As I reported in article on Hair Profiling hair texture for humans is measured by the degree of fineness or coarseness of your hair, which varies according to the diameter of each individual hair.
Hair experts (although not all) generally agree that there are four major types of hair texture which are:
1. Fine 2. Medium 3. Coarse 4. Wiry
Within the four defined texture ranges (fine, medium, coarse and wiry) hair can also be of thin, medium or thick density and it can be straight, curly, wavy or kinky.
Thus human hair can range in texture from stick straight with absolutely no bend whatsoever or it can be naturally curly. If you look at the different textures of human hair under a microscope you will discover that straight hair has a rounded shape while curly hair is more oval.
Tightly curled or coiled hair has a flat, ribbon like shape and is most commonly found in people with African American heritage. Asian hair often has a different shape than Caucasian or African American hair.
Hair texture can vary for individual sections of your scalp at the same time. It is possible to have multiple textures in play for a single head of hair.
Hair condition will also ultimately alter the ultimate equation and can be healthy, normal, oily, dry, damaged or a combination.
Hair Texture Variations
Hair texture can vary by:
1. Actual diameter of the hair. Coarse hair has the widest diameter and very fine hair has the narrowest.
2. How hair actually feels. Coarse hair feels harsh and rough to the touch. Fine hair is usually very soft unless the hair has been previously damaged through chemical abuse.
Coarse hair traditionally contains three layers which includes the medulla, cortex and cuticle. Coarse hair quickly absorbs moisture because the scales on the outside layer of coarse hair (unless damaged) tend to be tightly connected or overlapped and raised up and away from the shaft.
Medium textured hair is the most common type of texture. Medium textured hair may or may not have the same three layers as Coarse hair. This is considered to be normal hair and is thought to be the most easy to manage and process with chemicals and color treatments. Medium hair can be damaged but it takes more effort than with fine hair.
Finely textured hair usually only contains a cortex and cuticle and thus requires special care. Fine hair generally is more difficult to curl and tends to lay flat, even if there are a large number of hair. Fine hair tends to be fly-a-way and weightless. Fine hair may be easier to process but can also be more easily damaged from chemical applications.
Wiry textured hair tends to have a hard glassy feeling. This is because the cuticles lay flat against the hair shaft. Although wiry hair can exist in all races, it is somewhat more common for people with African American ancestry. Not only is African American hair often wiry, it is also coarse at the same time. Wiry hair is often tightly curled.
Combination hair is a cross between curly and straight which can also be fine and coarse. Mixed race individuals may be more likely to have combination hair than those that are not of mixed racial heritage.
Hair Texture Shapes
Different hair textures when viewed under a microscope have different shapes. The shapes of the different textures are:
Extremely Curly Hair grows in long twisted spirals. When looking under a microscope curly hair tends to have an oval shape and vary in shape and thickness along the length of different strands. Curly hair is quite irregular unlike wavy and straight strands.
Some extremely curly hair tends to form into a shape like a coil or tight wire hence the name wiry. Coiled hair tends to be fine. It also tends to wrap around each other, breaks easily, has low elasticity and tangles, especially on the ends.
Wavy hair tends to be oval and have a fairly regular uniform diameter along a single strand. Wavy hair tends to possess a regular and uniform diameter along a single strand.
Straight hair tends to possess a fairly uniform diameter along a single strand.
Hair Texture Altered By Natural & Chemical Means
After undergoing chemotherapy some people who lose all their hair will be surprised to discover that the hair grows back with a completely different texture. If before chemo the hair texture was fine, in some rare cases, the hair may grow back as coarse or wiry.
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- Revised Date: 10/13/2011
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