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Hair Texture + Hair Color

I want to share some perspective on hair texture especially when it comes to hair coloring and lightening.

When I say texture, I am referring to the DIAMETER of the individual hair strand, not necessarily texture in the curl pattern or the density of the hair as a whole.

When you understand the ROLE that the texture of the hair plays in the hair color world, a lot of formulation mishaps will make sense, and a lot of future problems can be avoided.

Texture is often overlooked and is much more important that a lot of colorists realize, especially when it comes to formulating hair color.

The texture of the hair will determine:

  • The depth of the formula chosen

  • The level of color that is chosen

  • The developer choice

  • How the hair will lighten

  • Type of lightener chosen

  • Consistency of your lightener

  • Length of time lightener must process

  • Brassiness of the hair

  • And so much more

So, let's dive in!

There are 3 different types of hair texture:




Let’s dissect each one and dive into how hair color and bleach affects them:

Fine hair:

Fine hair has the smallest diameter and is the easiest to damage internally. Because it has a smaller diameter, it means that it has less “structure” and can overprocess quickly.

When coloring fine hair, all colors WILL look darker, sometimes 2-3 levels darker.

Again, because it has less structure to support the dye load of the tube of color.

More dye molecules in a smaller space will visually look darker.

Fine hair will always lift faster when bleaching, because it doesn’t have as much “structure”. The less structure you have, the less you have to lift through, the faster the hair will lighten.

Things to consider when working on fine hair:

Check the level of color you are using - you may want to level up so the hair doesn’t get too dark.

Consistency of your lighter should be thicker so the foils don’t slip, but remember, the power of your bleach is in the powder. If you have a heavier powder to developer mixture (to make it thicker), you may want to drop down the developer so you don't over process the hair.

When covering gray on fine hair, lower volumes of developer can give coverage especially if hair is fine + porous.

Medium hair

Medium texture hair is the easiest and most predictable to work with.

Most manufacturers' products are tested and designed to be used on medium textured hair.

Coarse hair:

Coarse hair has the thickest diameter. The thicker the diameter, the more structure the hair has.

With more structure also comes more melanin, meaning coarse hair has a tendency to lift slower and warmer than fine or medium hair.

When coloring coarse hair, colors will have a tendency to look lighter. Because the hair has more structure the dye load of the color gets dispersed and diffused in a thicker environment and can look lighter.

When bleaching coarse hair, remember, the thicker diameter means that the hair has more structure, more structure means more melanin...ultimately meaning that coarse hair has a tendency to lift slower (since there's more to get through) and can lift brassier and warmer since there's more melanin.

Things to consider when working on coarse hair:

Check the level of color as well as your mixing ratio to make sure there is enough dye in your color to fill the thicker diameter of hair.

When lifting coarser hair, lower and slower is better. The more time the lightener has to lift through the coarse hair, the cleaner and brighter the lift will be.

When covering gray on coarse hair, account for extra dye and opt for an NN or make your own NN.

Understanding the canvas we are working on is going to play a huge role in how your formulations turn out.

Click below to register for my free formulation masterclass!

Hope this was helpful for you!

Happy Hair Coloring!


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