How to Figure Out Your Curly Hair Type

5min Read

How to Figure Out Your Curly Hair Type

You probably know (like everyone else in the world) that there are three basic types of hair, straight, wavy and curly, but did you know that there are twelve distinct types of hair? Everyone’s hair type falls into one of those twelve categories. A typing system can be a useful resource when it comes to styling and caring for curly hair types. If you are trying to determine your most prominent hair type, we are here to help. Well, let's get started! 

How to figure out your curl type?

While in theory discovering your curl type sounds like an easy exercise, it is a challenge to put into practice. If you are new to the world of natural curls, discovering your natural curl pattern can help you determine which hairstyles work best, which products you should use, and even which natural hair care techniques will work for you. So, keep scrolling to determine your exact curl type and find out the styling tips we’ve prepared for you. Now, let’s get into the details. 

Hair Textures

While many think the texture of hair is “the way their hair feels,” that is far from the truth. Greasy or dry, is not its structure but its current state. The texture and type of hair is predetermined by your genes. The amount of curls, waves or lack thereof depends on the number of disulfide bonds between the hair proteins found in the hair shaft, so the greater the number of links the more curly it is. Let's get to the point now.

What Makes Hair Curly?

It's very easy; the curvature of your hair strand depends on the nature of its follicle. This actually means that when a follicle is asymmetrical, the hair that it produces is oval in shape and tends to curl. On the other hand, when it is symmetrical, the strand that comes out grows round and straight.  

Hair Follicle Shape and Angle

Designua /

Hair types

Hair type is determined by several factors including genetics. There are four main types of hair texture: 

Type 1 – straight hair

Type 2 – wavy hair

Type 3 - curly hair

Type 4 – kinky / coily hair

These types are further divided into subcategories (a, b, c) based on the tightness or looseness of the curls and coils. For example, someone with loose curls would be Type 3a and someone with tight curls would be Type 3b. But most important of all is to remember that most people do not have just one type of hair. A person can have type 4C on the crown and type 4A on the temples, straight at the nape and wavy at the top. We are all individual and that makes the world even better. 

Hair Type Chart

Cuppuccino /

Hair Texture Classifications

Type 1 – Straight hair

Although they do not belong to the curly group, a thorough explanation of each type is necessary for complete understanding. Type 1 hair has no natural curls. Individual strands can be fine or coarse, thick or thin, but fall without waving from root to tip.

  • Hair type 1A is super-straight. It doesn’t even hold a curl. 1A is the rarest natural hair type. It is usually found on people of Asian descent
Hair Type 1A
M.Kumazawa /
  • On the other hand, type 1B has sporadic bending here and there, and the ends of the hair tend to slightly curl, unlike type 1A where the ends are completely straight.
Hair Type 1B
Andrey Arkusha /
  • 1C hair type has a perfectly tousled look when it dries on its own. Its strands are straight but thick and coarse and prone to frizz.
Hair Type 1C
javi_indy /

    And now let's get down to business. Are you ready? Below, find a breakdown of each curl family.

    Type 2 Wavy hair 

    Defined as type 2, wavy hair lies somewhere between straight and curly hair. This type of curls is bendable, can be fine to rough, and has a definite S pattern that lays closer to the head.

    • Wavy type 2A
    The wave usually forms throughout the hair in the shape of an "S", with very little volume because the hair sticks closer to the head. This type easily loses the definition of its curls, because it has barely-there tousled texture that's very easy to straighten.
    Wavy Type 2A
    Cookie Studio /
    • Wavy type 2B
    2b hair types are bit more defined than on 2A hair but the root is still straight, with a fine and/or medium thickness. Some frizz may be visible on the top of the head, especially if the hair is damaged. 
    Wavy Type 2B
    ardni /
    • Wavy type 2C
    Type 2c stands out for its highest volume. Although these are mostly S-shaped curls, we can also notice a few loose curls and rougher textures. The hair is thicker and the S wave almost forms curls.
    Wavy Type 2C
    Cookie Studio /
    This type of hair especially adores lightweight moisturizing mists that will help them define curls while locking out humidity.

    TYPE 3: Curly hair

    Out of all of the curl textures, type 3 hair has the most diversity across its spectrum. With this type you will notice a clear definition of the S shape of the curls. It can be a lower case S or an upper case S. Most important of all is that there is a certain pattern of curls (natural wave) whether you have used hair styling products or not. 

    • Type 3A
    Type 3A hair is marked by large, loose S-shaped ringlets, about the size of sidewalk chalk. Its pattern is well-defined and usually springy. Keep the comb and fingers away from your curls as you could end up having a halo full of frizz. When it comes to styling, your first goal is to get them all on the same springy, defined level without weighing them down. There’s nothing more annoying than having limp and lifeless curls, right? So the styling process itself should start in the shower. You can incorporate shampoo and conditioner into your hair care routine to increase volume, and our Healthiest Defined Hair Bundle could be of great help.
    Hair Type 3A
    Photology1971 /
    • Type 3B
    3B hair is a hybrid of corkscrew curls and ringlets. You can recognize it by high-shine, defined curls that are the size of Sharpie markers. Unlike others, 3B curls stay curled no matter how much you play with them or what products you put on them. This hair texture can easily get dry. If this is your hair type, you should focus on moisturizing and humidity-blocking products to enhance your curls and keep them healthy. You can even add styling cream or some lightweight oil to achieve perfect level of shine and definition.
    Hair Type 3B
    patronestaff /
    • Type 3C
    3C curls are tight corkscrews that range in circumference from a straw to a pencil. Strands are densely packed together, giving your hair major volume. Such threads tend to have a finer texture which means they’re more prone to dryness, breakage, and loss of definition, so a quality sulfate-free shampoo and/or moisturizing hair oil can be of great help. 
    Hair Type 3C
    Sofia Zhuravetc /

    TYPE 4: Kinky Coily Hair Textures

    Coily hair commonly referred to as Afro-textured or kinky hair can have a mix of textures that range from a tightly coiled, spring-like pattern (S-shape) all the way to the zig zags pattern (Z shape) which doesn’t curl around itself. Due to kinks and angles, natural oils cannot be transferred from the scalp to the rest of the hair, so this type is the most fragile and damage-prone of all hair types. Keep in mind, when you have naturally coily hair, very little needs to be done to attract attention. These curls were made to be worn just how they came.

    • Type 4A
    4A hair has small coils that can range from wiry to finely-textured. The strands are tightly coiled (with a visible S pattern), which gives the appearance of thickness. To keep your coily texture healthy and well-groomed, you can add a leave-in moisturizer to your daily hair care. For instant hydration you can add a lightweight mist that will restore moisture to your hair without disturbing the curl pattern.
    Hair Type 4A
    NeonShot /
    • Type 4B
    The 4B curl is tighter and less defined - about the circumference of a spring in a ballpoint pen, or slightly wider - with strands that range from fine and thin to wiry and coarse. This hair type has up to 75% shrinkage and is most prone to moisture loss, shrinkage, and breakage. Therefore, your goal is to infuse each strand with a ton of hydration, while keeping the coils defined and stretched. 4B type can handle rich formulas, so load it up with a nourishingcourl defining leave-in conditioner or/and lightweight gel for greater texture definition and elongation.
    Hair Type 4B
    Mark Nazh /
    • Type 4C 

    4C hair is actually quite similar to 4B but with one key difference: Its zigzag pattern is way tighter, making its many kinks and angles almost imperceptible. This hair type experiences the greatest amount of shrinkage, more than 75%. 4C hair isn’t represented by one single texture, the tightly coiled strand texture ranges from super fine, thin and soft to wiry and coarse. This is also the most delicate type of curls as they have fewer layers of cuticle than any other type of hair. So let your goal be to give your curls a lot of moisture. Since shrinkage and dryness are major concerns for these tightly-coiled, choose hair products that will provide you with a high level of hydration such as our Healthiest Hydrated Hair Bundle.  

    Hair Type 4C

    mimagephotography /
    And there you have it! We hope you learned something useful and had a good time learning your hair type. Now, that you have figured out your type of curls, take our Hair Quiz and get your Customized Healthiest Hair Routine for free.
    Beard Growth Tips: How to Grow a Fuller Beard Prev Post
    40 Easy Summer Hairstyles to Keep You Cool in 2021 Next Post

    Comments must be approved before they are published.