Determining your hair type can help you find out the best ways to style and care for it. There are four main hair type categories; straight, wavy, curly, and kinky or coiled. For each category, there are three subcategories, and the hair can have varying curl patterns and thicknesses. What works for one hair texture is different for another, some products should be avoided, and others are essential. Are you ready to come on a hair care journey with us? To ensure your hair is strong, nourished, and looking its best, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about hair types.
Types of Hair
You can tell if your hair is straight or curly by looking at it, but did you know that there are 12 types of air? There are several subcategories for each hair texture, helping you identify your hair type and how to care for it and style it. It is important to know your hair type, and there are four hair categories; straight, wavy, curly, and coiled or kinky hair. Each category has three subcategories; A, B, and C.
Type 1: Straight
Type 2: Wavy
Type 3: Curly
Type 4: Coils/Kinky
Hair Type Chart
Type 1 Hair: Straight
Straight hair or type 1 lies flat on the scalp. Straight hair has no curl pattern but can be of varying thicknesses and falls into three categories. The first category, Type 1A, is straight hair that is thin and fine. Type 1B is straight hair that is medium thickness and has some volume. Lastly, category 3 is Type 1C which is coarse and thick and can be styled to create curls or waves. The appeal of straight hair is that it can be easier to brush and often appears glossy and healthy-looking. It is best to use textured sprays when styling straight hair and avoid serums, as the hair texture is often prone to oiliness. For some people, the scalp can produce too much oil, and to counteract this; it is best to avoid washing the hair too often.
1A Hair Type
Straight hair type 1A is the straightest of all straight hair. The hair lies flat on the scalp with this hair texture, and there is no curl or wave pattern. There is little volume, and it can be challenging to style if you want a curly hairstyle. Hair can be thin and fine but also has a gloss to it because this hair type can be oily.
1B Hair Type
Type 1B is the most common hair type. It is the second subcategory for straight hair and is defined by hair that is medium thickness and has some volume. It can hold a curl and is not as flat or thin as type 1A hair.
1C Hair Type
Straight hair type 1C is coarse and thick and has a slight wave pattern to the hair. It still lies flat on the head, but it is easier to style to create curls and waves because it has more hold. Type 1C also has some volume. This hair texture can be prone to frizz.
Type 2 Hair: Wavy
Wavy hair is defined by its S shape. It is one of the most sought-after hair textures because it creates a gorgeous, tousled appearance that can soften the features and be styled in various ways. There are several subcategories of wavy hair, from undefined waves to waves with a more defined shape.
2A Hair Type
2A wavy hair appears straighter than other wavy textures and has only a slight wavy pattern. The hair appears straight at the roots but has a loose wave toward the ends. This hair type is thinner and finer than other wavy categories. The right products are essential to boost volume and focus the eye on the wave pattern, including styling gel and mousse. This hair type is easy to style and will work well with straight or curly hairstyles.
2B Hair Type
2B wavy hair type is the second category and has a more defined natural wavy pattern. The top of the hair can appear straight, with the wave becoming more noticeable from the midpoint. This hair texture can be prone to frizziness. This is the perfect texture for creating beachy waves and soft and romantic hairstyles.
2C Hair Type
2C Hair Type appears thicker and fuller. Unlike the other wavy hair subcategories, 2C hair is wavy from the root and will create a gorgeous, defined wave pattern. The hair will have a noticeable S shape and can be prone to frizziness in humid climates. To counteract the frizz, you can use lightweight mousse. This hair texture looks best when you choose to define the waves.
Type 3 Hair: Curly
Curly hair is defined by hair that has spiral curls. There are three subcategories of curly hair with varying thicknesses and curls appearing loose or tight. Each category has its pros and cons, such as hair being prone to frizz or having great natural texture and volume. The appeal of curly hair is that it can be styled in various ways and can add a softness to the features. It is also flattering on all face shapes and can give you a youthful appearance.
3A Hair Type
Curly 3A Hair Type is the first category, and curls appear looser and less thick. This texture can lay flatter on the scalp than other curly hair types and is less prone to frizz. The curls appear loopy and have a defined S shape; you will not need to use a product to show off the curls. It is important to take care when styling the hair to avoid damaging the curl definition and leaving it down, and avoiding hairstyles that pull at the scalp or hairline is best.
3B Hair Type
Curly 3B Hair Type appears thicker than 3A hair, and the curls are wider and tighter. It is prone to frizz and can be challenging to style, but it is appealing because the hair is voluminous. This hair texture does not lie flat on the scalp. It is not oily and can be prone to dryness, and needs moisture. You must take care to include proper hydration shampoos that are free from silicone and sulfates in your grooming routine. You also want to avoid heat styling.
3C Hair Type
Thick, tight curls define the 3C Hair Type. It is a stunning texture, and hair will appear voluminous and springy. The texture is great for achieving movement, with curls appearing in a corkscrew shape. However, 3C Hair Type can be prone to dryness and frizz and challenging to care for. You want to take care to keep the hair’s natural moisture intact, which can be done with the right shampoos and leave-in conditioners; they should be free from sulfates and silicone. Like with Curly hair 3B Hair Type, you want to minimize heat styling.
Type 4 Hair: Coils/Kinky
Coily or kinky hair has well-defined tight curls or ringlets that are voluminous and full of movement. It is also referred to as Afro-textured hair. The texture appears thick and full but is prone to dryness and frizz, and care needs to be taken when styling it. This hair type needs a lot of moisture and can easily break or get damaged. You can also have multiple curly textures at the same time, for example, different textures on the crown and at the ends. However, identifying your hair texture or textures can help you adequately strengthen and nourish them.
4A Hair Type
4A Hair Type features hair with tight coils that appear springy and full of movement. It is a style that retains its curls when wet or dry, but when styling, it is important to consider shrinkage for when the hair is dry. You need to care for the 4A hair type by ensuring that it is moisturized with conditioning creams and masks. It is important to avoid heat styling, and the hair is best worn loose.
4B Hair Type
4B Hair Type appears in a Z pattern and is less defined than the curly 4A hair. The curls are tighter, and strands can be in varying thicknesses from fine to coarse. This hair texture benefits from curling cream to create a more defined pattern. Care needs to be taken to ensure the hair is properly moisturized to ensure it looks healthy. Using heat styling is damaging and can result in frizz.
4C Hair Type
The last of the coily textures is the 4C Hair Type which is defined by the tightest curls. The hair is coarse and prone to shrinkage. This hair texture needs to be treated delicately because it can easily result in breakage. You also need to ensure that it is moisturized well, as the hair can easily become dry and damaged; this can be done with leave-in conditioners, hair masks, and coconut oil. There is still much versatility in how you style your hair, and you can embrace the volume, creating styles that are big, fun, and demand attention.
Hair porosity refers to your hair’s ability to soak up moisture. Porosity is measured in three sections; low, medium, and high. For low porosity, hair has tightly bound cuticles, and it is difficult for moisture to penetrate the strands. In contrast, hair with high porosity has holes on its surface, making the absorption easy, although it can be challenging to retain moisture. Hair can also be prone to frizz if it draws moisture from the hair. If you are unsure of your hair porosity, there is a simple test to determine this.
The Float Test
The Float test is a way to determine your hair porosity. This is done by placing a few strands of hair into a bowl of warm water. You will then wait a few minutes before looking at the hair and examining whether it is floating or sinking. If the hair floats, it has low porosity, and if it sinks, it has high porosity.
If you have low porosity, it is challenging for your hair to soak up moisture. The hair has a tightly bound cuticle layer that prevents absorption. In addition to the float test, which will see the hair floating on the surface, you will also find that it is not quick-drying and stays wet for a long time when the hair is wet.
Medium to Normal Porosity
When conducting the float test, if your hair still floats but not on the surface, you most likely have medium to normal porosity. This means that the absorption of the hair falls somewhere between low and high porosity. This is the ideal porosity because moisture can penetrate the hair easily but is also retained.
High Porosity hair has gaps and holes in it and absorbs moisture quickly. With the float test, you will see your strands reaching the bottom of the bowl quickly. This is both good and bad. The con to highly porous hair is that it is prone to frizz and dryness. It can be challenging to care for, easily tangles, and is prone to breakage. If you live in a humid climate, the hair will also absorb the moisture from the air. The good news is that porous hair can also absorb products like moisturizers which nourish and strengthen the hair.
Hair Types FAQs
What are the 4 types of hair?
The four hair types are straight, wavy, curly, and coiled or kinky. These four categories each have three subcategories that detail the curl pattern, or lack thereof, and the hair thickness.
How do I identify my hair type?
Identifying your hair type is done by knowing each hair type and what defines them. There are 12 types in total, with four main categories. These are straight, wavy, curly, and coiled or kinky. You can also determine your hair's porosity to learn how to better care for it. This can be done with a float test.
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