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Thread: Definition of Fine, Medium, Coarse, etc.

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    Member MemSahib's Avatar
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    Default Definition of Fine, Medium, Coarse, etc.

    I am noticing several threads with people worrying about their "thin" hair — usually from the fines, or baby fines — and I thought a simple definition of the types and how they occur might be helpful. This is from The Hair Boutique and while it is not couched in scientific terms, it is a good, basic definition of the differences between types of hair. Finehairs, take note that our hair usually is missing the central medulla that other hairtypes have. This means each individual hair is smaller in circumference than the other types. It does make for some killer silkiness and gorgeous shine. Enjoy your type, friends! Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

    If anyone has other links to add on the science of hairtypes, please post them...



    Fine hair has the smallest circumference. Fine hair can be so soft and silky that it can actually feel like feathers. Unless it has been chemically altered to damage the cuticle, fine hair reflects light the best of the three textures. When it is healthy, fine hair will often have a natural megawatt shine. Fine hair generally has a much thinner cortex than other hair textures and generally does not contain the inner medulla like other hair textures. Usually only the cortex and cuticle are present in fine hair which adds to it fragility.

    Medium hair is the most common type of texture. Medium textured hair is neither super soft nor rough to the touch. Medium hair has lots of body and bounce and usually holds either a blow-dry shape or any type of set very well. It has the most styling flexibility of the three types. Although most medium textured hair usually contains the medulla, cortex and cuticle structural layers, there are exceptions.

    Coarse hair has the largest circumference. Coarse hair can feel heavy and rough. Exceptionally coarse hair may feel a little like horse hair to the touch. The outside layers of coarse hair are often overlapped at the scales and raised from the shaft. It holds many styles with ease but can look wild and bushy with the wrong cut or style. It almost always contains three distinct layers known as the medulla, cortex and cuticle.

    Wiry Hair which has a very hard, glassy finish as a result of the way that the cuticle scales lie flat against the hair shaft. Wiry hair can also be coarse, medium or fine and usually contains all three structural layers.
    Last edited by MemSahib; June 23rd, 2008 at 09:01 AM.
    <a href=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v389/homekeepinggran/ChineseBun.jpg target=_blank>http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...ChineseBun.jpg</a> But if a woman have long hair it is a glory to her. ~ I Cor. 11:15

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    The Seeker FrannyG's Avatar
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    Thank you for this post, MemSahib. I think a lot of people get "thin" and "fine" confused, as well as "course" and "thick". This will help the confusion.

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    I can't tell if my hair is fine or medium.

    It feels super-soft to the touch, and is very light and cobwebby. It also gets damaged easily, and breaks instead of splitting. Despite being light colored and curly/wavy, it's quite shiny (only the healthy parts right now).

    However it has tons of body and holds styles well. I can feel it when I rub it between my fingers, and I can definately see the hairs in the light..

    Is having fine hair something that's really obvious? I can tell when people have coarse hair just by looking at it..

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    My hair is surprisingly coarse.
    I took a sample from an Asian friend, and a Scandinavian friend, along with a sample form a British friend.
    My Scandinavian friend had the definition of fine hair. It was also "thin".
    My Asian friend had coarse hair (naturally. ;D). It was "medium" in ponytail circumference.
    A British friend had medium hair. It was medium to thick in ponytail circumference.
    My hair was roughly the same coarseness as my Asian friend's (Perhaps slightly finer, but much coarser than both my British and Scandinavian friend) and I have a thick ponytail.

    What is the moral of this story?
    IT WILL TAKE ME AGES TO DO MANY STYLES.
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    Member granitbaby's Avatar
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    Good post MemSahib.
    My hair is fine but absolutely not thin. Bur fine healthy hair isn't always shiny and reflects light, I believe that has a lot to do with the tones of colour in the hair.

    Ah...Vintage!

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    Thanks for posting. That was very helpful.

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    Never give up. SchnauzerMom's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing this information, it was very helpful!

    A new beginning.

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    Secwet Wannabee Wavee Juliet's Silk's Avatar
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    MemSahib, thank you for bringing it up!

    I just wanted to emphasize:
    Fine, Medium and Coarse are definitions for the thickness of a SINGLE hair.

    Thin, Medium thickness and Thick mean the thickness of the WHOLE mass of hair, all individual hairs measured together.

    You can have Fine AND Thick hair, as well as Coarse AND Thin hair. One has nothing to do with the other, although fine haired people do tend to have thinner hair more often than people with coarse hair - this is because people with fine hair need more individual hairs than coarse haired people to get the same thickness.

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    Nutty neurology nurse!!! jojo's Avatar
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    Yep I typed my hair correct, feels like feathers but is thickish.

    My hair dresser summed it up perfectly ' fine but plenty of it!'
    an 8 year journey, with a 3 year stop at waist. Traveling along to classic. F/M 2a/b iii 31.5" January 2013http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/...ge=7&p=2371372 a year without trims ....trying!

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    Member MemSahib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juliet's Silk View Post
    I just wanted to emphasize:
    Fine, Medium and Coarse are definitions for the thickness of a SINGLE hair.

    Thin, Medium thickness and Thick mean the thickness of the WHOLE mass of hair, all individual hairs measured together.

    You can have Fine AND Thick hair, as well as Coarse AND Thin hair. One has nothing to do with the other, although fine haired people do tend to have thinner hair more often than people with coarse hair - this is because people with fine hair need more individual hairs than coarse haired people to get the same thickness.
    Perfect, Juliet's Silk! Thanks. My own hair is baby, babyfine, but medium thickness. Translation: the individual hairs are skinny and thin but I have enough of it to be a solid ii on the thickness continuum.

    I hope this thread will clear up some of the confusion about fine and thin hair. They can both be on the same head, but not necessarily.
    <a href=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v389/homekeepinggran/ChineseBun.jpg target=_blank>http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...ChineseBun.jpg</a> But if a woman have long hair it is a glory to her. ~ I Cor. 11:15

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