Coarse hair has a very distinctive texture. With the wrong kind of care, coarse hair can become maddening. It gets frizzy and dry and stubbornly refuses most efforts to style it differently. Fortunately, you can learn how to make coarse hair softer.
In this article, we’ll go over seven helpful tips to make naturally curly, coarse hair soft.
What is Coarse Hair?
The story behind coarse hair begins with the size of the hair itself. Hair strands come in all manner of different diameters, and a coarse hair texture typically means the individual strands have a large diameter.
Coarse hair automatically has more protein than fine hair. Keratin is rough in texture, which means that coarse hair is naturally of a different texture and not quite as soft as fine hair.
How to Know If Your Hair Is Coarse
But really, your hair might just feel rough because it’s dry. How can you tell the difference? Try the thread test. Grab a strand of hair from your head and compare it with a piece of thread.
If it is the same diameter, roughly, your hair is a normal texture. If it is thicker in diameter, your hair is coarse. If it is thinner in diameter, your hair is fine.
How to Make Coarse Hair Soft
Strand size only tells part of the story. Thick hair often becomes rough and stiff due to a lack of moisture. Large strands need more water to retain their body, so coarse hair can quickly become dried out.
Hydration forms the basis of softening coarse hair. Getting more water into your body will put more water into your hair in short order.
Adequate hydration also helps maintain healthy nerve endings near the roots, a key factor for robust hair growth. If you have coarse hair, consider upping your water intake.
Everyone’s body has slightly different hydration demands, but you don’t need to overthink how much water to drink. A couple of liters a day should suffice for most body types and activity levels, but the more, the merrier.
2. Oil Up
Once you have your body hydrated well enough to support healthy hair, you need to keep the water in your locks. Treating your hair with oil can further enhance the hydration of your hair and soften its texture.
Oil treatments for hair come in two primary forms: moisturizing oils and sealing oils. Moisturizing oils open up the pores and penetrate the hair itself to add moisture.
For that reason, they work best before shampooing when they can help other products work their way into the hair. Sealing oils, in contrast, lock the moisture into the hair.
That same mechanism means it can keep moisture out; applying it too early in the regime can exacerbate dryness. But, with the right timing, sealing oils add fantastic shine and long-lasting hydration.
3. Wash Wisely
Good news! Coarse, dry hair might signal that you can get away with less frequent washing. Shampoo strips oil away from the hair and scalp, which opens it up to dryness and removes much of the nourishment that keeps hair soft and supple.
With less frequent washing, your body gets more time to adjust the production of natural oils, and your hair gets less stress, minimizing breakage and frizzing. Added bonus? Less washing means less money spent on hair products and water.
Certain products can have a more prolonged impact on your hair’s texture, which also sweetens the deal. You spend a little more time at once, fewer times per week, to get a better look.
4. Shop Around
When it comes to hair care, one size will never fit all. Everyone’s body chemistry has subtle differences that make their hair respond slightly differently to various products. If your hair doesn’t improve, don’t get discouraged, and don’t be afraid to try something different.
Finding a product that works for you might require shopping around a little bit.
5. Be Brand Loyal
Once you find a product that gets a good response from your hair, stick with it, and consider adding more of their complementary products to your regime.
We’ve all read the back of the label on shampoo X that recommends using conditioner X. It may seem like a scheme, but in reality, product manufacturers use some sophisticated chemistry to make sure their products complement one another.
For that reason, a shampoo that helps improve your hair’s texture may become even more effective with the related conditioner.
6. Mask Up
A hair mask goes a step beyond the typical conditioner, giving a lasting treatment to coarse or dry hair. Masks need a little longer on the head to get the greatest effect but done correctly, they provide dramatic results with less effort.
A mask applied to a damp-but-not-soaking head of hair and left to rest for around 10 minutes will bring body and flexibility to your hair’s texture. It takes a little time, but it does make an excellent excuse for some extra me-time.
7. Turn Down the Heat
Hair can easily become damaged when overexposed to heat from hair care accessories. The expansion and contraction of the hair itself lead to cracking and coarseness. Turning down the temperature on things like straighteners or blow dryers can limit some of the stress.
Coarse hair can feel softer with conditioning and staying away from things that make it rougher, like high heat styling, but the change is only cosmetic.
You can make your hair a little less coarse by lightening your hair color. This destroys some of the protein bonds within the hair so that it is a little less coarse. It will also damage your hair and make it dry and frizzy.
Your hair could be excessively high or low in porosity, in addition to being coarse in texture. If your scalp doesn’t produce enough sebum, that can also make your hair excessively dry.
Although 4C hair feels dry and sometimes brittle, it actually isn’t coarse. The more curly or coily the hair is, the finer is the diameter of the hair.
Many people with 4C hair actually have a very thin hair structure that isn’t coarse at all.
If you’re genetically pre-disposed to have coarser hair as you age, then it’s likely to get coarser for that reason. Which makes you lucky!
Most people, as they age, get hair that’s thinner in diameter as a prelude to hair loss.
If you have low porosity hair, the conditioners you’re using are basically sliding off. They have nothing to adhere to because your hair cuticle is shut so tight.
So for some people, hair conditioner can’t leave behind moisture and softness because it can’t stick. The solution is deep conditioning treatments with heat that penetrate the hair cuticle.
Hair that has a diameter that’s thinner than a thread is fine hair.
Because there is more protein in coarse hair, the moisture/protein balance is off. When there is too much protein present, the hair is dry. So, yes, coarse hair needs more moisture.
Try an overnight deep conditioning treatment to make your hair softer overnight.
Sometimes curly hair can be coarse, but generally speaking, the more curl a hair type has, the thinner it is in diameter.
Keratin treatments add more keratin to the hair. They are generally meant to help frizzy hair lay flat with the extra addition of keratin.
If your hair is coarse, it already is overloaded with protein. Adding more protein to your hair will make it even drier and more brittle.
Argan oil will make your hair softer and possibly less stiff. It will stick better on your hair with no water, however, because the water can cause the oil to slide off.
With the right treatment, coarse hair textures can lead to absolutely stunning styles. Figuring out how to make coarse hair softer takes a bit of effort, but it’s doable. Then, you’ll be looking and feeling amazing.
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