Types of Hair: How to Style and Take Care

Do you know your hair type? It’s essential to understand your hair type to learn how to treat it. There are four main types of hair: straight, wavy, curly, and kinky. Each type has subtypes determined by the width and shape of the hair shaft.

So let’s get started! If you’re not sure what type of hair you have, don’t worry – this blog post will help you figure it out. We’ll go over the different kinds of hair, from straight and fine to tightly coiled or kinky. Once you know your hair type, you can learn how to best take care of it.

It’s Important to Understand Your Hair Type to Learn How to Treat It

Knowing your hair type is essential to understanding the best methods for styling and caring for your locks. If you’re having trouble with frizz, dullness, or breakage, this could be a sign that you’re using the wrong treatment for your hair type. Please keep reading to learn how to identify your hair type and how best to care for it.

To find out what kind of hair you have, first wet it while still in its natural state, without any added products. Then run a wide-tooth comb through it from root to tip several times, starting at the bottom of the strands and working up to avoid tangles (remember: never brush dry hair!). Next, take a section of about one inch from across your head and gently comb through it with a fine-tooth comb from root to tip. Now you can examine your strands closely:

  • What does the strand look like? Is it straight? Curly? Wavy? Does it resemble an “S” shape, or are multiple curls forming along its length?
  • How does it feel when you pull on either end? Does it feel strong or brittle? Does it stretch easily or snap when pulled taut?
  • How does the texture feel when you feel the strand between two fingers? Is it coarse and rough or soft and silky smooth?

Type 1 Hair: Quite Straight and Fine

Type 1 hair is very straight and delicate, and it has a limp, lifeless appearance when it’s wet. It rarely frizzes, but it can get oily quickly. Keep an extra towel in the trunk of your car to wipe off wet windows after a rainstorm or snowfall!

Type 1 hair can be divided into three subtypes:

  • Type 1A: The straightest of all hair types is considered baby-fine hair. It has no wave at all and shines like glass.
  • Type 1B: Also known as medium-to-straight hair, this type of hair looks straighter than it is because the waves are so small that they’re hard to notice.
  • Type 1C: This type of hair is wavy-to-straight because when it’s longer (above shoulder length), you’ll see that it curls slightly at the ends—but mostly looks straight on top.

1A Hair Type

The first type of hair, 1A, is very straight and fine hair. It is so straight that the roots will hang down even when wet. This makes it appear limp. It does not frizz easily and can get oily quickly.

1B Hair Type

1B hair type is straight with a hint of a wave. It’s not straight enough to go without washing for days, but it’s also not wavy enough to be considered curly. In general, this hair type tends to be thick and resistant to styling, making it a bit harder to style than other texture types. 1B types are usually not very oily; even though their hair is thicker and more resilient than 1A hair types, it’s also less likely to produce much oil on the scalp.

1C Hair Type

1C hair type is thick, coarse, and densely packed. It’s usually straight but with a slight wave. Sometimes it has a small S shape at the end. There may be some frizziness because this hair type is generally dry and difficult to manage. This hair type is hard to straighten because it tends to wave, but it’s easy to style when wet. 

1C hair type does not have easily defined curls, but waves come together nicely for a smooth look. Hair tends to be resistant to styling products like hairspray and gel due to its thickness and density; however, this hair type responds well if you use sea salt spray or curl enhancer before styling your curls with a curling iron or diffuser attachment on your blow dryer!

Type 2 Hair: Wavy but Not Tightly Coiled

Type 2 hair is wavy but not tightly coiled. It tends to look shiny, thicker than type 1, and not limp when wet. Type 2A looks like a figure “S.”

Class 2A is the least wavy of the wavy hairs—it’s almost straight! If you have this type, you may see a little zig-zag pattern in your hair. Type 2B has a bit more definition than type 2A—the waves are more distinct with this type (think beach waves). Type 2C is the waviest of all types; if you have this hair type, your locks will likely be visible and possibly even tight enough to form faux curls.

2A Hair Type 

When you’re a 2A, your hair is generally fine and thin, though it may be thick or coarse. It’s wavy but not tightly coiled or kinky. Your strands are medium in size and prone to frizzing. If you have a 2A hair type, the chances are that it looks shiny when your hair is wet; when it dries, the waves look loose and relaxed. You may also see an “S” pattern throughout your locks.

2B Hair Type

If you’ve got 2B hair, it’s wavy but not tight—more like a figure “S” than a circle. When wet, this type of hair looks shiny and thick. It has volume, body, and movement. This type isn’t limp at all!

To further define your waves, use products to manipulate the shape of your hair. For example, apply mousse or gel when your hair is wet and then blow dry with a diffuser attachment for soft hold. You can also wear it naturally with products that enhance the wave pattern instead of controlling it. If you want to go for the curls in your 2b strands again, try putting wet hair into a looser braid before bedtime—if you let it dry naturally until morning, you’ll have loose waves to work with styling time.

2C Hair Type 

2C hair is more coarse and wavy than 2A. Like 2A hair, it requires a lot of moisture to tame frizz and make it look healthy. If you have this type of hair, make deep conditioning treatments part of your routine so that your hair stays hydrated and healthy.

Type 3 Hair: Tight Curls or Corkscrew

Type 3 hair can be either curly or wavy, and it has a well-defined curl pattern when the hair is wet. It comes in different textures—from fine to medium to coarse—and can be porous or non-porous. Because of that, Type 3 curls are prone to frizz, especially if they’re porous.

Type 3A curls are big and loose, while 3B curls are tighter and more corkscrew-shaped. If you have Type 3C curls, your ringlets will be densely packed together and very tight.

3A Hair Type 

3A hair type is curly, but the curls are large and loose. you can quickly straighten this curl pattern with a hairdryer, flat iron, or hot rollers. 3A hair has shiny, defined ringlets with lots of body and bounce. 

Due to the tight curl pattern in this hair type, it is prone to frizziness. You should treat 3A hair gently as it may be susceptible to damage due to its fine texture but medium density. As this type of hair has a tight curl pattern, you might find that your strands become tangled and knotted easily, causing breakage if they are not taken care of properly. 

Some styling products that will help keep the curls hydrated and prevent tangling include conditioner, gel, mousse, or a leave-in conditioner spray or lotion with moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera and argan oil.

3B Hair Type 

If you have 3B hair, your curls are well-defined, springy, and voluminous. The curl pattern ranges from a corkscrew to ringlets. This type is easily straightened but prone to shrinkage when wet. Depending on the weather, this type can frizz up more than other curly hair types. 

It’s also prone to breakage because the hairs are almost always tangled or in some disarray due to the springing nature of its curl pattern. 3B is easy to dye because it has such a porous texture.

3C Hair Type 

Your hair is known as 3C when it is tightly coiled or kinky. This type of hair has the tightest curls, and its curl pattern defines clearly when wet, similar to type 3 curls. The main difference between types 3B and 3C is that your Z-pattern curls are visibly tighter than type 3B.

Type 4 Hair: Tightly Coiled or Kinky

Type 4 hair is tightly coiled or kinky with an “S” pattern that is well-defined and clear when wet, similar to type 3 curls. This type of hair is common among people of African descent but can also be found in some other ethnic groups. It is often very fragile because it has a minor diameter for all hair types.

Type 4 hair tends to have more sheen than other types because the natural oils flow down the shaft and coat it more easily. It typically requires a lot of care and moisture, so you will likely want to use products specifically made for your hair type.

4A Hair Type

4A hair is the tightly coiled type with an “S” pattern. There usually isn’t much shrinkage with this hair type, and the curls are visible when wet. 4A hair looks like a well-defined “S” formed by very thin curls, and similar to 4B hair, it often has an “S” pattern.

These celebrities have 4A hair:

  • Solange Knowles (Beyoncé’s sister) – She’s an American singer/songwriter who rocks her natural curly hairstyles!
  • Keke Palmer – Keke Palmer rocks her natural curly hairstyles too!

4B Hair Type

4B hair is tightly coiled or kinky with an “S” pattern. It has less of a defined curl pattern than type 4a hair does, and its strands are more fragile and prone to breakage. If you have this type of hair, it’s ideal for moisturizing it daily using water-based products rich in oils.

4C Hair Type

This hair type is tightly coiled or kinky with an “S” pattern that is well-defined and clear when wet, similar to Type 3 curls. Type 4 hair has a more open S pattern with less definition when dry.

Type 4 hair tends to be drier than other types as the sebum from the scalp takes longer to travel down the strands of tightly curled hair. Furthermore, it is more prone to breakage due to its fragile nature and cannot withstand tight styling techniques like braids or ponytails without being damaged.

Due to this fragile nature, Type 4A should be treated gently with minimal manipulation using water-based products such as moisturizers and leave-in conditioners rather than heavy oils, leading to build-up. You must wash this type regularly with conditioners containing natural oils such as coconut oil and shea butter as they supply moisture while softening the strands.

Different People Have Different Types of Hair – Knowing Yours Helps You Take Care of It

Knowing your hair type is essential, as it determines which products, tools, and techniques you should use to care for your hair. For example, the right shampoo can prevent unwanted frizz or add volume, while using the wrong product could make your hair feel heavy and oily. How important is this?

A 2010 study by social psychologist Nicolas Gueguen found that people with “well-groomed” hair were more likely to get a job than people with messy hair. There’s no need to overthink: get to know your hair type to take better care of it and own it!

Maria Guillere is the Chief Editor of hairstyleandmakeup.com She has more than 6 years of experience as a beauty editor at various prestigious magazines. Her work has been featured in many international beauty campaigns and publications.