What is your hair type? And how to look after it.

Are you just starting to get into your hair, but don’t know what to do with it? Well determining your hair type is a good start. The thickness (hair diameter), quantity, and form of hairs are 3 main characteristics to assess. 

It’s a common misconception that fine hair is thinning hair. Fine hair merely has a small diameter, but thinning is when the quantity of hairs start to decrease as the hair follicles start to become inactive. Many people with fine hair can still have lots of it, and even people with thick hair can be thinning.

Many think thinning hair is unavoidable due to make pattern baldness. Which can be the case for some, however, there are some causes of hair loss that are avoidable. Such as hair loss caused by stress, poor health, diet and cleanliness, over styling, neglect, and rough treatment (physical and chemical). 

If you’re having trouble identifying what your hair type is, here is a guide and some tips to help you figure it out…

 

Hair Thickness Guide:

 

COARSE (THICK) HAIR

This means the individual strands of hair have a large diameter. It usually makes the hair feel stiffer and more voluminous, which for more versatile haircuts usually requires medium-longer hair. Coarse hair is often referred to as thick hair because it requires less hair to appear denser.

NORMAL (MEDIUM) HAIR

Normal strands are neither fine nor thick. It’s usually more versatile with a balance between the pros and cons of thick and fine hair.

FINE HAIR

When the individual strands of hair a smaller diameter. Because this usually takes less time for hair to get greasy. Fine hair is often harder to style and goes limp quickly because it usually lacks the structure and strength to maintain volume.

Fine hair tends to be weaker and less resistant to the elements and is usually more prone to abuse and damage than medium/thick hair, so guys if you’re trying to grow long fine hair, you’ll probably find you need to get more regular haircuts.

THE TEST

Take a single hair and rub it between your fingers,

If you can hardly feel it, your probably have fine hair,

If you can feel it, but it’s not stiff or rough, then it’s normal (medium thickness).

If you feel like it’s a strong thick and coarse strand, your hair is usually on the thicker side.

Another classifier is the volume, usually, thin hair is limp and low volume, thick/fuller heads of hair naturally has a lot more volume.

THINNING HAIR

Although it’s possible for guys with thin hair to also have fine hair, the two types aren’t necessarily related. There’s a difference between fine and thin hair. Thin hair is considered to be when there are fewer hair follicles on the top of the head, even people with coarse hair can have thinning hair. Low density is probably a more accurate term. You may notice with thin-haired guys, that a lot more of the scalp is visible than someone with thick hair. In guys thinning hair is usually a sign of baldness or hair damage.

 

How to tell if your hair is thinning?

Hair check

To answer this we can start by looking at how much hair the average person loses in a day. It varies from person to person, but it is normal for some hairs to break or fall out. Typically it is normal for the average person to lose between 60-100 hairs per day. Which means you might notice the occasional strand of hair floating around. 

Generally, when hair is thinning or shedding, you will start noticing larger clusters of hair falling out. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • When you run your hand through your hair is it consistently left with several strands of hair on it?
  • Are you noticing lots of hairs on your pillow when you wake up?
  • Is your brush filling up with hair quickly?
  • Are you finding lots of hair in your towel after drying?
  • Do you have thin patches in your hair?
  • Is your hairline looking progressively less distinguished than normal or beginning to recede?

If you are noticing some of these signs, it is possible you may be experiencing above average hair loss.

 

How to minimize preventable hair loss and promote natural hair growth?

Illustration of healthy lifestyleMost baldness is caused by genetics and is not preventable (i.e. male pattern baldness). However, there are some environmental and lifestyle factors that can negatively affect hair growth and accelerate or induce hair loss. This might include things such as, medical conditions, radiation, stress, excessive hairstyling, rough physical and/or chemical treatment, sun, excessive heat or cold, poor hygiene, hormonal changes, and more.

If you feel you are noticing some above average hair loss there may be some things you can do to slow it down and avoid preventable types of hair loss:

  • Avoid tight hairstyles, i.e man buns, braids, pony tails.
  • Treat your hair gently when brushing and styling.
    • Use a wide tooth comb
    • Only brush/comb hair when it is almost dry, not soaking wet. 
    • Avoid hair treatments such as heat styling tools, dyes and bleaches.
    • Use heat and environmental protection.
  • Avoid medication that could cause hair loss.
  • Protect your hair from harsh sunlight and UV rays. 
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid rough hair styling products.
  • Use hair oils occasionally.
  • Keep your scalp clean and nourished.
  • Drink enough water
  • Watch what you eat. Maintaining a balanced diet and full bill of health is important for maintaining a healthy head of hair. Certain mineral and vitamin deficiencies can slow hair growth and decrease the health of hair. Vitamins such as A, C and E are seen as being particularly important for maintaining a healthy scalp. Fish oils, greens, citrus fruits and dairy are some of the many good sources of these. Omega 3s and vitamins B5, B6 and B12 are also important for your hair’s health and strength. Foods that contain these are lean meats poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, leafy greens, vegetables, and fresh fruits (especially citrus fruits).
  • Reduce stress levels
Looking after your health and well-being is important

Baldness runs in my mother’s side of the family so I know it’s a possibility for me. And because my hair is so fine, when my scalp is very visible, I sometimes wonder whether it is hair loss. But then when I wash my hair again, my clean hair seems much fuller. 

There are times of stress and lack of care where I have noticed actually changes in my hair density and thickness. And the things that helped me to combat this and restore my hair was investing in a good quality shampoo and conditioner to promote hair growth, taking it easy on the styling, and find outlets for de-stressing.

So I choose to spend my money on decent quality hair cleansing and styling products and participation in sports and enjoyable activities. A great way to de-stress is to find an activity you enjoy or by exercising (for example, Signing up to your local gym). 

As for looking after your hair, try to reduce rough styling treatment such as heat and too much tugging. 

I like to use Nioxin System 1 for my shampoo and conditioner. People claim they are designed to thicken your hair, and while I don’t think using Nioxin over the past 2 years has made a dramatic improvement, it has helped keep my hair feeling healthier and appear fuller. It makes my hair feel clean and it’s not full of nasty ingredients that strip it completely or artificially make it feel good. If you want to check it out, the Nioxin systems and Amazon links are below: 

MY RECOMMENDATION TO TRY:

I like to use Nioxin System 1 for my shampoo and conditioner. They have 6 hair systems made to suit different hair types. People claim they are designed to thicken your hair. While I don’t think using Nioxin system 1 over the past 2 years has made a dramatic impact, it has helped keep my hair feeling healthy and appear fuller. It makes my hair feel clean and it’s not full of nasty ingredients that strip it completely. If you want to check it out, the Nioxin systems and Amazon links are below:

What can you do if your hair is thinning?

Hair Loss Skin Concept

For some, eventually going bald might be in their genetics, but looking after your hair, scalp and health (like in the steps above) can help to slow the rate at which it happens.

Permanent hair loss can occur when this cycle of hair growth is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. You are only capable of growing those hairs back when the hair follicle remains intact and is not blocked. 

I can’t proclaim myself an expert, but neither can a lot of other people. I think there’s a lot of false information about hair health and loss out there and even more scams and false marketing from people claiming to be experts. 

Firstly, I want to say that there is nothing wrong with going bald, and that although it might initially be an adjustment, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes embracing it is better than trying to hide it. People will often respect you more for your confidence. And just a friendly reminder, confidence is a feeling that comes from within, not from the appearance outside. External factors may affect how you feel, but it’s up to you to control them.

There’re a lot of expensive treatments and devices that claim to prevent baldness. But from what I’ve seen, a lot of them use models and public figures that don’t have any problem with balding to test and market them, so of course those results aren’t going to be negative. There’s so much asymmetric information out there it’s hard to know who you can trust. My advice would be to trust yourself, look after your hair, cleanliness, and health, and if you have any problems consult a medical professional for advice, before spending too much money on treatments or miracles.

Visit the FAQ page for more answers

FAQ: Can I make my hair grow faster?

Yes and no.

Scientifically, they claim your hair will grow at a set rate determined by your birth. However, whether you meet all the conditions to achieve this maximum rate of growth is another thing. If you already look after your head and maintain good health, then there’s not a lot more you can do. Other than looking after the hair you do have so that you don’t have to regrow it.You can’t accelerate your hair growth, only follow the steps to promote healthy hair growth. Healthy hair will last longer and appear to grow faster.

FAQ: Can I make more hair grow back?
The short answer is probably not.

There’re a lot of expensive treatment and devices that claim to prevent baldness. But from what I’ve seen, a lot of them use models and public figures that don’t have any problem with balding, so of course those results aren’t going to be negative. 

Hair loss can’t always be stopped. A lot of the time it occurs from male pattern baldness (MPB), which can’t really be prevented. And a word of advice, there is no definitively proved cure for male pattern baldness, but at the end of the day it’s just hair and you can live without it.  Nevertheless, there are times hair loss is induced or MPB is accelerated by stress or poor nutrition. 

In reality, whether or not you can grow make your hair depends on your individual situation. And if you can grow back some of your hair, you should be able to do that by looking after your scalp and promoting healthy hair growth. Not because of those unproven gadgets. If you are worried, and are willing to spend the money, see a specialist who can advise you if there is anything you can do.

Your success may depend on the condition of your hair follicles. It may be possible to promote some hair growth if they’re are in good shape. But if they are damaged or closed up, it’s less likely. And there aren’t any treatments that will guarantee regrowth. So just look after it and your health while you’ve got it, but don’t worry about it when it’s gone. 

FAQ: How often should I wash my hair?
There’s a lot of information out there saying that you shouldn’t wash your hair every day. And while in some ways it can be beneficial, it’s not a rule. If you’re hair is getting dirty or too greasy, then just wash it. It doesn’t matter if you only washed it yesterday, if your hair is dirty and you want to wash it, then do it. 

The amount you need to wash your hair is entirely dependent on you and your lifestyle. You might have an active lifestyle causing your hair to get sweaty or dirty regularly or you might have days where your hair is a bit more sheltered in an office and doesn’t get as dirty. 

Anyway, my point is, it’s ok to wash your hair daily if you need to. If you can get away with going a day or two without washing your hair then that’s good too.

Where to go now?

I have struggle with limp fine hair so if you want to learn more about how I boost fullness and volume check out my post How to make thin or fine men’s hair look thicker and fuller. 

If you want to learn more about how mindfulness and well-being affects not only your health, but your appearance you might be interested in reading 7 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR MINDFULNESS AND WELLBEING