In this week’s post, I am going to tell you How to ID Your Curls! Every curly girl is unique. The two key features of your hair that will help you determine your curl regimen and what products will work best for you are your curl pattern and your hair’s porosity.
How to ID Your Curls: Curl Pattern
Curl pattern is the amount of wave, curl, or coil in your hair. Knowing your curl pattern gives direction to styling techniques and products that will work for you.
- Wavy: Wavy hair forms the shape of an “S” and typically sticks close to the head.
Product tip – Mousses and leave-in serums to reduce frizz and give light hold to your waves without weighing them down are the way to go.
- Curly: Curly hair is defined and springy with lots of body, forming spirals or ringlets.
Product tip – Use creams and gels to fight frizz and add definition. Avoid drying ingredients, like sulfates.
- Coily: Coily is a tight curl pattern characterized by exceptionally small spirals and/or zig zags.
Product tip – Products to help moisturise hair are very important. Conditioners that thoroughly lubricate the hair are must-haves.
How to ID Your Curls: Porosity
Porosity is the relationship your hair has with moisture. Knowing your porosity will determine what you need to do to keep your hair moisturised.
Test your hair porosity with the “float test”. Put a strand of your hair in a glass of room temperature water for 3 minutes.
- High porosity: If your hair immediately sinks to the bottom, it absorbs water easily. Your hair quickly absorbs and releases moisture. High porosity hair absorbs significantly higher amounts of water than normal or low porosity hair. Excessive absorption of water from the atmosphere causes frizz and tangling on humid days.
Product tip – Your hair needs products that are rich in moisture and emollients. Layering leave-in conditioners, moisturizers, and sealers will help your hair hold onto moisture. Rich creams and butters will provide extra moisture. Anti-humectants should be used in climates with high heat and humidity to seal the cuticle against excessive absorption of moisture from the air.
- Low porosity: If your hair stays afloat or takes a long time to sink to the bottom, it is unable to absorb water or has difficulty absorbing water. Low porosity hair does not readily allow moisture to penetrate its tightly bound cuticle.
Product tip – Use water-based, leave-in conditioners that will moisturise without heaviness. Products with humectants are recommended, as they attract moisture to your hair.
- Medium (Normal) porosity: If your hair floats in the middle of the glass of water – or it sinks but not too quickly or slowly – it is easily moisturised and retains its moisture well. Hair with medium porosity requires little maintenance.
Product tip – Try a moisturising conditioner that can also serve as a leave-in conditioner. An occasional deep conditioning treatment with a protein-containing product could be beneficial.
If you’re concerned about the volume and length of your hair, you’ll want to determine its density and thickness.
How to ID Your Curls: Density
Density refers to the number of hair strands on your head. People with low hair density have thinner hair, while people with high hair density have thicker hair. Very dense hair will take longer to dry, and it is more compact than low density hair. Knowing your hair density will help you choose products to increase or decrease the volume in your hair.
Test your hair density with the “ponytail test”. Gather your hair and tie it into a ponytail. Measure the circumference of your ponytail.
- Low density: Less than 2” circumference
Product tip – Try light products that won’t weigh hair down, such as a mousse with a volumizing agent for the appearance of thicker hair. Volumizing shampoos and conditioners are suggested as well.
- Medium density: 2”-3” circumference
Product tip – Light leave-in conditioners are suitable for medium density hair. Mousse can be used to play up volume, while heavier products will help weigh your hair down.
- High density: 4” or larger circumference
Product tip – Thicker gels and cream will keep your curls in place and reduce volume.
How to ID Your Curls: Thickness or Hair Width
Hair thickness is the thickness of individual strands of hair, not how much hair you have on your head. Knowing your hair thickness will help with your ability to retain length.
Test your hair thickness by comparing it to a piece of sewing thread. Take a single strand of hair, and lay it next to the thread.
- Coarse: If your hair is wider than the thread, your hair is coarse. It is wide and easily visible. Coarse hair is very strong, making it resistant to damage and easier to maintain length.
Product tip – Products that support retention of moisture are suggested. Thick butters and creams are excellent for coarse hair.
- Fine: If your hair is thinner than the thread, your hair is fine. It is thin and hard to see. Fine hair is very delicate, so it is easy to damage.
Product tip – Heavy products will weigh down fine hair. Your hair responds well to milks and leave-in conditioners. Deep conditioners are recommended to strengthen hair.
- Medium: If your hair is the same width of the thread, your hair is medium. It is neither thin nor wide. Medium hair is strong and elastic but still susceptible to damage.
Product tip – Your hair can handle layering of products. Heavier products can be used in moderation.
Now it’s time to find the hair regimen that works for you! Educate yourself about your natural hair. Determining your unique regimen can be brutal. What works for some, may not work for you. Trying new products can be a complete guessing game. It’s not about just buying products with labels claiming they’re for curly hair. It’s about matching the qualities of your hair with the correct products and the correct methods. You will go through quite a few products before you find your perfect match. There will definitely be some bad hair days. In the end, knowing what works best for your hair will bring comfort and efficiency to your daily routine and give you happiness with your hair and confidence in your curliness! Go Curly!!!
I am the Blasian behind the “Blasians Defined” blog. I am a proud Louisianan, although my studies and career have led me to live in 10 states and 3 countries. My husband and I currently live in the island city-state of Singapore. I am Biracial (Black and Korean), and I have fine curly hair with medium density and low porosity.