Types of hair Copy

Hair Types on the body

Vellus hair is the fine, non-pigmented hair that covers the body of children and adults. It does not usually grow longer than 2cms in length. Vellus hair is usually straight, regardless of ethnic origin, due to the fact that the follicles are not deep. The growth of vellus hair is not affected by hormones.

Terminal hair is the thick pigmented hair found on the scalp, beard, underarms, and pubic area. The growth of terminal hair is influenced by hormones.

Terminal hair is generally more abundant on males than females. However, variations exist within populations, with some women appearing hairier than some males.

These hair types can be straight, curly or wavy depending on ethnic origin, hereditary factors and chemical hair treatment such as perms.

European hair would appear to be oval in shape and would tend to be wavy. Asian hair would appear to be round in shape and tend to be straight. Afro-Caribbean hair would appear to be flattened and tend to be very curly.

In some cases, excess hair growth, called hirsutism (pronounced: hur-suh-tih- zum), maybe the result of certain medical conditions. In girls, polycystic ovary syndrome and other hormonal disorders can cause dark, coarse hair to grow on the face, especially the upper lip, and on the arms, chest, and legs. Some medications, like anabolic steroids, can also cause hirsutism.

Superfluous hair is coarse unwanted hair, also termed hypertrichosis. Superfluous hair is considered not only a physical burden but can become a psychological one, too if not treated. The modern woman is keenly aware of the importance of being well-groomed; her happiness, poise, even her success or failure in life very much depend upon the face she presents to the world.

The reluctance and timidity of women to discuss this condition would vanish if they realised superfluous hair is not something to be ashamed of, but a simple problem requiring remedial treatment.

It is estimated that 80% of the women in Britain have some superfluous hair growth. Generally considered a “cosmetic” issue, hair growth can cause real or perceived problems with social acceptance for many people, both male and female. Many cultures have a perceived ideal amount of hair growth. Changes in hair growth patterns are sometimes a symptom of hormonal imbalances. Managing or removing unwanted hair can go beyond being a simple “cosmetic” problem.

Hair characteristic Explanation



Hair density refers to the amount of hair and is described as sparse, average or abundant.

Sparse hair often means the hair is fine and there is not a lot of it covering the head. The scalp may be visible through the hair, less product will be required and the types of hairstyles that will suit this density will need to be considered.

Abundant hair means the client has a full head of hair; this may be  fine or coarse in texture but there is lots of it. Abundant hair requires more product, more drying time; it will take longer for services to be carried out. Cutting techniques will need to be considered as the hair may need to be thinned out.

Hair texture Hair texture refers to the thickness of each strand of hair and is described as fine medium or coarse. Fine hair has a small circumferences and fewer layers of cuticle scales.

Medium hair is greater in circumferences than fine hair with an average numbers of layers.

Coarse hair a large circumference and the most layers of cuticle scales.

Fine hair will absorb chemicals much faster than coarse hair because there are fewer cuticle scales. Coarse hair can often be resistant to chemicals. A porosity test can be carried out on all textures to check whether these cuticle scales are rough and open, or smooth and closed.

Porosity Porosity of the hair refers to the cuticle layers- if the cuticles are damaged and open then hair is porous, they can also be normal/non porous or closely compact/ resistant.

Porous hair absorbs chemicals much faster.

Resistant hair can be resilient to chemical products

Hair type Definition Further information Impact on services
Straight hair

 type  1

Fine/thin straight hair tends to be very soft, shiny and oily, and it can be difficult to hold a curl.

Medium hair generally has lots of volume and body

Corse straight hair is normally extremely straight and difficult to curl.

 Asian hair is very straight and grows directly up from the hair follicle. It is round shaped and has about 11 layers of cuticle scales.

The more cuticle scales the hair has, the more resistant the hair will be to chemicals and styling.

Straight hair is often more oily in condition than other hair types, because oil from the sebaceous glands can travel more easily along the hair shaft.

Difficult to curl and may affect the styling of  hair.

May be resistant to chemicals such as colour and perm products.

When cutting the hair, straight hair can show cutting marks on the hair.

Wavy hair

Type 2

Fine/thin wavy hair has a definite ‘S’ pattern and you can normally accomplish styles.

Medium wavy hair tends to be frizzy and a little resistant to styling.

Coarse wavy hair is also resistant to styling and normally very frizzy; tends to have thicker waves.

Caucasian or European hair is generally referred to as wavy; this is because of the way the hair grows out from the follicle. The hair shaft is oval with around four to seven layers of cuticle scales.

In straight and wavy hair, the follicles are more or less vertical to the surface of the scalp. The angle of the hair follicle determines the natural wave pattern of the hair.

Can be great hair to work with, but coarse wavy hair can make styling more challenging at times. When cutting the hair use products which may help fizziness and aid control.

Coarse hair may be a little resistant to chemical processes.

Hair type Definition Further information Impact on services
 Curly hair

Type 3

Loose curls- the hair tends to have a combination texture. It can be thick and full with lots of body, with a definite ‘S’ pattern. It also tends to be frizzy.

Tight curls- the hair also tends to have a combination texture, with a medium amount of curl.

Caucasian or European hair can be naturally curly, as well as the hair with people of mixed race or dual heritage.

Curly hair has follicles that grow from the scalp almost parallel to the surface of the scalp.

The styling of curly hair needs products and control with styling tools. Hair will appear shorter once cut, so less tension will be required.

Hair may be delicate and take quicker to chemical processes.

Very curly hair

Type 4

Soft curly hair tends to be very fragile, tightly coiled and has a more defined curl pattern.

Wiry hair also tends to be very fragile and tightly coiled; however with a less defined curly pattern, it has more of a z shaped pattern shape.

African hair type is very curly and grows out of the follicle at an acute angle. The hair shaft is kidney shaped with around seven to eleven layers of cuticle scales.

As the hair’s oil cannot travel so easily along the hair shaft, the curlier the hair, the drier the hair tends to be.

Very curly hair needs lots of control when styling and products designed for curly hair.

Hair will tangle easily and spring up when cut.

Hair is fragile and care must be taken with chemical processes.

Term Explanation
Elasticity Refers to how weak or strong the hair is and whether the cortex layer has been damaged. You will need to consider if the hair is strong enough o to take additional chemicals or whether to advise another product ie colour or styling products. You will need to consider how much tension is applied.
Condition This can vary greatly: it may be  normal, dry, oily or damaged ( by chemicals or environmental, heat or lifestyle).

Identify how it has been damaged, advise client on how to  prevent further damage and improve the condition. Damaged hair is likely to have poor elasticity and or  porosity. It is important to consider if a chemical treatment should be carried out.

Hair growth patterns These consist of  Cowlick- found at the front hairline

Double crown – found at the crown area

Nape whorl- found at the nape area.