When it comes to our hair and how we care for it, it’s definitely not a case of ‘one-size-fits-all’.
In fact, women’s hair is divided into four categories, each with a further three sub-categories.
Where you are on the chart depends on the thickness and curl of your hair. But, no matter what hair type you have, from poker straight to tight coils, we’ve got you covered with the best hair types help.
And, by knowing which type you have you can avoid using hair care products intended for other types of hair, which might be damaging for your particular hair type.
Check out our hair types chart to find out what kind of hair you have and the best way to care for it.
The Ultimate Guide to Different Hair Types
Hair type refers to how much thickness and curl your hair has. Hair types are divided into four categories: straight, wavy, curly and coily.
Type 1 Hair: Straight
Type 1 hair is naturally straight and has no curl pattern. As the hair strand is straight, the natural oils from the scalp can reach down the hair shaft. This causes type 1 hair to be shiny and oily.
Within type 1 there are three different straight hair types: 1a, 1b and 1c.
Type 1a hair has little to no body and is totally flat and straight, from the root to the tip.
This hair type cannot hold a curl at all. But, with the right haircut, women with type 1a hair can achieve the appearance of thicker hair and more body.
Although many women straighten their hair to achieve poker straight locks, natural type 1a hair is very rare, except among Asian women.
Most women with naturally straight hair fall into this category of the hair types guide.
Type 1b hair is not completely flat and has more body than type 1a hair.
But, the most notable difference is that type 1b hair can hold a curl. Type 1b hair may also include natural bends here and there, and the ends tend to curl under a little.
Type 1c hair is generally straight, but it has more body than type 1b hair. And, although it would not be considered wavy, it may include several areas of natural bends.
As a result of these natural bends, type 1c hair is thicker than types 1a and 1b.
Type 2 Hair: Wavy
Type 2 hair is naturally wavy with strands that form an ‘S’ shape. Although type 2 hair is not dry, it isn’t as shiny as type 1 hair due to the texture pattern of the individual strands.
Type 2 hair is divided into three wavy hair subcategories: 2a, 2b and 2c.
Type 2a hair features several loose waves all over the head which are more prominent than the bends of type 1c hair.
Type 2a hair is less frizzy than types 2b and 2c so it can be weighed down by too much product.
Type 2b hair includes tighter and more clearly defined waves, but the strands tend to stay close to the face and not bounce up.
Type 2b hair can also be frizzy, but choosing the right products for your hair type can help to keep frizz at bay.
Type 2c waves are more tightly drawn and can form loose spiral curls in some sections.
Type 2c hair tends to be much frizzier than the other type 2 categories, particularly on the top layer of hair, which may bounce away from the face in places.
Type 3 Hair: Curly
Type 3 hair is naturally curly with well-defined ‘S’ shaped curls all over the head, forming ringlets without the use of products or styling aids.
Type 3 hair is often dry as the oils in the scalp aren’t heavy enough to reach down past all the curls of each strand.
Within type 3 there are three different subcategories of curly hair: 3a, 3b and 3c.
Type 3a hair features loose curls which are clear and well-defined without the use of any styling products. Although, as with type 2c hair, frizz can be an issue.
Type 3b curls are springier and more spiraled than type 3a. Type 3b hair is well-defined without styling products, although it is very frizzy if left to dry naturally without applying any gels or creams to control frizz.
Type 3c curls are more tightly drawn and can be textured and coarse.
The individual strands are often tightly packed together, known as ‘clumping’. This means that it can styling products may be needed to achieve well-defined curls with type 3c hair.
Type 4 Hair: Coily
Type 4 hair is coiled and forms tight curls which are less defined than the ringlet curls of type 3 hair.
Another key difference is that type 4 hair tends to keep the same shape whether it is wet or dry, while type 3 hair can be wavy or even straight when wet.
Type 4 hair is often very dry since the natural oils in the scalp cannot reach down along the hair shaft due to the textured pattern of the hair.
Within type 4 there are three different types of coily hair: 4a, 4b, and 4c.
Type 4a hair features dense, fine curls that are about as wide as a crochet needle. Unlike the other category 4 hair types, 4a falls down from the scalp and has a defined curl pattern.
Type 4b hair has sharp-angled curls which are about as wide as a marker pen and follow a zigzag pattern. Although the roots are not as clearly defined, the ends show more curl definition than type 4c hair.
Type 4c hair also has a zigzag pattern but it isn’t well-defined and doesn’t fall away from the scalp at all. In fact, due to hair shrinkage, type 4c hair appears to be less than half its true length.
Where Are You on the Hair Types Chart?
Now that you know the range of different hair types, it’s time to determine which category your hair falls under.
To find out where you are on the hair types chart, wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo and leave it to air dry.
Take a look at multiple sections of your hair and see which description above best fits your hair type. But remember, you may not have just one hair type on your head so you might need to tailor your hair care products accordingly.
And if you want to know more about how best to care for your hair type, feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.