If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been blessed with a gorgeous head of curls, coils, kinks, or waves – and that’s something to celebrate! But before you can achieve your hair goals, you need to be able to identify your natural hair type from the hair types
Don’t worry – it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Think of it like a hair personality test. Once you figure out what makes your hair tick, you’ll be able to tailor your hair care routine to suit its unique needs.
Plus, you’ll finally have an excuse to spend hours scrolling through Instagram looking for hair inspiration (as if you needed one). So, grab a cup of tea, put on your comfiest sweatpants, and let’s dive into the wonderful world of natural hair types!
What is Natural Hair?
Natural hair is hair that has not been chemically modified or heat-treated to alter its natural texture. Natural hair is diverse and beautiful, with a variety of hair types, with different textures, densities, porosities, and elasticities. Natural hair comes in a variety of colors and lengths and can be straight, wavy, curly, or coily.
It is critical to acknowledge and value the uniqueness of natural hair since it reflects the beauty and individuality of those who wear it. Understanding and enjoying natural hair can boost self-esteem, cultural pride, and promote good hair care practices.
Everyone who cares about their hair desires healthy hair, we’re sure. This is why so many individuals devote so much time, money, and effort to hair care. Despite their efforts, many people fail to maintain their hair because they channel their energy in the wrong direction. Before using hair care remedies or applying hair products, ask yourself, “What hair am I working with?”
The “Know Your Natural Hair” series will assist you in determining the answer to this question. The series comprises of three pieces designed to assist you in understanding your (I) hair type, (ii) hair porosity, and (iii) hair density. Let’s get started on determining your hair type.
And if you’re curious about your hair density or elasticity, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered in this article.
What Are Hair Types?
Simply put, your hair type refers to your hair’s curl pattern; that is, the shape of your hair. People across races have different curl patterns ranging from no curls at all to kinky hair. Hairs are unique, so some people have a combination of two different hair types.
There are 4 hair types that are categorized into types 1, 2, 3, and 4 and further subcategorized into A, B, and C
Your hair type is determined by different factors. One of such factor is genetics. We inherited some hair features from our parents as we did a lot of other things. Some of the inherited genes could be recessive, which means they’re not visible in the parent. For instance, one may inherit coily hair from a parent with curly hair.
Another factor that determines your hair type is the shape of your hair follicle. According to Healthline, people with straight hair have circular follicles while people with curly hair have oval follicles.
Why Should You Know Your Hair Type?
You need to know your hair type because it helps you understand your hair and its specific needs. When you know your hair type, you can get the right products and care for your hair. Not all products and tools go for all hair types. Some products work well with straight hair but will damage curly hair.
Also, knowing your hair type makes styling easier for you. You know what styles your hair is capable of achieving and this helps avoid damaging your hair while trying out different styles.
The Four Hair Types
You’ve probably heard people refer to their hair with alphabets and numbers like 4C, 2A, etc before and wondered what it meant. In the 1990s, Andre Walker – a celebrity hairstylist – came up with a hair typing system that divided human hairs into four types: straight, wavy, curly, and coily. These four types are further divided into subcategories A, B, and C.
Type 1: Straight Hair
Straight hair has little to no curls at all. It is soft, fine, and silky. It usually has little volume and falls flat from the root to the end. People with straight hair often have oily scalp leaving the hair moisturized. Here are the subcategories for type 1 hair:
|Type 1A||Thin, fine, and shiny straight hair with no curls.|
|Type 1B||Slightly thicker than 1A. Bouncier at the roots.|
|Type 1C||Straight hair with a coarse texture. Most voluminous straight hair.|
Tips for Straight Hair
- Since most straight hairs are naturally oily, avoid moisturizing with heavy creams and oil.
- Use texture spray applied to the ends, not the root.
- Straight hair gets dirty easily, so wash every 2-3 days.
Type 2: Wavy Hair
Wavy hair lies between straight and curly hair. It usually has big curls that vary from person to person. It’s more voluminous than straight hair. It can be easily styled, be it straightening or curling.
Here are the subcategories for type 2 hair:
|Type 2A:||Fairly straight with light waves at the end. Not so thick.|
|Type 2B:||Waves are almost S-shaped. Medium-thick hair.|
|Type 2C:||Well-defined S-shaped waves packed tightly.|
Tips for Wavy Hair
- This hair type is drier than type 1, so it requires conditioning.
- Apply oil and leave-in conditioner often.
- Wash every 3-4 days.
Type 3: Curly Hair
Type 3 hair is made up of prominent curls running from hair roots to ends. Although it is more prone to frizz and dryness than types 1 and 2, this type of hair is easy to style.
Here are the subcategories type 3 hair:
|Type 3A||Really loose curls with wide circumference.|
|Type 3B:||Tighter curls than 3A. Will wrap perfectly around a chopstick.|
|Type 3C:||Tight and springy curls. Will wrap perfectly around a broomstick.|
Tips for Curly Hair
- To have clearly defined curls, moisturize the hair.
- It is prone to frizz and dryness, always deep-condition it.
- Apply oils, creams, and butter.
Type 4: Coily Hair
Coily hair, also known as kinky hair, is the most fragile of hair types. Characterized by tightly coiled strands, type 4 hair is prone to breakage and frizz.
Here are the subcategories for type 4 hair:
|Type 4A:||S-shaped coils. Very soft hair.|
|Type 4B:||Tighter coils than 4A. Z-shaped coils.|
|Type 4C:||Kinkiest of all hair. Really tight coils that end up in knots.|
Tips for Coily Hair
- This hair is the most prone to frizz and dryness, keep it moisturized.
- Use deep-conditioning butter and cream.
- Don’t comb too often.
Chart of The Four Hair Types
Every human is unique and so is their hair. Hence, the need to treat our hair based on its unique features. Whatever hair styling and care you want to do should be based on your hair type. Whether coily, curly, wavy, or straight hair, it is important to focus your hair care routine on achieving healthy hair.
Examples of celebrities with different hair types?
There are numerous celebrities with various hair types who can serve as examples or sources of inspiration. Here are a few of them, organized by hair type123:
- Type 1: Straight – Gwyneth Paltrow (1A), Kendall Jenner (1B), and Lucy Liu has hair type (1C).
- Type 2: Wavy – Lorde (2A), Kate Hudson (2B), and Carrie Underwood has hair type (2C).
- Type 3: Curly – Tracee Ellis Ross (3A), Elaine Welteroth (3B), and Yara Shahidi has hair type (3C).
- Type 4: Coily – Viola Davis (4A), Lupita Nyong’o (4B), and Solange Knowles has hair type (4C).
These are not the only celebrities who have these hair types, and some of them may have changed their hair color or style over time. They can, however, give you a general idea of how each hair type looks.
What are the 4 types of hair?
The four hair types are straight, wavy, curly, and coily.
What are the 12 major hair types?
The 12 major hair types are 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 3c, 4a, 4b, and 4c
How to find out my hair type?
Look at your hair density: Hair density refers to how many strands of hair you have on your head. To determine your hair density, part your hair in the middle and look at your scalp. If you can easily see your scalp, you have low density hair. If you can’t see your scalp at all, you have high density hair. If it’s somewhere in between, you have medium density hair.
Determine your hair texture: Hair texture refers to the thickness or diameter of each individual strand of hair. To determine your hair texture, take a single strand of your hair and compare it to a piece of string. If your hair is thinner than the string, you have fine hair. If it’s about the same thickness as the string, you have medium hair. If it’s thicker than the string, you have coarse hair.
Check your hair porosity: Hair porosity refers to how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture. To determine your hair porosity, take a strand of your hair and place it in a glass of water. If it sinks to the bottom quickly, you have high porosity hair. If it floats on top for a while before sinking, you have low porosity hair. If it sinks slowly or stays in the middle of the glass, you have medium porosity hair.
What is the rarest hair type?
The rarest hair type is type 1 specifically 1a.
This hair type is extremely straight and fine, with no ability to hold a curl. It is most commonly found on people of Asian descent12. It is also very soft, shiny, and difficult to damage1.
And there you have it, folks – the ultimate guide to natural hair types! Now that you know your hair type, you can confidently take on the world armed with the knowledge and tools you need to achieve your hair goals. Whether you’re a Type 2A or a Type 4C, your natural hair is uniquely beautiful and deserves to be celebrated.
Your hair type is not the only thing that matters when it comes to your hair health and appearance. You also need to know your hair porosity, which is another key aspect of your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture.
If you want to learn more about hair porosity, and how to determine yours, check out our next article: Know Your Natural Hair 2: Hair Porosity. Trust us, it’s worth a read!
Until next time, my natural hair friends!