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Not Every Natural is Coarse, of Course

• Nov 29, 2011

By Cassadie of Natural Selection

I’m a firm believe that in addition to knowing your curl pattern, you must know your strand thickness if you are to properly care for your curls.  Here’s step one in figuring out where YOUR hair lies on the spectrum. 

For the longest time, I thought that if you had thick hair, your hair was coarse and if you had thin hair then your hair was fine.  Until about a year ago, I lived my entire life under the assumption that because my hair was extremely thick that it was coarse.  However, after going natural I discovered that beneath my straightened hair, there were follicles waiting to release zillions of little slinkies from my scalp.  One day my friend was inspecting my teeny weeny coils when she said “your coils are so dense, but your hairs themselves are so so fine.”

Up close and personal shot of my texture

Fine hair??  On this head??  Not a chance”, I said laughing it off.

No really,” she insisted.  And with that, she plucked a hair from her scalp held it up to one of my own.

To my surprise her hair was double the thickness mine! After a few more comparisons with other heads, I discovered that without a doubt, I fall into category of having fine hair.

I shared with you my discovery of fine hair because many of us assume that because we have kinky coils or a thick head of hair that our hair is COARSE, when in reality you could be like me and have a thick head of fine hair.

Let’s break it down to see where you fall.

First, there are really two spectrums of hair that we’re talking about here:

  • the thickness of a strand of hair (fine-medium-coarse)
  • the density of follicles on the head (thin-medium-thick)
  • If you’re like me, you could go around plucking hairs from other people’s heads and comparing them to your own, but there actually is an, erm, place below the waist where everyone grows coarse hair.  That’s right- pubic hair is coarse hair!  (You knew getting to know your hair was intimate, but betcha didn’t know HOW intimate).  If your hair is as thick as this hair from your nether regions, it’s coarse and if its thinner, but only slightly so, it’s medium, and if its noticeably more faint, then you have fine hair.

    Fine hair can be placed into two camps.  First, there are those (like me) who have lots fine hair whose follicles are placed very close together (thick) and those whose fine hair follicles are placed further apart and the hair is thin.

    Showing my densely packed fine strands

    Here are a few pictures I took comparing my fine hair and a friend’s coarser hair (thanks La Shon!)

    Fine on the left. Coarse on the Right.

    A fine strand. A coarse strand. A piece of thread.

    As you can see, fine hair is much thinner than coarse hair and as a result is much more fragile and special attention must be given to make sure you’re giving your fine strands the TLC it needs to thrive.  This series, SO FINE, will discuss, explore, and explain all things that every fine natural must know to be at her FINEst.

    Ladies, is your hair coarse or fine? Describe your texture!

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