Hair Texture 101

Imagine you're shopping for new hair products, but you’re not sure what your hair needs. What product is really best for your hair, and what will give you the results you want? The first step to answering this question is to simply learn about your hair and become an expert on what you need and want from your products.

So class, let’s dive in on some foundational information and learn about the three basic hair textures. Here we will discuss hair texture and diameter, and you’ll learn everything you need to know about your texture as you curate your hair care routine. Welcome to Hair Texture 101!

close up of blonde curly hair

Defining hair texture

In the simplest terms, hair texture is a term used to describe the thickness or width of each individual strand of hair. There are three basic hair textures: fine, medium, and coarse. However, hair texture does not determine your density or how much hair you actually have. It’s important to know your texture because quality hair care is not a one-size-fits-all method. Picking products for your specific hair texture and shape can give you more good hair days!

stylist touching curly hair of client

What is my hair texture?

An easy way to determine your hair texture is by doing a strand test. All you need to do is take a single strand of hair between your fingers. If your hair is not easy to see or feel between your fingertips, you have fine hair texture. If you can feel the hair, it's medium texture. And if you feel a strong, thick strand, you have coarse texture. If you’re still not sure, another simple way to determine your hair texture is by taking a single strand and laying it flat on a white piece of paper. If your hair appears thin, and typically doesn’t hold styles well, you have fine hair texture. If your hair is visible on the paper, appears full, and holds styles fairly well, you have medium hair texture. Finally, if your hair is highly visible, appears very full, and holds styles very well, your hair texture is considered coarse.


The difference between hair texture and shape

Before we go into detail about the three textures, it’s important to note that hair texture does not define curl pattern. The amount of natural curl pattern hair has is determined by its cross-sectional shape.

Curls are formed based on the shape of your hair follicle. If you have perfectly round hair follicles, your hair is most likely going to be straight. If your follicles are flat or more oval shaped, you will have more defined curls. So, you can have any of the three basic hair textures fine, medium, and coarse and have any variation of curl shape such as waves, curls, and coils.

This is why it is so important to know what hair texture and shape you have to provide the best care for your luscious locks.

Now, let’s explore each hair texture type in detail!

fine curly hair strand illustration

Fine hair texture

Fine hair is the most fragile of the hair texture types as the individual strands of hair are very thin. This texture type may not hold style well and it will likely get oily easily. A common need for fine haired folks is more volume, but too much product will weigh the hair down and ultimately cause breakage. The good news here for those with fine hair texture is that you will use less product (getting more bang for your buck!) and those with fine hair texture are likely to have more hair than people with thicker hair textures (hair density is a whole other topic!). Plus, if you are someone who loves to change up their style with color and treatments, fine hair texture is more receptive than other texture types, but it is important to be gentle to avoid damage.

medium curly hair strand illustration

Medium hair texture

Medium hair texture is the most common texture type and sits right between fine and coarse. Each strand is thicker than fine hair and will hold hairstyles better. Medium texture also looks thicker and is more resistant to breakage. However, it is not as receptive to color and treatments as fine hair and could be prone to frizzing. So, it is good to keep this in mind when selecting styling products.

coarse curly hair strand illustration

Coarse hair texture

Coarse hair texture has thicker individual hairs which looks like a fuller head of hair. It also happens to hold styles better than the other textures and is more tolerant to heat, styling products, hair dye and breakage than fine or medium hair. Yet, this also means that coarse hair takes longer to dry and is likely prone to frizz in humid weather.


Products for your hair texture

Now, finally, we have some product recommendations for each hair texture to start your hair care journey!

For fine hair texture we, of course, have to highlight The Essential Starter Kit® for fine hair! This kit was formulated for fine waves, curls, and coils to help address your needs based on your texture. The kit includes our must-haves for fine textures — Low Poo Delight®, One Condition Delight®, Wave Maker™ and Ultra Defining Gel®. The goal is to help preserve moisture, add bounce, provide shape, control frizz, and promote shine while avoiding heavy products that weigh hair down.

Don’t worry! There’s The Essential Starter Kit® for medium to coarse hair textures too! Like the kit for fine texture, it is versatile and works with waves, curls, and coils. The kit includes No Poo Original®, One Condition Original®, Styling Cream and the Light Defining Gel. These cleanse, condition and style essentials help moisturize, fight frizz, and provide the foundation for healthy-looking curls.

For coarse waves, curls, and coils, we’ve got you covered with The Essential Starter Kit for coarse textures. Quench your curls with our ultra-rich No-Poo Decadence® Cleanser and One Condition Decadence® Conditioner. For your styling needs, we have our tried-and-true SuperCream™ and Ultra Defining Gel to help you reach your definition dreams.

These kits are an exceptional place to start to address the specific needs for your hair. As you learn more about your needs, explore our site and see what other products might fit into your routine and provide the best care for your locks. You can even check out our Curl Quiz to discover products tailored to you.

Hair care is not one-size-fits-all. It is as unique as you are, and you deserve quality products and more good hair days!