All You Need to Know About Hair Types

curly hair type

All You Need to Know About Hair Types

When it comes to researching different hair types, you’ll find yourself falling into a deep rabbit hole of various terms like hair texture, curl pattern, or hair thickness. With that mountain of information thrown your way, you could find yourself extremely overwhelmed.

Don’t worry, though, as we’ve got you covered with all the information you need to know about hair types and how to take care of your luscious strands, whether you have straight, wavy, curly, or coily hair! So read on.

Different Hair Types

The first step to understanding your hair texture is to put it into a certain category, each of which has three subtypes. Below is a hair typing system that’ll work without fail.

1. Straight Hair

straight hair

Straight hair seems like the easiest hair structure to understand, but you might be surprised to find out that there are three straight hair types out there.

1A Hair Type

This type has beautiful strands that are completely straight without exhibiting any defined pattern, even in a humid climate. Men and women with this type have extremely fine hair that isn’t prone to frizz in humid climates and maintains its shine at all times.

Blow drying 1a hair won’t cause frizz; however, due to how fine this hair is, people with this hair type will experience hair loss more often than not.

1B Hair Type

While 1b hair is a straight hair type, it appears more voluminous than the previous type due to the hair’s ability to form some soft bends. This hair has a medium texture; it’s a bit thicker and can be a bit coarser than the 1a type, but not to the point of creating a wave or curl pattern.

People with this hair type will find it easier to style their hair, but, on the other hand, this hair can lose its healthy shine.

Additionally, styling products can build up, causing the hair strands to be remarkably greasy. This will hinder your journey of achieving healthy hair without using the correct products.

1C Hair Type

Being on the coarser side, the 1c will be more prone to frizzOpens in a new tab. than the previous two types. Unfortunately, it can also become incredibly dry or frizzy in humidity, which is why people with this hair type must be generous with anti-humidity products and hair masks.

The hair shaft for this gorgeous type of hair is coarse, giving the illusion of a luxurious mane, even if your 1c hair type isn’t dense. It’s also easier to style, as it might have a bit of a wavy pattern. Some people with this hair type have high hair porosity, which can also be a great contributing factor to poofiness and frizz.

2. Wavy Hair

wavy hair

Among all hair types, wavy hair is perhaps the hardest to identify. In fact, a lot of wavy-haired men and women mistake their wavy hair for straight hair.

Now, let’s tell you how to tell which wavy hair type you have:

2A Hair Type

As is the case with the 1a hair type, this hair type is fine and flat; thus, it could be easily disguised as straight hair. However, when dry (and with no product on), you’ll be able to see the tousled texture. From root and to about eye level, you’ll find the straight hair pattern; below that, you’ll spot gorgeous s-shaped waves.

If you blow dry these s-shape wavesOpens in a new tab., you could easily straighten the hair. Nonetheless, many prefer to avoid heat styling and preserve their curl pattern. If that’s the case for you, you can use a lightweight leave-in conditioner or sea-salt sprays to get your wavy tresses into shape.

2B Hair Type

The 2b hair type boasts a more defined s shape pattern; it’s bouncier, with shiny ringlets and a loose wave pattern. This hair type will look flat from the roots and around the face, and then it’ll start to feature a gorgeous, more defined natural wave toward the hair ends.

Since the hair cuticle is coarser, the hair tends to look thicker, more voluminous, and luscious. However, people with this hair will also tend to experience frizz and flyaways due to the hair’s porosity. It’s also harder to straighten, so if you have straight hair that becomes frizzy after heat styling, you probably have 2b wavy hair in disguise!

2C Hair Type

This hair type has coarse strands; therefore, you’ll find the lustrous type 2 wavy hair shape more pronounced from roots to ends. Due to how acutely defined this type of hair is, a lot of people might mistake your mane for curly hair, but if you look closely, you’ll see that the hair structure is looser than that of other curly hair types.

This hair texture promotes sleek curls and shiny ringlets, so you’ll experience minimal frizz compared to the 2a and 2b hair types. You’ll also exert less effort to whip your elegant waves into shape!

3. Curly Hair

3a hair
Photo: Jonas Svidras @ STEP.CAMERA

There’s no mistaking the type 3 curly hair once you see it. The corkscrew curls and sharpie-marker-sized ringlets are easy to identify, bouncy, and beautiful! However, to do the correct styling process, you need to know which curly type you have.

3A Hair Type

These illustrious curls have z or s-shaped loose curls, and they lean toward looking more tousled than defined due to the fine nature of the cuticle for this hair texture. Sometimes, due to its lack of volume and loose curls, it can hold a bit of a wave pattern.

The circumference of these s-shaped curls is nearly identical to that of sidewalk chalk and, as mentioned above, lacks volume. 3a curls are easy to style, but don’t overwhelm your fine strands with creamy products meant for coarser curl textures; instead, opt for lighter, hydrating ones.

3B Hair Type

The 3b curls feature tight locks, springy ringlets, and high shrinkage once they’re dry. The hair texture is coarser than the 3a type of hair. And its circumference is as tight as a candlestick, though some people might have tighter curls along with their 3b curls.

People with this type of hair might experience dry hair, so moisturizing leave-in conditioners, particularly during the summer, is the optimal solution to retain moisture. Also, gentle, non-stripping shampoos work well with this hair type. When it comes to how you style your hair, avoid using heat tools, as they can cause frizz, hair loss, and even breakage.

3C Hair Type

Being one of the most voluminous types of hair, the beautiful 3c hair type sports tight ringlets that have a circumference of a pencil. This hair type is coarse, dense, and luscious, and its natural beauty shines best when more moisture is added to its routine.

Your 3c curls spring more than the 3b curls, so you’ll experience more shrinkage. Although this type is medium to coarse, it’s also delicate and needs to absorb moisture. This is because the natural oils don’t travel along the tight curls due to their shape, so this hair type is rather dry. Be sure to use a thick-textured leave-in conditioner and avoid heat styling tools like blow dryers.

4. Coily Hair

coily hair

As you go down the hair type chart, you’ll find the coily hair types. Most African American women wear this hair with flair and style almost unmatched by other hair types due to how voluminous, spongy, and springy this hair type is.

4A Hair Type

With s-shaped coils that are the size of a crochet needle, this unique hair type is beautiful in its natural state; however, it’s also prone to dryness and frizz. The natural oils produced by the scalp don’t travel that far into the hair cuticle, so moisturizing conditioning treatments that contain shea butter or coconut oil are your new best friends.

The corkscrew shape of this luscious hair is best preserved by not brushing it out, but you can loosen your 4a coily hair to get 3c ringlets. However, they’ll lose some of their definition. And since your hair is fine, it’ll be extremely fragile. Raking a brush through the tight coils will cause extreme breakage.

4B Hair Type

As we go further into the hair typing system, you’ll find that natural curls and coils could change into a beautifully defined zigzag pattern. Some men and women with 4b hair type have both tight ringlets and zigzags, all beautifully structured into one mane!

Due to how pronounced (and coarse) the coils of this hair type are, your hair care routine should involve more moisturizing products, like curl refresher with moisturizing ingredients or moisture serum. Since sebum will also sit on your scalp rather than travel down your coils, make sure to carefully cleanse your scalp with a sulfate-free shampoo.

4C Hair Type

Being one of the most coily and coarse types on the hair type chart, the 4c hair type is marked with tight, almost micro coils that are super springy. Sometimes shrinkage for the 4c hair folks could reach up to 70%, so stretching a few strands of this hair type into their full length is simply dazzling.

Similar to the previous two types, the 4c hair struggles with sebum traveling to the ends of the hair, so it’s also prone to dryness, and moisture is the ultimate salve for this problem. Make sure to steer clear of chemical treatments and heat styling tools; your hair texture is coarse but also extremely fragile and needs love and care to maintain its curl pattern.

How to Take Care of Your Hair

Whether you have straight, wavy, curly, coily, or a combination of two types, proper hair care will retain your mane health and help you rock these beautiful tresses! Here are some factors you need to keep in mind as you shop for hair products.

Porosity

No matter your hair texture or type, it’s important to know how porous your strands are. If you take a few hairs and put them in a glass filled with water, you’ll have one of these three results:

  • The hair floats
  • The hair sinks to the bottom of the glass
  • The hair remains somewhat in the middle

The first result means that you have a low porosity hair, the second normal porosity, and the third high porosity.

Porous hair can absorb products almost like a sponge but can also lose moisture as easily, so locking in the moisture with oils, gels, and serums for high porosity hair is paramount.

For medium to low porosity hair, you’ll need to open up the few pores in your hair cuticle using heat, so shower caps or hot towels can help as you apply deep treatments.

Protein Level

Hair is made up of proteins, so no matter how much your hair loves or hates it, you need to have at least one product with protein content in it. There are a few telling signs that your hair needs protein. Here are some of them:

  • Your hair is limp
  • Your hair is sticky
  • Your hair lacks elasticity

If you notice any of these signs, you might be experiencing protein deficiency. You’ll need a good protein treatment that contains silk protein, Quinoa proteins, wheat keratin amino acids, almond milk, or hydrolyzed collagen.

Density

While this might seem obvious, many people factor in their hair density. Combined with hair porosity, hair density might very well affect the number of products you need as well as the type of hair products.

For example, if your hair is both dense and porous, you’ll need a heavy, creamy curling cream for full coverage and a sealing product, such as oil or gel.

Conversely, if you have high porosity hair with low density, you’ll need to reduce the number of curling creams or conditioners, but keep using your sealing products.

Processed Hair

Many women process their hair without realizing that chemical treatments could affect some factors above, like hair porosity and protein levels. Bleached hair, for instance, might be more porous than it previously was, so it’ll tend to lose moisture more than it previously did. This can affect your choice of products.

Final Thoughts

After going through these types, we hope that you find the best hair care routine for your gorgeous mane! Remember that not every hair falls strictly into one type and that you could have a combination of curls and coils on your beautiful head!

Lastly, take note of factors such as hair porosity, protein, and moisture. By understanding what your hair needs, your gorgeous tresses will look shiny in their optimal form!

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