Straight, curly or wavy? Understanding your hair type and styles that suit you best

Expert Advice - Hair

Straight, curly or wavy? Understanding your hair type and styles that suit you best

09 Oct 2017

Image credit: Model: India-Jane Roestenburg, Hair: Roni Chapman

You’ve probably come across some confusing advice in your life that generalises hair care and ignores the fact that straight, wavy and curly hair behave very differently. To care for your hair the right way you’ll need to understand it and what the best products are for you. We have put together a straightforward guide that will help you identify your hair type, its characteristics and which cuts and styles will suit you best.

Hair by Symon May, Photo by Nick Matthews
Image credit: Hair by Symon May, Photo by Nick Matthews

Straight hair

First things first, we’ll start off with straight hair. Straight hair is known for its glossy shine when the hair is healthy as the straight surface is able to reflect more light. Typically it struggles to hold curls and it can often lack volume. Avoid the temptation to slather on a product as this can make hair appear flatter.

If your hair is straight and in need of a lift try volumizing shampoo and conditioner. When it comes to blow-drying, apply a small amount of volumizing mousse of spray to your roots. To get the best result apply it with your head down and scrunch the hair upwards. A build-up of products can also leave hair looking flat so make sure you use a clarifying shampoo once or twice a week to remove it.

Lucy O' Connell in our London salon
Image credit: Lucy O' Connell in our London salon

Wavy hair

The second hair type we’re going to be exploring is wavy. Wavy hair has a loose S-shape, but the hair type can share similar qualities to straight hair with a gentle wave or curly hair with a tight S-shape. If your wavy hair has more in common with straight hair then you may experience a lack of volume in which case volumising spray is your go-to product. If it is curlier you will be more prone to frizz and dryness so opt for products that will smooth your hair and define your natural wave such as texturising spray or smoothing serum.

For those with finer wavy hair give a medium length style a try. Keep ends uneven which will help to keep your hair looking full of volume and bounce. A side sweeping fringe will also provide a chic look. After washing, blow-dry your fringe straight away with a round brush for a smooth finish. Apply texturising lotion to the rest of your hair and leave your waves to air dry. If you don’t fancy wandering around with loose wet hair then twist it into a messy bun, securing with pins as you go. Pull out a few strands for a tousled, relaxed vibe.

Thick wavy hair looks great with long layers cut around the lengths of your hair. This stops your style from having a triangular shape to it. This is because a cut that’s all one length can appear flatter at the roots and bushy through the lengths. After washing, gently towel dry your hair and apply leave-in conditioner to the ends. Blow-dry using just your fingers and then highlight those mermaid waves using a 1 ½ inch curling iron.

Hair by Gary Russell, makeup by David Hynes, and photography by Nick Matthews
Image credit: Hair by Gary Russell, makeup by David Hynes, and photography by Nick Matthews

Curly hair

Last but by no means least it’s curly hair! Curly hair comes in varying degrees of tightness from the loose barrel like curls to spring-like curls. The curl of your hair makes it difficult for the natural oils to keep it moisturised. This means that curly hair can be very dry and prone to damage as it lacks flexibility. To keep your tresses in tip-top condition it is all about deep conditioning treatments. If you are a slave to heat styling then your hair would benefit from a treatment once or even twice a week.

Be gentle with your hair, particularly when it is wet as rough towel drying will make the curls become frizzy. Instead, pat the ends of your hair dry. When it comes to curl-enhancing cream or mousse make sure you apply it in the direction of the curl, twisting from the mid-lengths to the ends. Try to avoiding touching and playing with your hair as the more you do the more you can make it appear frizzy.

Thick curls need some weight to them so longer-length hair is ideal as it will stop them billowing out around your face. Emphasize those beautiful bouncy curls by applying frizz serum through the lengths of damp hair and then drying using a diffuser. Accentuate the curls with a curling iron from the mid-lengths to the ends rather than starting at the roots which can create unnecessary volume.

Still want to know more about your hair type and what look would work best for you? Stop in for a visit to The Chapel and sit down with one of our specialists who can give you a deep understanding of your locks.If you’re looking for more online inspiration keep up to date with our expert advice hub and our blog.