A woman with curly hair

Is Your Hair Type Genetically Determined?

How much control do you really have over your hair? Here's how your genetics determine your hair type.
Updated: November 9, 2022
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In a world with seemingly endless options for haircare products, styling techniques, and popular trends, many people often get the urge to change things up and do something new with their look. We feel the FOMO too, we’re always scratching our heads to try and think how we can stand out from the crowd.

When it comes to hair, your ability to achieve certain looks will heavily depend on your natural hair type. Why? Let’s find out.

A brief look at hair types

If you’re here reading this blog we’ll assume you have some prior knowledge about hair types, but just in case you need a reminder we’ll go through it again now.

Everyone has a hair type. Much like skin types (normal, dry, oily, sensitive & combination) different hair conditions are grouped into recognizable categories. They are as follows:

Type 1 – Straight Hair
Type 2 – Wavy Hair
Type 3 – Curly Hair
Type 4 – Tightly Coiled/Kinky Hair


Each type represents how certain hair grows and reacts, and within each category, there are varying degrees. While this is a generalization, consumers and professionals alike have backed this tool of measurement for years.

If you want a visual representation of the different hair types, the graphic below will help.

hairtype chart

Is hair type genetic?

Here’s what you want to know. The answer is yes. Genetic factors play a major role in determining your hair type. There’s nothing you can do about it, it’s natural and normal. Your DNA is the deciding element in how your hair turns out.

What’s interesting is the correlation between hair type and things like race. For example, Asians tend to have very straight hair, whereas Africans are much more likely than anyone else to have tightly coiled/kinky hair. There are exceptions of course, but overall this proves to be true the world over. Similarly, Europeans have fairer and thinner hair compared to almost everyone else.

Don’t fret

While your genetics can’t be changed, your hair type doesn’t need to hold you back from achieving your style goals.

You can’t permanently change your hair type to something else, but with the right products and treatments, you can temporarily alter it. For example, you can get a perm which will change your hair type for 3-6 months at a time. You could twist your hair and grow dreadlocks etc. There are always options.

All hair types are beautiful and you should always be proud of your genes. With so many products and scientific innovations being unlocked today, you will always have choices in how you wear your hair.

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