissue against your scalp, especially near the top of your head and behind your ears. The amount of oil left on the tissue will determine the oiliness of the hair.

  • Oily Hair: If there are a lot of greasy patches on the tissue, you have oily hair and scalp. This means you need to wash your hair 4 to 5 times a week.
  • Normal hair: If there is very little oil left behind, you have a normal scalp. You can wash your hair 1 to 2 times a week.
  • Dry hair: No oily residue on the tissue. This indicates dehydration, which means you should consider using products that can replenish and moisturize your hair.
  • Combination hair: If there is oil on the paper in certain areas of your scalp, it indicates that your hair is mixed. Normally, the hair behind the ears and on the temples secretes a greater amount of oil than other areas.

Hair elasticity

Hair elasticity is the degree to which a hair can stretch before returning to its normal state. It is one of the important factors to determine the health of the hair. Hair with high elasticity, shine and good bounce is considered the strongest hair type.

To determine the elasticity of your hair, you need to pull out a wet strand of hair and straighten it as much as you can. Depending on the results, hair elasticity can be classified into one of three categories.

  • High elasticity: If your hair fiber lasts a long time without breaking immediately, it indicates high elasticity. Highly elastic hair (when wet) can stretch up to 50% of its original length before breaking. Normally, coarse hair has the most elasticity.
  • Moderate elasticity: If your hair stretches to some extent before breaking, it shows medium elasticity. Most women have average hair elasticity. You can strengthen your hair’s elasticity by using natural masks and hair conditioners.
  • Low elasticity: Hair that breaks almost immediately after straightening has low elasticity.

This type of hair tends to be soft and brittle. It requires special attention to the products used on it. Chemicals such as dyes or bleach can reduce the elasticity of your hair. Therefore, it is essential to choose shampoos that strengthen the hair cuticle.

Basic hair types

Observe your hair and comment on whether your hair belongs to any of the 4 hair types: straight hair, wavy hair, curly hair and messy hair.

Style 1: Straight hair

This hairstyle is always straight no matter how curly. It usually lies flat from base to tip. The texture of straight hair is soft and silky, and extremely shiny. Straight hair is a popular hairstyle in Asian regions. In addition to softness, you may also find that more oil is produced in naturally straight hair than in other hair types, because the amount of oil from your scalp moves down into your hair faster and easier.

  • 1A: The hair is quite common in Asia and their hair is very straight and fine.
  • 1B: The hair is still straight but quite thick.
  • 1C: Hair is thicker and coarser than types A and B.

Style 2: Wavy hair

The wavy hairstyle is neither too straight nor too curly. It falls somewhere between these two hair types. With the wavy hairstyle, you can observe the slight curl at the bottom of the hair and it can hold the hairstyle very well. Its texture is quite rough, and the diameter is thick. Type 2 is divided into three sub-categories:

2A: Thin wavy hair.

2B: Medium wavy hair.

2C: Thick wavy hair.

Style 3: Curly hair

The best way to determine if you have style 3 curls is to check if your strands follow an ‘S’ pattern. This hairstyle is divided into loose curls and curls. It has a higher density than wavy and straight hair. Curly hair is prone to frizz and can get tangled up quickly. Type 3 is further divided into three sub-categories:

Style 3A has looser curls.

Style 3B has medium curls.

Type 3C has tight curls.

Style 4: Messy hair

Shaggy hair looks rough and stiff but is actually quite fragile and soft. It is very easy to break and damage if not taken care of. Ruffled hair is dense with extremely tight curls. The curls resemble a ‘Z’ shape. This type of hair is divided into three subtypes:

Type 4A: soft.

Category 4B: moderate.

Grade 4C: raw.


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