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1A Hair: What Is It, How Do I Care For It And Prevent Hair Loss?
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Updated on May 21, 2024

Type 1 hair, also known as straight hair, is common in the UK. Around 45% of people of European descent have straight hair, while 40% have waves and 15% have curls [1].

Knowing your hair type makes a big difference when caring for your locks. Different hair types need different products, styling rituals, and care routines to keep them looking their best. Here, we’ll discuss: 

  • What type 1a hair is
  • How to know whether you have 1a, 1b, or 1c hair
  • Challenges for people with 1a hair
  • How to take care of 1a hair
  • Whether hair loss is common for people with 1a hair
  • How hair loss is treated in 1a hair
Table of Contents

What is type 1a hair? 

Type 1 hair lacks any kind of wave or curl pattern. 1a is the straightest in the hair typing system, with 4c (tightly coiled) at the opposite end of the spectrum. 

Hair type chart from 1a to 4c hair

The chart above shows the full range of hair types:

  1. Straight
  2. Wavy
  3. Curly
  4. Coily (afro hair). 

Type 1 hair is known for being generally low-maintenance, as it is naturally smooth and responds well to styling tools. However, this kind of hair comes with its own challenges, which we will discuss later in this article.

How do I know if I have 1a, 1b, or 1c hair?

Type 1 hair is split into three distinct subtypes. Here, we’ll explain the differences between them and examine their unique features:

1a hair

1a hair is the straightest, smoothest, and finest hair type. It tends to be naturally silky and smooth to the touch, but it also has the least volume and may appear flat, especially at the roots. 

Woman with straight type 1a hair

1a hair often has a lower density than 1b or 1c, meaning fewer hairs per square inch on your scalp. It lacks texture, making it harder to style than the other subtypes, and it is more prone to hair breakage due to its thinness. 1a hair does not shrink at all when wet because it has no curl or wave pattern. 

1b hair

1b hair is straight but may have a slight wave or bend. It is less flat than 1a hair, and its strands are slightly thicker. 

Woman with straight type 1b hair

It has more texture than 1a and can appear fuller and more dense, but a poor hair care routine can still lead to breakage and tangling. 1b hair may experience a small amount of shrinkage when wet, but it will be minimal due to the slight wave. 

1c hair 

1c hair tends to have coarser strands than 1a and 1b types, making it less lustrous but also easier to curl than the other types. It is thick and full of volume but also prone to frizz, oiliness, and flyaways. 

Woman with straight type 1c hair

1c hair has more movement than the other subtypes, with slight waves that curve inward from the root to the chin. This gives it a softer shape than 1a and 1b.

Challenges for people with 1a hair

1a hair presents unique challenges when styling and keeping it healthy. If you have this hair type, here are some of the day-to-day issues you may face: 

  • Hair breakage – Strands are delicate, making them prone to damage, breakage, and hair shedding
  • Oiliness – Natural oil easily travels down straight hair shafts, leading to a greasy appearance and a need for more frequent washing. 
  • Flatness – 1a hair often lacks volume, which can leave it looking flat and lifeless. A buildup of sebum and heavy styling products often causes this. 
  • Difficulty holding styles – 1a hair is initially easy to style, but it may quickly lose its shape when exposed to moisture or humidity. Styled curves or waves may lose their shape quickly as the hair flattens out again. 
  • Lack of texture – If you want more texture in your 1a hair, you’ll likely need to use styling products. It can be hard to strike a balance between adding texture and weighing your hair down. 
Woman taking care of straight 1a hair

How do you take care of 1a hair? 

You need a tailored hair care routine to keep your hair smooth, shiny, and healthy. Here are some tips to keep your 1a hair as healthy as possible. 

Shampoo and conditioner

Here’s some shampoo advice for 1a hair: use a mild shampoo designed for regular use and shampoo your hair every 2-3 days. This helps prevent a buildup of natural oils without overstripping them. Avoid shampoos with harsh sulphates, which can lead to dry, brittle hair. If this has already happened, the best shampoos for dry hair may help restore some moisture to your locks and hair thickening shampoo can make it appear fuller and healthier.

Only use lightweight conditioner, and avoid applying it at the roots. Condition from the middle of your shafts to the tips, adding smoothness to your hair and highlighting its silky nature without weighing it down. 

Heat styling

Heat styling can cause damage and dryness, particularly in delicate 1a shafts. Keep it to a minimum, and use a heat protection spray if you must style with heat tools.  

It’s best to use tools at a low temperature to prevent heat-damaged hair, although this can be challenging as 1a hair is often harder to curl than types with more texture. Air dry whenever possible and opt for the lowest heat setting to achieve your desired style. 

Woman using products to keep 1a hair healthy

Use the right products in the right way

1a hair needs lightweight products like serums, mousses, or light-hold hairsprays, which can add volume and definition without making your hair too heavy and flat. Oily, heavy styling products are not designed for 1a hair, and they may be the reason your hair looks greasy

Avoid overloading your hair with product – if overused, lightweight products can weigh your mane down too. Use a small amount of product and apply it evenly throughout your hair. 

Schedule regular trims

As a more delicate hair type, 1a hair is vulnerable to split ends and breakage. Regular trims remove damaged strands and split ends before they travel up the hair shaft and cause further breakage. This also helps to prevent tangling and knots, making it easier to style. 

Layered haircuts work well for 1a hair, adding body and movement to a hair type that can sometimes appear flat. However, regular trims are required to maintain layers – aim to schedule a cut every 6-8 weeks. 

Woman using volumising shampoo for 1a hair

Best products for 1a hair 

Looking to invest in your hair health? Here are the best volumising, styling, and damage-protecting 1a products for hair growth and thickness.

  • Volumising shampoo – Choose a gentle volumising shampoo that can be used regularly to add fullness to your hair. 
  • Heat protection – Sprays or serums can protect 1a hair from heat damage when using styling tools. 
  • Leave-in conditioner – Lightweight leave-in conditioners that increase fullness with thickening proteins can be a good choice for 1a hair. 
  • Clarifying shampoo – Using a clarifying shampoo every 1-2 weeks can clear buildup around your roots and remove impurities, preventing common scalp problems
  • Light-hold hairspray – This can maintain any wave or curl added to your hair without weighing down your delicate strands. Rest at ease in the knowledge that hairspray isn’t bad for your hair

Is hair loss common with 1a hair? 

Hair loss can occur with any hair type, but it is not more or less common in people with straight hair than wavy, curly, or coily hair. Hair thinning is influenced by several different factors, which we will explore here. 


Genetics can play a big role in certain hair loss conditions, such as male pattern baldness [2] and female pattern baldness [3]. Research also shows that some autoimmune conditions that can cause hair loss, such as alopecia areata, also have a genetic component [4].

Having 1a hair does not make you more susceptible to these conditions. But if you have 1a hair and close relatives with these types of hair loss, you may have a greater chance of experiencing them yourself. 

Stressed woman with straight type 1 hair


Research shows that psychological stress can prevent hair growth and damage healthy hair [5]. Acute or chronic stress can cause a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium [5] and worsen hair loss in conditions such as androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata [5].

The good news is that stress-relieving strategies to reduce hair loss may help you in this instance, whether you have 1a hair or another type. Breathwork, getting out in nature and spending time with loved ones are some of the ways that may help you regain hair loss from stress.

Hormonal changes 

Hormonal changes, such as those we experience during puberty and menopause, can contribute to hair loss regardless of hair type. Hair thinning is one of the most common ailments for women going through menopause [6]. The likelihood of female pattern hair loss also increases significantly after menopause, affecting around 52% of post-menopausal women [7].

20% of girls experience some level of hair loss during puberty [6], and this is slightly more common in teenage boys, who may experience a slightly receding hairline and mild temple hair loss [8]. Occasionally, this teenage hair loss can be the start of pattern baldness for boys or girls.

Women who have recently given birth may also experience hormone-related postpartum  hair loss. During pregnancy, hormonal changes cause hair follicles to remain in the anagen (growth) phase for longer than normal, followed by a sudden drop in hormone levels 3-6 months post-delivery. 

This returns hair follicles to the telogen (resting) phase, which can lead to excessive hair shedding, known as postpartum telogen effluvium [9]. In less common cases, pregnant women may experience hair loss as well due to hormonal changes.

Woman with chemotherapy-related hair loss

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions and medications can cause hair loss in people with 1a hair and other types. For example, chemotherapy hair loss is well-documented in cancer patients receiving this treatment. Many other medical conditions can cause or worsen hair loss, such as a yeast infection on your scalp or tinea capitis [10], a scaly fungal scalp infection.

Hair styling

Excessively tight hairstyles, including tight buns or ponytails can cause hair loss. This type of hair loss is known as traction alopecia, in which constant pulling on the scalp leads to hair falling out. 

This condition can affect people with any hair type. However, it is more commonly seen in women of African descent who have tightly curled or spiral hair, [11] affecting 31.7% of African women [12]. This is due to the use of hairstyles such as braids or cornrows that place a lot of pressure on the scalp, as well as chemical straightening treatments that damage the hair.

Hair transplant as a treatment for hair loss

Treating hair loss in 1a hair

Prevention is better than cure, so follow the care tips for 1a hair and make sure you’re living a healthy lifestyle, including eating a diet for healthy hair, to prevent hair loss. However, try as you might; not all types of hair loss can be avoided.

If you have hereditary hair loss, you may lose hair regardless of how well you take care of it. You’ll only know if you have this type of hair loss when you notice the first signs of hair thinning and balding.

If you start to notice more hair loss in the shower, book a consultation with a trichologist. They can diagnose the reason your hair is falling out and recommend a treatment plan to restore your locks.

In more severe hair loss cases, your trichologist may recommend a hair transplant. Here’s some good news for people with 1a hair – straight or wavy hair is the easiest type of hair for surgeons to perform a follicular unit extraction (FUE) hair transplant on [13].

The best hair transplant surgeons in the UK, such as those at Wimpole Clinic, have extremely high success rates. Check out our before and after hair transplant gallery to see our results for yourself.

1A Hair: What Is It, How Do I Care For It And Prevent Hair Loss?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Meena Zareie (GMC)Updated on May 21, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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