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What is Your Hair Type?

by Milan Nguyen August 30, 2022 5 min read

What is Your Hair Type?

Did you know that there are twelve major hair types? The differences between them call for specific products to bring out your hair’s fullest potential. Figuring which type you may have seems like an intimidating feat, but we are here to help! We’ll share everything you need to know about determining your hair type and what it means for your hair styling routine. You must first consider hair pattern and texture. 

Hair pattern is the natural shape of your hair strand. 

Straight hair (Type 1) lies flat on the scalp with little to no pattern. As a result, the hair’s natural oils can easily travel from the scalp to the ends, creating the most shine out of all the hair types. 

Wavy hair (Type 2) forms an “S” shape. This type of hair is thicker than straight hair with a slight texture and shape, making it less oily than straight hair. 

Curlyhair (Type 3) forms spiral curls and ringlets that are naturally defined and more prone to tangles and breakage. As the hair does not lie flat, oil cannot travel down the hair strand. This makes curly hair more vulnerable to dryness and frizz. This hair type tends to be more voluminous than straight and wavy hair. However, curly hair is not as dense as coily hair. 

Coily hair (Type 4) is the most common among African Americans. Unlike curly hair, this hair type is tightly curled with defined ringlets and zigzags, maintaining its hair type whether it is dry or wet. This hair type is fairly coarse in texture and is more fragile, being prone to damage and breakage. Due to the coils, hair oil is unable to travel down the hair, making people with this hair pattern prone to dry and itchy scalps. 

To identify your hair pattern, allow your hair to air-dry without any product.

  • If it dries without any bends or curls, then it’sstraight.
  • If it dries with bends or an “S” shape, it’swavy
  • If it dries and you see springy ringlets, corkscrew curls patterns, or loops, it’scurly.

If it dries with coils or compacted spirals, it’scoily.

Hair texture is the thickness of an individual hair strand. This affects how well your hair holds different hairstyles. 

Fine(Type A) hair looks and feels delicate and will not hold onto curls very well. 

Medium(Type B) hair is easy to style and will hold onto curls for a longer period of time. 

Coarse (Type C) hair can hold curls very well but can be difficult to style as it’s typically less flexible and more susceptible to frizz. 

To identify your hair texture, roll a single strand of hair in your finger. 

  • If you don’t feel anything, your hair isfine
  • If you slightly feel it, your hair ismedium
  • If you feel it, your hair iscoarse.

Thehair type naming system considers both your hair structure and texture and is as follows: “Hair Texture, Hair Structure.” For example, 2A would be a “Wavy, Fine” hair type. The following chart shows the twelve hair types:

Hair Texture, Hair Structure

Just because two people have curly hair doesn’t mean they have the exact same hair type; one may have 3B hair (Curly, Medium), while the other has 3C hair (Curly, Coarse). 

Here is a breakdown of alltwelve hair types:

Straight Hair Patterns

  • Type 1A hair is very straight and fine, with no waves or curls whatsoever. This hair type tends to get very oily and requires frequent shampooing. It is the rarest hair type and is common among women of Asian descent.
  • Type 1B hair is straight and slightly thicker than Type 1A. This hair type has more volume and bounce. Its medium texture holds curls better, giving the hair more texture and movement.
  • Type 1C hair is straight and is typically coarse and thick, which can result in frizzy hair. When air-dried, this hair type can achieve a fuller and more tousled look, while still lying flat on the scalp. This hair type is stubborn and won’t hold curls for long.
Wavy Hair Pattern
  • Type 2A hair is fine and thin, with individual strands forming an “S” shape. This pattern starts out straight at the root and falls into more subtle waves. It is easy to use styling products to curl or straighten this hair type.
  • Type 2B hair is wavy and slightly thicker and frizzier than Type 2A hair. These waves are more defined from the midsection to the ends.
  • Type 2C hair waves start from the scalp and are thicker than other Type 2 hair types. This coarse hair type is the frizziest and forms a clearly defined “S” shape.

Curly Hair Pattern

  • Type 3A hair is fine and shiny with a looser curl pattern. This type of curly thick hair is easily defined without the use of styling products and is prone to slight frizz.
  • Type 3B hair has curls that serve as a medium to tight springy curls. Similar to Type 3A hair, it is prone to frizz. Strands can vary in shape from ringlets to corkscrews, and it tends to be coarse and dense.
  • Type 3C hair has tight and thick curls. The curls of this hair type normally have a lot of texture. This hair type is also referred to as “curly-coily,” as the strands are prone to shrinkage.

Coily Hair Pattern

  • Type 4A hair is usually in tight and springy coils. Hair strands of this type typically shrink down to half its length when dry. This hair type has the most definitive curl pattern of the Type 4 hair category. Strands can be wiry or fine and tend to have fewer cuticle layers than other hair types.
  • Type 4B hair has tight curls in a Z-shaped coil or crimpy pattern. Although it is less defined than Type 4A curls, it is clearer than Type 4C hair. These hair strands are also prone to shrinkage.
  • Type 4C hair is densely packed and coarse, having a tighter pattern in an O shape. The curl pattern of this hair type is not as defined and has a lot of shrinkage when wet. This hair type is fragile and can become easily intertwined and tangled. 

Once you have identified your hair type, you must understand which hair tools are right for you.Someone with naturally thin hair has different hair needs than someone with super curly hair.How do you know what is the best styling tool for you? Luckily, we have recently launched our NEWHair Quiz, which gives you product recommendations based on your hair type, as well as your hair goals and pain points. Try it out HERE!

Milan Nguyen
Milan Nguyen

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