Coarse Hair: How to Make It Soft, Shiny, and Healthy!


It’s often confusing as to what coarse hair stands for. Is it a problem that needs correction? Maybe a condition waiting to be relieved?

The answer is no; coarse hair is the result of nature and genetics.

However, it requires a specific hair care routine to avoid dry hair strands, frizziness and split ends. As with all hair types, proper care is essential!

Below we will cover all you need to know about coarse hair: tips, types, tricks, and treatments. Big and shiny volumized hair will be just around the corner!

P.S. Important styling tips are included as well!

What Does Coarse Hair Stand For?

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Coarse hair is the type of hair whose strands are larger and thicker than average in diameter. They contain all three layers of the hair shaft – medulla, cortex, and cuticle, unlike medium or fine hair. Thanks to that, coarse strands have an advantage – they will appear healthier and stronger!

Many ethnicities share this natural type of hair texture. So, your hair might be straight, wavy, curly, or coiled but with strands that are defined as coarse.

Do You Have Coarse Hair?

Do this easy check-up to determine your hair type. Take one strand and start rolling it between your fingers. If it feels thick between the fingertips, you most likely fall in the coarse end of the hair spectrum. Also, thick coarse hair is typically wider than a sewing thread. So, take one and start comparing!

Note: If your hair wasn’t naturally coarse before, it could become over time. That could be a side effect of some prescription drugs (steroids, hair growth medications), hormone imbalance, or thyroid condition.

Thick Hair vs. Coarse Hair?

There is a difference!

Although many people mistake them for the same thing, thick hair and coarse hair describe different aspects of the hair structure.

  • Thick hair is a term used to describe the density of hair follicles on the scalp.
  • Coarse hair describes the size (thickness) of each individual hair strand.

Everyone has a unique combination of density and texture. Therefore it’s possible to have coarse hair and thick hair and coarse hair and sparse hair!

How to Properly Nurture Coarse Hair?

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Knowing how to care for your hair properly, no matter the type (although thick, coarse hair is more on the stubborn side), is not an easy task. All hair types tend to have a will of their own!

However, there are a few steps that will make your life a bit easier. Try them out, and design a unique hair care routine that will make your coarse hair soft and beautiful!

First thing first, learn which products are suitable for your hair type!

Embrace Good Alcohols, and Avoid Bad Ones!

Alcohol is usually a big no when it comes to treating coarse hair. It tends to dry it out and leave it flat and brittle.

But not everything is as bad as it seems. Try using vegetable-derived alcohol such as Cetearyl Alcohol or Stearyl Alcohol that mimics the body’s natural lipids and helps the hair stay soft and nurtured. They are highly beneficial to both the hair shaft and strands.

Use Conditioning Creams

Pick products that have high conditioning properties. Conditioners, serums, and creams are classified as moisturizing products that help seal in moisture, fight frizz, and prevent breakage.

This is highly important for those with curly hair, as it’s prone to dryness and frizziness. A conditioner with coconut, avocado oil, and even lavender oil (known to improve hair growth!) will do wonders as it penetrates deep into the hair shaft, giving hair a smooth look.

Try Deep-Conditioning Hair Masks and Hot Oil Treatment

Naturally, coarse hair has strands that are by all means thick! Therefore you need to boost your routine from time to time and try products containing nourishing ingredients in richer concentrations, such as masks and oils.

Whether you have straight hair, curly, or coil, a deep-conditioning hair mask will help your natural hair regain its shine.

As for the hot oil treatment, try using it once a week. Those with dehydrated and damaged hair can double that to twice a week. Also, if you want to soften coarse hair, this is your go-to way!

Tip: Apply the oil to your damp hair, and wear a shower cap for about 20 minutes to ensure your hair soaks up all the juicy nutrients and extra moisture.

Co-washing: The Path to Healthy Hair!

Simply use a conditioner-only washing, no shampoo is required! This 2-in-1 wisdom will help you rinse the dirt while keeping the hair moisturized.

Thick, coarse hair tends to become dry more quickly. Therefore a traditional shampoo is probably something you’d want to avoid.

Instead, try co-washing – apply hair serum or oil (avocado, coconut, jojoba) on the ends and the middle of the hair while avoiding the scalp area. This will help you keep the hair’s natural oils!

Keep the Hair and Body Healthy!

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Thick, coarse hair requires special treatment! This is the harsh truth. However, if your hair type is also curly or tightly curled, you do have to go the extra mile to ensure you don’t have any breakage, split ends, or frizziness.

We covered three essential hair tips to help you boost the overall look of your hair.

  1. Sleep on a silk pillowcase – Pure silk will stop the frizz and reduce split ends, thanks to the non-friction factor! It’s also good when combating dry scalp and ends.
  2. Trim your hair regularly – Thick, coarse hair can get easily damaged from a variety of hot tools, blow dryers, and harsh chemicals found in most hair dyes and other hair products. Therefore trim your hair every 8-10 weeks to keep it fresh and healthy. This applies to all hair types!
  3. Boost the vitamins – Foods such as lemons, spinach, chia seeds, whole grains, tomatoes, and coconut oil are rich in vitamins and vital to overall body health and hair health. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, which boosts blood circulation to the hair follicles and scalp!

Most Common Coarse Hair Problems and Concerns

Dry hair and frizzy hair are undeniably the top two coarse hair problems! However, if you want your thick, coarse hair to remain rich and big, try implementing the following tips.

Dry Hair Solutions

As said above, coarse hair contains the medulla, cortex, and cuticle. A combination that makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate deeply into the hair. Hence, coarse hair can easily lose its natural oils and natural texture and become dry and brittle.

To prevent that, give your hair time to air dry. In other words, avoid blow drying since too much heat will literally blow the moisture out of your hair. Instead, it’s best your coarse hair dries naturally.

However, consider using a heat protectant if you need to blow dry!

Also, add leave-in conditioning creams (no rinsing required) to your regular hair care routine.

Finally, don’t forget to use a hair mask rich in oils and vitamins! Look for one containing shea butter, which is known to reduce dryness (it will also penetrate the hair shaft in no time)!

Frizzy Hair Solutions

If you have thick, coarse hair and curly hair, then you know all about frizzy problems. They are annoying and make it impossible for us to style coarse hair to our liking!

Overwashing, over-processing, and over-brushing are a big NO! Also, remember that humidity can increase the frizz, which I’m sure you don’t want!

To prevent frizz, avoid overusing heat-styling tools; buy pure silk instead of cotton pillowcases, and brush your hair with a flat or round brush.

Although sometimes you can’t fight it because of the weather, friction, and humidity, it’s possible to minimize it to a certain level!

Styling Notes for Coarse Hair

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With coarse hair, it’s all about preserving the natural oil of the hair. From picking a shampoo to choosing the perfect brush, you must consider keeping those thick strands healthy.

When styling your hair, make sure to avoid over-brushing! Nylon bristles are a coarse hair best friend. When blow-drying your hair, go for a round brush to get that extra volume. For emergencies, always have a flat brush packed in your purse since it’s the most versatile one. Those with tight curls and coarse hair will primarily benefit from using a sturdy wide-tooth wooden brush – it will help you minimize frizz and keep the curls bouncy!

As for styling products and tools, try to avoid straighteners and other hot tools. Trust me; you can easily achieve a sleek look with a hairdryer (don’t forget heat protection!).

Since you do have thicker hair be free to experiment with braids – fishtail braids, french braids, and twists will look amazing on your thick, coarse hair! Ponytails and buns will also seem fuller, thanks to your natural hair!

Do, however, avoid blunt lines and try adding sleek, framing ones. Of course, that goes for all coarse hair types!

Final Words

Coarse hair is a gift! You need to embrace your thick and strong strands and understand the potential they give you. A luxurious, voluminous look is something you can easily achieve.

Thick, coarse hair is hair to be envious of! However, to ensure it reaches its highest potential, say no to drying ingredients, avoid using a traditional shampoo with sulfates and parabens, and embrace a healthy, nutritious diet.

It’s yours to take care of and yours to love! So, learn how to take care of your coarse hair properly, and you will see it bloom in no time!

Paulina Romain

Paulina Romain is an entrepreneur and artist in the beauty industry. She is the founder and owner of The Art of Ink Studio, where she provides services such as permanent cosmetics, microblading, and artistic ink, focusing on personalized body art. Additionally, she owns Mill Pond Salon, through which she aims to deliver big-city salon services in the comfort of a small town. Apart from her hands-on work in her studios, Paulina Romain is also active on social media platforms like TikTok, where she showcases her fine line and cosmetic tattoo work. Furthermore, she's been in the salon and beauty industry for over 14 years and operates Team True Beauty with Sam Romain. This platform includes a blog on various beauty-related topics and marks the opening of two beauty brands by the couple.

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