Know Your Hair Type

Know Your Hair Type

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


266 Responses to Know Your Hair Type

  • Can anyone tell me products that TRULY work with quick growth? I take biotin and use “T-Tree” growth creme. I am not sure if I am being impatient, don’t know how to properly take care of my hair, or what. But I am not seeing much progress with any product I use. I have been natural for 11 months (no perms, no heat, no weave even). I just need some guidance. Also, I might try braids again, how can I keep my hair/scalp moisturized during this?

    • Rachel,

      I don’t know any products that contribute to quick hair growth, and I personally do believe patience is key. It takes time to really see the results of your efforts. However, some women praise the inversion method (check it out here) for rapid hair growth and you’re welcome to try it. Also, MSM is a vitamin that is said to increase the hair’s growth phase. As far as braid extensions, check out this post on how to care for them.

      Hope this helps!

  • My hair is very wavey, when wet is lays down. If i use a perm it will come out . Heat will turn it red and it will break of insanity. What kinda hair do i have??

  • Hi,

    My hair is 3B. how to manage baby hairs. I fed up with my baby hairs in the hair line. Can you suggest anything to groom it properly?

    • Create a moisturizing spray, buy a soft bristle boar brush (not the hard bristle one with the brown tips) and a satin scarf. After you have styled your hair, spray your baby hair, lightly brush it in an upwards and back motion and tie the scarf firmly around your style making sure that it covers your brushed baby hair as well. Remove scarf once you arrive at your destination.

  • My hair is very curly when I have conditioner in it, but when I wash it out my hair becomes dry and trashy looking. I don’t know what is my natural state or how to figure out my natural curl pattern, if any. Can someone help me?

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