Jun 15 , 2021
To anyone who’s ever wondered how many hair types there are and what your hair type falls under, we feel for you. Figuring out your hair type can be confusing and a lot of people struggle with it. That’s why we’re here to help.
What does hair type mean?
Hair type is all about your hair's curl pattern. Your curl pattern is determined by the shape of your hair follicle and the way it grows out of your scalp. If the follicle is round, hair will tend to grow straight, while an oval follicle will give wavy hair and a hooked or elliptical-shaped follicle will give you curly hair. Your curl pattern is also identified by the shape that the strands of hair make, whether they kink, curve, or wind around themselves into spirals.
Basic Hair Types.
A simple breakdown: Type 1s are straight, Type 2s are wavy, Type 3s are curly and Type 4s are coily. The subtypes of hair are based on the tightness of the curls or coils. The best way to figure out your hair type is to test your hair when it's freshly wet.
1. Straight Hair
Straight hair, also known as a Type 1 hair, are hairs that lie flat, or straight on the scalp. This hair texture is soft and silky, with no curls, and reflects the most sheen. There are three subcategories for straight hair:
Type 1A - This hair type is extremely soft, smooth, shiny, straight and fine, with no hint of wave or curl . While this hair may feel like a dream for many, it lacks volume and often looks like oily hair.
Type 1B - Type 1B hair is straight, but is slightly thicker, bouncier, and has more volume compared to Type 1A. Its medium texture can generally hold curls giving the hair more texture and movement.
Type 1C - Type 1C hair is straight and is usually coarse and thickMost coarse and thick straight hair.
Wavy hair, also known as a Type 2 hair, are hairs that are naturally wavy and form an “S” shape. Because of its slight texture and shape, it is not thicker than Type 1, and not as oily. It can be considered a medium between straight and curly hair. There are three subcategories for wavy hair:
Type 2A - This hair is fine and thin with individual strands forming an “S” shape when dry.
Type 2B - This hair is wavy and slightly frizzier than Type 2A hair. When dry, individual strands create an “S” shape with some frizz.
Type 2C - These hair waves start from the scalp and are thicker than other Type 2 subcategories. This coarse hair type is the most prone to frizz and forms an “S” shape when dry.
Curly hair, also known as a Type 3 hair, are hairs that are naturally curly and are classified as spiral curls. These curls can range from loose, buoyant loops to tight, springy corkscrews. Type 3 hairs are prone to dryness, tangles, frizz and breakage. There are three subcategories for curly hair:
Type 3A - This hair is fine and shiny with loose curls. This type of curly thick hair is easily defined and is prone to slight frizz.
Type 3B - This hair has curls that are medium to tight springy curls. Similar to Type 3A, it is prone to frizz.
Type 3C - This hair has tight and thick curls. The curls of this hair type normally have a lot of texture.
Coily or Kinky hair, also known as Type 4 hair, are hairs that form very tight, small curls of zig-zags right from the scalp. This hair type is naturally very dry and spongy in texture and can be soft and fine or coarse and wiry. It is also awfully prone to shrinkage and breakage. Unlike Type 3 hair, this hair maintains its hair shape whether it is dry or wet. There are three subcategories for coily hair:
Type 4A - This hair is usually in tight and springy coils. Hair strands of this type typically shrink down to half its length when dry. This type of hair has the most definitive curl pattern of the Type 4 hair category.
Type 4B - This hair is densely packed and can bend in sharp angles like the letter Z. Although it is less defined than Type 4A curls, it is clearer as compared to Type 4C hair.
Type 4C - This hair is densely packed and coarse. The curl pattern of this hair type is not defined and has a lot of shrinkage.
The Bottom Line
Hair type is all about your hair’s curl patterns. Straight, wavy, curly and coily hair are basic hair types with further subtypes and the easiest way to determine your hair type is to test it when freshly wet.