Hair texture is simply the diameter of the hair strand. It can be described as fine, medium or coarse. Most people do not have the same texture all over their head; hair is normally finer around the hairline and nape of the neck. Your hair texture can also change as you get older; babies are born with very fine hair that thickens as they get older.
Fine hair also known as soft or baby hair can appear limp, thin and does not hold a style well. Fine hair is easy over processed in styling and can yield flyaways due to its lack of bulk. Fine hair in general has less protein and is often over moisturized.
Medium hair is normal, neither fine nor coarse, but just in the mid range.
Coarse hair is stronger and bulkier than fine or medium hair. Coarse hair normally requires extensive styling (higher heat, stronger chemicals, longer process times) in order to penetrate the hair shaft as it is somewhat resistant to styling. Coarse hair in general has greater amounts of protein and is often dry.
How do you determine your hair texture? Well this can be made from simple observation. Grab a single strand of hair at the root between your thumb and index finger and slide toward the end. If it feels barely there like cashmere sweater or baby hair then it is fine. If it feels substantial like a piece of thread then your hair is coarse. Somewhere in the middle then your then your hair is medium. Check different parts of your head (front middle and back) as you can find different textures in different parts of your head. You can also pluck a strand of hair and compare it to a friend’s or relative’s.
Why is it important to know your hair’s texture? The main reason is so you can anticipate how your hair will respond to styling processes. For example, when chemically processing hair (color, perm, relax, etc) fine hair will need the shortest amount of processing time while coarse hair will need to longest. In heat styling fine hair requires a lower heat and/or shorter time and will have a tendency to fall straight so sprays or gels are needed to help hold the curl. However, coarse hair will require higher heat and/or longer time and will have a tendency to retain the curls for longer without the aid of sprays or gels. Fine hair responds better to roller sets as opposed to a press and curl. Coarse hair can be roller set but can take a lot longer to completely dry so it is often easier to press and curl. It is important to note that no hair is resilient and that all hair can still experience permanent damage from extreme heat.