Variety is the spice of life, and for that reason, it is not a surprise that one thing that can make us feel brand new the easiest is a change in hairstyle.
Our hair can define us, marking out our culture, mood, and even political leanings. Yes, that much can be said without a word.
However, in the past different types of hair were pigeonholed into simple terms of race and ethnic background. This was never a fair reflection of the reality, and for that reason Andre Walker, a famous hairstylist came with a hair typing system in the 90s that was able to pick up on the nuances found in hair, no matter where you are from.
So what type of hair do you have? Keep on reading to find out!
Type 1: Straight Hair
As you can tell from their definition, this hair type has no curls, kinks, or waves to it. It is resilient and retains the most oil from the head’s scalp. This means it is the least flexible when it comes to styling due to the high oil content.
Dry shampoos and texture sprays are often best for people with Type 1 hair, as regular washing can cause the hair to overproduce oils.
There are 3 types:
1A – Fine and shiny
1B – Straight and thick
1C – Bone straight
Type 2: Wavy Hair
This traditionally easy-to-style hair is defined by the S-shaped form it takes. These waves tend to start at the mid-range point away from the crown of the head. However, from this point on our friend frizz starts to make an appearance, becoming more common the more pronounced those waves are.
On the point of frizz, drying is a contentious issue for those with wavy hair with some wondering “Are microfiber towels good for hair?” or “Should I air dry?”. Much depends on the style you have, so get familiar with your style to know the answer.
Hugging the line between straight and wavy, 2A hair is loose and without much definition. Waves show at the end and the texture is quite fine. To get more definition strike while the iron is hot, or should we say, wet. After stepping out of the shower wrap up your hair to stop the chances of it frizzing and work curl cream into your wet hair to keep it under control.
This more clearly wavy hair starts to let you know it’s there at the mid-point of the head, with hair from the crown being quite flat. Waves are also closer together showing a more defined S shape. 2B hair is thicker, leading it to be less easy to straighten.
2C hair leaves you with no doubt that it is wavy. This type of hair can at times be difficult to manage as it can be almost curly one day and then less defined the next. Frizz also becomes something that you need to manage regularly. To deal with it, try using a diffuser when drying. Also, light weight-moose along with leave-in conditioner need to become your close companions.
3 Curly Hair
If you have curly hair you don’t need anyone to tell you, you already know.
The biggest thing that stylists need to take into account is, as with all of the types of hair we are looking at no one type is the same. These clear curls range from springy and loose to corkscrew-like and all need different types of attention. On the whole, this type of hair is also drier, so moisture is key in good hair care.
These loose curls are large, start at the crown of the head and have a natural shine to them. If you have this type of hair then it is vitally important that you work along with it rather than against it, meaning try to avoid brushing it out. This only serves to stimulate the bane of anyone with mildly curly hair, frizz. Ponytails are also a no-no as this also works against your hair keeping its natural curls.
This curly hair type has curls that are roughly the circumference of your finger. Due to its density, it tends to hold its shape and is easier to maintain. These springy curls, however, do need moisture as it is susceptible to drying out and our friend frizz. Leave in conditioner applied when wet or styling gel is key, but you want to avoid anything with silicone or sulfates that dry hair out.
Tight and dense, these curls are about the with of a drinking straw. The corkscrew nature of this type of hair leads to it having a lot of volume. As this is the coarsest of the 3 types of hair in this section, co-washing is a common and useful way of keeping the hair moisturized. If you are to use any curling creams then be sure to apply them from the scalp to get the most defined look.
4 Kinky/Coily Hair
Kinky or coily hair is often thought of to be specific to people of African descent however, 4A, in particular, can be found in people from various cultures. These curls range from tight curls to those with a Z shape and is perhaps one of the most versatile when it comes to hairstyles. One thing is key when it comes to this curly hair type, moisture is key.
These tight curls are about the circumference of a pencil. Dense and thick, this hair has fewer hair cuticles so on the whole needs more moisturizing and protection. When it comes to styling look no further than curling creams and leave-in moisturizers.
4B hair is where curls stop always forming into tight circles and start to form into a z shape.
While the thickness of each individual can vary one certain thing is the capacity of the hair to shrink, leaving many with apparently short hair which is quite long. Moisture is important in maintaining that length with nutrient-rich oils or conditioners, but you can also use hairstyles like twist-outs and flexi-rod sets to elongate these wonderful curls.
The densest of all hair types, 4C hair is more fragile than 4B hair and therefore needs rich conditioners. Due to their tighter zigzag form, if unstyled, curls are less likely to be discernable. Bold and defined hairstyles are becoming more and more fashionable for these types of hair on the whole.
Which Types of Hair Are Your Favorites?
Regardless of the type we have, hair envy comes in all forms. Would you love to be able to have 4B, 2C, or 3A hair?
Well, regardless of what type you have gracing your head, it is always good to remember that there is someone out there that is probably looking at yours and thinking the same so be sure to be proud of what you’ve got!
We hope our breakdown of the different types of hair has brought you up to speed. If you liked it be sure to share and check out our other beauty and lifestyle content on our site!