Not sure what your hair type is? Take our Quiz!

Read about all the hair types below.


Kinky hair types (type 4 hair)

4a hair type4a hair has a defined curl pattern almost like a “s” shape. Generally speaking it retains moisture fairly well, but as with most curly hair types can still be prone to dryness. Being that this hair type has a naturally defined curl pattern wash n’ go styles may be a great option as it can be easily achieved with the right product and technique. Gentle sulfate free shampoos, conditioners and rich creamy products or butters will be helpful for keeping hair moisturized.

 
 
 
 

4b hair type4b hair has a “z” shape pattern and has a more fluffy cottony appearance. Due to the bends and curves in the hair strand it is highly susceptible to dryness and breakage. This hair type shrinks up to 70% so without stretching out the hair it will appear shorter than it actually is. Naturals with this hair type will benefit from protective (buns, twists, braids)  and low manipulation styles (roller sets, ponytail puffs, twist outs) to protect the hair from damage. A lot of moisture, gentle cleansers and frequent deep conditioning will be helpful for naturals with 4b hair.

 
 
 
 

4c hair type4c hair looks similar to 4b hair type only it is more tightly coiled. In its raw state (no products added and freshly washed) it does not have a defined curl pattern. Coils have to be defined by either twisting, braiding, or shingling through the strands. Many 4c naturals have shrinkage up to 70% or more. So while your hair may be 10 inches long it may appear like you only have 3 inches of hair if you do not stretch your hair out. It is the most fragile hair type, so if you desire to grow your hair long protective styles like twists, braids, or buns should be your go to style choice. These styles do not require daily manipulation (combing/brushing) giving hair less chances to break off.  You can then wear your hair out for a couple of days in a low manipulation style (puffs, roller sets, twist outs) and then repeat the cycle for a balanced routine.

Curly hair types (type 3 hair)

3a hair type3a hair has well defined loopy curls. It may be prone to frizz, so it is best to use light products that will give you a nice hold. To avoid dryness for daily cleansing of the hair try cleansing your hair with conditioner only.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

3b hair type3b hair curls are well defined with less space between each bend and curve than 3a hair. The texture may be coarse and dense. To prevent buildup use light products and use cleansers that are sulfate free and silicone free.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3c hair type3c hair as a defined corkscrew shape and has the smallest space between the bends in the hair strand of all the type 3 hair types. Avoid heat use when possible by instead using stretching techniques: braids, twists or bunning your hair. Cleanse and deep condition once per week and moisturize often with light botanical gels free from harsh ingredients.

 
 
 
 

More than one hair type?

Curly-Hair-Type-ChartIt’s quite common for us to have more than one texture in our hair. Your edges may be 4b while the majority of your hair is 4a type. Or you may have 4a hair with some 3c strands for example. Remember no two heads of hair are alike. Hair type systems are good for learning about your hair or what could potentially be best for it, but they are by no means an absolute standard. Use it as guidance and always go by what you know works best for your hair.

Next we are going to talk about porosity. Knowing this will help you to understand how to keep your hair moisturized.

What’s In the Guide

#1 Why to Go Natural
#2 What You Should Know About Natural Hair
#3 How to go from Relaxed to Natural Hair
#4 Know Your Hair Type
#5 What’s Your Hair Porosity Type
#6 What Products Do I Need?
#7 How to Create a Natural Hair Regimen
#8 Natural Hair FAQ

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS

275 Comments

  1. One question I have is, could a person have 4c and 3c types hair which I suspect I have which means the style types wont work well for me and haven’t. I have been natural for the past 24 years where I wore a TWA requiring low maintenance and my barber became my BFF, and in fact did a wash and go daily. s
    A point I should make is that when my hair is wet, and it stays wet for at least five hours without assistant from heated apparatuses, no one except me can tell that it’s saturated as my curls are very tight. My niece and nephew have all commented on how “very curly”, their words, not mine, my hair is. My hair lies flat in a perfect “o” as well as with a springy “o” with the ends being zigzaged when dry.
    Recently, two years ago, I grew my hair out to be in my sister’s wedding party because she wanted a certain esthetic look, but I drew the line at straightening as that was not happening! Needless to say, I’ve combed every article I could find on caring for what all the pundits say is 4c type hair to no avail. Nothing worked to soften let alone manage the knot/tangled effect that happened at the end of the each day.
    While the LOC method worked marginally well, it didn’t tame the knotting/tangling and I detest the product build ups. I have to wash my hair weekly to get rid of this.
    The experience which prompts my question is that a few weeks ago, I was extremely busy and didn’t do my weekly wash and waited three weeks to wash, and to my dismay, my hair, which was in a side twist was locking despite using daily leave-in conditioner and moisturizer! Was I ready to jump right back to a twa after this? Heck yea! But I didn’t so now my curiosity has me wondering what’s going on? Is my hair type, curl/coil pattern, etc.?
    Thanks for the response and insights, and sorry for the long comment.

  2. Beverly Lancaster says:

    This hair rating system is the most hateful cast system targeting black women that I’ve seen in years. So you are telling me and my young daughter that “A” hair is most similar to Caucasian textured hair and if our thick resilient and healthy hair is “tightly coiled” (aka nappy) our hair is “C” or “D” grade. I pray you are just white and ignorant and not black and self-loathing. Facts can cure ignorance self-loathing is a more deeply rooted disease that requires serious, serious intervention.
    Either way, shame on you and shame on every company that perpetuates this insidious rating system.

    1. Who exactly is implying that a Caucasian hair type is better? Or at least on this page not seeing how one would come to that conclusion.

    2. Olive Brooks says:

      I’m sure the letters aren’t supposed to reflect grades, but rather just be a secondary separation like the 3 and 4. But instead of writing 3.1, 3.2, 4.3, 4.1 and so on, it makes it a little more simple to just write 3A, 4B and so on. And I’m sure a site that revolves around black hair care wouldn’t support such a system if it was implying that Caucasian textured hair is somehow better.

    3. you’re obviously triggered. the alphabetical order of hair types has nothing to do with racism what-so-ever

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *