Determining and understanding your hair type can tell you a lot about your daily styling routine and what your hair actually needs. It could also be the difference between a really good hair day, and a not so good hair day.
Knowing your hair type will play a big role in the efficacy of your hair routine. Now wouldn’t it be great if it was easy to figure out (sigh). Of course there are straight, wavy and curly — there are many other factors that go into pinpointing your hair type. And pro tip, your particular hair could have multiple types on one head. In partnership with your hair’s porosity and scalp moisture, having a good grasp of your hair type will be beneficial in your daily hair care routine.
Other factors to understand
Before we get into all the types, it’s important to quickly understand scalp moisture, hair texture, hair structure, and hair porosity. Below, we break it down for you.
- Scalp moisture: Scalp health, the dealings of a moisturized scalp, is the most important thing that will affect your hair.
- Hair texture: The natural shape or pattern of your strands. If you aren’t quite sure what texture you have, allow your hair to air dry (sans products) and see if it dries with a curl or straight. If it dries straight, it’s type 1; with a slight curve, it’s type 2; with defined curl or loop, it’s type 3; and with tight spirals or curls, it’s type 4.
- Hair structure: This refers to the thickness of the strands and how easily (or difficult) hair will hold a style with certain products. Hair structure falls into three categories: fine, medium, or thick.
- Hair porosity: The hair’s ability to absorb moisture (read: water) and product.
Though the hair type system has been modified and updated over time, from super fine hair to coils and spiral curls — ahead, is a comprehensive guide to each hair type out there.
Type 1: Straight hair
Hair can be greasy, oily, flat, and thin in type 1 — with no variation of shape. Further sub-categories include:
- 1A: Fine, soft, and easy to style.
- 1B: Medium thickness, easy to style. (Will respond to most things and various hair products)
- 1C: Coarsest and hard to shape.
Type 2: Waves
Here you’ll see an S-pattern close to the roots.
- 2A: Fine and easy to straighten. (Can easily be weighed down by styling products)
- 2B: Defined S-shape mid-length.
- 2C: Coarser with well-defined S bends. (More susceptible to frizz)
Type 3: Curls
These are those luscious, bouncy loops and springy curls. Downside, they frizz easily.
- 3A: Shiny, large, loose curls that wonderfully emphasize their natural texture.
- 3B: Springy, tight ringlet curls, these ones dry easily and cooperative with most products.
- 3C: Tight corkscrew curls that are densely packed together. Downside, they appear less shiny than types 1 and 2. Co-washing and creamy cleansers are recommended here.
Type 4: Coils
Curls are spongy in texture and appear dense and zig-zag when stretched.
- 4A: Springy, S-patterned curls — very similar to type 3 curls.
- 4B: Densely packed, Z-curls.
- 4C: Tight, small curls and are 75 percent more likely to shrink than other hair types.
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