At first glance, type 1A hair might seem easy to care for. Since it’s fine and straight, it looks like you don’t have to worry about a haywire hair day. But type 1A hair is trickier than it looks. In fact, there’s more than meets the eye with this hair type.
We turned to trichologist Anabel Kingsley and stylist Nunzio Saviano to find out exactly what type 1A hair is and the best way to take care of it. Read on for what they had to say.
What Is Type 1A Hair?
First, it’s important to verify that you actually have type 1A hair. “One way to identify 1A hair is that the hair strand (diameter) is extremely fine and it does not hold a curl, even when styled with a curling iron,” says Saviano. “Type 1A hair is completely straight, no wave pattern to it—not even when it’s wet—and most of the time it’s very flat, with no body to it.”
Naturally fine and straight, one of the biggest challenges with this hair texture is that, due to its finer diameter, it is fragile and breaks easily, according to Kingsley. “If you have type 1A hair, you’ll probably notice your hair gets greasy and weighed down quickly at the root,” she explains. “People with type 1A hair usually prefer how their hair feels, looks, and behaves when it’s washed frequently.”
Differentiating Between Type 1A and 1B Hair
Type 1B hair is actually the most common straight hair we see. Though they are quite similar in that they are both fine hair types, there are a few differences. “Type 1B hair has much more body to it and it can hold a curl because of the natural wave to it,” Saviano says. “It’s an easier hair type to style in many different ways.”
How Should You Care for Type 1A Hair?
Each hair type requires its own unique routine. This is the best way to care for type 1A hair:
People with naturally fine hair, including type 1A hair, tend to get greasy roots faster than those with other hair textures. “This is because individuals with fine hair have more hairs per square centimeter—and each hair has a sebaceous (oil) gland attached to it,” Kingsley explains. “As a result, the scalp produces more oils. As type 1A hair is fine and straight, any buildup of sebum weighs it down very easily. The best way to remove these excess oils and prevent itchiness and limpness is to cleanse frequently—i.e., shampoo daily to every other day.”
Buy the Right Brush
“Use a brush with rounded, plastic prongs,” Kingsley says. “Boar bristle brushes can tear away sections of your hair’s outer protective layer, the cuticle.”
Use Volumizing Products
Good hair starts in the shower. “Volume shampoos and conditioners work best to avoid weighing it down,” Saviano says. “Shampoos and conditioners for fine, thin hair are recommended, and a light spray gel at the root for the body.”
Don’t scrub your hair when you shampoo; “Instead, focus on your scalp and gently squeeze the suds through your mid-lengths and ends,” Kingsley says. “Rinse well. Insufficient rinsing of shampoo is a common cause of dull hair.”
When working out knots, start from your ends, not your roots. Kingsley explains this will help you avoid unnecessary breakage.
Handle With Care
“Type 1A hair should be handled very carefully with styling, coloring, and cutting,” Saviano says. “Because of the diameter, it can easily break when colored and look thinner if not cut right.”
Avoid Tight Styles
“Because type 1A is fine and prone to breakage, make sure that you place minimal traction on your strands when you put it up. Ensure ponytails and braids aren’t too tight,” Kingsley says.
What Are the Best Hairstyles and Cuts for Type 1A Hair?
Simple styles are winners for type 1A hair. “All one length, precision cuts are best suited for this kind of hair,” Saviano says. “Bangs with face-framing also work without adding crown layers, because it would only make the hair thinner looking. Preferably collarbone length is always a safe place to start.”
The Best Products for Type 1A Hair
“The Rahua Enchanted Island Salt Spray adds volume, texture, and a soft hold to the hair,” Saviano says. “It targets the roots to add lift, separation, and volume throughout.”
Pre-shampoo strengthening and moisturizing treatments are great for all hair textures, but especially for type 1A hair. “This is because they don’t weigh even the finest of strands down,” Kingsley says. “As they are left on for the optimal length of time, with any heavy excess residue then being shampooed away, they provide type 1A hair with all the benefits, minus the heaviness that post-shampoo treatments can give. I love our moisturizing Elasticizer ($30) and restructuring Bond Builder ($42) pre-shampoo treatments. Type 1A should shampoo twice and condition as usual after using a pre-poo treatment.”
“Use a product once a week to remove buildup and refresh the scalp so hair is not weighed down, like Fable and Mane’s SahaScalp Wild Ginger Purifying Scrub,” Saviano says.
Fine hair is more prone to damage from heat styling, so it’s important to protect it. “Opt for lightweight heat protective sprays, like our Perfecting Primer ($34),” Kingsley says.
“Even type 1A hair needs conditioner—the trick is to only apply it to your mid-lengths and ends and to use a lightweight formula containing thickening proteins, like our Body Building Conditioner,” Kingsley says. “If your hair is dry, don’t try to address this with a heavy post-shampoo conditioner or treatment. Instead, look for a pre-shampoo treatment, like the Elasticizer Pre Shampoo Treatment ($30-$100), which was originally formulated for Audrey Hepburn.”
“Spray gel helps to thicken the hair and lightly hold styles in place,” he says. “Section the hair and lightly spritz from roots to ends.” Oribe’s Maximista Thickening Spray ($39) is Saviano’s go-to.
Saviano recommends a volumizing shampoo with clean and natural ingredients to add fullness and gently cleanse, like the Nunzio Saviano Volume Shampoo.