Determining your natural hair type can seem a little confusing and stressful, especially if you have noticed more than one type of curl on your head. Is knowing your natural hair type important? Yes, it is.
Your natural hair type helps you determine what product is best for your hair growth and which is not and also helps you understand fundamental hair issues like why is my natural hair dry?. The best system for classifying your natural hair type is Andre Walker’s hair typing system.
Andre walker’s hair typing system was created in the 1900s by Andre Walker, who is Oprah Winfrey’s hairstylist. The classification system was initially made for Andre’s hair care product but has since been used widely as a natural hair Classification system.
Although there has been a lot of criticism and debate on the hair typing system, regardless of the criticism, the hair typing system has been found to help determine natural hair type for a lot of people.
What Does Hair Type mean?
Hair type is the curl structure that is in each strand that makes up the hair on your head. Your hair curl is dependent on your hair follicle.
According to the hair typing system, there are 4 major hair types
- Type 1- straight.
- Type 2- wavy.
- Type 3- curly.
- Type 4- kinky.
However, they come with subsections A-C each.
1. Type 1 Natural Hair (Straight)
Type 1 natural hair is the most straight hair type. The straight hair follicle allows oil, to go through from the scalp to its strands easily, which makes it shiny and oily.
If your hair type is 1, then you have to be mindful of the product you buy, this is because getting a product with more oil can add extra oil to the hair and that may not be good for your hair.
Also, washing the hair often may cause the scalp to produce more oil than required. Type 1 hair falls into 3 categories; 1a, 1b, and 1c.
1. Type 1A Natural Hair
The 1A hair is extremely straight and almost has nobody, it is most common among Asian women, and otherwise, it is the rarest. It lacks curls whatsoever, and falls straight from the root to the tip. The beauty of type 1a hair is that it stays shiny and this is a result of the oil that easily goes through the hair strands.
2. Type 1B Natural Hair
Type 1b hair is known to have some more body than the type 1a, it holds a little curl and that is what differentiates it from the type 1a. It has slight bends, that are not so visible but a straight tip. The 1B hair is thick in volume and with a medium texture.
3. Type 1C Natural Hair
Type 1C hair is generally straight but has a body, it is also known to have little bends, and a little curl at the base. Of the three subsections of type 1, type 1C is the thickest and coarse, it is also very prone to frizziness. Because of its thickness, it can be difficult to maintain. Oils like almond and coconut oil are great to help keep the frizz down.
2. Type 2 Natural Hair (Wavy)
Type 2 hair is the naturally wavy hair type, when you see hair that has the S shape, you know it is type 2. It has a gently rough texture, if your hair is type 2 based on our description, then you should steer clear from heavy products and only use light products that can hydrate and hold your waves.
1. Type 2A Natural Hair
The type 2A hair type comes in a loose form with a slight bend, it is like a long S and sometimes resembles a C when it is wet. It also falls in between straight and curly and sometimes can be mistaken for type 1c. It is the least frizzy and can be easily weighed down, however, it is best to keep heavy hair products away from type 2a hair.
2. Type 2B Natural Hair
If your hair is flat, straight from your head, and gets wavy towards the end, then you have the 2b hair type. Type 2b hair has more visible S shape strands, unlike type 2a hair. We can also say it resembles the beach-like waves but in a loose form. The type 2b hair tends to tangle and can lead to split ends and other damages.
3. Type 2C Natural Hair
The 2c hair has the clearest wavy pattern, of all the type 2 hair. It forms a spiral-like curl from the root to the end. It is the most coarse and the thickest of the three types. It can be hard to style and prone to frizz. It is important to use gentle shampoo and conditioner that will hydrate your hair.
3. Type 3 Natural Hair (Curly)
Type 3 hair is curly and has a more defined S shape. It comes in a range of loose ringlets to tight spirals. Unlike wavy hair, it tends to get dryer and hence, may require a strong hydrating product to hold its curls. Deep conditioning is highly recommended for people with this hair type or your hair may get frizzy.
1. Type 3A Natural Hair
The type 3a hair type comes in a loose ringlet form and a thick texture, they’re easily defined and you do not have to use products to get the curls out.
The use of heavy products can get it weighed down. Like the 2c hair, the 3a hair type tends to tangle, this is because of the pattern of the curls, and this can lead to split ends and other damages.
If you have the 3a hair, you will need to deep condition your hair 2-5 times a month, to keep the moisture locked in.
2. Type 3B Natural Hair
Type 3B has spiraled curls, the hair type is defined but tighter than the 3a and does not require any form of products or manipulation.
Most half-black women have type 3b natural hair. However, they can get frizzy without the use of products. The 3b hair needs a lot of moisture, hence you need to keep the hair hydrated and moisturized.
3. Type 3C Natural Hair
This hair type carries a tighter curl and is more spiraled than type 3b. The hair type comes in a thick texture and it may be hard to separate its stands because they’re close together.
They’re moderately defined, however, you may require a few products or manipulation to get your curls to be evenly defined. Of all the type 3 categories, they’re the most prone to frizz.
4. Type 4 Natural Hair (Kinky)
The type 4 hair is coily and kinky/tightly curled. This hair type has the same shape whether dry or wet. The textured pattern of the hair makes it difficult for the natural oil produced by the scalp to go deep into the hair shaft.
This hair type tends to dry out easily and look dull. The major challenges with type 4 natural hair are getting the scalp moisturized and keeping it shiny.
1. Type 4A Natural Hair
The 4a natural hair type is curly and takes a cylindrical curl, the hair is spiral and takes the width of a pencil, unlike the 3c hair. It comes in a fine and soft texture.
The 4a natural hair type tends to shrink down to less than half its length, when it is dry, it is the most defined among the type 4 hair category. The 4a hair is prone to dryness and damage, especially if you live in a hot climate. You need to constantly moisturize to keep it healthy.
2. Type 4B Natural Hair
Type 4b comes in tighter curls and a z shaped kink pattern. It is coarse and tends to shrink to below 70% of the normal length. It can be hard to separate type 4b from 4c. However, unlike 4c, the 4b hair type is clearly defined. Like all type 4 hair, the 4b can get dry and frizzy. It requires a tangible amount of moisture to keep the hair healthy.
3. Type 4C Natural Hair
Type 4C is tightly coiled and comes in an S or Z shape, and it’s mostly not defined. It is seen as the kinkiest of all hair types.
Among the type 4 hair, the 4C hair tends to shrink the most, its texture can range from fine to coarse. The 4C hair also tends to dry out and look dull. If you have 4C hair, you may need to deep condition your hair regularly and moisturize it to keep the shine.
Wrapping it up
Knowing your hair type will save you from trying out so many products before getting the right one for you, chances are the products you’ve used may cause more harm to your hair if they’re not meant for your hair type.
You can identify your hair type best when your hair is wet. If you do not find your hair type here. It’s fine, some people have more than one hair type and it can be hard to place them somewhere.
The most important thing is to identify your hair type and how to take care of them. Regardless of what hair type you have; kink, wavy, curly, straight, your hair is beautiful.