What is My Hair Type?

 Types of Naturally Curly Hair

Let us start by quickly looking at the biochemistry and biology at the rear of your oh so lovely naturally curly hair. You’re blessed with possibly curly, wavy or straight hair. The amount of disulfide determines the degree of wave, curl or absence thereof you have. The disulfide ties within the base which is part of your hair shaft. Therefore the higher the linkage number, the curlier your hair, and also the less the amount of links, the straighter your hair.

Tresses are mainly made up of keratin, healthy proteins, which develops within the foillicle of your hair. Keratins, and various proteins, are developed within the cells from the hair follicle. The proteins are a part of the shaft of your hair which consist of sulfur atoms. When there are two sulfur atoms that connect, they create what is called a disulfide relationship. Should the two sulfur atoms within the exact same proteins be far away from each other, and be a component of one another, they make the disulfide relationship, and therefore the protein will fold. This is the way your curls are made.

Andre Walker, Oprah’s very talented hair stylist, spent some time working out a natural hair type system. His system is the first of it’s kind to help define hair textures. This typing method groups numerous hair structure and breaks each hair kind into 4 kinds with additional sub groups. I believe this chart is extremely helpful when figuring out what products are best for your own hair texture. To save you time, we’ve come up with these helpful graphs describing the various kinds of hair textures and some tips on how to maintain them

You’ll learn the different types of curly hair patterns: Types 1,2,3,4 and there subcategories a,b,c. Nevertheless, you have to understand that this method has its own constraints. To begin, most curly head individual have a minimum of 2 various textures of hair on their head, therefore the hair typing system is somewhat limited. Furthermore there are plenty of distinct sub groups that may be put into every one of the curly portions categories that may exceed the basic category that was created. Nevertheless, I do think this chart creation is the best way of classifying hair to this date. Now let’s dig into the different types of hair according to the Andrea Walker System

Hair that is Straight Falls into Category 1.

Straight hair has the most sheen reflection. Out of all the hair types it is the most resilient, and therefore doesn’t damage too easily. It is also the most oily hair texture; due to the fact the natural oil called sebum (produced in the sebaceous glands on the scalp) easily glides from the scalp to the ends without having to deal with curls or kinks.

1A Hair

1A Hair Type

Hair that is Wavy Falls into Category 2.

Wavy Hair is placed somewhere within straight and curly hair. Along with straight hair it also reflects sheen very well. The more along the wavy range you go, the less amount of shine the hair will pass on. Wavy hair generally tends to frizz. Although type A waves can certainly change among straight and curly styles, type B and C Wavy hair is resistant against styling.

2a hair type, 2b hair type, 2c hair type

2a Hair Type           2b Hair Type             2c Hair Type

Tips for Wavy Hair:

  • Stay away from heavy products that will weight the hair down. Use lighter products such as mousses and light gel to enhance your waves.
  • Allow your hair to air dry or use a diffuser
  • To avoid frizz do not use a comb or brush on dry curls
  • Prevent your hair from tangling by sleeping on a pillow case made of satin
  • Keep your fingers out of your waves as well, the more you play in your hair the more it will frizz

Subcategories Are: Type 2a Hair, Type 2b Hair, Type 2c Hair

Hair that is Curly Falls into Category 3.

If you observe a strand of Type 3 Hair, you will notice a very distinctive S form. The S shape can come in the form of a upper case S or a lower case s. In some instances it may even appear to have a sort of Z shape. Nevertheless, there’s a distinctive curl pattern without having products in the hair. Naturally curly hair is very full bodied, and temperamental to weather (humidity equates to frizz), and injury susceptible. Insufficient proper hair products will result in lifeless curls.

Curly hair is very moody. If you use an excessive amount of hair styling product in this type of hair, your results will be no body, greasy appearing curls. If you do not utilize enough hair styling product in this type of hair, your result may be a 80’s afro. The solution for ensuring trouble free, non frizz curls is to use the proper amount of good styling products.

Naturally Curly Hair Types

3a Hair                  3b Hair                    3c Hair

Tips for Curly hair:

  • Use frizz control products for type 3a hair & type 3b hair
  • Allow your hair to air dry or use a diffuser
  • To avoid a frizz do not use a comb or brush on dry hair
  • Sleep on a Satin pillow case to avoid tangling your hair
  • For Type 3c Hairuse butters, oils and styling creams
  • Type 3c hair is more fragile and therefore needs extra moisture and TLC because of its tendency to be fragile
  • For Type 3c Hair use lots of conditioner when detangling and use a large tooth comb or detangling brush

Subcategories: Type 3a Hair ,Type 3b Hair, Type 3c Hair

Hair that is Kinky Falls into Category 4.

Inspite of a lot of misguided beliefs, this firmly coiled curly hair is very fine and delicate. It’s wiry, and fragile naturally. Every single follicle typically has a curl, coil or zig zag design. Kinky locks are the driest hair kind, as a result it is prone to damage and needs a delicate touch. A false impression prevails this hair kind doesn’t grow. Kinky tresses will grow with the identical rate as other texture, nevertheless, if not taken care of appropriately it breaks greater than other textures. Take care of this hair kind just like a fine silk shirt – clean delicately, detangle gently, and steer clear of severe chemical substances.

Type 4A hair is identified as possessing a much more distinct curl structure than subtype 4B hair. It’s not just firmly curled however when extended it will make much more of an S form similar to curly hair.

Type 4B hair is identified as a lesser amount of defined curls in which the hair bends in a Z structure and it has a cotton like feel to it.

And lastly Type 4C hair is considered the most delicate as a result of undefined curls from the hair, and in addition really dry and fragile. Since it is so dry it must be handled delicately rather than brushed by using a bristle brush given it can hook the ends and cause breakage.

Kinky Naturally Curly Hair Types

4a Hair                    4b Hair                     4c Hair

Tips for Kinky Naturally Curly Hair:

  • Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
  • This hair type requires extra moisture content daily
  • Use a rich and creamy, sulfate free, moisturizing cleaner, follow having a extremely moisturizing strengthener, prepare having a rich moisturizer and style having a rich lotion, filled with herbal oils and abundant butters.
  • Search for moisturizing lotions, organic conditioning agents, and spectacular extracts to provide moisture to these tresses.
  • Steer clear of mineral, and petrolatum oil and heavy waxes.
  • Use a satin bonnet, scarf or pillow case to avoid tangling
  • Allow your hair to air dry or use a dry hood
  • Do not use a brush or comb on your dry curls unless you’re going a fro look.
  • Use a lot of conditioner to help detangle your kinky naturally curly hair, and use a large tooth comb

Subcategories are: Type 4a hair, Type 4b hair, Type 4c hair

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  1. my hair is wavey,coarse and kinky. what catogory does that put me in? what products should i use? also i been natural /straight iron for almost a year. not doing the big chop, so far my hair is shoulder lenght. suggestion please.

  2. My hair is coarse and kinky. When it’s wet, my hair have a lot of small s form. And, it does shrink some. It got a little brittle after having two mini strokes. However, it seems to be getting back to the wat it was before the strokes. My hair is natural and I currently wear a curly lace wig similar to my natural curls. I’m going to remove my lace wig but I want to get the right products for my hair type. What is my hair type?

  3. I love my hair

  4. Ok, well now I know, I’m mostly 4 b , with moments of 4c….how do I bring shine and curl definition to this spongy, fine, ziggy, coily hair. It’s shockingg how much shrinkage I
    get! I currently use a delicious shea butter filled with oils sooooo my hair is soft, but dull.

  5. My hair is probably a 4b but its coarse and kinky when my hair is wet I have a Florida Evans bush lol but I am serious what products should I use on my hair? I usually wear my hair in flat twist or 2- strand twist. I need major HELP!! because I want my hair to grow and I feel like its not I have been natural for 2 years and I didnot do a big chop but my hair was cut short b4 I went natural. I just wore braids and weaves until my perm grew out.



    • Well Ashanti due to the waves, curls, and coils of African American hair, oil has a hard time gliding down the strands of our hair and reaching the ends. I recommend putting moisture on the ends of your hair daily. Shea butter is a great moisture sealant for natural hair!

  7. I am in the process of transitioning from a perm. I reluctantly got a perm in the early 80s because the fro was no longer popular and I didn’t want to wear a TWA. I have regretted it since. But recently I’ve noticed that natural styles are in style now and there are products and hair salons that specialize in taking care of natural hair. I finally decided that since I am getting older, I desire to return to my true self and keep my hair as healthy as possible. Going natural helps me do that.

    So far, I have about 6 inches in length with two inches of remaining perm. I have been setting it on small rollers and wearing it like a curly afro. And sometimes, I pull it all back and wear a big afro puff on the top. It seems to be working for me.

  8. I’m in need of some advice. I’ve been natural for a year now and i’m completely lost when it comes to the products i need to us. My hair type is 4c it stays dry, brittle and always gets matted when i wake up the next day after mosturizing it. I’m hoping that the denman brush i ordered will work but i have no idea what products to use to define my curls and soften/shine my hair. Any suggestions?

    • The product I LOVE to use to soften my hair is Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercreme. You may want to consider using a styling gel to help with defining your curls such as Kinky Curly Custard or Eco-Styler. I realized the best style that helps define my curls are twist-outs.

  9. I had a BC on 8th Sept 2012, have been using the Shea butter with olive oil, coconut oil, black castor oil mixture for deep conditioning once weekly, styles my hair in single curls using moisturizers, oils, water etc keeping my hair moist, but when doing my weekly hair washing i am having a lot of breakage, can you give me some advice please I think my hair type is 4a/b. I love my natural hair and would like to keep it healthy and thick.

  10. My hair can look like all 3 types depending on the moisture level,condition, & what I put in it. Sopping wet or damp it has a lot of little penspring curls like 4a,if I let it dry with no product or conditioner it looks like 4b/c. I use Kinky Curly all summer long as my staple & I get a lot of those penspring curls ; my top & crown have larger curls & is softer, while tiny curls are on the sides & feels kinkier & more 4b but still forms curls. My hair is also soft & fine & as a kid I could get away with some oil & braids. With today’s natural hair products, I wouldn’t have to press it at all to have really nice braided/loose styles. Mom didn’t start to press my hair til I was about 6 or 7 & just used a warm comb.What’s my hair type? 4 MINE !!

  11. this site was really helpfull

  12. the site is very interested but I need some information about low and high porosity

  13. levonne blackwell

    i have been wearing my hair natural, for the last ten yrs. I LOVE IT. i also love the freedom it gives me. i would like some ideas on how to keep it soft. its very coarse.

  14. I fall into 3b/3c I dont know what to do with my hair. what should i use when I want to get a a good twist out.

  15. hello! i just found out i have 3c hair but here recently my hair looks more like 3a. i think i need a hair cut, very dry, damaged and i have product build up. i really want my natural curl back id say it was at a 4a. im going to look into doing some protein treatments that you recommended. will the protein and deep conditioning help get rid of the build up i have and bring my natural curl back. i dont straighten my hair out anymore cause i dont want to lose what lil curl i have left. i would great appreciate some help, i want to go all natural i love my short curly hair.

    • Hi Lilly,

      Use a clarifying shampoo at least once a month, or weekly for heavy build-up. This type of shampoo is more acidic than the others so make sure you only use as needed.

  16. Rhonda Phillips

    Much needed information found here. Thank you!

  17. Thanks soooo much,u have helped me,I am now going natural and part of the type 4 hair but I do not know which cartegory I belong to because;when I put water in my hair it’s softer and I have curly in s form at some part and other part looks curly coiled.Please can u tell me my hair cartegory and conditioners best for me,I currently use tresemme naturals silicone free with aloe vera and avocado conditioner.

    • Hey lady! From what you describe your hair is 4a and 4b. Having multiple texture is very common. Most of us have 2-3 combinations of textures.

  18. Hair is very course and can’t find a product that give it a gloss and make it look good and not like hay. Help

    • Hello, a product I just started using and absolutely LOVE the results is Diva Curl. My hair is shinier and healthier than ever! You may also want to try using a clear cellophane to add shine to your hair.

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