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Thread: Visual Hairtyping Guide

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    Here, there, nowhere Gumball's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Bay Area, CA

    Default Visual Hairtyping Guide

    Note: We are still missing some example images, such as 3c and all of the 4s. To submit your photo, you can report this thread and give a link to your photo as the report reason. Thank you for your help on getting this guide completed!

    Picture requirements are here.

    Why is hair typing useful?

    It is a tool to help you find similar heads of hair and to take a look at what is working for others with comparable hair types. It also makes it a lot easier to answer questions on the forum and recommend a good routine for your hair type.

    How do I find out my hair type?

    Wash your hair as you usually do. You do not need to use other products, clarify or change your regular routine. The hair type which really matters is the one you are dealing with day to day and not so much the one you could have if you just clarified. Of course your true natural hair type will come out most when your hair is absolutely clean from all product leftovers and it's also neat to know how much different routines alter ones hair type, but clarifying is not a necessary requirement to type your hair.

    Let your hair air dry with the least amount of detangling you can manage to do. Detangling before washing and while your hair is still wet is totally fine, just avoid doing it (as much as reasonably possible) during the time it is air drying. Finger combing, combing and brushing during that time will change the structure of your hair you are just trying to discover. Not all hair types can manage to dry totally untouched, still it's best to keep it to a minimum to avoid changing the results.

    First classifier - Your curliness (or lack thereof)

    The straight ones

    • 1a - stick straight
    • 1b - straight but with a slight body wave, just enough to add some volume, doesn't look wavy
    • 1c - straight with body wave and one or two visible S-waves (e.g. nape of neck or temples)

    Some examples of type 1 hair:

    The wavy ones

    • 2a - loose, stretched out S-waves throughout the hair
    • 2b - shorter, more distinct S-waves (similar to waves from braiding damp hair)
    • 2c - distinct S-waves and the odd spiral curl forming here and there

    Some examples of type 2 hair:

    The curly ones

    • 3a - big, loose spiral curls
    • 3b - bouncy ringlets
    • 3c - tight corkscrews

    Some examples of type 3 hair:

    The very curly ones

    • 4a - tightly coiled S-curls
    • 4b - tightly coiled hair bending in sharp angles (Z-pattern)

    Second classifier - Individual strand thickness

    Many people have a mixture of fine, medium and coarse hair, just pick the classifier which applies to most of the strands.

    • F - Fine: Thin strands that sometimes are almost translucent when held up to the light. Shed strands can be hard to see even against a contrasting background. When rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger, fine hair is difficult to feel or it feels like an ultra-fine strand of silk
    • M - Medium: Strands are neither fine nor coarse. When rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger, medium hair feels like a cotton thread. You can feel it, but it isn't stiff or rough.
    • C - Coarse: Thick strands that where shed strands usually are easily identified against most backgrounds. When rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger, coarse hair feels hard and wiry. As you roll it back and forth, you may actually hear it.

    Additional resources for determining strand thickness:
    Ten strands technique thread

    Third Classifier - Your overall volume of hair

    Put your hair in a ponytail with as much hair as possible in it. Don't bother with the way it looks - the goal is to have most/all of your hair in there. If it means it sits smack dab on top of your head to include face framing layers or bangs, put it there.

    Measure the circumference of the ponytail. If you have short bangs and/or you can't get all of your hair in there adjust according to how much of your hair you have measured.

    • i - thin (less than 2 inches/5 centimeters)
    • ii - average (between 2-4 inches or 5-10 centimeters)
    • iii - thick (more than 4 inches/10 centimeters)

    When to use the in-between classifiers - examples of indecisive hair syndrome

    There are lots of different reasons why you can choose an in-between classifier. It is not an exclusive list and just meant to give you an idea for when to pick an in-between classifier.

    • If your hair shows more structure in one typing picture than in another one.
    • If you simply can't decide if it's 2c or 3a.
    • If you can't see a majority for one structure, like 50% 2c and 50% 3a.
    • If your hair is only containing about equal amounts of medium and very coarse strands, but next to no fine strands M/C.
    • If you are getting inconsistent measurements for the over all volume of your hair every time you try. 3.5 inches one time, the next time slightly above 4 inches. Or if it's right at 4 inch.
    Last edited by neko_kawaii; December 9th, 2020 at 09:47 AM. Reason: Added useful links

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