What is the Difference Between Thick and Coarse Hair: Understanding Your Hair Type

Thick hair and coarse hair are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different things. Thick hair refers to the diameter of each individual hair strand, while coarse hair refers to the texture of the hair. Knowing the difference between these two can help you better understand how to care for your hair.

Thick hair has a larger diameter than other hair types, which means that it has more body and volume. This can be both a blessing and a curse, as thick hair can be difficult to manage and style. Coarse hair, on the other hand, refers to the texture of the hair, which is determined by the shape and size of the hair follicle. Coarse hair tends to be rougher and more textured, which can make it prone to tangling and frizz.

While thick and coarse hair may seem similar, they require different care routines. Thick hair benefits from products that add moisture and shine, while coarse hair needs products that smooth and tame frizz. By understanding the difference between these two types of hair, you can better select the right products and styling tools to keep your hair healthy, shiny, and manageable.

Understanding Hair Texture

When it comes to hair, texture refers to the thickness, diameter, and shape of individual hair strands. There are three main types of hair texture: fine, medium, and coarse. Thick hair, on the other hand, pertains to the amount of hair that you have on your head. While these two terms may seem interchangeable, there are clear differences between the two.

Distinguishing Thick and Coarse Hair

  • Thick hair is characterized by the number of strands that you have on your head. People with thick hair, regardless of their hair texture, will have a lot of hair on their scalp.
  • Coarse hair, on the other hand, is defined by the diameter of the individual strands. It is often described as rough, wiry, or bristly to the touch. Coarse hair can be either fine or thick.
  • It is possible to have both thick and coarse hair. This means that you have a lot of hair strands, all of which have a wide diameter.

Factors that Affect Hair Texture

Various factors can influence the texture of your hair. Some of these are:

  • Hereditary – your hair texture can be genetically predetermined.
  • Aging – your hair texture may change as you age, usually becoming finer or thinner.
  • Hormones – hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy, can affect your hair texture.
  • Heat styling – excessive use of heat tools on your hair can lead to damage and change in texture.
  • Chemical treatments – perming, relaxing, or coloring your hair can affect its texture.

How to Care for Thick and Coarse Hair

Thick and coarse hair, because of their unique characteristics, require special care to keep them healthy and manageable. Here are some tips:

For Thick Hair For Coarse Hair
Use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner to avoid weighing down your hair. Use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner to add moisture to your hair.
Avoid using heavy styling products that can make your hair look greasy and flat. Use a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to smooth and tame frizz.
Avoid using fine combs or brushes that can break your hair strands. Use a wide-toothed comb instead. Use a brush with boar bristles to distribute natural oils evenly throughout your hair.

By identifying your hair texture and understanding its unique characteristics, you can give your hair the care and attention it deserves.

What is Coarse Hair?

Coarse hair refers to hair strands that have a larger circumference or diameter than fine or medium hair. It is often rough to the touch and has a more visible texture. Coarse hair is also more prone to frizz and dryness due to its thicker cuticle layer, which can prevent moisture from penetrating the hair shaft.

Characteristics of Coarse Hair:

  • Thick and bulky strands
  • Visible texture
  • Dry and frizzy
  • Difficult to style and manage
  • Resistant to chemical treatments

Causes of Coarse Hair:

Coarse hair can be genetic or caused by external factors such as excessive exposure to heat, sunlight, and harsh chemicals. Age, hormonal changes, and poor nutrition can also contribute to the texture of your hair.

When it comes to ethnic backgrounds, people of African and African-American descent are more likely to have coarse hair due to their genetic predisposition.

How to Take Care of Coarse Hair:

It’s important to keep your hair hydrated and nourished to prevent dryness and breakage. Here are some tips for taking care of coarse hair:

  • Use moisturizing and sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners
  • Apply leave-in conditioners and oils to lock in moisture
  • Avoid excessive heat styling and use a heat protectant when necessary
  • Get regular trims to prevent split ends

Best Hairstyles for Coarse Hair:

The best hairstyles for coarse hair are those that embrace the natural texture of the hair and require minimal heat styling. Here are some examples:

Hairstyle Description
Braids Braiding your coarse hair is an excellent way to protect it from damage while still looking stylish.
Natural curls Letting your hair air dry and embracing your natural curls is a great way to show off your beautiful texture.
Pixie cut A short pixie cut can work well with coarse hair, as long as you keep the hair hydrated and styled with the right products.

Remember that coarse hair is beautiful and unique, and with the right care and styling, you can showcase its natural texture and beauty.

What is Thick Hair?

Thick hair is characterized by a high number of hair follicles and a large hair shaft diameter. It is also called “density” of hair. People with thick hair tend to have more hair growing on their scalp, making their hair appear fuller and more voluminous.

  • Thick hair is usually stronger and more durable than fine hair, making it less prone to breakage and split ends.
  • People with thick hair may have difficulty styling their hair due to its weight and bulkiness.
  • Thick hair can be more difficult to manage and require more effort and time to wash, dry, and style.

The Difference Between Thick and Coarse Hair

Although the terms “thick” and “coarse” are often used interchangeably to describe hair, there is a significant difference between the two. While thick hair refers to the number of hair follicles and shaft diameter, coarse hair refers to the texture of the hair strand.

Coarse hair has a rough and wiry texture and is often described as feeling “thick” to the touch. Coarse hair is usually more porous than fine hair, which means it can absorb and retain more moisture, but it can also make hair more vulnerable to damage.

Here are some differences between thick and coarse hair:

Thick Hair Coarse Hair
More hair follicles and larger diameter Less follicles and smaller diameter
Can be fine or coarse in texture Coarse in texture
More resilient to damage More susceptible to damage

If you have thick and coarse hair, you may face unique challenges when it comes to styling and maintaining your hair. However, understanding the differences between the two can help you choose the best products and treatments for your specific hair type.

Causes of Coarse Hair

One of the most significant factors that can cause coarse hair is genetics. The shape and thickness of hair are determined by individual genes, which can result in coarse hair for some individuals. Hormones also play a crucial role in hair texture, with androgens often playing a major part. These hormones can cause coarse hair in both men and women by causing the hair follicle to produce thicker, darker hair.

  • Environmental factors can also contribute to coarse hair. Exposure to harsh chemicals in hair products, such as coloring or relaxing agents, can damage the hair cuticle, resulting in a rough texture.
  • Climate is another factor that can impact hair texture. Individuals living in dry or humid environments may experience coarse hair due to dryness or excess moisture.
  • Diet can also play a role in hair texture. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can result in dry, coarse hair. Consuming a diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and vitamins can lead to healthier, smoother hair.

Stress is another possible cause of coarse hair. High levels of stress can cause changes in hormone levels, which can impact hair texture and lead to a coarser feel.

To better understand the factors that contribute to coarse hair, it can be helpful to review a summary of causes as seen in the table below:

Causes of Coarse Hair
Environmental Factors (e.g., hair products, climate)

While some causes of coarse hair cannot be changed, such as genetics, other factors such as hair products, diet, and stress can be addressed. Switching to gentler hair products and consuming a nutritious diet can lead to smoother, healthier hair. Minimizing stress levels can also impact hair texture and result in a more manageable mane.

Causes of Thick Hair

Thick hair is commonly mistaken as coarse hair, but in reality, thick hair refers to the density (amount) of hair on your scalp. There are several reasons why some individuals have thick hair, which we will discuss in detail below.

  • Genetics: One of the most common causes of thick hair is genetics. If your parents or grandparents had thick hair, you are more likely to inherit this trait as well. Thick hair is often associated with certain ethnicities such as Asians and Native Americans.
  • Hormones: Hormonal changes can also lead to an increase in hair density. During puberty, both boys and girls experience an increase in hormones, which can result in thicker hair growth. Similarly, pregnant women often experience thicker hair due to hormonal changes.
  • Nutrition: Nutritional deficiencies can lead to thinning hair, but on the flip side, a healthy and balanced diet can promote hair growth. Protein, iron, and biotin are essential nutrients for thick and healthy hair.
  • Age: As we age, our hair tends to lose its thickness and volume. This is because our hair follicles become smaller and produce less hair over time.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can have a negative impact on our overall health, including our hair. Stress can lead to hair loss and thinning, but in some cases, it can also cause an increase in hair density.

Can Coarse Hair Be Thick?

There is often confusion between thick and coarse hair, but they are not the same thing. Coarse hair refers to the texture of the individual hair strands, while thick hair refers to the amount of hair on the scalp. It is entirely possible to have coarse hair that is also thick, but it is also possible to have fine hair that is thick as well.

How to Manage Thick Hair

If you have thick hair, you may struggle with managing it. Here are some tips to help you keep your locks under control:

  • Invest in a good quality hairbrush that can detangle your hair without pulling or damaging the strands.
  • Use a deep conditioning treatment once a week to keep your hair nourished and hydrated.
  • Avoid using too much heat on your hair from styling tools such as hairdryers and straighteners.
  • Use hair products specifically designed for thick hair, such as volumizing shampoos and conditioners.

Thick Hair vs. Thin Hair

As mentioned earlier, thick hair refers to the amount of hair on the scalp, while thin hair refers to the density. While individuals with thick hair may struggle with managing it, those with thin hair often struggle with hair loss and volume.

Thick Hair Thin Hair
More hair density Less hair density
Difficult to manage and style Flat and lifeless
Less susceptible to breakage More susceptible to breakage

While both thick and thin hair come with their own set of challenges, it is important to take care of your hair and find what works best for you.

How to Manage Coarse Hair

If you have coarse hair, you know the struggle of trying to manage it. Coarse hair has a thicker texture than other hair types, which can make it difficult to style and keep under control. However, there are ways to manage your hair’s texture and make it work for you.

  • Use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner: Coarse hair is often dry, so it’s crucial to use hydrating products that will moisturize it and make it more manageable. Look for products that contain ingredients like coconut oil, argan oil, or shea butter.
  • Avoid over-washing: Coarse hair doesn’t need to be washed as frequently as other hair types. Wash your hair every two to three days to prevent your strands from becoming too dry and brittle.
  • Deep condition regularly: Use a deep conditioning treatment once a week to give your hair an extra dose of hydration. Leave the treatment on for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it out.

Aside from using the right products and treatments, there are other things you can do to manage your coarse hair.

Get regular trims: Regular trims will help keep your hair healthy and prevent split ends. Coarse hair is prone to split ends, so if you’re trying to grow your hair out, make sure to get trims every eight to 12 weeks.

Do: Don’t:
Use a wide-tooth comb when detangling Use a brush on wet hair
Use heat-protectant spray before using hot tools Use hot tools on high heat
Air-dry your hair when possible Blow-dry your hair on high heat

See your stylist: Your stylist can recommend the best products and treatments for your hair type. They can also give you personalized styling tips to help you manage your coarse hair.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to manage your coarse hair and make it work for you. Experiment with different styles and techniques until you find what works best for you.

How to Manage Thick Hair

If you have thick hair, you know how challenging it can be to manage. On the one hand, it’s great to have a full head of hair, but on the other hand, it can be frustrating to try and style it in a way that looks good and stays in place. Here are some tips to help manage your thick locks.

  • Use the right products: Choosing the right products for your hair is important. Look for shampoos and conditioners that are designed for thick, coarse hair. These products will help to add moisture and make your hair more manageable. You may also want to consider using a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to keep your hair moisturized throughout the day.
  • Blow dry your hair: Blow drying your hair can help to tame frizz and create a sleek, smooth style. Use a round brush to help smooth out your hair as you blow dry. You may also want to consider using a diffuser attachment to help distribute heat evenly throughout your hair.
  • Avoid over-styling: While it may be tempting to use a lot of product and heat to style your hair, too much of either can damage your hair and make it more difficult to manage over time. Try to limit your use of heat tools and use a light hand when applying styling products.

Another way to manage your thick hair is to get the right haircut. A good haircut can help to thin out your hair and make it more manageable. Consider talking to your hairstylist about the best haircut for your hair type.

Here are some popular haircuts for thick hair:

Cut Description
Long layers Graduated layers help to thin out the hair and add movement.
A-line bob The shorter back and longer front help to balance out the weight of thick hair.
Pixie cut A short, layered cut that works well with thick hair.

By using the right products, avoiding over-styling, and getting the right haircut, you can manage your thick hair and create a style that works for you.

What is the difference between thick and coarse hair?


1. What does it mean to have thick hair? Thick hair has a lot of strands of hair on the head. This means that it feels heavy and takes longer to dry than other types of hair.
2. What does it mean to have coarse hair? Coarse hair refers to the texture of the hair. It means that the individual strands are thick and do not lay flat against the scalp. Coarse hair is often frizzy and difficult to style.
3. How can you tell the difference between thick and coarse hair? You can tell the difference between thick and coarse hair by how it feels and looks. Thick hair will feel heavy and have a lot of volume, while coarse hair will feel rough and may have a frizzy appearance.
4. Is it possible to have both thick and coarse hair? Yes, it is possible to have both thick and coarse hair. This means that the individual strands of hair are both thick and do not lay flat against the scalp.
5. How can you care for thick or coarse hair? For thick hair, it’s important to use moisturizing products to avoid dryness and breakage. For coarse hair, a leave-in conditioner can be helpful in reducing frizz and making the hair easier to manage.

Closing Title: Thanks for Reading

Thanks for taking the time to learn about the difference between thick and coarse hair. No matter what type of hair you have, it’s important to take good care of it to keep it healthy and looking great. We hope this guide has been helpful, and we invite you to visit us again soon for more useful information on hair care and styling tips.

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