Knowing about the different natural hair types is really important and can help you better care for your natural hair!
Natural Hair Types: All You Need To Know!
Determining your hair type is a starting point for finding the right products and styles for your hair.
This curl type system focuses on types 2 (wavy), types 3 (curly) and types 4 (coily). The subclassifications – from A to C – are based upon the diameter of the wave, curl or coil.
Our hair type system, modeled after famous stylist Andre Walker’s definitions of hair types, details the different hair types found within the broader curly hair description.
Our goal here is to help clear up any confusion so you can not only know your hair type, but find the best products that work for your unique hair model, and embrace it.
Note: you may not fit totally into one category or subcategory. You may obtain a combination of various hair types on your head. That’s totally normal.
We hope this guide will help you embrace the natural beauty of your hair type and maybe even give you some new insight on what products work best for your single hair type.
It’s quite common for us to have more than one texture in our hair. Your edges may be 4b while the majority of your hair is 4a type.
Or you may have 4a hair with some 3c strands for example. Remember no two heads of hair are comparable.
Hair type systems are good for learning about your hair or what could potentially be best for it, but they are by no means an absolute standard.
Andre Walker’s Hair Classification System
|Type #||Hair Texture||Hair Description|
|1a||Straight (Fine/Thin)||Very Soft, Shiny, Hard to hold a curl, hair tends to be oily, hard to damage.|
|1b||Straight (Medium)||Has lots of body. (i.e. more volume, more full)|
|1c||Straight (Coarse)||Hard to curl. (i.e. bone straight) Most Asian women fall into this category.|
|2a||Wavy (Fine/Thin)||Can accomplish various styles. Definite “S” pattern. Hair sticks close to the head.|
|2b||Wavy (Medium)||A bit resistant to styling. Hair tends to be frizzy.|
|2c||Wavy (Coarse)||Hair has thicker waves. Also resistant to styling. Hair tends to be frizzy.|
|3a||Curly (Loose Curls)||Thick & full with lots of body. Definite “S” pattern. Hair tends to be frizzy. Can have a combination texture.|
|3b||Curly (Tight Curls)||Medium amount of curl. Can have a combination texture.|
|3c||Curly (Tight Curls or Corkscrews)||Tight curls in corkscrews. The curls can be either kinky, or very tightly curled, with lots and lots of strands densely packed together.|
|4a||Kinky (Soft)||Tightly coiled. Very Fragile. Has a more defined curly pattern|
|4b||Kinky (Wiry)||Tightly coiled. Very Fragile. Less defined curly pattern. Has more of a “Z” shaped pattern.|
4a hair has a defined curl pattern almost like a “s” shape. Generally speaking it retains moisture fairly well, but as with most curly hair types can still be prone to dryness. Being that this hair type has a naturally defined curl pattern wash n’ go styles may be a great option as it can be easily achieved with the right product and technique.
4b hair has a “z” shape pattern and has a more fluffy cottony appearance. Due to the bends and curves in the hair strand, it is highly susceptible to dryness and breakage. This hair type shrinks up to 70% so without stretching out the hair it will appear shorter than it actually is.
4c hair looks similar to 4b hair type only it is more tightly coiled. In its raw state (no products added and freshly washed) it does not have a defined curl pattern. Coils have to be defined by either twisting, braiding, or shingling through the strands. Many 4c naturals have shrinkage up to 70% or more.
3a hair has well defined loopy curls. It may be prone to frizz, so it is best to use light products that will give you a nice hold. To avoid dryness for daily cleansing of the hair try cleansing your hair with conditioner only.
3b hair curls are well defined with less space between each bend and curve than 3a hair. The texture may be coarse and dense. To prevent buildup use light products and use cleansers that are sulfate free and silicone free.
3c hair as a defined corkscrew shape and has the smallest space between the bends in the hair strand of all the type 3 hair types. Avoid heat use when possible by instead using stretching techniques: braids, twists or bunning your hair. Cleanse and deep condition once per week and moisturize often.
WAVY HAIR STYLING TIP: Because wavy hair is more prone to frizz, anti frizz/humidity protective stylers are key for creating and keeping gorgeous waves.
CURLY HAIR STYLING TIP: Curly hair is the most temperamental hair type If you apply too much styling product= weighed down/greasy looking curls, apply too little styling product = Diana Ross’s 80’s afro! The key to guaranteeing effortless, frizz free curls is proper styling product application. Always start with a fresh, clean palette on day #1. Cleanse, Condition, Moisturize, then apply your styling product of choice, following the recommended CURLS product application technique.
KINKY HAIR CARE TIP: Because kinky hair is dry by nature, and therefore breaks easily, it needs added moisture, daily. Dry hair breaks…well moisturized hair is supple and has elasticity. The key to keeping these natural locks healthy, shiny, and beautiful is to moisturize every step of the way. Start with a creamy, sulfate free, moisturizing cleanser, follow suit with a super hydrating conditioner, prep with a rich moisturizer and style with a rich cream, full of natural oils and rich butters. Look for moisturizing humectants, natural conditioning agents, and exotic extracts to add moisture to these locks. Avoid mineral, and petrolatum oil and heavy waxes.
What to read next? I’ve got you, girl!
- Why Sealing Natural Hair Is Game-Changer For Your Hair Moisture!
- How To Moisturize And Seal Natural Hair Like A Pro
- Natural Hair Growth Tips For Beginners
- Why Trimming Natural Hair Is Key To Your Hair Growth!
Xo, The Natural Hair Lover