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Type 1c Hair: What It Is and How to Care For It

BY Felicia Ler

Among straight hair types, 1c hair features hefty, coarse strands. Types 1a and 1b hair envy your curl-retaining abilities to achieve curly-girl hairstyles they can only dream of. Plus, with your thick strands, your mane is more resistant to breakage and other types of hair damage.

Be that as it may, type 1c hair has its fair share of problems, too. From frizz and flyaways to knots and tangles, there are a few trade-offs to your curl type. But don’t worry — you’ll soon learn how to overcome these 1c hair struggles with ease.

Type 1c Hair: The Basics and Beyond

Many of us tend to confuse type 1c hair for 2a hair. This is where the hair typing system — with its four major curl patterns and their subcategories — comes in handy:

  • Type 1 hair (straight hair): Type 1a hair, type 1b hair, type 1c hair
  • Type 2 hair (wavy hair): Type 2a hair, type 2b hair, type 2c hair
  • Type 3 hair (curly hair): Type 3a hair, type 3b hair, type 3c hair
  • Type 4 hair (coily or kinky hair): Type 4a hair, type 4b hair, type 4c hair

Using this hair chart, we see that type 1c hair is predominantly straight. But it does have a few distinct features that put it on the border of the wavy hair types:

  • Your hair lies flat from the roots before taking on a few arcs here and there in the mid-body and underbrush (these bends are more pronounced and greater in number than that of type 1b hair)
  • The bends in your hair are a vague imitation of type 2’s S-shape waves
  • Your hair ends tend to curl inward toward your chin 

Simply put, 1c hair is wavier than type 1a and 1b hair, which is why it can hold a curl pretty well. While loose curls may not be a problem for this straight hair type, tight curls (aka ringlets) may need more effort.

The Woes of 1c Hair

Even though type 1c hair is the most resilient type 1 hair (compared to 1a and 1b hair), there are some drawbacks to it. Aside from the usual straight hair concerns — think an oily scalp and flatness at the top — 1c hair also encounters:

  • Frizz and flyaways: The coarse hair texture of 1c hair means it’s more susceptible to frizz and flyaways than other straight hair types.
  • Too poofy: Even though type 1c hair lies flat at the top, it can poof easily from the mid-length down.
  • Knots and tangles: Anyone with 1c hair will tell you knots and tangles are just part and parcel of this hair type. Your unruly strands easily twine into hard-to-detangle snarls, which makes hair brushing a challenging process.
  • Drier ends: You tend to experience drier ends as your scalp’s natural oils have trouble gliding down the mid-body bends to reach the hair tips.

If you’ve personally dealt with any (or all) of the hair struggles we’ve listed here, keep reading for their solutions.

How to Care For Type 1c Hair

From the must-have products to the 1c hair-friendly techniques, these useful tips will show you how to care for your hair in the best ways possible.

Dial Down the Frizz and Dryness

First up, you’ll want to get a handle on the frizz and dryness plaguing your ‘do. The good news is that these hair concerns are manageable with the right hair products.

Only choose lightweight product formulae to avoid flat hair and an oily scalp, two things that straight hair types are particularly susceptible to. In other words, stay away from the oils and mousses.

Lightweight leave-in conditioner

Does your hair frizz up immediately the moment you depart from your shower? Protect your mane against all-day frizziness with a leave-in conditioner.

Our custom leave-in treatment is ultra-lightweight to bestow an extra dose of moisture on your locks. More than that, you can easily customize your leave-in with 1c hair-friendly goals such as:

  • Anti-frizz: Formulated with tamarind extract and Moroccan argan oil to help smooth your hair texture and combat frizz
  • Curl definition: Formulated with chia seed and linseed extract to help maintain natural-looking curls in different types of hair while providing thermal protection
  • Shine: Formulated with acai oil and Amazonian babassu oil to help promote intense glow, shine, and revitalization

Slather the leave-in on drier areas of your mane, like the ends of your hair shafts, so you’re less likely to deflate its natural volume.

P.S. Get the low-down on all things related to leave-in conditioners.

Silicone-based hair serum

To take hydration up a notch, add a silicone-based serum to your haircare arsenal. Why silicone, you may ask, when we advise against it for types 1a and 1b hair? Well, silicone is the ingredient to promote shine and smoothness, two things your 1c hair strands greatly need.

Research shows some silicones like polysiloxane polymers may smooth out raised hair cuticles to prevent heat damage like frizz and flyaways. This makes hair serums a formidable 2-in-1 haircare and styling product, especially if you regularly expose your tresses to the blow dryer and curling iron.

Less poof and more style, we say!

P.S. Hop over to our tell-all guide on the best way to incorporate a hair serum into your routine.

Nourishing deep conditioner

If your hair needs a little something more to combat the flyaways and dry ends, add a nourishing deep conditioner to your shower caddy. Most deep conditioners, like our custom hair mask, are formulated with higher levels of oils and conditioning agents. The rich formula effectively penetrates the hair cuticle and helps revitalize the hair shaft from within.

Apply the treatment from the mid-shafts to the ends and let it sit for the recommended amount of time to reap its full benefits.

P.S. Check out our easy guide on how to get the most out of your custom hair mask.

Minimize Knots, Tangles, and Snarls

We get it — hair brushing is probably on your top 10 list of things to avoid when you have 1c hair. But you can try to minimize the pain with a few tweaks to your lifestyle routine.

Switch out your cotton pillowcases for satin or silk ones instead. Their primarily smooth surfaces mean less friction when you fan out your locks while sleeping. Look forward to fewer knots, tangles, and snarls when you brush out your hair the next day.

You will also want to use microfiber towels instead of the usual cotton ones. The same friction-reducing rationale applies here. According to the scientific literature, microfibers are “one hundred times finer than human hair” with none of that abrasive action that comes with cotton. So, treat your hair right, and it will treat you right in return.

Avoid Hard Water

This one may come as a surprise, but yes, your shower water may be the obstacle to softer, smoother 1c hair. Because hard water is brimming with hair-damaging minerals and metals, your hair fibers end up absorbing too much of them. A 2011 study explained “water hardness metals concentrate primarily” in the hair cuticles. Consequently, your fibers turn harder and rougher, and you experience more difficulty combing your hair.

Most worryingly, the International Journal of Trichology warns of hard water decreasing hair strength, leading to more breakage. Even though type 1c hair is typically stronger than 1a and 1b hair, hard shower water can still impact your hair type over time.

Thankfully, the solution is pretty simple. All you need is a filtered showerhead to eliminate the nasties. You could also add “soothe scalp” and “nourish roots” hair goals to your next Function of Beauty shipment.

The Sweet Spot Between Pin-Straight and Wavy

Even though type 1c hair may not feature the deep waves and ringlets that wavy and curl hair types do, this curl type is still pretty fabulous. After all, it sits in the sweet spot between 100% straight and 100% wavy, making it easy for you to swing your hairstyle either way.

Before you get creative with your heat styling tools, it’s essential to build a healthy foundation first. Use the right hair products tailored to your hair needs to manage frizz, flyaways, dryness, and roughness. Take our hair quiz to find the perfect match(es) for your tresses.

Next, see what other lifestyle tweaks you can make. Whether it’s splurging on silk pillowcases or investing in a filtered showerhead, these changes are well worth it when you see your mane glow.