Our new hair care series takes you back to basics – with the help of hair specialist and trichologist, Philip Kingsley – so you can find the right products for your hair type and concern. So far, we’ve looked at fine and medium hair types – today we’re talking ‘coarse’ hair:
WHAT’S MY ‘TYPE’?
Hair is often described as ‘normal’ ‘dry’ or ‘oily’, but the best way to properly assess it is to look at its size and texture. These can be categorised into four types: fine, medium, coarse or black/afro caribbean. Each hair texture can be straight, wavy, curly or frizzy. Hair specialist and trichologist Philip Kingsley advises to “…look at your hair’s length and level of processing and combine this information to choose a daily hair care regime that is best for you.”
THE DRY/OILY HAIR MYTH
‘Dryness’ is a term that describes the condition your hair is in, not your hair’s actual texture. Your hair can be ‘dry’ and be fine and straight or curly and coarse – you’d just vary the products you use depending on the texture. It can be ‘oily’ at the roots and ‘dry’ at the ends. It’s natural for your roots to get oily – everybody produces natural oil from their hair follicles. Regular washing and some nifty oil-absorbing products can help keep it at bay.
THE ‘COARSE HAIR’ GUIDE
“If you have coarse hair, it will feel rough in texture and it may feel like you have a lot of it. Coarse hair can be straight, e.g. Asian hair, or curly or frizzy, naturally red hair.” Philip Kingsley
The diameter of coarse hair is the largest of all textures, which makes it harder to retain moisture and is therefore prone to dryness. Look out for products labeled as ‘re-moisturising’ or ‘smoothing’ as they’ll replenish and tame frizz. Although those with coarse hair my be more reluctant to wash it often, Kingsley recommends daily shampooing as it promotes a healthy scalp environment and it’s actually water not oil content that keeps your hair moisturised and supple. Here are our picks for maintaining – and controlling – thick strands:
- Weleda’s Oat Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner are packed with restorative silicic acid, glycerin and super-nourishing oats that provide moisture to parched or damaged hair. KMS California’s Deep Conditioner can be used once or twice a week, in place of your usual conditioner, for a more intense conditioning treatment – it hydrates cuticles and increases the pliability of unruly locks.
- Due to coarse hair’s inclination to dryness, using a pre-shampoo treatment a couple of times a week can make a significant difference. Philip Kingsley’s award-winning Elasticizer re-conditions and protects strands prone to breakage by delivering a rush of intense moisture to the hair cuticle for supple, manageable locks. Before shampooing, dampen your hair with warm water and apply the Elasticizer to mid lengths and ends, work in with fingertips and cover with plastic/shower cap and leave for about 20 minutes. Then, simply follow with usual hair-washing routine!
- If you have coarse hair, you’re likely to straighten it more often than other types, so be sure to use styling products that will protect it from the extremely damaging effects of heat processing. Electric Hair’s Electric Preparation Spray combines nourishing oils to detangle and fortify roots while protecting against both UV rays and heat styling. Spritz into damp hair and brush through before drying.
- The Kérastase Nutritive line is a favourite of Birchbox staffer Jess, who uses both the Oléo-Curl and the Oléo-Relax products to style her coarse hair. Oléo-Curl’s heat protective cream defines and controls thick, curly and rebellious hair, while the Oléo-Relax serum de-frizzes and smoothes strands for when she wants to wear it straight.
Stay tuned for our Black/Afro hair guide –coming soon! – and try out new products for your hair type each month when you sign up to Birchbox!