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Through Thick & Thin: Determining Your Hair Texture

Understanding your hair texture is an important part of understanding your hair type and how to care for it properly. By taking the time to learn about your hair, you can help keep it healthy, strong, and looking its best.

Through Thick & Thin: Determining Your Hair Texture

Knowing your hair texture is important when determining your hair type because it helps you understand the unique characteristics of your hair and how to care for it properly. Hair thickness refers to the diameter of each individual hair strand, which can range from fine to medium to thick.

Firstly, it's important to note that hair thickness can vary widely among individuals, regardless of race or ethnicity. However, Black hair is often characterized by its coarseness and tightly coiled texture, which can give the impression of thickness.

In terms of actual hair thickness, Black hair tends to have a smaller diameter than other hair types, such as Asian or Caucasian hair. This means that individual strands of black hair may be thinner, but there are typically more of them per square inch of scalp.

Another factor that can affect hair thickness is the health of the hair and scalp. A healthy scalp provides a nourishing environment for hair follicles, which can result in stronger, thicker hair. On the other hand, scalp conditions like dandruff or psoriasis can lead to hair thinning or loss.


From a full spot on your head (ideally not around your face), pluck a strand of hair and compare it to a sewing thread.  If your hair is thinner than the thread, your hair is fine. If it looks similar to the thread, it is medium. If it seems thicker than the thread, your hair is thick.

Don’t want to pull hair out of your head? Then take a single hair in between your fingers. If you can feel the hair, you have thicker hair and if you feel nothing, you have thin hair.

Image of hair textures by thin or fine, medium and coarse or thick

Fine / Thin Hair
  • Hair strands are smaller in diameter, appearing thinner and more delicate.
  • Curls don’t hold very well.
  • More prone to breakage.
  • Tends to be oily and easily weighed down by heavy styling products.
  • Thin hair can be a sign that a person is not getting enough nutrients.
Product and styling recommendations
  • Avoid products with thick formulas, heavy ingredients and oils that could weigh down your hair. (i.e. coconut oil or shea butter).
  • Use products with strengthening ingredients like amino acids and proteins to help maintain the curl pattern and hold its structure. 
  • Use lighter products and focus on volumizing techniques like blow-drying your hair upside down.
  • Avoid tight hairstyles that can pull on your hair and cause breakage.
  • Limit the use of styling tools like brushes and combs.
Medium Hair
  • Most common
  • Easy to style and holds shape longer
Product and styling recommendations
  • If the goal is to maintain or promote volume in your hair, opt for more lightweight products and avoid heavy oils and butters.
  • Introduce protein in one or two products within your routine, or alternate routines with and without protein each wash day to maintain protein and moisture balance.
Thick / Coarse Hair
  • Hair strands are thicker in diameter, appearing denser and more voluminous.
  • Tends to be stronger and less prone to breakage. Harder to chemically process.
  • Can be difficult to manage and style.
Product and styling recommendations
  • Creating manageable softness is key since coarse hair often feels brittle.
  • Look for products that have a lot of slip to avoid tangles and snags. 
  • Use heavy products to help tame frizz and provide extra moisture to your hair. Oils and butters can help lubricate the hair and provide softness and moisture.
  • Because coarse hair is already strong and has a substantial structure, protein ingredients are not needed as often and can just make coarse hair feel even more brittle.
  • Easier to tolerate tight hairstyles better.


There are a few key steps that can be taken. These include:
  1. Keeping the scalp clean and healthy by washing regularly with a gentle shampoo that does not remove moisture. Avoid using harsh chemicals or excessive heat styling, which can damage the hair and lead to breakage.
  2. Moisturizing the hair with a leave-in conditioner or oil to prevent dryness and frizz, split ends and reduce breakage. Natural oils like coconut, jojoba, and olive oil can help to nourish the hair and scalp.
  3. Use a microfiber towel (like the SwirlyCurly Frizz-Reducing Turban Towel or the Soul Cap Microfiber Hair Towel) to further reduce breakage and split ends.
  4. Eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of protein, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients are essential for healthy hair growth and can be found in foods like fish, eggs, nuts, and leafy green vegetables.
  5. Avoiding tight hairstyles that can pull on the hair and cause damage, and possibly lead to permanent hair loss over time. Instead, opt for looser styles like twists, braids, or bantu knots that put less stress on the hair.

Overall, while Black hair may appear thick due to its coiled texture, individual hair thickness can vary widely and is affected by a variety of factors. By taking good care of your hair and scalp, you can promote healthy hair growth and maintain the thickness and strength of your natural hair.