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Understanding the Needs of Different Textured Hair Types

by Elizabeth Jakaitis | May 14, 2015
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Photo courtesy of Ouidad
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You don’t need a microscope to determine your client’s textured hair type. Each has its own personality that’s easy to see, according to Traci Sakosits, Sassoon North American creative director.

“Wavy hair has a curl pattern, but looks softer because the curve of the hair is larger and farther apart,” says Cole Thompson, Sassoon creative director. “Wavy hair tends to lay flatter to the head shape. Curly hair has a wave pattern that is closer together and tends to look more three dimensional, while coily hair has the tightest and smallest curl pattern. In the latter case, the hair is naturally in an expanded form because it stacks out, on top of itself.”

To remain at the center of every curl conversation, you must understand the needs of different textured hair types, uncover the client’s desires and offer solutions that will guide clients to their fullest curl expressions, says DevaCurl Vice President of Education Shari Harbinger.

According to TextureMedia Inc. President Michelle Breyer, TextureTrends’ market research shows that the biggest concern of those with wavy hair is frizz. Curly girls care most about definition, where as those with coily hair types are most often looking for moisture.

Wavy

Texture shape: True wavy hair has an S-shaped formation. Neither curly nor straight, it can undulate back and forth or have more of an open loop, as though it were iron-curled. Highly versatile, it retains curl because it already has natural movement.

Client personality: “Frizz and volume can contribute to the wavy story and concerns,” Harbinger says. “This client wants either volume at the crown for height and hold, or a flatter crown with soft, beachy waves at the bottom. These needs are met with products and a cut that either supports volume at the crown or encourages waves at the mids and ends. For more volume, the cutting approach focuses on the crown.”
Adds Paul Mitchell School’s Advanced Academy member Holli Cadman, “Wavy hair tends to need control products and hydration to have definition in its formation. For fine wavy hair, volumizing products also are ideal to aid in styling or diffuse drying.”

Primary needs: Frizz reduction, lightweight definition, hydration, volumizers and shine enhancers.

Curly

Texture shape: The curly demographic has a wide span. Sam Villa, founding partner of the Sam Villa brand and education artistic director for Redken 5th Avenue says that curl, which often has mixed patterns, has two movements to look at: the size and expansion of the curl, and how tightly the curl wants to sit together.

Client personality: Harbinger notes that most curly clients understand their curl’s behavior and want shape, definition and frizz-control. In addition to products that meet those needs, a cut designed to remove heaviness at the crown is key. “Some curlies might also enjoy a fuller, more voluminous triangular finish, which you can get when the hair is properly hydrated,” she says. “This client is often misunderstood and complains that the cut is too short, too wide and frizzy.” Without the correct moisturizing products, the hair expands.

Primary needs: Hydration, strengthening treatments, volume control for either a smooth or defined finish, and shine enhancers

Coily

Texture shape: Coily hair grows close to the scalp and ranges from medium coils to springy ones, or interlocking ones that have a zigzag pattern. “Clients with this hair often complain their scalp hurts,” says Mizani Educator Evie Johnson. “The cuticle is raised, the hair is very porous and it tangles easily. It has a shorter lifespan, meaning the average growth cycle is 2-6 years, so it doesn’t grow very long. This hair needs moisture, but product over-use doesn’t help; diet will. The need for moisture and detangling is major, which is often true of curly hair as well. If coily hair is weak, add protein treatments if needed, but they must be balanced with moisture; using only protein can harden the hair.” To determine protein needs in any textured type, perform an elasticity test. Coily hair is often dry, frizzy and fragile because sebum cannot travel far down the hair shaft. Coily hair can range from coarse to fine, and often has low tensile strength—the more open the cuticle due to movement, the more porous and less shiny the hair.

Client personality: Clients with coily hair increasingly favor wearing it natural as opposed to chemically altering it.

Primary needs: Intense moisturizing/strengthening (moisture and protein must be balanced), frizz control, smoothing products and shine enhancers.

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