There are two questions to ask before you pick out a hair product. “What type of hair do you have?” And, “What type of style do you want?” These questions are equally as important. If you use a product recommended to you by a friend with a similar style to what you want but an entirely different hair type, chances are you won’t be able to repeat their results.

This guide will show you the exact product types you need for your hair type and desired style, no matter what look you want or your hair’s current condition.

Step One: What is Your True Hair Type?

Hair type is never just one attribute. You can have subtle curls or thick, straight hair. A common misconception is that “fine” or “thick” hair refers to the amount of hair you have. In fact, it is used professionally to refer to the density of each hair shaft. In this way, it is possible to have a higher than the average number of hairs coming from the scalp but still have “thin” hair. In this way, a blonde with straight hair may have the highest follicle volume on average at over 140,000 hairs, but it may appear thinner than someone with curly, dark hair with few follicles.

Curly – People with oval and elliptical hair follicles most often have this hair type. They also often have thicker hair.

Wavy – As with the curly hair type, these follicles are usually oval shaped and, again, result in a thicker hair shaft and fewer follicles on the scalp.

Straight – People with straight hair have almost perfectly round follicles and tend to have less of them.

Fine – Remember, fine hair refers to the size of the shaft, not follicle density. People with fine hair typically have a straighter, blonde texture and color- though not in every case.

Thick – The more wave your hair has to it, and the darker it is, the more likely you are to have a thicker hair shaft. However, there is also a genetic component to this outcome.

Fried, Damaged, Bleached, Over-Processed – Whatever you want to call this, it gets its own category because of how fragile this hair type is. If your hair is any of these, you need to be extra careful to use the right products. Further, it will behoove you to use a mask, serum, or another type of treatment at least once a week to repair and “detox.”


Dyed Over Virgin Hair – Dyed hair, if it hasn’t been bleached, and especially if it’s a fresh dye, should respond to product a little easier than non-dyed hair due to the slight amount of damage. However, if your hair is dyed, you need to consider that, as well as your original hair type.

Step Two: What Look are You Going For?

Okay, while your hair type may have some influence over the style you are going for, the right product can help to expand your options. So, at this point, what would your ideal style be like? You can want to go from straight to curly, style your short hair in spikes, just tame frizz and go with your natural texture- or maybe you want maximum hold and sculpting power? Use your imagination, then see the following list of options.

The Results: Best Hair Type/Style and Product Combinations

While not every specific combination can be listed here, this is a rough guide to get you started.

Thick Hair Texture and Short Hair – Thick hair tends to be a little harder to handle when it’s short because you can’t manipulate its weight. How do you get around that without making your hair look sticky? Pick a dense, yet “invisible” or matter textured product. Fiber gums and rubber waxes tend to be the best choice.

Thin or Damaged Texture and Short Hair – If you have thin hair and want a sleek style, you might not need to use much. A small amount of gel on damp hair or even a light hair oil may be enough, given you use a heat styling tool.

Straight Hair with Defined Curls for Any Type – This is the most drastic change possible, and it’s going to take something with staying power in addition to heat styling. In most cases, this means mousse, heat styling, and then a coat of hairspray. It’s an intensive regimen.

Increased Volume and Smoothness – Mousse, a blow dryer with an ion switch turned to “off,” and damp hair to start.

Decreased Volume and a Sleek Look – A blow dryer with ion technology, a flatiron, and a hair oil as opposed to a heat spray will set things up just the way you want them- without frying your hair.

Treating Damaged Hair After a Styling Session – Damaged hair needs a little more pampering than other types if you want it to look its best in any style. That means you need a mask, serum, or treatment at least once a week. Avoid it at your own peril.


If you need another combination, take a cue from this list, then ask your relatives- especially if their hair texture looks similar. What have they used to success? Honestly, the best way to know what will work for you is to have someone genetically similar report their results. If you can’t rely on relatives, it doesn’t hurt to take an international approach. What country mirrors your genetic heritage and what products are most popular there? It wouldn’t be a bad list to start from.

Got the Products You Need? Don’t Forget the Right Tools.

As mentioned above, getting the right style is as much about the right products as it is about the tools you use. Getting rid of static and excess volume is much easier when you take advantage of ion technology, and you can’t go from curly to straight, in a lasting way, without a good flat iron. In any case, Brilliance New York has your back and exactly the styling tool you need for your hair type. (Even after buying all of the hair products you need to test.)