You’ve always known you had finer hair on some parts of your head and thicker, coarser curls in other areas. But maybe you didn’t realize you actually have multi-textured curly hair until you looked closer and actually tried to discover your curl type.
Well, welcome to the club! Almost all people with curly hair have more than one texture somewhere on their heads. Most have two, some even have three. Before we get into how to care for it, let’s see exactly what’s going on.
What Is Multi-Textured Hair?
Hair can have more than one texture for different reasons, but the primary reason is genetics. Maybe your Dad or Grandad has a looser curl pattern than your Mom or Grandma, so you get both textures on one head. There are some other reasons for it though:
Expert’s Tip: Hair can have more than one texture for different reasons, but the primary reason is genetics.
You’re Transitioning to Natural Hair
This sounds kind of obvious. Of course, you’ll have two different textures if you’re transitioning: the chemically processed part and the natural part. But wait, you’ll actually have three. That’s because when the chemicals get on the scalp, they change how your scalp produces hair–at least temporarily.
But you will probably never notice this unless you do a big chop. With a big chop, your hair might be straighter for the first month or so, until your real texture starts to come in.
On the other hand, harsh chemicals from relaxers, keratin treatments, and bleaching can actually damage the hair follicles in some areas of the head. This might be wherever your stylist rubbed in the product the most: at your nape, hairline, or crown. So in those areas, your hair might be a different texture, with tighter or looser curls.
Expert’s Tip: Harsh chemicals can actually damage the hair follicles, leaving parts of your hair with a different texture.
You Have Areas with Damaged Hair
Some parts of your hair might be straighter than others because of heat damage. Otherwise known as “training”, heat damage happens when the proteins of the hair are stretched with heat to the point when they cannot bounce back. A lot of tight pulling can cause the same issue.
With age and hormonal differences, you might find parts of your hair have a different texture. Hormones can actually change the shape of follicles, so you might find you have a looser curl in parts of your head. On the other hand, hair loss starts with finer hair in the area. So if you notice your texture is changing and there is thinning in the area, you might have pre-alopecia.
Tips for Handling Multi-Textured Hair
Differing textures are usually very obvious to the touch and the hair might behave differently as well. The ease of combing might differ from section to section and the curls will be visibly tighter or looser. This means detangling is probably a challenge. Here’s how to handle your hair:
You can pre-poo with oils, butters or a homemade combination of both. These products seep into the hair shaft over time to provide strength. They also fill the hair shaft so that excess water and detergents can’t enter while you’re washing.
When shampoo enters the hair shaft, it can be corrosive. Excess water can cause your cuticle to lift, which can cause damage during the difficult process of detangling multi-textured hair.
2. Section It Off
Before you wash your hair, take a minute to separate it according to texture. Then wash and condition your hair. Detangle it with the conditioner still in. This will make the detangling process much easier. If you pre-shampooed you’ll find very few shed hairs.
3. Apply Your Products Accordingly
Where you have tighter curls, you’ll probably need more products like leave-in conditioners or curl definers. So don’t skimp! It will help make those areas softer and easier to manage. Where your hair is less tightly curled, there’s no problem to use a lighter hand with products.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of Scissors
Just make sure to use sharp, hair shears — not kitchen scissors. If the sides and nape are finer hair, you can cut it shorter so that it doesn’t look so different from your tighter curls and droop outside your style.
If your hairline or bang area is finer than the rest of your hair, consider cutting it short and using edge control to have beautifully laid ‘edges’. It’s up to you, and of course, you have to consider where your hair is finer and will look good cut shorter.
But! You don’t want to cut tighter curls and leave the looser ones longer. That might look a little strange.
Expert’s Tip: If the sides and nape are finer hair, cut it shorter so that it doesn’t droop outside your style.
5. Embrace Frizz and Shrinking
We’re always trying to reduce frizz, but embracing it will give your curls a chance to look more uniform. Once you wash and condition your hair, let it air dry. You’ll probably come out with an afro or huge curly hair, and that’s okay.
You’ll get the most compliments from beautifully frizzy styles. If you feel like it looks messy, grab a pair of hair shears and lightly trim away flyaways.
6. Style with Rollers
If you like a curly style, try changing up your look by using rollers instead of displaying your natural curl pattern. Wash and go might highlight your different textures and twist-outs and braid outs are not strong enough to get you a uniform curly look.
Rollers help make your curls uniform, and you can always use two different sizes to get a different look. Many times larger-sized rollers are used up top and a size smaller will be used on the sides and back. If you have two or three different textures, rollers can go a long way to getting you the style you like.
Rollers help make your curls uniform, and you can always use two different sizes to get a different look. – Ghanima Abdullah
Roll your hair in small sections using a curl-defining cream. Flexi Rods are the best ones to use for beginners and you can graduate to using hard rollers and endpapers later. When you’re finished rolling, spritz your hair with water so that it’s uniformly wet. Apply a hair net and use a hair bonnet attachment to dry your curls thoroughly with a blow dryer. Or try a hooded dryer.
7. Use an Updo, or Side-Do
Try an updo for the areas you’d like to highlight and hide for the day. Don’t worry, side do’s are also possible. And if you want to show off the curls in the back of your head or up top, try a puff.
FAQs On Multi-Textured Curly Hair
Is it normal to have different hair textures?
Why is my hair curly underneath but straight on top?
If your hair is fine in diameter, it might be easy for it to get straight just by pulling it. Pulling your hair stretches the proteins, but if you have fine hair, it doesn’t always bounce back. So your new hair growing in will be curly, and it can be straight on top.
How do I get more textured curls?
You can try salt spray.
How do you fix different curl patterns?
You can try rollers if you want all your curls to come out the same.
Why is my hair a mix of wavy and straight?
You might have damaged your waves with heat.
What are Type 3 curls?
Type 3 curls are spiraled ringlets.
What is a multi-textured perm?
This is a perm that uses different sizes of rollers so that your curls come out having different sizes. It looks more natural like this because many people who have curly hair have more than one texture or size of curl.
Do perms damage your hair?
Yes, perms use corrosive chemicals to make your hair permanently the curl size of the roller they set your hair on.
What is the difference between layered and textured hair?
Layers can make your hair appear thinner or more voluminous, depending on how they’re added. But textured hair is hair that has a wave or curl to it.
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