Types of Hair Texture - Get the Skinny on the Fat

People get hair texture and hair volume confused all the time. It's understandable as they are similar but definitely not the same. Your hair type refers to the thickness (or fatness) of individual strands of hair. Volume refers to the amount of hair you have as a measurement. They're a horse of a different color.

Vanessa Hugens image
Vanessa Hudgens is as cute as pie! As thick as her hair might look, she has medium texture hair with a lot of hair volume. You can increase the fullness of your hair by choosing the right hair style, but you can't increase the texture of your hair without adding hair products to it.

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There are three types of texture, which are fine, medium, and coarse. Generally, the thicker the texture, the stronger your hair. Hair that is very thin in diameter is called fine hair. If you’re hair is in between fine and coarse, then its medium texture. If your hair feels thick to the touch and has a lot of spring, its considered to be coarse.

For the majority of us, each individual hair strand has three layers. The layers (starting from the outside) are the cuticle, cortex, and medulla. Fine texture hair typically only has two layers. The inside of the hair, the medulla, is often missing, so hair can be limp and look thin naturally. Medium and coarse textures usually have all three layers and usually look thick and full.

No matter what your hair texture, if you fry your hair, the only way to get it back is to cut it off and start over. You can’t heal hair once it’s severely mucked up. At best you can apply conditioners that will help but they won’t cure it. Knowing which type of texture you have really helps when you’re making decisions about styling or chemical services.

Types of Hair Texture

Fine Hair

Fine texture hair has a silky, baby soft feel to it. Many people with fine hair have very little of it, but there are many people with fine hair who have a lot of hair. Because fine hair is so lightweight, fine hair is often flyaway and generally works best either without layers or with minimal layers.

Fine hair is easy to process but can be over-processed easily and is susceptible to damage from any chemical service. For that reason, stay away from harsh chemicals.

Opt instead for low acid perms or acid balancing perms, and if you use permanent color, make sure not to color over hair that's already got color, which makes the hair more susceptible to breakage and damage. You can also use non-permanent color with no hassles, except the color needs to be reapplied once it fades.
picture of Gwyneth Paltrow

Female celebrities with fine hair texture are Gwyneth Paltrow, Juliette Binoche, Uma Thurman, and Isabella Rosellini.

Medium Hair

Medium texture hair is thinner than coarse hair but not as thin as fine hair. It's the middle of the road hair so to speak! Medium is halfway in between fine and coarse. Medium is also the most common type of hair texture. Medium texture hair is neither flyaway nor thick. It generally does what it's supposed to do when it’s cut and is easy to style.

Medium hair texture is considered normal and poses no special concerns for styling or chemical services. However, don’t go chemical wild and crazy and slap whatever ones you like into your hair! That's a big no no too!

To keep the integrity of your hair strong, use chemical services with some caution. You don’t want to ruin a good thing!
picture of Demi Moore

Female celebrities with medium texture hair are Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Heather Locklear, and Demi Moore.

Coarse Hair

Hair that is very thick or wiry in texture is referred to as coarse hair. Coarse hair is strong and may be ultra straight or ultra curly. Most people with coarse hair have a lot of hair, however there are some with coarse hair who don't have a lot of hair volume. Because coarse hair can have a bristle like feel when it's cut too short, avoid really short styles.

Coarse hair has great tensile strength. Because it’s thicker in diameter, it can be very hard to get it to do what you want it to do. It may seem to have a mind of it’s own at times.

picture of Julie Chen
picture of Alicia Keys

Therefore, coarse hair can be harder to style, and may be resistant to straightening, color, or perms. Harsh chemicals are sometimes the only way to change the integrity of your hair.

Female celebrities with coarse hair are Oprah Winfrey, Rhianna, Tyra Banks, Alicia Keys, Beyonce Knowles, and Julie Chen.

Hair texture varies from individual to individual. Sometimes the same person can have different textures in different areas. You may have baby fine hair on the ends of your hair and medium texture hair on the top. (Although this almost never happens unless there has been an illness or sudden change in life.)

Race and ethnicity can be irrelevant in determining hair texture, as coarse, medium, and fine hair can be found among all ethnic and racial groups. However, many Asians, South Americans, and Africans are well known for having coarse hair. Europeans, Australians, and Americans are sometimes associated with fine or medium hair texture.

Related Pages on This Site

Hair Volume – Tips for Big Full, Voluptuous Hair

Does Your Curly Hair Make You Smile or Frown?

Long Lasting Curls - How to Make 'Em and Keep 'Em

Hair Growth Facts and Tips

Hair Facts and Fiction – Separating Truth from Myth

Hair Porosity – Why It's is Such a Big Deal!




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