hairtyping

Typically when you go natural, one of the first things you try to do is determine your hair type. This can be tricky because we can have multiple hair types and sometimes it’s not as simple as just picking a number and a letter. The hair typing system that we most frequently see today was created by Andre Walker, a celebrity stylist with clients ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Michelle Obama. In the past, hair typing had a negative connotation in the natural hair community and some people used it as a way to separate rather than a means to educate. Who can forget Spike Lee’s School Daze and that infamous Good and Bad Hair scene?  We don’t like to use hair typing as a way to divide the natural hair community because honestly, whether you have curly, coily, or kinky hair, we’re all in this together. We believe that knowing your hair type, as well as your hair porosity, can help when determining what type of products could work best for your natural hair and provide guidance on how you should care for your hair. We understand that all hair is unique, but there are definitely some similarities that exist that will help you throughout your natural hair journey.

 

Find Your Hair Type(s)

hair-type-chart

Type Hair Texture Hair Description Tips
1A – 2C Straight (Fine/Thin) & Wavy Hair We intentionally combined this section and omitted the description. While straight and wavy hair is beautiful, our focus is curly, coily & kinky hair. If you’re interested in tips for these hair types, you can visit the sources for this chart, NaturallyCurly.com & curlmart.com
3A Curly Twirly (Loose Curls) Thick & full with lots of body. Definite “S” pattern. Hair tends to be frizzy. Curls have a circumference the width of a piece of sidewalk chalk. Type 3A hair is usually well defined, big and loose, and it is very sensitive to the weather (much like all curl types). Use a no-poo cleanser, gels and lotions to keep your curls defined even in bad weather.
3B Curly Spirally (Tight Curls) Texture can be coarse and dense. Not as shiny as 3A curls, but more voluminous. Curls have a circumference the width of a Sharpie marker. For Type 3B hair, use products that moisturize and hold your curls. 3B hair is full of different curl patterns, so experiment with different stylers.
3C Curly Coily (Corkscrew Curls or Tight Curls) Curls resemble tight corkscrews and have a circumference the width of a pencil or straw. Curls are finer in texture and strands are packed tightly together Type 3C hair is voluminous with a tight curl pattern and can be very fine. Use cleansing conditioners and thick, moisturizing hair stylers.
4A Coily Springy Has an “S” pattern. Has more moisture than Type 4b coils and a visible curl pattern. Hair can be wiry or fine-textured. It is usually fragile with high density. Curls have a circumference the width close to that of a crochet needle. Type 4A hair has less cuticle layers than type 3 hair, so it’s important to protect it from damage. Co-wash your hair with a cleansing conditioner and seal it with hair butter or milk.
4B Coily Crimpy Strands have a “Z” shape and a less defined curl pattern. Hair is tightly coiled and can feel wiry to the touch. Hair can range from fine and thin to wiry and coarse with many strands packed densely together and can often experiences shrinkage up to 75% of its actual hair length. Type 4B hair is very prone to tangling, so be sure to use a wide tooth comb and a lot of conditioner.
4C Coily Ziggly Hair is composed of strands that will almost never clump without the use of styling techniques. Hair can range from fine, thin, soft to coarse with densely packed strands. Tighter coily hair can shrink more than 75%. Use heavy puddings and creams to help elongate your curls, but be sure to use deep and leave-in conditioners to strengthen your strands as well.

 

@MyNaturalSistas