What Is 1A Hair? How to Style + Care for Straight Hair  

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Pin-straight hair with a luxurious, enviable shine that makes you look like you walked out of a shampoo ad — this is the epitome of glamor for most people! 

A woman with long blonde straight hair is standing in front of a beige background.

But women with straight hair are not exempt from their fair share of bad hair days. While frizz may not rank high on their list of hair woes, many of them struggle with limp, oily hair that can put a serious damper on their confidence. 

If this predicament sounds familiar to you, then you may have 1A hair. This hair type is characterized by ultra-fine, ultra-sleek hair — the straightest of all hair types! 

So how can you tell if you have 1A hair, and how do you take care of it?

Which hairstyles are ideal for this hair type?

Keep reading to find out more about 1A hair and how to keep straight locks gorgeous and healthy from root to tip.   

What Is 1A Hair?

1a hair is fine, extremely straight hair, devoid of any waves or curl patterns. Often described as wispy, it tends to lack volume but boasts a naturally lustrous sheen. 

Why? Since 1a hair is characterized by stick-straight strands, oils produced by the glands on the scalp have an easier time traveling down the hair shaft. 

This gives the hair a glossy shine and keeps it well hydrated. Dense, wide, and flat hair cuticles — the outermost layer of the hair shaft — also contribute to the silky appearance of 1a hair. 

However, this makes the 1a hair type appear somewhat thin and flat, as the buildup of natural oils tends to accumulate quickly and weigh the hair down. 

What Makes 1A Hair Different From Other Hair Types?

To answer this, we need to first understand the characteristics of other hair types. 

Created in the 1990s by stylist Andre Walker, the Andre Walker Hair Typing System breaks down hair types into four main categories: 

  • Type 1 is straight
  • Type 2 is wavy
  • Type 3 is curly 
  • Type 4 is coily

These four types have been broken down further into subcategories: a, b, and c. For instance, type 1 hair is divided into three subcategories: 1a, 1b, and 1c hair.

Every hair type has its own unique characteristics. What makes 1a hair stand out from other straight hair types is its exceptional thinness. 

Unlike 1a hair texture, 1b and 1c hair types tend to have more volume and thicker consistency. 

1b hair usually looks more similar to 1a hair and appears straight with the slightest hint of a wave in each hair strand, while 1c hair has coarse, hefty, and slightly tousled strands. 

It can be a little tricky to distinguish between the 3 subcategories of type 1 hair. To identify 1a hair, check out the list of its most unique features below: 

  • Pin-straight from root to tip
  • Fine strands that lie flat against the scalp
  • Distinctive shine and silky smooth texture
  • Incapable of holding curls even with the use of curling irons 
  • Prone to breakage

If your hair ticks most or all of the boxes above, chances are you have 1a hair! 

Dos and Don’ts of 1A Hair Care

Now that you know what hair type you have, it’s important to create a hair care routine that plays to your hair’s strengths and improves on its weaknesses.

The good news is that it’s fairly easy to care for 1a hair! But if your hair gets greasy too quickly or lacks the volume you need, there may be a few mistakes in your current regimen. 

Don’t fret; we’re here to help! Take a look at our dos and don’ts checklist for type 1a hair care: 


1. Wash your hair regularly. 

A woman washing her hair with shampoo in the bath tub

Grease tends to build up quicker on straight hair than on curly hair, which weighs the strands down and gives them an oily appearance. This can easily be fixed by washing your hair more often.  

Make sure not to overdo it, though! Shampooing your hair too frequently can strip your hair of its natural oils, thus making the scalp overcompensate by producing more oil in the process.

The result is, once again, flat and greasy hair. 

So the trick is to find the right balance. Washing your hair every 2 to 3 days is a good rule to follow. 

Top tip: wash your hair gently and avoid scrubbing the strands.  

2. Choose hair products specifically targeted toward thin hair. 

The ideal shampoo for 1a hair should prevent excess oil production while boosting volume and fullness. The same goes for conditioners and other hair products, like texturizing sprays or lightweight hair gels.

Top tip: if you’re worried about greasy hair during the day, keep a bottle of light, volumizing dry shampoo handy in your purse. A few spritzes can refresh your hair and remove excess oil when you’re on the go.  

3. Detangle your hair with the right technique. 

Even thin, fine hair can get tangled, but it’s crucial not to use force when dealing with those pesky knots. Start detangling your hair by gently brushing near the ends of the strands.

As each tangle slowly starts to come loose, keep brushing them out. Avoid tugging at the tangles; doing this can make your already delicate hair more susceptible to breakage. 

Top tip: use brushes with rounded edges to prevent damage to your hair cuticles. 

4. Blow dry your hair upside down. 

Simply flip your hair upside down and use a blow dryer to dry your hair and help lift the strands off the roots. Using this technique will do wonders in creating more volume. 

Top tip: Choose a hair dryer with a volume-boosting mode. 


1. Don’t wash your hair with hot water. 

Hot water can stimulate oil production, resulting in flatter and greasier hair. Shampooing your hair with cold water can help get rid of dirt and oil more effectively and keep your hair cleaner for longer between washes.

2. Don’t skip the conditioner.

Back view of a woman applying hair with a conditioner. Isolated on white

Having perpetually smooth hair gives those with 1a hair types bragging rights, but that doesn’t mean you get to skip the conditioner!

A good tip is to focus on conditioning the mid-shafts and ends of your hair, as these areas tend to suffer from dullness and dryness. 

Doing this regularly will also nourish, hydrate, and moisturize your hair, keeping it supple and oh-so-soft.

3. Don’t use too many products. 

Did you know that heavy product use can weigh your hair down and make it appear more lifeless? Worse yet, product buildup can also contribute to flyaways, which is a major issue among those with 1a hair. 

So before you add yet another product to your shopping cart, consider using products that are multi-beneficial and tailored to your hair type’s unique needs.

Keep in mind that the best products for 1a hair include volumizing shampoo and conditioner as well as lightweight hair gel or hair spray. Stay away from heavy products altogether. 

Styling Tips for 1A Hair 

Ask anyone with 1a hair, and they’ll tell you that the biggest challenge with this hair type is styling those stubbornly straight locks! 

But while styling 1a hair may be difficult, it’s not impossible. Here are the best ways to help you ditch your old ’do and enjoy a new, voluminous hairstyle. 

1. Don’t condition your hair before styling. 

While conditioning your hair regularly is important, it’s best to skip the conditioner if you’re planning to style your hair right after your shower. 

Conditioned hair tends to be more slippery, which means it will have less hold and grip. As a result, it may be extra difficult for you to style your hair. 

2. Apply a protective hair mask before using heat styling tools on your hair. 

You may already know that your hair is prone to heat damage. But curling your hair requires heat. So what can you do? 

Well, you can pre-apply a protective hair mask to your hair before heat styling, which will insulate and shield your delicate strands from the wrath of high heat. 

3. Use a light spray gel or light hair spray to keep your style intact.

Make sure to apply your hair gel or spray from root to end. Don’t go overboard with product use. Just a few spritzes can go a long way. 

You can also try hairspray alternatives like hair paste or mousse if you’re concerned about the harmful effects of hairspray on your delicate locks. 

Doing this will help make your hairstyle last longer and keep your curls in place. 

4. Get a haircut regularly.

Regular trims are beneficial for removing split ends and adding thickness to your hair. 

Best Hairstyles for 1A Hair

Want to add life to your straight hair? Check out our quick overview of the best hairstyles for 1a hair:

Blunt haircut

Yes, a blunt cut will make your hair appear lusher! The uniform ends and clean lines give your strands the illusion of thickness while highlighting your hair’s smooth, fine texture. 

photo of a blonde short-haired woman at a salon having a blunt haircut

Layered haircut

Going for layers can be tricky, but it can help give your hair more volume. It’s best to consult with a hairdresser to help you choose a haircut that gives your tresses more definition and movement.

close up photo of a woman's straight hair with layers


A clean, simple braid will make your hair look fuller. It’ll give you a few lovely curls once you let it out! 

This is also a great option for busy days when you want to look your best but don’t have the time to wash your hair or give your hair a fancy style. 

On special occasions, you can always opt for a braided updo, a French braid, and a wide range of other braided hairstyles. 

photo of a woman with a long half braided hair on a white background

Highlights or balayage

Even subtle contrasts to your natural hair color using highlights or balayage techniques can create the appearance of lush hair and bring flair to your everyday style. 

Make sure not to bleach your hair regularly to prevent damage, however. It’s also a good idea to purchase a color-preserving shampoo and a deep conditioner to keep your hair’s vibrant color fresh for longer. 

close up photo of a woman's blonde hair with highlights

FAQs About Type 1A Hair

Is Type 1A Hair Rare?

Yes! In fact, the 1a hair type is the rarest type of hair. It’s predominantly found in people of Asian descent, although it can be seen in other races as well. 

Most people with straight hair often have type 1b hair, which has more definition and volume. 

Do I Have 1A or 1B Hair?

Take a look at this quick guide below to determine which straight hair type you have:

1A hair1B hair
Straight from root to tipMostly straight with subtle waves in the mid-section and slight bends at the ends
Extremely fine in texture  Mostly fine with a few coarse strands
Lacks volumeHas more volume
Cannot hold curlsCan hold curls
More prone to falling outLess prone to falling out

Can I Curl 1A Hair?

It might be a bit of a challenge, but you can curl 1a hair with the right techniques and products!

Follow these tips below to curl your hair successfully:

  • Choose a curling iron with a one-inch barrel size to ensure tighter curls. 
  • Turn up the heat on your curling iron, but make sure not to go higher than 300°F to avoid damaging your fine hair.
  • Use a light hairspray or hair gel to make your curls last longer. 

Embrace Your Unique Hair Type With the Right 1A Hair Care & Styling Routine

A woman with long brown hair is standing in front of a light gray background.

Remember: straight hair doesn’t have to equal boring. As long as you follow proper hair care for type 1a hair, you can achieve the shiny, healthy, luminous tresses you’ve always wanted. 

Keep in mind that you should always opt for hair products and hairstyles suited to your hair type.

Since your hair is already fine and thin, make sure to opt for volumizing products that enhance your hair’s fullness and emphasize its natural shine. 

Take time to find the techniques that work for you and help you achieve your unique hair goals. This way, you can show off your silky straight locks with full confidence! 

Learn More About Different Hair Types Here:


  • Nicole Serrano

    Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Literature and four years of experience as a freelance writer and editor. Since her college days, she’s been obsessed with all things makeup, fashion, and hair care with a particular fondness for ’70s and ’90s trends.

  • Jessica Hoelscher

    With thirteen years in cosmetology, Jessica Hoelscher is a seasoned stylist recognized for her modern techniques. A graduate of Paul Mitchell the School in St. Louis, her expertise has been showcased on Fox Two News and in People Magazine. Self-employed at Salon Lofts, her work has graced TV screens, styling for renowned events and Ole Miss cheerleaders.

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