A Guide to Hair Types & Products
There has always been a variety of hair types, trending now are products that specialize in caring for a particular hair type. Some of the most successful brands have become best selling by cornering niche markets for hair products geared towards different types of hair.
This success could largely be due to the amount of competition in the industry, there are so many hair care products fighting for shelf space in the market. In order for brands to set their products apart from the competition, they must emerge with products that solve a different problem. In a world obsessed with customization through personalization and embracing of uniqueness, there doesn't seem to be a one size fits all product for anything. And rightfully so; below we will break down the different hair types as well as go over best practices for each hair type.
There are 4 main groups of hair types. Within these four groups, there are 3 variations of the group. Our illustration below depicts the various hair types and their classification.
TYPE 1: Straight
Type 1 hair is typically straight and thinner in volume. There are only a few subtle differences between Type 1A, 1B, and 1C hair, so most of the charts you will see will not refer to all three types. Type 1A hair is the most straight and fine of the hair types. Typically, this hair type is found in individuals of Asian descent. Type 1B hair is typically straight with a medium texture but slightly thicker in volume than Type 1A. Type 1C hair is very straight, but also very thick and coarse.
TYPE 1 CARE
If your clients have Type 1 hair then you know that this particular type of hair is going to be thinner, softer in texture and for the most part straight. The oil produced by the scalp easily works it's way throughout this hair type without the interference of curls, sometimes causing the hair to be more oily. Because this hair is thinner and lighter in texture, this means that the hair can easily be weighed down by heavy products. To best combat this problem, it is important to keep straight hair clean, by washing it more frequently.
The best products for this type of hair are clarifying shampoo. Clients with this hair type will want to stay away from products that have shea butter, silicones, and heavy oils, as these ingredients can weigh the hair down. Instead, Aloe and Honey are perfect for this hair type as they are both moisturizing and nourishing but at the same time lightweight.
TYPE 2: Wavy
Type 2 hair has a natural wave to its shape and is thicker than Type 1 hair. The subtypes are divided by the thickness and texture of the hair. Type 2A hair is very fine but has loose waves. This hair is easier to style. Type 2B hair has a medium texture and is thicker in volume. This hair type tends to become frizzy. Type 2C hair is wavy, thick and coarse. Type 2C is frizzy and can be difficult to style.
TYPE 2 CARE
Clients that posses Type 2 hair, might struggle with the push and pull of lack of moisture and persistence of frizz. The best products for this hair are any products that moisturize and hydrate the hair. Products that lock in moisture is key, so a leave-in conditioner or hair mask is optimal. Styling products that work well for this type of hair are mouses and light oils.
We recommend ingredients that are both moisturizing but will not weigh hair down. Avocado, argan, and jojoba oil are lightweight oils that infuse moisture to the hair, and may not weigh it down. Silicones can provide protection for locking in moisture to the hair follicle, as they provide a protective barrier around the hair follicle which can lock in moisture.
TYPE 3: Curly
Type 3 hair has clearly defined springy curls. When the hair is wet, the curls tend to appear more wavy or straight, due to the weight of the water versus the density of the hair. This type of hair is easier to style. Type 3A hair has defined curls with a lot of texture and shine but can also become frizzy. Type 3B hair has a tighter curl, and can actually have a combination of textures, appearing shinier in some areas and more "dull" in others. Type 3C hair has the tightest curl and is the thickest. This hair type is generally easy to style.
TYPE 3 CARE
Clients that posses Type 3 hair, have a wonderful curl to their hair but also struggle with frizz.
The key to bringing the best out of this hair is to keep it moisturized and maintain moisture. This hair type can also be prone to knotting. When hair tangles, it usually ends up breaking in order to become detangled.
Products that contain a polyquat, (polyquaternium - 10 or 37) are excellent for this type of hair because of the moisturizing and detangling properties of this ingredient. We also recommend including coconut oil, olive oil, mango butter, and humectants for this type of hair.
TYPE 4: Very Curly
Type 4 hair has a very defined, curly look and the curls tend to look like a corkscrew. Type 4 hair tends to be thick and coarse. This hair can be prone to breakage as it can be on the dryer side. Type 4A hair is soft in texture and weight with well-defined curls. Type 4B hair has tight curls, but they are less defined. This hair is a bit more coarse and fragile.Type 4C hair has the tightest curls. The curls are so tight that the hair may not even appear curly and has a lot of volumes to it.
TYPE 4 CARE
The key to caring for this type of curly hair is moisture. This hair type tends to be on the dryer side, making it extremely fragile and difficult to grow. We recommend a hair mask that uses coconut oil like coconut oil can penetrate the follicle and provide moisture to the hair over time. When it comes to developing shampoo and conditioner, these products should incorporate moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter and castor oil. Other products like hair oils and finishing creams can lock in moisture and add definition to curls. Rather than using gels, more consumers are shifting their hairstyling habits to using pomades. A pomade can be described as a styling product that can lock in moisture as well as lock your hair in place. The best pomade to use depends on the hair type as there are oil-based and water based pomades. Since a pomade is a leave-in product, you will not want to include alcohol in the formula as alcohol can be drying to hair and scalp.
Understanding the various hair categories and hair types are important to understand your customer. The consumers are the number one reason for the success of your company, so listening to the needs of customers is imperative. When developing a product, especially for hair, it is important to keep in mind who your customer is, what their lifestyle entails, their hair type, and what issues do they face? Customers develop the strongest connections with products that solve a problem and provide them with a unique solution. When launching a product, some of the best research you can do is surveying your clients to see what is important to them in a product.