What Is Coarse Hair? Everything You Need to Know, Plus Expert Haircare Tips

ATH breaks down the ins and outs of coarse hair.

Coarse hair is hair that is visibly rough in texture and rough to the touch. Unlike other hair textures, those with coarser locks tend to have strands that are thicker and wider in circumference, which is what essentially makes this hair type prone to dryness and frizz. Coarse hair can be straight, wavy, curly, kinky-curly and everywhere in between. And, there are people who are more genetically prone to having coarse strands.

Coarse locks are typically associated with curlier hair types or when strands have been over-processed or severely damaged. Coarse, however, takes on another layer of meaning with natural hair types. In this case, it can also mean having thicker hair (as opposed to having a regular thickness or finer strands).

Whether you want to know how to tell if you’ve got coarse hair or discover the best tips to help you take care and manage rough strands, keep on reading to get our expert advice.

How Do You Know If You Have Coarse Hair?

Woman with dark long curly, coarse hair
Credit: Unsplash

If you’ve got coarse hair, it just means the individual strand itself is thick. You can tell if you’ve got it by taking a strand of hair and feeling it. If you don’t feel like your strand is rough or textured, you probably don’t have coarse hair, but if you do, you know the answer.

Coarse hair is also often frizzy, dry and prone to split ends. So, if you’re experiencing those things, you’ve most certainly got coarse locks.

How Do You Care for Coarse Hair?

While we’d all like to wake up with shampoo commercial-worthy tresses, not all hair types and textures are the same. If your hair feels more brittle than bouncy and sleek, we’re here to help with a guide to managing and maintaining coarse hair.

To help decipher the best tips and techniques for combatting coarse hair we caught up with ATH‘s resident hairstylist, Elena Diaz, who revealed exactly how to look after textured tresses. Read on for her expert styling advice and product recommendations…

Choose the Right Shampoo and Conditioner

Since one of the main traits of coarse hair is frizz, you should look out for shampoos and conditioners that specifically designed to tackle this. We suggest the Nexxus Frizz Defy Shampoo and Conditioner, as it enriched with a fusion of Elastin Protein and Argan oil (known for its nourishing and frizz-fighting properties).

Use an Oil Treatment

If your hair feels and looks coarse or dry, adding oil to your grooming routine can help. To find out which product would work best for your particular needs, check out our guide to choosing the best hair oil for your tresses.

Editor’s Tip: Using a hair oil like the VO5 Invisibly Light Hair Oil is a great way of conditioning your hair without weighing it down.

A coarse hair treatment like this (especially when used as a pre-poo treatment on natural hair) helps to minimise the loss of moisture that can occur during the washing process. Making coarse hair more manageable.

Brush Your Hair (Properly)

When brushing coarse hair, it’s important to make sure you have the right tool(s) for the job. Check out our guide to choosing the best brush for your hair needs and remember that even though coarse hair might tangle easier, you still need to treat it gently.

Coarse hair can equal rough hair. It can also be more susceptible to breakage and damage when treated with a heavy hand. “Never tug on wet hair, make sure you’re coming it through slowly and thoroughly to remove tangles,” recommends Elena. This will help prevent breakage.

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Always Moisturise

Coarse hair woman with type 4 hair
Dry coarse hair: sorted. Credit: indigitalimages.com

Coarse hair can be susceptible to dryness. This might not seem like a huge problem at first glance, but dry coarse hair can become brittle, which can easily lead to damage and breakage.

“Coarse hair craves as much regular moisture as possible. Be sure to deep condition and use hair treatments and masks to combat dryness,” recommends Elena.

Keep your hair supple, soft and conditioned with the help of a hair mask like the TRESemmé Biotin + Repair 7 Intensive Mask. Added to your weekly washing routine, this mask will help visibly repair the look and feel of coarse hair.

Be Careful of Product Build-Up

Moisturising coarse hair is key but, regular use of hair products can leave your hair with build-up. A big no-no when it comes to maintaining healthy-looking strands.

A simple way to get through all of this product build-up is to use a clarifying shampoo, like the TRESemmé Cleanse & Replenish Deep Conditioning Shampoo and Remoisture Conditioner. 

The shampoo will gently cleanse your hair, while the conditioner will help to hydrate your coarse, brittle locks. Win-win.

Use a Heat Protectant

Whatever hair type you have, it’s important to use a heat protectant on the hair before you start styling with a hairdryer, straighteners or any other heated tool.

If you want to give your hair a break from heated styling, Elena recommends a low manipulation style. If you have natural hair, “flat twists, braids, buns and pompadours are great styling options.”

For other hair types, try an overnight option or hairstyle that will last for a few days without extra touch-ups.

Editor’s tip: To keep your hair protected against heat, we suggest you try using the TONI&GUY Heat Protection Mist. What makes this particular one great for coarse locks is the fact it has smoothing properties!

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