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Curly hair needs: More individualisation needed in diverse curly hair landscape

Jun 15, 2023Jun 15, 2023

30-Aug-2023 - Last updated on 30-Aug-2023 at 02:56 GMT

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The world of hair care is as diverse as the individuals it serves, encompassing a wide spectrum of textures, types, and unique needs.

“Hair differs so much; it is very much not a one-product-suits-all category,”​ said Belinda Carli, director of the Institute of Personal Care Science in Australia.

This could not be truer for curly hair. From loose waves to tightly wound corkscrews, curly hair comprises of multiple variations and cannot be stereotyped as a singular type.

“There are actually four hair types, and within those hair types, further divisions. For example, there is straight, wavy, curly and kinky.”​

The subcategories describe variations within the main curl type based on factors like curl tightness, size, and overall texture.

For instance, curly hair is known as type-3 hair and are ranked from A to C, with type 3C curls being tighter corkscrew curls.

Each subcategory demands a bespoke approach to care and styling. However, this spectrum has remained relatively unexplored in mainstream hair care formulations.

“People with wavy hair may want to enhance their waves and use certain products to do so, but their hair condition is not affected the same way truly curly hair is. Curly hair is also very different to kinky hair, and the hair needs of each class vary dramatically. Also, in the class of curly hair, it can vary from loose, to tight, to corkscrews,”​ said Carli.

Significant gaps remain

As the hair care innovations evolve, strides have been made in formulating products for a variety of different hair types.

“The hair market is growing rapidly these days with all sorts of product innovations to suit each different class and type which is great to see,”​ said Carli.

However, there are still gaps in the market for more individualised products to suit specific hair care needs.

“It would be great to see a range come out specific to each type of hair, for example, curl crème 3a, curl crème 3b etc. There are so many product forms and innovations in this area, the next step would be to see hair products using their specific classification to help users select the products that best suit their individual needs,”​ said Carli.

For instance, Carli highlighted co-wash, a relatively new product specifically designed to cleans and condition the hair at the same time. This is important as curly hair types tend to be on the dry side of the spectrum.

Another hair care product gaining traction are low-poo shampoos.

“Basically, a low-poo shampoo, or even no-poo shampoos, are cleansing products for the hair – usually your fragile and curly hair types – that have little to no foam. They still need to clean, but we put a lot of extra conditioning agents in them, so the product feels really nice on the hair. There’s not a great deal of foam, but it really cares of the fragile and curly hair types,” ​said Carli.

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