Not every product will work for everyone - your hair is as unique as you are. One product could save one person’s hair and severely damage another’s hair. one of the most important things you can do on your healthy hair journey is to figure out which products work for your hair. Luckily, there are defined steps that you can follow, and we’ll go over all of them in this article.
Get to Know Your Hair
Getting to know your hair is crucial when determining which products will work best. There’s no way to tell which products your hair needs if you don’t know your hair.
How a product will work for you depends mostly on your hair type. The following sections will tell you how your hair type and porosity affect the hair products you should use.
What Hair Type Do You Have?
Celebrity hairstylist, Andre Walker, came up with the standard hair classification system that we use today. Each hair type has different needs, which helps to determine which hair products we should use. Let’s briefly look at each hair type below.
Type 1 Hair Needs
Type 1 hair is straight and has no discernible curl pattern. This hair type pairs well with lightweight products. Most creams and butters are way too heavy, leading to stiff, weighed-down strands.
Since this hair type is straight and the scalp’s natural oils can easily travel down the hair strands, heavy-duty moisturizers are typically unnecessary. Use a clarifying shampoo regularly since type 1 hair tends to get very oily.
Type 2 Hair Needs
Type 2 hair has “S” shaped waves. Just like type 1 hair, type 2 hair likes lightweight products that don’t leave behind residue.
Reach for water-based products that don’t have heavy waxes or butters. Type 2 hair can also get pretty oily throughout the day, so a clarifying shampoo session may be necessary every so often. However, in the winter months, you can use an oil to seal in moisture and keep your hair moisturized.
Type 3 Hair Needs
Type 3 hair is curly. It ranges from large loose curls to smaller, tighter curls. Type 3 hair quickly gets dry if you don’t manually apply moisturizing products to it. Butters and creams may work well for someone with type 3 hair, but looser curls could get weighed down.
Use a shampoo formulated with gentle cleansers that won’t strip the hair of its natural oils. Conditioners should be extra moisturizing to give the hair the nourishment it needs to remain healthy.
Type 4 Hair Needs
Type 4 hair is typically made up of coils and kinks. This hair type is usually coarse, fragile, and chronically dry. Due to the twisty, curvy nature of type 4 hair, the scalp’s oils cannot travel down the strands effectively.
Creams and butters are non-negotiable for type 4 hair. Light moisturizers just don’t pack enough of a punch to keep type 4 hair moisturized. Also, since this hair type is often dry, the last thing you should do is strip your hair with harsh, sulfate-laden shampoos. You may even want to co-wash your hair, meaning that you wash your hair with a conditioner instead of a shampoo to maximize moisture retention.
Here’s a chart for quick reference:
What to Use
What to Avoid
|Type 1 (straight)||
Lightweight moisturizers, clarifying shampoos
|Heavy butters or creams.|
|Type 2 (wavy)||
Lightweight moisturizers, clarifying shampoos, oils in moderation.
|Heavy butters or creams.|
|Type 3 (curly)||
Medium to heavyweight moisturizers, gentle shampoos, deep-penetrating conditioners, oils of your choice.
|Lightweight products (may not be effective).|
|Type 4 (coily/kinky)||Heavyweight moisturizers, gentle shampoos, deep-penetrating conditioners, oils of your choice.||Lightweight products (may not be effective).|
Choosing Your Hair Products
Now you know about how your hair type determines which products you should use. Let's move on to different hair product types you'll come across as you shop for your hair stash.
When shopping for shampoos, there are several things that you should keep in mind. The ingredients in a particular shampoo drastically affect how the product will perform on your hair. Some shampoos are formulated with harsh sulfates that strip the hair of much-needed moisture. For that reason, we recommend that you use a sulfate-free shampoo no matter what your hair type is.
Since rinse-out conditioners are rinsed out immediately after use, the requirements for conditioner use are not very strict. We recommende that you use a natural conditioner that has moisturizing ingredients in it. Learn in-depth information about haircare ingredients here.
However, if your hair is parched, you should consider incorporating a deep conditioner into your hair care regimen. Deep conditioners are heavy-duty conditioners that you leave on your hair for an extended amount of time (often 20 to 30 minutes) before rinsing them out.
Leave-in conditioners can be used on all hair types to aid in detangling and to keep your hair moisturized throughout the day. Just make sure that your leave-in conditioner is:
- Free of parabens, sulfates, and other no-no ingredients.
- Full of moisturizers, hair smoothers, and nutrients that your hair needs.
Daily Dose® Miracle Moisture Spray Leave-In Conditioner is a great all-around leave-in conditioner that may quickly become your favorite hair product.
Moisturizers come in a variety of formulas and have many uses. Many lightweight moisturizers are better suited to people who have type 1 or type 2 hair. However, if you have type 3 or type 4 hair, heavy-duty moisturizers may be necessary for lasting moisture.
How to Know If Your Hair is Healthy vs. Unhealthy
Hair talks. When it is healthy, it will tell you in several ways, and the same goes for if your hair is unhealthy. This section will tell you all you need to know about how to determine the health of your hair.
If your hair is unhealthy, you may notice the following:
- Lots of tangles. Healthy hair cuticles are flat, which makes for a smooth hair strand. By contrast, unhealthy hair has cuticles that have been roughed up and no longer lay flat. As a result, the hair gets tangled easily.
- Dryness. You'll know that your hair is unhealthy if, no matter how much moisturizer you apply, your hair is still dry.
- Split ends. Unhealthy hair is fragile and has the tendency to split. Split ends can be easily seen with the naked eye. The most common split ends look like an upside down “Y”.
If, based on the above list, you have come to the conclusion that your hair is not healthy, there’s no need to worry. It is never too late to give your hair the care and nourishment that it needs. Use the information in this article to help you choose products that are right for your hair. We hope that this article is helpful to you in your pursuit of healthy hair information.
Author: Andrea Reyes
Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.