whats the deal with coarse hair

What's The Deal With Coarse Hair?

Hair 101: Learning The Ins and Outs of Coarse Hair

With the movement of natural hair, there are many categories that your curls are in. We see so many textures and patterns that determine how well your hair will style, how well it holds moisture, and of course, how curly it gets. While we get caught up in the patterns of 3a, 4b, or 3c, there is something else to take into consideration when identifying your natural hair: Coarseness.

What is coarse hair?

Sometimes confused with kinky hair, a thick hair shaft usually identifies coarse hair. Coarse hair strands are generally very wide and broad, and unlike other strands of hair, has all three layers of a hair shaft: The cortex, cuticle, and the medulla.

Coarse Hair vs. Thick Hair

At first glance, it’s easy to assume that coarse hair and thick hair is one in the same but the two are the exact opposite. Some people may want to use coarse and thick interchangeably, but they’re two different ways to describe your hair. Thickness is determined by your hair’s density or the number of hair follicles in your scalp. Whereas the coarseness of your hair refers to the circumference of each strand.

How to Determine If You Have Coarse Hair?

There are a few ways to determine if you have coarse hair, a straightforward approach is by doing a strand test. A strand test is when you take your fingers through your hair to feel the individual strands; if you don’t feel anything, then your hair is considered to have a subtle texture. On the opposite end, if you do the strand test and do feel the strands of your hair, then you have coarse hair. If you have some sewing thread handy, another way to determine if you have coarse hair is to compare the thickness of a strand to a piece of thread. If the hair is thicker than the sewing thread, your hair is coarse.

The Downsides of Having Coarse Hair

While having coarse hair can come in handy because your strands are thick and able to withstand many styles and changes, there are a few downsides as well:

Your hair is dryer than most:

Since coarse hair has all three layers of a hair shaft, it takes longer for moisture to penetrate through. Having all three layers can be frustrating as you’ll notice that your hair may look dry or rough, even though you spent all night and day adding a product to it. To combat, use hair masks, let your hair air dry versus blow dry, or visit a salon and have your stylist create a routine for you.

You have a case of the frizzies:

No one likes frizzy hair, but unfortunately, if it’s coarse, it may be inevitable to avoid. Sometimes frizziness can be a result of your overwashing your hair and can seem unmanageable. Be sure to use as a little heat as possible on your hair. Silk products like your bed sheets or pillow cases can help reduce the frizz. While your hair is straight, try brushing with oil from your scalp to the ends to ensure that your strands stay moisturized all the way.

Your strands are very stubborn:

Who wants to deal with stubborn strands and harsh hair? No one does, that’s why it’s important to treat your hair properly. If you notice that you have stubborn strands, be sure to wear a shower cap when you’re doing deep conditioning treatments or oil treatments so that your hair soaks up all the moisture. Also, using a stronger treatment may be ideal since coarse hair isn’t always the easiest to penetrate through when it comes to moisturizing and maintaining.

Hair Routines for Coarse Hair

It’s imperative to treat your hair specifically for the hair type that you have since coarse hair can sometimes be more brittle than others, you’ll need a bit more care. A few things you can add to your routine are:


This is the process of only using conditioner to rid your hair of dirt and any other built-up products that may have been sitting in your head.

Extra Moisture:

This will be critical since some of your hair may grow wild or even become brittle as it develops. Adding in more moisture to your routine will ensure that no hair breaks, adding a serum to your hair routine will work wonders.

Keep it Trimmed:

One of the most important things you can for your hair but when having coarse hair, it’s essential to keep up with your trims every 6-8 weeks. Since strands can be more robust or become stubborn, trims will ensure healthy tresses.

Essential Products to Use on Coarseness

Many product lines and hair focused brands are adjusting the needs of coarse and thick hair. While adding more moisture to your hair routine is essential, you should also be using products that won’t damage your hair or add to the crisp texture of some strands. Some products to consider for coarse hair are:

Repair conditioners:

These products will protect your hair from drying out throughout the day and work to penetrate through the shafts of your hair to provide vitamins and nutrients.

Leave-In Conditioners:

This is a product that we already know and love, but for those with coarse hair, it is imperative. Leave in conditioners will help to make your hair more manageable when styling.

Defrizzing Gels and Sprays:

No one likes frizz, but unfortunately, those with coarse hair are more prone to it. Add a defrizzing product to your collection to help maintain the hair’s moisture levels and keep it balanced and manageable throughout the day.

Coarse Hair Isn’t Bad Hair

Once you identify that your hair is coarse, be sure to stick to the routines and products that will work best for your strands to avoid roughness and dryness. Coarse hair is a unique texture and should be treated as such at all times since the shafts have all three layers, you will have to your hair extra care and attention unlike medium and delicate textures of hair.
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