It's the age-old hair despair - women with thick, curly tresses long for fine, straight strands and ladies with sleek, lightweight locks dream about running their hands through a voluminous mane. But – steady yourselves ladies because this may come as shocking news – believe it or not, our hair actually looks best when styled in a way that works with, not against its natural tendencies.
"You'll never have great hair if you don't work with your hair's God-given texture," says Robert Vetica, stylist to the stars and author of new book, Fabulous Hair. "Texture determines so many things - from something as seemingly simple as choosing a shampoo or conditioner, to something as difficult as understanding how much stress your hair can handle if you decide to colour or perm it."
So get to grips with the texture of your hair to maximise its glossy and glamorous potential.
Once you've come to terms with your texture, it's much easier to get it looking like something straight out of a hair commercial. But self-branding your hair type as 'fine', 'medium' or 'thick' isn't quite as clear cut and easy as you might imagine.
"Texture isn't about whether your hair's curly, wavy or straight,” reveals Robert. “What we're really talking about here is strand thickness - and that can change over time.” Things like age, the number of kids and how often you’ve permed or coloured your hair can all affect your crowning glory. Then factor in hormonal changes, sunlight, pollution, vitamin deficiencies and the dreaded onset of grey and determining your texture can become decidedly tricky. So how do you know what hair type you have? Read on to find out:
Characteristics: Thin strands that are light to the touch.
Celeb strand sharers: Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Can you have fine hair but lots of it? Absolutely, Robert says. "It's not about how many strands of hair you have. You can have fine hair with light, medium or thick density and it can also be curly, wavy or straight. If your individual hairs are thin, you have fine hair."
For a voluminous hair boost, look for lightweight shampoos and conditioners that won’t be too heavy for your strands, as well as styling products specifically designed to provide added height. Try: Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo, $42.00; Redken Vivagen Treatment, $38.00.
Characteristics: Sometimes coarse, but generally easy to maintain.
Celeb strand sharers: Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston.
You're in luck if you have medium-textured tresses - and are guaranteed to have more time on your hands because this hair requires the least attention of the three types.
"You are really blessed if you have this type of hair," Robert says. “Medium-textured hair with a natural wave can be straightened or made curlier with ease. Even if your hair is dead straight, it can be curled easily and will maintain its bounce until it gets wet." Try: Pantene Pro-V Always Smooth collection, from $6.99; Tigi S-factor Silky Smoother, $29.95.
Characteristics: Full and heavy, with a tendency to be wavy.
Celeb strand sharers: Salma Hayek, Shakira.
You have the hair that most women want – super-healthy and voluminous looking – so long as you work with what you’ve got.
"You don't have to do much to your hair for it to look great," Robert says. "As long as you use the right products to compliment your natural characteristics, you can go for a few days without washing and/or re-styling." However, this type of hair doesn’t like being into styled into submission, so be prepared for some hard slogging with the straightners you’re attempting to smooth it down. Try: Living Proof No Frizz Straight Making Cream, $39.00; L'Oreal Liss Control, $24.00; Lady Jayne Detangler comb, $5.69.