One of the things I like to do when examining a client's hair is identify their hair texture and thickness. It's not just important for me to know when giving advice, but it's also important for the client to know. Knowing your hair thickness and texture is absolutely key to making the right choices for it: how you style your hair, choosing products, how often to moisturise and so on.
Coarse hair is a common hair texture identified during consultations but the least preferred due to the difficulties that come with having it. If you have coarse hair, the most important thing to know is that there is nothing wrong with having coarse hair, but it will need more care and attention than soft and medium textures.
What is coarse hair?
Coarse hair is a hair texture which has a rough feel to it. It is often dry, breaking off easily, especially at the ends, and can eventually become damaged when chemicals such as relaxers are used in styling. Coarse hair tends to be quite porous, difficult to comb and easily tangled.
How to maintain coarse hair
Coarse hair can be easily maintained by following these simple hair tips:
MOISTURISING: Coarse hair needs to be moisturised more often than soft and medium hair textures. A good start is moisturising twice a day, but for very coarse hair as often as three times a day may be needed. This may sound like a lot, but there are ways to make this easier. For example, I often recommend a spray moisturiser to clients; you can conveniently spray it onto your hair, then finish off with a light oil of your choice to lock the moisture in. The idea is to moisturise little and often so that you're constantly building a good amount of moisture into your hair. Moisturising will help to rehydrate your hair, reducing breakage and making your hair much softer.
GENTLE COMBING: It's important to be aware of how you comb your hair. As much as two months' worth of hair growth can easily be lost during just one combing session. When combing, always hold the hair you’re about to comb with one hand and gently comb with the other. Starting from the ends of the hair and working your way up will remove smaller tangles along the way.
STEAMING: In addition to moisturising frequently, I recommend steaming your hair every three months (every quarter) using a steamer and a good moisturising treatment conditioner. I must stress that this needs to be a proper steamer and not an alternative like a hooded dryer. Steaming will help to boost moisture levels in your hair.
STYLING: Chemicals such as relaxers are generally not suitable for coarse hair, often causing breakage and damage when used long-term. However, if you decide to use chemicals, make sure that you keep up with retouches and have regular steams. The difference between the regrowing coarse hair and the chemically relaxed hair is often so extreme that the hair just breaks off if retouches aren't kept up with. Because the hair is near the root the breakage is often dramatic, causing someone to go from having quite long hair to very little hair in a short space of time.