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.
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 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 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
- 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.
- 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.
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
- Wavy type 2B
- Wavy type 2C
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 3B
- Type 3C
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
- Type 4B
- 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.