Understanding the 4 Hair Types: A Comprehensive Guide

As individuals, your hair is very unique. it comes in different textures, lengths, and colors, and when you understand your hair type is important for its care and maintenance. Whether you have straight , wavy, curly, or coily Hair, knowing your hair type will help you choose the right products and styling techniques to enhance its natural beauty. In this guide, I will go over the different types of hair and provide tips on how to determine your hair type for optimal hair health and care.

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The Four Major Hair Types

Hair types are classified into four main categories: straight, wavy, curly, and coily. Each category has its own set of subcategories, offering a wide range of options that cater to the diversity of hair textures. Let’s delve into each hair type and its variations to gain a better understanding of the characteristics and needs associated with them.

Type 1: Straight Hair

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Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Straight hair is characterized by its lack of texture and natural flatness. It tends to be more prone to oiliness and can easily become weighed down by excessive product use. Therefore, individuals with straight hair should opt for lightweight hair care and styling products to prevent greasiness and maintain volume.

Type 1a: Straight and Fine

Type 1a hair is extremely straight and fine, lacking any noticeable volume or body. It is the thinnest hair type and may require extra care to avoid breakage and damage.

Type 1b: Straight with Volume

Type 1b hair is straight with a bit more volume and body compared to type 1a. It has a slightly thicker texture, providing a fuller appearance.

Type 1c: Bone Straight

Type 1c hair is bone straight and resistant to curls. It is the most resistant to styling and tends to be the most difficult to add texture to.

Type 2: Wavy Hair

Four Major Hair Types Type 2 Wavy Hair
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Wavy hair falls between straight and curly hair, displaying a gentle “S” shape or loose waves. It is more prone to frizz and can easily become weighed down by product buildup. Individuals with wavy hair should focus on maintaining moisture and using products that enhance their natural wave pattern.

Type 2a: Loose Waves

Type 2a hair has loose, gentle waves that are more subtle compared to other wavy hair types. This hair type is often easy to manage and can hold styles well.

Type 2b: Defined Waves

Type 2b hair features more defined waves that are slightly tighter than type 2a. It requires more attention to prevent frizz and maintain shape and definition.

Type 2c: Wider Waves

Type 2c hair has wider waves that are more prominent and require extra care to avoid frizz and maintain the shape of the waves.

Type 3: Curly Hair

Four Major Hair Types Type 3: Curly Hair
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Curly hair is characterized by its well-defined curls that vary in tightness and shape. It is prone to dryness and requires extra moisture and care to maintain its health and prevent frizz. Individuals with curly hair should focus on hydrating products and techniques that enhance their natural curl pattern.

Type 3a: Loose Curls

Type 3a hair has loose curls that are well-defined and distinct. The curls are more prominent and have a definite “S” shape.

Type 3b: Tighter Curls

Type 3b hair features curls that are tighter and have a more pronounced “S” shape. This hair type requires additional moisture and styling products to maintain the integrity of the curls.

Type 3c: Corkscrew Curls

Type 3c hair has tightly coiled curls with a corkscrew-like pattern. It is the tightest type of curly hair and requires intensive hydration and careful styling techniques to avoid frizz and maintain curl definition.

Type 4: Coily Hair

Four Major Hair Types Type 3 Coily Hair
Picture by Covantnyc

Coily hair, also known as kinky hair, is characterized by its tight coils and zigzag patterns. It is the most fragile hair type and requires consistent moisture and careful handling to prevent breakage and maintain its shape. Individuals with coily hair should focus on deep hydration and protective styling methods.

Type 4a: “O”-Shaped Coils

Type 4a hair features “O”-shaped coils that are well-defined and compact. This hair type requires regular moisturization and gentle detangling techniques to prevent damage.

Type 4b: “Z”-Shaped Coils

Type 4b hair has “Z”-shaped coils that are tightly coiled and less defined compared to type 4a. It requires intense hydration and careful manipulation to avoid breakage.

Type 4c: Tight “O”-Shaped Coils

Type 4c hair consists of tightly coiled curls with a very tight “O”-shaped pattern. It is the most fragile and delicate hair type, requiring maximum moisture and gentle handling to maintain its health.

Determining Your Hair Type

Identifying your hair type is essential for developing a personalized hair care routine. While the hair typing system provides a general framework, it is important to note that most individuals have a combination of hair types on their scalp. Here are some steps to help you determine your hair type:

  1. Examine Your Hair when Dry: To get the most accurate assessment of your hair type, observe your hair when it is freshly washed and completely dry. This allows you to see its natural texture without the influence of moisture or product.
  2. Observe Curl Patterns: Look closely at your hair and determine the shape and tightness of your curls or waves. Compare them to the descriptions provided for each hair type.
  3. Consider Overall Texture: Take into account the overall texture of your hair, including its thickness, volume, and tendency to frizz or become greasy. These factors can further help you identify your hair type.
  4. Analyze Multiple Sections: Remember that you may have different textures in different parts of your scalp. Analyze multiple sections of your hair to get a comprehensive understanding of its overall type.

By following these steps and comparing your observations to the descriptions provided, you can gain a clearer understanding of your hair type and proceed with tailoring your hair care routine accordingly.

Caring for Your Hair Type

Once you have determined your hair type, it’s time to focus on caring for your tresses. Understanding the specific needs and challenges associated with your hair type is crucial for maintaining its health and enhancing its natural beauty. Here are some tips and recommendations for each hair type:

Straight Hair Care

  • Use lightweight and volumizing hair care products to avoid weighing down your hair.
  • Wash your hair regularly to prevent oil buildup, but avoid overwashing, as it can strip away natural oils.
  • Protect your hair from heat damage by using heat protectant sprays before styling.
  • Consider using dry shampoo to refresh and add volume to your hair between washes.

Wavy Hair Care

  • Embrace your natural waves by using products that enhance and define them.
  • Avoid brushing your hair when dry to prevent frizz, and opt for wide-toothed combs or fingers instead.
  • Apply leave-in conditioners and curl-enhancing creams to maintain moisture and shape.
  • Avoid excessive manipulation or heat styling, as it can lead to frizz and damage.

Curly Hair Care

  • Hydrate your curls by using moisturizing shampoos, conditioners, and deep conditioning treatments.
  • Detangle your hair gently with a wide-toothed comb or your fingers while it is wet and coated with conditioner.
  • Consider using a microfiber towel or a cotton T-shirt to dry your hair, as regular towels can cause frizz.
  • Apply styling products, such as curl creams or gels, to enhance curl definition and reduce frizz.

Coily Hair Care

  • Prioritize moisture by using hydrating shampoos, conditioners, and deep conditioning masks regularly.
  • Detangle your hair with care, starting from the ends and working your way up to prevent breakage.
  • Protect your hair at night by sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase or wearing a satin bonnet or scarf.
  • Experiment with protective styles, such as braids or twists, to minimize manipulation and retain moisture.

Remember that these are general guidelines, and it may take some trial and error to find the perfect routine and products for your hair type. Pay attention to how your hair responds to different products and techniques, and make adjustments accordingly.

What are the 4 types of hair?

  1. The classification of hair types commonly refers to the Andre Walker Hair Typing System, which categorizes hair into four types based on its texture and curl pattern:
  • Type 1: Straight hair, which has no visible curl pattern.
  • Type 2: Wavy hair, which has a slight “S” shape and can range from fine to coarse.
  • Type 3: Curly hair, which forms loose, well-defined curls or spiral shapes.
  • Type 4: Coily hair, which has a tightly coiled or zigzag curl pattern and is often referred to as “kinky” or “afro-textured” hair.
  1. How can I find out what my hair type is? Determining your hair type involves assessing its texture, curl pattern, and other characteristics. Here are some general guidelines:

You can further identify your specific hair type within each category by examining factors such as thickness, porosity, and density. It’s also helpful to consult with a hairstylist who can provide professional guidance.

  • What are the 12 types of hair?

  • The Andre Walker Hair Typing System does not include 12 distinct hair types. It consists of four main categories (Type 1, 2, 3, and 4), as mentioned earlier.

  • However, within each category, there are subcategories that describe variations in texture, curl pattern, and other characteristics. For example, Type 3 hair can be further divided into Type 3A, 3B, and 3C, representing different levels of curliness and tightness of the curls.

  • What is type B vs. type C hair?

  • In the Andre Walker Hair Typing System, there are no specific designations for Type B or Type C hair. It’s possible that the terms “Type B” and “Type C” are being used in a different context or by a different classification system. If you provide more information or context, I can try to provide a more accurate answer based on that.


Understanding your hair type is the first step towards achieving healthy and beautiful hair. By identifying whether your hair is straight, wavy, curly, or coily, you can tailor your hair care routine to meet its specific needs. Remember that hair types are not set in stone, and it is common to have a combination of textures on your head. Embrace the uniqueness of your hair and experiment with different products and techniques to find what works best for you. With proper care and attention, you can enhance your natural hair type and embrace your beautiful strands.We wrote this article on What Factors Affect The Growth Rate And Quantity Of Hair? Check it out for all of the details.

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