How Is Straight Asian Hair Different From Other Types of Hair?

There ARE pros and cons to having a thick, dark mane.

As far as various hair types go, straight Asian hair has got to be one of the most stubborn hair types there is. (#Blessed.) Although typified as dark and thick, some are also under the misconception that straight Asian hair is one of the easiest hair types to style. However, the term itself is a lot more diverse than it lets on—as being Asian isn’t confined to being oriental, or having East Asian roots—and, as you might have guessed, there’s a lot more nuance to Asian hair, just as there are with natural hair or curly hair types.

straight asian hair half up half down
Asian hair is typically dark and straight, usually with thick individual strands. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

For the purposes of this article, we’re taking Asian hair to mean the stereotypical thick, dark and straight texture. We also spoke to an expert, Unilever North America’s Senior Manager for Hair in Research and Development, Leon van Gorkom. He’s here to help break down and further understand this particular hair type.

General features of straight Asian hair:

According to Gorkom, Asian tresses are typically “straight, with very round and thick fibers and with a high level of black melanin.” This is rather important to know when shopping around for a new hair color, as this means bleach almost always has to be involved when dyeing your hair. Something to keep in mind: “It is harder to change color [of Asian hair] due to its high levels of melanin. It requires a professional-strength bleach/developer (persulfate booster/40 vol. bleach) to reach the desired lift, and may sometimes have to be done more than once,” he added.

Other distinguishing characteristics of Asian hair:

What your momma told you was probably true, and our experts agree. Compared to other hair types, it’s indeed “thicker and stronger,” Gorkom confirms.

Best ways to care for Asian hair:

Knowing the general makeup of Asian hair can definitely help us make informed decisions as regards our hairstyles and hair color of choice. Mostly though, it impacts our day-to-day hair care routines. Knowing that this hair type is thicker might urge us towards products with more moisturizing or detangling benefits. We suggest a leave-in conditioner like Suave Nourish & Strengthen Leave-In Conditioner.

Gorkom also suggests less frequent use of color, so we avoid less internal damage to the strand. Remember to condition regularly and lay off on overbleaching; otherwise, as with all other hair types, have fun and get creative!