— Letters From Your Hairdresser

Lies You've Believed: Hair Types

They key to any great hairstyle or haircut is knowing what you are working with. And beyond that, taking what you’ve got and realistically embracing it to its fullest potential to look your best. In that regard, before we really get started, I need to go over a few key words that describe hair types we’ll be discussing. Most people get the density and texture of a hair strand mixed up and in order to fully understand what I will be explaining and exploring today, I need you to know what I’m truly saying.

The density of someone’s hair refers to how much hair exists in an area on the scalp. For example, if you take one inch of a person’s head, hold the hair and see a lot of bare scalp, that person has very thin hair. Density can be either thin, medium, or thick depending on how much scalp is visible. Texture, however, refers to the actual hair strand itself. If an individual hair strand is very large in circumference, we would call that a coarse hair strand. If a hair strand is incredibly skinny in width, we would call that a fine hair strand. It’s important to note that someone can have very thick hair in density, but fine strands in texture. This hair type happens to be the most prone to tangling. Or a person can have very coarse hair in texture and very thin density. Sometimes, this can be very confusing to hairdressers and clients alike, so I just want you to understand what the truth is about your hair before we start breaking down the lies about it

Today, we are talking the biggest lies you’ve believed about your hair type and why they are simply just myths. We’ll cover them all and I’ll leave you with a lot of information, but as always, if you have questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will get to as many as time allows!

Myth #1: Fine Hair Is A Lost Cause

I know this sounds like a harsh way to speak about our wispy-haired sisters, but it’s truly what a lot of hairdressers and clients believe. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve met in my chair who have such a depressing outlook on their fine hair. They say, “Do whatever you can with it” and “I’ve never had a cut that works for me”. They just expect that no one will have the skills or time to make their hair look beautiful. And I get it as I have had fine, thin hair my whole life. It wasn’t until I began doing hair myself and could explain to other hairdressers how to cut my hair that I finally felt like I could rock a great style. And it really, really sucks to feel that your hair will never come close to those ladies who have beautiful, thick tresses when your hair is such a part of your identity.

Well, it’s simply not true. You should know by now that I believe everyone can have great hair. The first piece of putting this puzzle together is your outlook. Ladies, you’ve got to stop acting like your fine hair is such a burden; it’s not! So stop treating it that way. The next missing piece is to understand your hair type. You need to know that lots of layers are a huge no-no because they will make your ends look too thin. But you need to accept that there are certain layers that can amp your hair up to the next level and not be afraid to try them with the right hairdresser. The secret is to wear “long layers” that can allow for more volume at the root and still maintain fullness at the ends. You need to know that a diagonal back side part is a great solution to get more volume. To do so, try parting on one side directly above the arch of your eyebrow and and comb it back towards the center of the top of your head, ending at your crown. And switch sides on a weekly or monthly basis to get a little extra oomph.

I also believe that using the right product is so incredibly crucial for fine hair. You need a product that gives you volume, hold, shine and heat protection. But it also has to be weightless so that your hair isn’t fallen down flat two hours into your day. Your answer is definitely not more hairspray (as most of us think), but Kevin.Murphy’s Anti Gravity. You can blowdry in the lotion on days that you wash and spritz it in through spray form on the days when you want to get up and go. I am seriously obsessed with this product and it’s been the only thing that will give my hair lots of hold, but since it’s oil free, I also don’t have to worry about tons of product build up on day two or three. With how this product and a great cut make my hair look on a daily basis, clients who sit in my chair with the same hair type are genuinely shocked when I tell them that naturally, my hair lays flat to my head and looks like four measly little strands coming from my scalp. And bonus points: it only takes me ten minutes to style my four little strands every morning!
Myth #2: Layers and Curly Hair Don’t Mix

I’m assuming this idea stems from a serious misuse of layers in the 80s when feathered, teased curls were worn best with lots of disconnected layers. And also, all that was the mullet. Wherever it comes from, many of my clients that wear curl have this idea that layers will look so outdated in their hair, but the alternative is the dreaded triangle effect. You curly girls know exactly what I’m talking about, right? When you let your hair grow long and as it gets past your shoulders, you realize it only gets more wide at the ends and your roots only get flatter creating a very interesting triangle-shaped haircut. I’m sure we’ve all seen it. Most ladies with curly hair don’t realize there’s a middle ground.

Imagine a triangle shape in your mind. Now imagine that both the bottom right and bottom left points in the triangle have been erased.. what do you see? You should be left with a more rounded shape that looks more like a pentagon with soft edges. That’s the goal with adding layers to curly hair: to take the harshness of a triangle away and replace it with feminine shapes. That’s the middle ground that I’m always looking to execute on a woman’s curly haircut. However, hair type does play a big role in deciding on this as well. For ladies who wear curl and tend to have finer hair, they really don’t have to worry too much about their hair growing more wide than long because they simply don’t have much to grow. And for ladies with super coiled spiral curls, completely different cutting techniques are needed to even begin talking about a haircut. In both of those cases, I recommend finding a hairdresser who specializes in curly hair cutting techniques. But for the majority of curly girls trying to figure out what works, trust me that layers are a great idea as long as they are done well and to the perfect balance. And bonus points for you: taking the weight off your ends and getting rid of those heavy points in your haircut will allow a more even and coiled curl and a lot more bounce from your hair!

Myth #3: Thick Hair Is A Blessing Without A Curse

I’ve done a handful of transformations in my career that have been very, very powerful. Women making huge decisions to change their appearance while in the midst of changing their lives and leaving my salon with a cleansed, refreshed energy. Losing locks in the hopes of gaining more confidence and bigger dreams.

And of that handful of transformations, about half of them have only had to do with how thick my client’s hair was. Literally that was it in some cases. But it’s true; having a ton of thick, coarse hair on your head can cause splitting headaches, unintentional dreadlocks and a lot of time and maintenance. Sure, it’s a blessing in a lot of cases because you can grow your hair so long and pretty and do almost every kind of hairstyle imaginable. And trust me, we’re all jealous. But it can also give you migraines once a week from the amount of weight on your head. And you might have to spend twenty minutes a day brushing out knots. Ugh, that just doesn’t sound worth the versatility.

I have an amazing tool in my kit called “thinning shears”. They look like a comb with handles and their whole job is to cut bulk out of hair. I use them for a multitude of things, including removing weight from a weight line in a standard haircut. But what I really, really like to use them for is making your life easier taking some of that crazy thick hair off your head. I know just what I’m doing: I won’t go closer than two inches to your scalp with them because then you’ll end up with pokey pieces sticking through and I promise I won’t go near your hairline and leave you with short hairs at your temple. And I especially promise that I will only take out what is necessary from the interior of your haircut, so that no one will see or know a thing. Other than the fact that your hair is laying so bouncy these days and you aren’t complaining about how much it hurts to wear a ponytail anymore! 🙂 Even just doing such a seemingly simple task of removing hair strands from a head in a strategic way and I can give you the perfect hair that’s thick and beautiful, but not too thick that it crosses over into being an inconvenience and a pain. And bonus points for you ladies: you can have beautiful, thick hair that we’re all jealous of without having to worry about waking up to a dreadlock in the back of your head every morning!
What do you guys think? Did this post help answer some questions that you’ve been curious about? And what questions are you still left with? Let’s chat in the comments below!

 Featured image via ShutterStock

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