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Magnified

The Ultimate Hair Texture Guide

Feature: Long Read
Words by Nateisha Scott

Let’s face it we’ve never been so fascinated about the health, happiness, and state of our hair. Now seen as complex as skincare, we want our scalps to be healthy, hair strands shiny and hair texture thriving – no longer adapting our tresses to a one-size-fits-all approach. In a time of real hair acceptance, we’re embracing our roots and taking care of every kink, curl and strand.

Pushing back on hair products that are only dedicated to normal, dry and oily conditions, we’re in search of shampoos for curly hair, serums for straight hair, oil for afro hair and conditioners for wavy hair – opting for a solution that puts our hair texture first. While also considering scalp care and strand behaviour, experts share their recommendations for looking after all hair textures –think straight, wavy, curly and afro-textured hair types. Consider this your tell-all hair texture guide for your best ‘do yet.

Scalpcare as Skincare

Essentially a second skin, our scalp is vital to the health of our hair, “although the scalp is the thickest skin layer, it works exactly like our skin,” explains Harrods Trichologist, Ricardo Vila Nova. Therefore, we must treat our scalp with the same care and attention and that means regular cleansing, scalp exfoliation and a healthy diet to ensure we’re getting the right nutrients for our hair and scalp to thrive. “Consider vitamin B5 and biotin as essential ingredients for healthy and strong hair strands – a healthy scalp, means healthy hair,” he explains. 

 

Woman with dark coily hair

Find the Balance

When the scalp is imbalanced, you’ll immediately notice itchiness, inflammation, dryness, and irritation and this is for two reasons. One, “with more blood vessels and oil-producing glands, our scalps are specialized. And with a lower barrier function than skin on our face and bodies, it doesn’t replenish hydration as well,” shares Professor Augustinus Bader – meaning moisture is essential. Two, with an infrequent cleansing routine (leading to excess oil and dead skin cells), it “blocks the follicle, making hair cuticles look dry and brittle, creating weaknesses in all hair types, leading to breakage,” adds Lorraine Turvey, Consultant Trichologist. Paying attention to both your scalp and hair is the secret to a happy balance.

Blonde woman massaging a hair mask into her scalp

Healthy hair doesn’t just stop and start at our scalps. According to Professor Bader, “a fragile hair shaft is also prone to damage from a range of causes including ageing, environmental aggressors (sun damage), hormonal imbalance, stress, and nutrition.” While the impact of damage can be seen through dry, dehydrated, thin or broken strands, you’ll get to root cause of any concerns through a trichology appointment. Try the Hair DNA Scan, trichologist Ricardo Vila Nova will assess the condition of your hair through cutting edge DNA strand profiling to nurse your hair and scalp back to health.

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Hair Terminology

  • Hair shaftThe non-growing part of hair that pushes through the scalp’s surface.
  • Hair follicleThe opening on the scalp where hair grows through.
  • Hair cuticleThe outer-most layer of the hair shaft.
  • Moisture RetentionHow much moisture your hair can hold.

The Experts Guide to Hair Texture Success

We’re talking about strengthening tresses and protecting those curls… straight, wavy, curly and coily.

  • Straight hair

    Straight Hair

    Read More
  • Coily hair

    Afro Hair

    Read More
  • Curly hair

    Curly Hair

    Read More
  • Wavy hair

    Wavy Hair

    Read More

Straight Hair

Straight hair textures are often given a resilient reputation. A relatively streamlined structure, mirror-like shine, strand strength when brushing or styling, and the easy wayoil nourishes strands. But,there are differences straight hair typesneed to consider when taking care of your tressesand it starts with density. Between fine and thin, to thick and coarse straight hair textures, the way you treat and style your roots matter.

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  • Thick and coarseThick straight hair, looks at the width of a single strand and coarse strands mean the number of strands growing next to one another.
  • Fine and thinFine hair, you’ll have lots of hair with a smaller diameter while thin hair can have thick hair strands but fewer hairs.
Blonde woman combing her long, straight hair

When it comes to treating straight, super fine and thin hair textures, “Don’t be afraid of using a shampoo just make sure if you have fine hair, opt for a super fine, clarifying shampoo or volumising shampoo to lift roots, add nutrients and remove additional build-up. As oil and grime are more obvious on straight hair types, often looking greasy and weighed down – regular cleansing is important.” She also recommends to, “only condition the mid lengths and ends and avoid using heavy conditioning masks that weigh down your hair.” And for thick straight hair types? "Introduce a mild shampoo with a conditioner dedicated to your concerns, whether that is moisture or oily strands. And when hair is damp use a wide tooth comb or fingers to help remove knots," she adds.

Expert Tip

"If you have fine hair opt for a super fine, clarifying shampoo or volumising shampoo to lift roots, add nutrients and remove additional build-up," says Harrods Hair and Beauty Salon’s Elite Stylist Angella.

Blonde woman combing her long, straight hair

When it comes to treating straight, super fine and thin hair textures, “Don’t be afraid of using a shampoo just make sure if you have fine hair, opt for a super fine, clarifying shampoo or volumising shampoo to lift roots, add nutrients and remove additional build-up. As oil and grime are more obvious on straight hair types, often looking greasy and weighed down – regular cleansing is important.” She also recommends to, “only condition the mid lengths and ends and avoid using heavy conditioning masks that weigh down your hair.” And for thick straight hair types? "Introduce a mild shampoo with a conditioner dedicated to your concerns, whether that is moisture or oily strands. And when hair is damp use a wide tooth comb or fingers to help remove knots," she adds.

To breathe life and volume into your hair, “do use volumizing products and superfine hair sprays,” says Angella. And if you have medium to coarse hair then rollers are essential to keeping the movement and volume on top. However, if you’re after some length this summer, then extensions are a must. “Hair extensions maximise the body of your hair. We can add layers to enhance the volume, as well as book you in for regular trims that’ll help to thicken the ends of your hair,” she explains.

Rahua conditioner

A lightweight conditioner that can also work as a mask, allow the famed Rahua Voluminous Conditioner strengthen strands and prevent breakage while the volumizing formula lifts roots. Plus, discover these haircare favourites to help add volume, density, and nourishment to tresses.

Afro Hair

Full of movement, coily, afro-textured hair differs between 4A (tighter S-shaped curls), and 4C (Z-shaped curls that bend at a sharp angle). And contrary to belief is the most fragile and prone to damage. Type 4C hair, according to hair legend, Charlotte Mensah, “has around 70% shrinkage and while the hair may be 10 inches long, it gives the appearance of only about 3 inches unstretched.”

Woman with coily, afro hair

In line with scalp and texture health Charlotte shares her expert tips; “Once a month have a hot oil treatment, this will help to seal in moisture and for daily care, apply moisture with a light cream for coily hair or oil.” To keep any frizz and split ends in check, she also recommends applying a leave-in conditioner whenever possible and “get a trim every 6-8 weeks as split ends and breakage are a major cause of unwanted frizz.”

Expert Tip

"Get a trim every 6-8 weeks as split ends and breakage are a major cause of unwanted frizz,” shares hairstylist Charlotte Mensah.

Oribe hair products

In line with scalp and texture health Charlotte shares her expert tips; “Once a month have a hot oil treatment, this will help to seal in moisture and for daily care, apply moisture with a light cream for coily hair or oil.” To keep any frizz and split ends in check, she also recommends applying a leave-in conditioner whenever possible and “get a trim every 6-8 weeks as split ends and breakage are a major cause of unwanted frizz.”

Afro hair textures are the most fragile so be mindful when styling – it even goes as close to saying look out for the ties, clips, and grips that you use. Moisture is key, and leave-in conditioners are your best friend, so when styling work a light-cream or leave-in conditioner in your hair to help keep curls strong and finish with a spray oil to lock in a shine. Protecting your hair is essential so always sleep with a silk scarf, or introduce protective styling such as wigs, cornrows, and braids – however, don’t keep it in for more than 6 weeks as it can do more harm than good. While afro hair textures won’t see the obvious shine because of curl patterns, healthy coily hair is full of body, and when stretched, the light bounces of each strand, creating a magical sheen. And if you haven't already, discover the Manketti Hair Range at our H beauty stores.

Woman putting hair products into her dark, coily hair

Curly Hair

Tighter curls than wavy hair and defined from 3A to 3C, curly hair textures have a unique spring to its shape. Not only affected by weather but curly hair textures tend to be drier and more delicate due to natural oils finding it harder to coat the strand from root to end. And according to celebrity hairstylist Declan Sheils, “the cuticle layer can also be more prone to damage which makes it tangle easier and more porous, making it absorb but also release moisture quicker,” he highlights, “when looking after curly hair textures, additional moisturising and conditioning is required.”

Woman with curly brown hair

For curly hair textures it is essential to still shampoo and condition hair regularly. “Some forgo shampooing believing that natural oils that build-up between washes will moisturise the hair, this isn’t the case. Hair’s pliability and elasticity is due to water, not oil content. Oils simply sit on top of the hair and if left for too long they can irritate the scalp,” explains both Phillip Kingsley president and trichologists Anabel Kingsley and Glenn Lyons.

Expert Tip

“Apply styling product and twist dry around the fingers to create defined curls but defuse dry the hair on a cooler setting to prevent frizz,” explains Declan.

Woman with curly brown hair

For curly hair textures it is essential to still shampoo and condition hair regularly. “Some forgo shampooing believing that natural oils that build-up between washes will moisturise the hair, this isn’t the case. Hair’s pliability and elasticity is due to water, not oil content. Oils simply sit on top of the hair and if left for too long they can irritate the scalp,” explains both Phillip Kingsley president and trichologists Anabel Kingsley and Glenn Lyons.

To hold the curl pattern and avoid breakage, “avoid scrubbing the hair when towel drying, instead remove excess moisture by gently squeezing the towel,” Declan shares. And when it comes to detangling, “detangle using a wide tooth comb working from ends to roots while conditioner is still in the hair. But be careful not to apply to much tension as it’s more delicate when wet.”

Styling essentials! “Apply styling product and twist dry around the fingers to create defined curls but defuse dry the hair on a cooler setting to prevent frizz,” explains Declan. And for Anabel and Glenn, “big curly hair is often more fragile than it looks so it is worth trying a protective leave-in product such as a curl activator that provides curl retention, hold and shine while enhancing curls.” Try Philip Kingsley Curl Activator for dramatically smooth and defined curls.

Wavy Wonder

“Wavy hair can range from a loose or soft wave (2A) to a strong wave (2C),” explains Renee Gadar, Aveda’s global artistic director for texture, “generally wavy hair grows out of the follicle straight and then bends into a wave so it’s key for wavies (fine to thick) to think of their hair in parts.” Renee says you must consider the roots, “taking into consideration a good cleanse and maybe a root lift”; the mid-shaft to consider moisture retention and the ends, “considering moisture retention and repair."

Red, wavy hair swaying

For Renee and wavy hair, it is vital to avoid over shampooing and to consider including a co-wash in your routine. “For thin-wavy hair, if you’re interchanging between shampooing and co-washing, always use a conditioner on your mid-shaft to ends after shampoo but generally hold off using a conditioner if co-washing. For coarse and thick waves, use a conditioner for wavy hair after either kind of cleanse for additional nourishment.”

Expert Tip

“Think of using braids to set your waves and as a heatless styling method… it can also work if you want to control curls for sleek styling,” explains Renee.

Woman with ginger, wavy hair

For Renee and wavy hair, it is vital to avoid over shampooing and to consider including a co-wash in your routine. “For thin-wavy hair, if you’re interchanging between shampooing and co-washing, always use a conditioner on your mid-shaft to ends after shampoo but generally hold off using a conditioner if co-washing. For coarse and thick waves, use a conditioner for wavy hair after either kind of cleanse for additional nourishment.”

“I swear by the Nutriplenish Leave in Conditioner and Botanical Repair Overnight Serum for wavy hair textures,” Renee shares. But she does warn to avoid the overuse of heat styling as it can cause heat damage, instead “ think of using braids to set your waves and as a heatless styling method… it can also work if you want to control curls for sleek styling.” The key for wavy hair to maintain health and texture is “making sure you’re staying hydrated, your hair is staying hydrated, stop playing with your curls and sleep on a satin pillowcase (keeps hair smooth and avoids breakage).

Olaplex Bonding Oil

And not to forget, healthy hair starts from the inside… ensure you’re getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and looking after your wellbeing.

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Harrods Magnified

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