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MissManda
December 24th, 2009, 11:32 PM
Okay, so I've been observing this a lot lately. In casual conversation between people and with hair products/toys. I've noticed that they scramble or mis-use hair terms that mean completely different things.

For example, a lot of the hair product/toy Web sites or hairstyling articles use the terms "fine" and "thin" hair as if they meant the same thing. Same is true with "thick" and "coarse". I must say that it makes choosing the right thing for my hair a royal pain in the neck because I'll sit there and stare at one thing that is labeled for "thick hair", while another is labeled for "fine hair".

Um, I beg your pardon, but I just happen to have BOTH!

The same is true when I describe my hair to people. When I tell them I have fine hair, they seem to think I'm saying that I don't have a lot of it. So when they go to style it, they are absolutely shocked at how much I have. "But I thought you said you had thin hair! You have TONS of it!" Then I patiently have to explain the two different words to them.

Or when I'm doing someone else's hair and I find it to be very wiry and stiff hair. I'll tell them that their hair is quite coarse and they'll reply "My hair isn't thick." Um, that's not what I meant. . .

And then there was the hairstylist I talked to once. I asked if she had any experience with styling my fine and thick hair type. She went completely ballistic. "You can't have fine and thick hair! They are completely different!" Well, I most certainly wasn't going to get a trim from that salon.

So have any of you experienced this as well? Are there any other hair terms that people mis-use a lot? How does it make you feel and how do you deal with it? Has this affected your choice in hair products/toys?

Copasetic
December 24th, 2009, 11:36 PM
I find that some people use the term "frizzy" when they really mean "curly". It drives me insane, but I never bother correcting people.

contradiction
December 24th, 2009, 11:58 PM
I always thought fine and thin were the same - I tell people I have "fine and thin" hair all the time. What is the difference?

I understand why "thick" and "coarse" are different. As well as "frizzy" and "curly". My hair can be quite frizzy but it isn't curly!

MissManda
December 25th, 2009, 12:28 AM
I always thought fine and thin were the same - I tell people I have "fine and thin" hair all the time. What is the difference?

I understand why "thick" and "coarse" are different. As well as "frizzy" and "curly". My hair can be quite frizzy but it isn't curly!

Thin means that there is not a lot of hair/the density of hair per square inch/cm is low. This is why Fia's hairtyping system uses ponytail circumference to measure hair volume.

Fine means that the diameter of the individual hairs is very small. Compared to coarse hair, which has a very wide diameter, the diameter of fine hair is teeny-tiny.

So one can have thick, but fine hair (like me), or one can have coarse, but thin hair (I have a friend with this hair type).

I hope my explanation was clear enough. :)

Kris Dove
December 25th, 2009, 02:59 AM
My mum, who has a similar hairtype to you, has had a hairdresser describe her hair as "fine, but lots of it!"

Dreams_in_Pink
December 25th, 2009, 03:07 AM
heh, i've been puzzled by those terms too, thanks for correcting me :D (I'm coarse and thick)

Sylvanas
December 25th, 2009, 03:45 AM
I think many people purposefully say fine instead of thin because having thin hair (not a lot of hair) can sound negative and might even insult people *shrugs*. Fine is a kinder way of saying you don't have a lot of hair on your head. I find it silly, since having a smaller circumference doesn't mean your hair is less pretty :confused:

My hair is fine and thick, so it can indeed be difficult to figure out which hair products to buy. Hmph!

RoseRedDead
December 25th, 2009, 08:00 AM
Just tell people something like, "My individual strands of hair are fine, but insofar as quantity, I have thick hair, in that I have a lot of hair."

I used to not understand this either...

bumblebums
December 25th, 2009, 08:41 AM
I think most people outside of this community don't care about the thickness of individual hairs--the only thing that matters is how much hair you have overall. And the number of follicles doesn't matter to most people, either. You have to get pretty obsessed with hair to make those distinctions. :) If you assume that people use "fine" to mean "not abundant" and "thick" to mean "lots of it," you're generally safe.

Razor
December 25th, 2009, 08:56 AM
Ive never actually taken things like "coarse and fine" into concideration actually, And as bumblebums said, Unless you are a hair lover - like us in this community - I dont think people think about the individual thickness of each hair.

But thanks for pointing out the differences,
I definatly won't be mis-using those terms anytime soon :D

Sheltie_Momma
December 25th, 2009, 09:35 AM
I know that with good education and training that a stylist of any background can cut my hair, however, I personally find that if I go to a salon with employees of my same background (Mexican-American) then I get especially good cuts and styles that work with my hairtype without having to do a lot of explaining or using terms at all.

Elistariel
December 25th, 2009, 11:28 AM
I still have trouble remembering that BSL stands for Bra Strap Length and not Below Shoulder Length. :o

lapushka
December 25th, 2009, 11:47 AM
More than a few hairdressers made the "fine" (regrettably) "but lots of it" (whew) comment to me. I think the good ones know the difference. Fine and/or thin, hair isn't the easiest to deal with (my mom's hair's thin), so when there's lots of it, it helps.

Clarisse
December 25th, 2009, 11:55 AM
Yeah, many people use fine as an euphemism for thin :P I once told a girl that I had fine hair (had it up in a bun), and she was all "Oooh, luckily I have thick hair!". Erhm, yeah, I have relatively thick hair too...

Other terms that are often confused are layered hair/hair with body (Layers actually gives LESS body to my hair) dry/frizzy and frizzy/curly/wavy/unruly. Flat hair can be unruly, curly hair doesn't have to be frizzy, and there is a difference between "defined waves" and "loose curls". Many magazines seems to confuse good products with being the same as expensive, high-end, pricy prof. products too. My cheap shampoo and condish works just as well as any expensive stuff I've tried :P And then there is the long = boring and short = daring, bold, independent. So not true!

JenniferNoel
December 25th, 2009, 12:05 PM
I got the "fine, but lots of it" comment all the time back in the days of the hair salon. It drives me crazy when people say "Your hair is pretty coarse!" And I have to say, "no, I mean, it's kind of thick, but it's fine hair." And they look at me like I'm crazy, which is my queue to lecture. But hey, you have to start somewhere. :run:

RocketDog
December 25th, 2009, 12:37 PM
I think that so many people with thinner hair are sensitive about it - I know I am - and I have heard plenty of people describe their hair as 'fine' instead of 'thin' since it sounds less negative. I'll bet the marketing people who work on labeling caught on to that, and followed suit.

As far as the coarse/fine thing, I have a lot of people assume that my hair is coarse since it's curly, and when they touch it they are shocked that it's so delicate.

Buddaphlyy
December 25th, 2009, 08:36 PM
I absolutely hate how 4a/4b is almost ALWAYS called coarse outside of hair boards. It really irks me because many stylists and hairdresser will use too harsh chemicals, too high heat, and much to rough handling because of this assumption and then wonder why the client has problems with their hair.

MissManda
December 25th, 2009, 08:49 PM
I absolutely hate how 4a/4b is almost ALWAYS called coarse outside of hair boards. It really irks me because many stylists and hairdresser will use too harsh chemicals, too high heat, and much to rough handling because of this assumption and then wonder why the client has problems with their hair.

Oh, I have a friend who has that hairtype. I remember when her mother used a straightening technique (I think it was using steam; I'm not sure how it works) on her hair for school one day. That's when I learned that her hair wasn't coarse at all, but really feather-soft and kinda delicate.


I think that so many people with thinner hair are sensitive about it - I know I am - and I have heard plenty of people describe their hair as 'fine' instead of 'thin' since it sounds less negative. I'll bet the marketing people who work on labeling caught on to that, and followed suit.

Yeah, I can totally understand what you mean, there. I've seen ads use other terms that mean completely different things to make their product(s) more appealing to their customers.

I know I try not to be bothered when someone says that I have "thin" hair. It only really bugs me when they say it in a snotty or condescending tone of voice. I have days where my hair doesn't feel as thick as it is because it goes really straight when I comb it while it's damp. So I can understand people getting upset about someone describing their hair as "thin." :)


I think most people outside of this community don't care about the thickness of individual hairs--the only thing that matters is how much hair you have overall. And the number of follicles doesn't matter to most people, either. You have to get pretty obsessed with hair to make those distinctions. If you assume that people use "fine" to mean "not abundant" and "thick" to mean "lots of it," you're generally safe.

Oooh, you make a very good point there. :)

Saldana
December 25th, 2009, 09:13 PM
My own hair is 'medium' all around, so I can't comment from my own experience. But my mother - even now, at nearly 80 years of age, has tons and tons of hair - it's very thick. But it's very thick *baby fine* hair. It's unbelievably soft and dense. I think it's beautiful.

spidermom
December 25th, 2009, 09:15 PM
I know what you mean! Our stylist told my DD that she has coarse hair, but what she meant was that DD has thick hair. DD's hairs themselves are fine to medium, like mine. (I have some coarse ones, too.)

Keildra
December 25th, 2009, 10:00 PM
I hate that stylists assume that I have thick, coarse hair, but then they straighten it (when I used to straighten my hair) they'd be shocked at how thin my hair really is, I guess my curlyness gives me fake volume. Before I educated myself about hair I always thought that coarse and fine meant how the hair felt. It's just what I believed to be true

jaine
December 25th, 2009, 10:04 PM
I always thought my hair was dark brown, but people tell me it's black. Maybe they're right? :confused: If my black cat is in the picture with me, then it looks brown to me.
http://i917.photobucket.com/albums/ad14/jaiine/Photo28-2.jpg?t=1261799987

Keildra
December 25th, 2009, 10:13 PM
I always thought my hair was dark brown, but people tell me it's black. Maybe they're right? :confused: If my black cat is in the picture with me, then it looks brown to me.
http://i917.photobucket.com/albums/ad14/jaiine/Photo28-2.jpg?t=1261799987
when my hair is curly it looks orange, when it's straight it is a deep red

MissManda
December 25th, 2009, 11:05 PM
I always thought my hair was dark brown, but people tell me it's black. Maybe they're right? :confused: If my black cat is in the picture with me, then it looks brown to me.
http://i917.photobucket.com/albums/ad14/jaiine/Photo28-2.jpg?t=1261799987

I think hair color is a matter of perception. :) My DBF has a similar hair color that is very dark brown and looks black sometimes. It depends on the lighting and the person describing it.

When my hair is curled or wavy, it actually looks darker than when it is straight. I've even had a stylist tell me that I have "light brown" hair, when I think it is more of a medium shade, neither light nor dark although it can look light or dark depending on where i am and the light.

WyrdWay
December 26th, 2009, 12:21 AM
I like to put my hair in to a bunch of two strand twist ( I think out side of AA community they have a different name)... a couple of dozen or so. And keep them in for a week or so to keep from manipulating them much. Well every time I do it people call them dreads. They even go so far as to start sing in Jamacian accents when I walk by.
I realize that one of the many ways to start dreads is a type of twist but mine do not even look like that >_< jeeze. When I used to braid synthetic hair into my hair they would also call them dreads.

Masara
December 26th, 2009, 02:29 AM
My hair is both fine and on the thin side so I probably don't notice when people use the two terms interchangably.
But my sister has always found it hard to explain that she has fine hair but just lots of it.
My mum has quite coarse, curly hair, but it's actually quite thin so she has trouble finding a hair dresser who can cut it well without wanting the "thin it out". It doesn't need thinning at all, it needs cutting correctly to the curl.

julliams
December 26th, 2009, 04:54 AM
I can see how this can be very frustrating. I have so many different textured hairs on my head. Some are baby fine and others are coarse and wirey but the overall appearance is of thick coarse hair.


Juliette

Wicked Princess
December 26th, 2009, 03:16 PM
I think most people outside of this community don't care about the thickness of individual hairs--the only thing that matters is how much hair you have overall. And the number of follicles doesn't matter to most people, either. You have to get pretty obsessed with hair to make those distinctions. :) If you assume that people use "fine" to mean "not abundant" and "thick" to mean "lots of it," you're generally safe.


This. :D

I almost never describe my hair (other than "long" or "short") to anyone outside of the LHC because they wouldn't understand.