The type of hair varies from person to person, and each one requires its own set of care and styling procedures. So knowing your hair type is instrumental in figuring what exactly they are. What do you think? Isn’t it always better to know what your hair needs before you let someone else do it? Thankfully, there’s something called a Hair Chart to take you through this!
Andre Walker, an Emmy winning stylist best known for his work with Oprah, created a hair chart that would be a base for how most women identify their hair texture. Walker’s chart has four variations of texture, from straight to kinky.
Later it was revamped to include more breakdowns under each type. Now, type 1 (straight hair) is followed by Type 2A-C (wavy hair), Type 3A-C (curly hair) and Type 4A-C (coily /kinky hair). Knowing the type of your hair help you take better care of it and lets you know how to keep it healthy. You will be able to shop for the best products a whole lot easier as well. Further, the chart helps you to better understand hair grade when shifting from one type to other.
You can go all the way from type 4B to type 1 using chemical or thermal treatment. You can even go in the opposite direction by a chemical process called perming. A perm is when you permanently curl your hair.
If you are confused about the whole system, don’t worry, I’ve been there too! Hopefully, this guide will provide you with better understanding.
Type 1 Hair
Type 1 is a naturally straight hair and it generally has only one category. This type has no curls or waves, and that’s the reason why its sub categories are not mentioned as it would make no difference. Type 1 style has more sheen and is highly resilient.
Know Your Hair: Hair has an oil called sebum which glides down its shaft to protect from breakage. Type 1 hair requires only very little attention but washing it every day to avoid oil build up is very important. This is because Type-1 is the oiliest texture of all.
If necessary, we can divide Type 1 hair into 3 sub categories:
Type of straight hair
Type 1a hair is completely flat and straight. It’s difficult for this type of hair to hold a curl and is often considered to be very thin and fine.
Type 1b hair is a little thicker compared to type 1a. This medium textured hair type is very easy to manage. Most straight-haired women fall into this category.
Type 1c hair has a tousled look compared to other sub categories of type1 hair. The hair strands of type 1c is thick and coarse. This is considered as one of the most resilient hair types of all because of its thickness. Try long layered hairdos for this type hair.
- Layered haircuts will make type 1 hair feel more voluminous.
- If you are having this type of hair, it is good idea not to go with thick conditioners. That will make your hair look greasier.
- Do try to go a day or two between shampooing your hair. Use SLS and paraben free shampoos, which can help to keep healthy scalp.
- However, if greasiness is a worrying you, wash your hair daily with same SLS free shampoo.
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Hair Type 2
Type 2 hair will be wavy and it doesn’t have any curls. Like type 1 hair, it produces oil to avoid hair breaking. It is not as oily as the former though. Type 2 hair doesn’t bounce up quickly and usually stay close to the scalp.
Know Your Hair: These types are more prone to frizz but is shinier compared to type 3 and type 4. This is because natural oil present in our hair- sebum reaches the ends of straight and wavier hair much faster than kinky and curly hairs.
Types of wavy hair
Type 2a stands for hair with loose and tousled waves. This hair type is really flexible and can be easily straightened or curled.
Type 2b hair is medium textured as it is straighter at the roots and wavy from the mid lengths. Wavy hair is more prone to frizz. So while styling, keep your fingers out of them because tousling creates more fizz.
Type 2c has tight waves. Usually in type 2c, waves are coarse and starts from the root. Type 2b and type 2c are more resistant to styling.
- If you apply too much products, it can easily weigh your hair down and make strands straight.
- Wash wavy hair 2 or 3 times per week, and use a dry shampoo on the days you don’t shampoo.
- While styling wavy hair, it is better to apply the product and then scrunch it into your hair. This method helps to cover as many waves as possible.
- So when it comes to thermally straightening wavy hair, be very careful about the amount of time and the frequency. Because it could permanently take your hair to type-1 and you won’t be able to come back to your natural hair texture.
- Heat damage to hair occurs when someone straighten their for a long time in one fitting and also excessively over a period of time.
Type 3 Hair
Type 3 stands for curly hair that is bouncy, playful and full of volume. The strand thickness can vary from fine to coarse, but most often it’s fine.
Know Your Hair: Hair curls if its follicles are asymmetrical or oval in shape, while circular follicles helps you get straight hair. There is something called an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) which regulates hair growth. If it provides more than necessary keratin on one side of the shaft as it grows, hair is going to come out curly.
The major concern for curly hair types are frizz, lack of curl definition and dryness. You need lot of moisture to keep it from getting dry and breakage, lack of roper maintenance will lead to dull curls.
Types of curly hair
Type 3a will have some wavy curls that are naturally very loose. Even though they are more defined than 2c-type hair, most people are alway confused between the two. 2c-type is a wavy hair type whereas 3a is curly hair type. Curly hair is the one that goes in to a spiral, there is nothing spiral in 2c type.
Type 3b has less spacing between each curls but has more defined ringlets when compared to the 3a. They have the circumference of a lipstick container which means that if you wrap it around a container, the ringlets fit right around there without any loose edges.
Type 3c hair has much tighter curls with lots of strands closely packed together. The pattern resembles a tight corkscrew and its circumference is about the size of a pencil. Type 3b and 3c are little coarser to the touch so they need more moisture when compared to type 2 or straight hair. The texture of 3C is really nice and it has the fullness of complete curls.
- Wash your hair once or twice in a week with SLS free shampoo.
- If you have type 3 hair, while taking shower avoid standing directly under the water flow. This will help avoid flattening of the curls.
- Try to wash with your hair flipped upside down or to the side. This encourages the curls to spring up.
- Apply SLS, Paraben free shampoos at the roots.
- Message your scalps and comb through your hair using your fingers to stimulate hair growth. Using combs often cause breakage.
- General towel create frizz. Instead use microfiber towels.
- If your curly hair doesn’t work, it means you have been dealing with them wrong all these years.
- Avoid usage of too much oils.
- If you do want to keep your curl pattern you want to make sure that you don’t overdo it.
- Avoid thin scrunches and rubber bands that cause hair breakage, instead use thick ones.
Type 4 Hair
Type 4 hair is tightly coiled and very fragile. This type of hair looks coarse but it’s actually very fine, and the hair strands are very thickly packed together! It produces very little oil and is thus naturally dry too.
Know Your Hair: Type 4 hair has very less cuticle layers, which means that it has very less natural protection compared to other types. So this type of hair need maximum amount of attention. Remember, the curlier your hair is, the more moisture it requires.
Type of Coiled hair
Type 4a has much tighter but very defined curl patterns, almost like a ‘S’ shape. Type 4a’s hair kinks are little and looser while type 4c has much more compacted kinks.
Type 4b has a ‘z’ shape pattern with angular edges and are about as wide as a ball pen. It’s not common as 4a or 4c types.
Type 4c is another category that was included later as lot of women have it. Even though the curl pattern of type 4c is almost similar to type 4b it is more tightly coiled and it doesn’t have a defined pattern. Type 4c is thus the curliest, coarsest and driest pattern of all.
- Wash your hair once in a week with a co-wash.
- Using sulphate free shampoo and conditioners will be an excellent choice for this hair type.
- Rich creamy products and butters will also help to keep the hair moisturized.
- The less heat used on the kinky hair the better. However, if you do blow dry, use a diffuser to minimize the heat damage.
I don’t necessarily agree that the hair chart is the most ideal piece of information that you could get on hair types but since it is staple piece in the natural hair community, I am putting my faith in it. Form what I’ve seen, It does help a lot of people too.
Before I end, remember, Good hair is not hair of a specific texture but hair of good health. So take the best care of your hair, always!