No matter what hair type you have—whether it’s curly, thin", wavy," color-treated, or something in between—it’s important that you follow a hair care routine that’s tailored to your specific needs. However, there’s one hair type that doesn’t receive its fair share of attention and discussion: coarse hair. If you’re wondering what coarse hair is, exactly, and think you might even have this hair type yourself, then keep reading! Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about coarse hair, including what it is, how to care for it, and some of the best haircuts and hairstyles for thick, coarse hair. Plus, we’re sharing some of our best hair care products for coarse hair along the way.
WHAT IS COARSE HAIR?
First things first, let’s establish what coarse hair is. Having coarse hair is more than just having thick strands, although that can definitely be one characteristic of this "hair type". Coarse strands can be straight or curly, but the overall defining feature is the width, or diameter, of the actual strands. In fact, coarse hair types have the widest strand diameter out of all the different hair types—and because of this, it’s also generally the strongest! While hair thickness often refers to density, or the number of strands on your scalp, hair coarseness refers to the actual width of each strand’s circumference. Coarse hair can also be frizzy "or" dry and rough to the touch.
How can you tell if you have coarse hair? Feel one of your individual strands of hair—is it wide in diameter? Does it feel like you generally have a lot of hair? You likely have coarse strands. Even though your strands are strong, they also probably have a tendency to feel dry and rough. If that’s the case, follow the below steps for caring for coarse hair.
HOW TO CARE FOR COARSE HAIR
Just like any other hair type, having coarse hair requires a certain hair care routine. Like we said, while coarse hair is generally very strong (because it is thick and wide in diameter, after all), it also presents some other issues, including roughness. But with the right hair care routine, keeping coarse strands smooth and soft to the touch is totally possible, we promise! Follow these tips.
1. USE THE RIGHT SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER SYSTEM
If you have coarse hair, you won’t need a shampoo and conditioner system that’s formulated to boost thickness or volume—luckily, you already have both of those qualities! Instead, you’ll want to add moisture and nourishment, which can help prevent rough texture, to your mane. Try the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oils Deep Nourishing Shampoo and the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oils Crème Conditioner. This duo is formulated to revive dry hair in just one wash, replenishing moisture for intense shine and softness.
2. APPLY A LEAVE-IN HAIR OIL
Along the same lines as the shampoo and conditioner situation, if you have coarse hair you’ll also want to make sure to use a leave-in hair product that infuses your strands with moisture and nourishment. We love the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Treatment, which is both luscious and lightweight. This leave-in hair treatment hydrates and nourishes, transforming dry hair into soft, lustrous strands. To use, apply one to two pumps of product (depending on your hair length) onto the lengths and ends of your strands while your hair is damp or dry. This versatile oil can also be used as a pre-shampoo treatment for an extra boost of nourishment.
3. USE A HYDRATING HAIR MASK
Once or twice per week, swap out your regular conditioner for an ultra-nourishing hair mask, such as the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair Extreme Emergency Recovery Mask. If you have curly, coarse hair, use a hair mask that’s formulated specifically to hydrate curls, like the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil Curls Re-Nourish Mask.
4. LIMIT HEAT STYLING
Even though coarse hair is the strongest of all the many hair types, heat styling can still zap strands of moisture, so you should avoid it whenever your hair feels extra dry or rough. Instead, simply air dry your hair for a more natural, carefree look. When you do need to heat style, just be certain to apply a heat protectant, such as the L'Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray, which offers 450-degree heat protection.
THE BEST HAIRCUTS FOR THICK, COARSE HAIR
Wondering about the best haircuts for coarse hair? Well, don’t discount short cuts! With so much thickness and volume (seriously, lucky you!), you might assume shorter styles won’t be flattering, but that just means you haven’t heard about some of the best short haircuts for thick, coarse hair. Trust us, there are many! Below, we’re naming three of our favorites.
1. LAYERED BOB OR LOB
One word: layers! A layered cut will help maintain your gorgeous volume while also breaking up a bit of the bulk. What’s more, a layered lob or bob haircut is always in style.
2. FEATHERED SHAG BOB OR LOB
A more boho take on traditional layers, the feathered shag haircut is about as trendy as they come. Plus, with shag styles, you’ll still enjoy wispy layers that will help break up excess volume.
3. FACE-FRAMING LAYERS
Is there a more classic and romantic haircut than good old face-framing layers? We think not! Rather than cut the strands around your gorgeous face to be one length, which can result in a bulky and unflattering final look, opt for angled, face-framing layers. Softer, rather than blunt, layers will perfectly complement your coarse strands.
THE BEST HAIRSTYLES FOR THICK, COARSE HAIR
Sometimes, when you have thick, coarse hair, figuring out a hairstyle that’s easy to execute, comfortable, and trending can feel difficult. But don’t stress! With the right know-how, you’ll soon be rocking some of the best hairstyles for thick, coarse hair. Keep reading for a few of our best ideas, including how to create them yourself.
Because of its propensity to become dry and rough to the touch, coarse hair is also more likely than other hair types to become tangled. This is why wearing protective hairstyles, such as a braid or multiple braids, can help prevent tangles while also looking super cute and on-trend. For a full round-up of protective hairstyles, head to our article on The 30 Best Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair, and if you need to brush up on your braiding skills, read our article, Braiding Basics: How to Braid Your Hair.
2. HALF-UP HAIR ‘DOS
With so much volume, it can help to wear styles that involve splitting your hair into more than one section, like half-up, half-down looks. Lucky for you, these half and half styles are one of the biggest hairstyle trends out there right now. Get a few ideas for ones to try in our article, The Best of Both Worlds: 6 Half-Up Hairstyles to Try.
3. CREATIVE UPDOS
With plenty of thickness and texture to work with, coarse hair can easily pull off even the most daring and creative of updos. So, why not give an updo a try? Unlike thin or fine hair, which often won’t hold an updo hairstyle well (at least not without tons of hair spray), your thick strands will be perfect for styles that involve pulling your hair up. To get you started, here are 7 Top Knots for Every Day of the Week.