What are the Different Hair Types?

five women posing with different hair types

As cosmetologists help other people look and feel great, they enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling career. It is often said that when a person feels their best, they enjoy higher self-esteem, increased productivity, and an enhanced quality of life. Professionally trained cosmetologists can influence their client’s lives in an incredibly positive way. Read on to find out more about what it takes to become a professional cosmetologist, as well as information about what a program entails, why knowledge about different hair types is essential, and the roles that anatomy and physiology play in determining hair type.

Anatomy and Physiology is Important in a Cosmetology Program

Those seeking a career in cosmetology may wonder why it is important that a cosmetology school provides instruction on anatomy and physiology. The reason is that the condition of a person’s hair can be indicative of any underlying health issues they may be experiencing. For example, clients who have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy will likely experience hair loss, as well as the loss or thinning of eyebrows and eyelashes. Not only is it important for cosmetologists to be aware of these issues and maintain compassion for their clients, but it is also important to know what precautions to take to minimize any further damage to their client’s hair. Cosmetology students need to have a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology, so they can serve their clients with competence and empathy.

In addition to the influence that a person’s underlying health has on the chemical structure and properties of their hair, a client’s hair type can influence the way it grows and how it reacts to various salon treatments. By learning about anatomy and physiology and gaining knowledge about what hair is comprised of as well as the chemical properties which make up hair, a cosmetologist is equipped to provide an enhanced salon experience for their clients.

Preemptively Identify Hair Issues

Many times, clients are not aware that may have an underlying health condition until it is brought up by a concerned cosmetologist. By learning about human anatomy and physiology, cosmetologists can be better informed so that they can raise their client’s awareness when there is a noticeable change in their hair growth or condition.

There are also other disorders of the hair which are important to be aware of. For example, alopecia is a condition which causes accelerated hair loss, and often occurs in patches. Other issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, or even arthritis can cause hair loss and damage, as well as structural changes. By enrolling in a cosmetology program which provides instruction on anatomy and physiology, a student will be well on their way to becoming a well-educated, licensed cosmetologist that can preemptively identify a client’s hair issues.

What are the Different Hair Types?

A common misconception is that hairstyling techniques are all the same. However, a client’s personal hair type will heavily influence the techniques you may choose to cut, style, and process their hair. Following, is an exploration of the different hair types you will regularly encounter throughout your career.


This texture type tends to lie very flat and may appear shinier in comparison to other hair types. Because of how flat this hair type is, oils from the scalp are better able to travel evenly from root to tip.


This hair type is easily identifiable by its natural “S” shape. While not as tight as curly hair, wavy hair can lack volume, depending on whether it is thick or thin. Wavy hair tends to have more in common structurally with straight hair.


This hair type is identified by very tight curls, and the texture ranges from very soft to very dry. Shrinkage is quite common with coils, and it is important to know how to properly care for and style this texture, to avoid causing major damage.


This particular hair type is one of the most fragile to work with and can become damaged if proper precautions are not taken. Lack of volume is one of the most common issues with fine hair, and it is important to choose the right products to avoid weighing it down.


This hair type can hold different hair styles well. Though thick hair is more sturdy, permanent damage can still occur if you overestimate the ability of thick hair to recover from color treatments or processing services. Thick hair types can be vulnerable to split ends if it is not cut using proper techniques.

Long Length

While length can be desirable and in-style during certain seasons, letting it grow too long can present its own unique set of problems. Hair which is longer in length tends to appear weighed down and may lack any style or shape if proper care is not taken to incorporate layers and movement into the cut.


Clients who prefer a shorter hair style enjoy the amount of versatility that comes with this particular length. Volume is not usually a problem with shorter hair, as there is less length to weigh it down. 


This is one of the most common issues that clients will have when booking an appointment. Dry hair tends to become damaged if proper care is not taken during the cutting and styling process. Clients with this issue benefit from moisture-rich conditioners and leave-in treatments which will leave their strands softer and healthier.


Oily hair can be problematic due to an overproduction of oil in the scalp. Typically, clients are unsure how to tackle their excess oil, and will use harsh products to strip the oil from their scalp. Unfortunately, these products often cause an overproduction of oil, which perpetuates a problematic cycle.

How Do You Determine Hair Type?

Different hair types and textures are often determined by visual inspection. Hair type can be identified by taking a single strand and examining it in comparison to other hair types. Sometimes, magnification may be needed to make a proper identification. It is extremely important to be accurate in this assessment, as many treatments and haircuts are depended on hair type.

Dealing with Different Hair Types

It is important that you are knowledgeable about different hair types and textures, as many styles, cuts and processing treatments will yield different effects dependent on a client’s individual hair type. If a client has a particular hair type and requests a cut or color service that may not work with their hair, it is important that you identify this in advance so you can recommend an alternative cut or color treatment which will yield their ideal results.

What Else Do You Learn in a Cosmetology Diploma Program?

Cosmetology students develop their skills and acquire knowledge in a variety of subfields and topics when they are enrolled in a cosmetology program. It is important for these programs to be well-rounded to develop an appreciation and understanding of a variety of issues which directly impact a client’s hair. Following, are some of the main topics covered throughout cosmetology school.


How to create and style a great haircut is one of the most important aspects of cosmetology school. When clients book an appointment with you, they want to be sure that they are in capable hands. How to create and style a variety of hair types and textures is instrumental in developing rapport with clients. A skilled and trained cosmetologist will develop a great reputation in the community, which could lead to more clients and a higher income. During a cosmetology program, you will learn how to create different looks using a variety of cutting techniques, including instruction on trims, thinning, and face framing layers.

Hair Styling

Even the most technically precise haircuts can fall flat if you are not sure about how to style the cut. Styling a great haircut is dependent upon knowing how to work with a client’s individual hair texture and type. Fortunately, you will be instructed on how to deliver the best styles for your clients, as well as how to coach the client in the appropriate methods and products to use to recreate their salon styled look in between appointments.


It is well known that those that aren’t well versed in coloring techniques should never try to color their own hair at home. Inevitably, they find themselves in a predicament and end up seeking professional color repair services when their “at home” hair dye job goes awry. An individual who is enrolled in cosmetology school will become extremely knowledgeable on how to approach such clients with empathy for their situation and will learn how to best handle such circumstances and provide color correcting services to undo the damage a client may have inadvertently caused.

Final Thoughts

A person’s outward appearance can deeply affect their emotional well-being in a variety of ways. With a career in cosmetology, you will receive the satisfaction of knowing that you are providing a valuable service, which will boost your client’s self-esteem, and improve their confidence. Take the time to learn more about the cosmetology program at MSC and start a new career and help others at the same time. It’s a win-win.

Want to Learn More?

At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments, and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and start a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

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