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The Complete Guide to Type 1A Hair: Identifying, Caring, Styling, and More

1A Hair

Jump To:

  1. What Is 1A Hair?
  2. What Does 1A Hair Look Like?
  3. How To Identify the 1A Hair Type
  4. 1A Hair vs. 1B Hair vs. 1C Hair
  5. The Advantages of Having 1A Hair
  6. The Disadvantages of Having 1A Hair
  7. Caring for the 1A Hair Type
  8. Styling the 1A Hair Type
  9. Curling Straight Hair
  10. Best Hairstyles for 1A Hair
  11. Choosing the Right Products for 1A Hair

The 1A hair type is the straightest of all hair textures. It has no bends or waves in its natural state and can sometimes be difficult to style because of its fine, straight nature.

If you have straight hair, you might be wondering if it’s type A, B, or C and how you can tell which is which.

In this article, we define 1A hair, compare it with other hair types in this category, and discuss its advantages and the styles and products you can use to make this hair type look its best. 

What is 1A Hair?

To understand “What is the 1A hair texture,” it’s important to understand how hair typing came about. Andre Walker, a hair stylist for the famous media personality Oprah Winfrey, was the first person to codify hair typing in the 1990s.

He came out with four hair types, each having three subdivisions a, b, and c. Type 1 hair is straight. Type 2 is wavy. Type 3 is curly hair, and type 4 is coily. Each hair type has a typical race of people who go along with it. For type 1 hair, the race is typically east Asian. 

The type 1A hair fiber doesn’t like to hold a curl, even when you use heat. It’s straight even when wet, whereas other hair textures have more defined curls. This type of straight hair gets greasy easily, as the scalp’s sebum has no problem moving down the length of the hair.

The hair follicle for this type of hair is round, whereas others have varying degrees of an oval shape to help produce waves and curls.

The hair follicle is also straight, whereas wavy and curly hair follicles are slanted and bent to produce the bends of the hair texture concerned.

What Does 1A Hair Look Like?

1A Hair Type
1A is the rarest hair type but is common among women of Asian descent. Source

So what does 1A hair look like? This hair type is very fine and silky in texture. Unless you use volumizing products, flat hair lays against the scalp.

Type 1 hair isn’t as porous as other hair types. Because the cuticle lies flat for the entire hair length, it naturally reflects light to produce a sheen.

1A natural hair doesn’t have a body on its own, but because it’s so fine, it moves well with the wind.

How to Identify the 1A Hair Type

You’ll know that you have type 1A hair if your hair is very fine and straight from root to tip without any bends or curves. Because the strands are so fine, they might break easily.

Your hairstyle is best when it’s cut into a set style. It’s a hair type that likes to always be straight, so it won’t hold a curl easily.

1A Hair vs. 1B Hair vs. 1C Hair

Type 1B hair has a little more body than 1A because it has a slight wave that produces movement. Type 1B isn’t wavy hair, per se, but it has a little more texture than its counterpart, 1A hair.

Type 1B hair also holds a curl a little better because of its slight wave. If the density of the hair is low, 1B can hide it better because the light curve in the strands covers more surface area of the head, comparatively.

1B is also not quite as shiny as type 1A hair because it isn’t perfectly straight.

1C hair, like 1A, is completely straight. Also, like 1A, it is difficult to curl. Where it differs from 1A is that 1C hair is coarse, not fine.

1C hair also has more volume than 1A and 1B because the diameter of the individual hairs is thicker.

So even if the density is low, if you have 1C hair, your hair will always appear thicker than the other type 1 counterparts. 

The Advantages of Having 1A Hair

If you have 1A hair, let’s count the ways you have a heavenly head of hair:

  1. It’s lightweight. People with coarse hair sometimes cut it short because of the weight. Coarse hair is heavy, but fine hair is very lightweight. You won’t have headaches or have to deal with neck cramps because your hair is light.
  2. It’s cooling. Fine 1A hair allows air to move between your individual hairs easily. It’s almost like sitting under a tree. Once the smallest breeze enters, your whole head becomes cool because the wind bounces off your hair and circulates.
  3. It looks effortless. Once you’ve brushed out the tangles, your hair always looks perfect, as long as it’s cut into a style. Unless you have broken hair, it falls well and always has a silky appearance.
  4. It’s easy to process. What’s nice about fine hair is that, while it might not take a curl easily, it picks up chemical processing quite well. That’s because the hair diameter is thin, so hair color and perms find their way through the hair easier than thick hair. So you won’t have to worry about damaging your hair by leaving the chemicals in longer or double-processing your hair. 
  5. It’s shiny. 1A straight hair allows the sebum to coat the full length of the hair, so your hair is always soft and shiny. 

The Disadvantages of Having 1A Hair

There are some downsides to having 1A hair too, just like with all hair textures. Here they are:

  1. It isn’t versatile. To look fuller, fine hair needs a good haircut. For 1A hair, that usually means a long or short bob. Bobs work great because they put the weight of the hair on the tips and make it look thicker.
  2. It can be too cooling. Hair that’s 1A is awesome for cooling the head and body during the heat of the summer. In the winter months, however, you’ll need a heavy hat to keep the breezes from chilling your head.
  3. It tangles easily. Because the strands are so fine, they have a tendency to tangle easier than other types 1 hair. 
  4. It needs delicate treatment. Like fine hair of other hair types, without the proper care regimen, 1A it can break off easily in the middle of the hair shaft. To avoid damaging your hair, treat it like a baby’s hair, very gently.  

Caring for the 1A Hair Type

1A hair is a unique texture that requires a specific routine to bring out its best qualities. Your straight hair care regimen might go something like this:

1. Use a Weekly Hair Mask

Because hair that’s 1A is so fine, it doesn’t hold moisture, as well as thicker hair types. It dries easily and can be prone to flyaways.

These characteristics can be easily managed with the use of a weekly pre-shampoo oil treatment or hydrating hair mask.

If you choose an oil, douse your hair the night before washing. You can use seed oil or mineral oil. Seal it with plastic wrap and sleep in it.

In the morning, rinse the oil out and wash your hair with shampoo. The oil penetrates your hair strands for long-lasting moisture and protection from damage.

Alternatively, use a hydrating hair mask according to the instructions. The added moisture will help control flyaways.

2. Don’t Wash Every Day

While hair type 1A gets oily quickly, avoid the urge to wash it every day. Daily washing can dry out your scalp and cause it to produce more oil to compensate for the dryness.

Washing too frequently can also cause your hair strands to get overly dry, and breakage might result. So try to wash every other day or even every third day to keep your hair and scalp healthy.

Try a natural dry shampoo if you want to remove the oil in your hair without washing it. It’s probably better to avoid the aerosol type since there’s been a general recall due to the presence of benzene.

Try a dry shampoo that comes in a spray bottle instead, or make your own. You can dust your hair with arrowroot powder that’s mixed with cinnamon or cocoa to take away the white color.

Arrowroot powder doesn’t clog your hair follicles like the talc and clay found in aerosol dry shampoos.

Or you can mix a few drops of vinegar into a spray bottle of water. Vinegar helps remove oily residues and balances the scalp.

3. Use cool water to shampoo

Don’t use hot water to wash your hair. Hot water causes the hair cuticles to rise, which causes moisture evaporation and extra tangles. It also allows the detergent from shampoos into the hair core, which is a sensitive part of the hair that’s subject to corrosion.

It’s better to use cool water to wash and rinse your hair. Cool water helps keep the hair cuticle closed so that moisture is retained, the inner core is more protected, and the hair shines.

4. Be gentle

When washing your hair, use the pads of your fingertips to massage the shampoo into your scalp. Work in one direction without creating tangles.

Then smooth the suds down the length of your hair before rinsing. After washing, use a detangling brush to remove tangles.

Start at the tips of your hair and move slowly up to the roots. Moving quickly and brushing straight down from the roots can cause your delicate hair to break.

5. Don’t Sleep with Wet Hair

Wet hair is in its most fragile state. When you sleep with wet hair, it can cause tangles and breakage. If you must sleep on freshly washed hair, braid it first. 

6. Air Dry Your Fine Tresses

You’re lucky your hair dries so quickly. You can easily avoid damaging your hair by staying away from blow dryers.

Instead, apply a light serum or leave-in conditioner sparingly while your hair is wet to help keep frizz at bay. Then let your hair air dry naturally.

7. Put Your Natural Hair Oils to Use

In between washes, if your hair looks greasy at night, brush the oil through your hair thoroughly using a medium-soft bristle brush. Avoid touching your scalp, though, as that will produce more oil.

If you do this at night, your hair should be shiny and conditioned by morning. If your roots are oily again in the morning, use a little of your homemade dry shampoo on them.

Brush it through well while your hair is upside down. This will help to create volume, as well.

8. Sleep on a Silk Pillowcase

Cotton pillowcases suck out moisture from the hair. This can cause your scalp to produce more oil to compensate for the dryness.

Silk pillowcases don’t dry your hair out and also help keep frizz to a minimum.

Styling the 1A Hair Type

Styling 1A hair is easy if you keep a few things in mind:

  1.  Thin, fine hair can’t take an overload of styling products. They only weigh your hair down. You won’t need to use a leave-in conditioner or a volumizing mousse daily. The leave-in conditioner you apply after washing will last two to three days.
    Use volumizing mousse only once between washes, or your hair might get sticky.
  2. You’ll experience split ends more often than your coarse-haired counterparts. Because your hair diameter is so thin, you’ll get split ends just from daily manipulation.
    No heat is needed. Getting regular trims can help you avoid an unmanageable situation.
  3. Fine hair breaks off easily. Avoid tight ponytails and braids, as they might snap your hair off.

Curling Straight Hair

If you set your curls at night by sleeping in silicone hair rollers, your hair will have long-lasting curls by morning. Just make sure to use mousse in your hair before putting in the rollers.

The mousse will help your hair keep the curl. If you’re wondering how to make 1A hair curly permanently, you can try a hot perm.

1A Hair Styled With a Perm
1A Hair Styled With a Perm

Best Hairstyles for 1A Hair

Fine, straight hair adapts well to the following 1A hairstyles:

Curtain Bangs

Curtain bangs work with a center part to frame your face with a fringe that falls evenly to both sides of your head.

They look glamorous. Curtain bangs are perfect for adding volume to the front of type 1A hair. Fine, wispy hair is the perfect texture for curtain bangs.

1A Hair With Curtain Bangs
1A Hair With Curtain Bangs

Crown Braids

Crown braids are a lovely go-to style for delicate tresses. Crown braids are created by making two long braids at the nape of the neck. Then you wrap these braids to the opposite sides and over the crown of the head and pin them.

Thin wisps of hair accentuate the romanticism of this look. For an alternate look, try Dutch braiding your hair all around your head and tucking in the ends with bobby pins.

Bob Haircut

Blunt haircuts can make your hair look thicker as they remove the thinner part of your hair, the ends. Bobs and, more specifically, long bobs (lobs) are the classic 1A haircut.

When your hair is cut into a simple style like this, there is hardly any need for styling in the morning.

1A Hair in a Bob
1A Hair in a Bob

Long Layers

Other haircuts for 1A hair include those with long layers that help stack your hair for a more voluminous look. Long layers look great with chin-length curtain bangs that frame your face.

Adding multidimensional highlights can also make your hair more full and elegant. This is another haircut that’s very low maintenance, but you’ll have to get it done and maintained at the salon.

Choosing the Right Products for 1A Hair

Any product labeled as lightweight or volume-producing product will probably be a good choice for your hair. Just make sure that the product doesn’t contain SD Alcohol, which is too drying for your strands.

The best 1A hair shampoo is clear and sulfate-free. You don’t want one that’s opaque and hydrating, like those from Shea Moisture. Moisturizing shampoos can leave unwanted buildup in your fine hair strands.

It’s important not to use hair products daily as they can also cause buildup, even when lightweight, and make your hair unmanageable.

Every hair type has its do’s and don’ts and a care routine that makes it look its best. Even though your hair type is rare, it doesn’t mean it can’t be styled or managed. Experiment with the tips above to see what works for you.

 Is 1A hair rare?

1A hair is rare but normally seen in those from East Asia.

 How to get 1A hair?

1A hair is genetically acquired. If you have fine hair of a different type and straighten it fully, it will resemble 1A hair. However, straightening fine hair can cause breakage.

How to grow 1A hair?

You can grow your 1A hair longer by treating it gently. Also, ensure your weekly hydrating masks contain protein to strengthen your tresses. This will help keep your hair from breaking so it can grow long and healthy.

Cosmetologist & Beauty Consultant

Ghanima Abdullah is a bilingual cosmetologist and hair expert from Chicago who now lives in the Caribbean. She has over ten years of experience in the beauty industry, having worked as a stylist, makeup artist, and beauty consultant. In recent years, her focus has been on research and writing, which has taken her all over the world to learn about different hair and skin types, procedures, and products. Her knowledge spans all sorts of beauty topics, including natural and scientific advancements in the field. Ghanima enjoys finding the best product options for different needs and people, and her advice has been published in some of the most notable beauty and fashion magazines.