The range of hair types varies from completely straight to tight wiry curls, from fine and flyaway to coarse and frizzy, giving widely differing behavior patterns.
The hair type for each individual is inherited, and depends on the race or mixture of races that it comes from. There are three basic ethnic hair groups:
Each have their own distinct characteristics. They look different, feel different and respond differently to product applications.
Hair varies hugely due to the mix in ancestry – often a wide combination of genetic influences. It is oval in cross section, tends to be fine to medium in diameter, and varies from straight to wavy – curly Caucasian hair is less common. It is the only ethnic group with large variations in color, from white blond to browns, reds and black.
Hair is very round in cross section, and therefore is usually straight or slightly wavy. It is black or dark brown, and has the thickest diameter and the greatest strength of the ethnic groups. It also has the capacity to grow to a greater length than other hair types. It is common to see Asian Oriental women with hair to the waist – which is uncommon amongst Caucasians.
Hair has a flat cross section, a twisted hair shaft and there are intermittent variations in diameter as the twisting occurs, causing recurring weak points along each hair. Due to their curliness, the hairs wrap around each other, making black hair much more vulnerable, and difficult to groom and style. Black hair is not necessarily truly black, but rather a combination of black and red pigment giving rise to shades from almost true black through to dark brown and auburn (the latter in less than 10 per cent).