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.


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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

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265 Responses to Know Your Hair Type

  • How can I regrow my 9 yr olds edges and also retain more moisture on 4c hair
    I am very new to the African American hair care as I’m white and recently gained custody of my 9 step daughter. Her hair is severely damaged, dry and brittle,,due to constant perming. Her edges are almost completely gone and she has barely roughly 6 inches of hair but it is only growing almost like a mohawk . I am finding it very hard to find a balance of moisture ! And also need ideas on how to help it grow!! I find it does great and seems to grow and is somewhat not as dry ,, by doing big box braids with adding weave… Is doing that wrong?? I need over all hep

    • Avoid braiding her hair too tightly or slicking back in really tight ponytails, this can cause more breakage and thinning of the edges. Give the damaged area extra attention when you moisturize her hair. When you moisturize always use water or a water based leave in conditioner first. Then you can use an oil or butter based product to seal in the moisture and prevent moisture loss. It will be more moisturized and grow in braids (what we call protective styles) because it isn’t exposed to the air and the braids will help keep her hair from tangling. You can always do box braids, two strand twists with her own hair as well don’t rely on the weaves too much. Simple styles work too like buns or ponytails anything where her hair isn’t roaming too free to encounter tangles. Also when you shampoo avoid shampoos with sulfates they are drying to Afro textured hair.

  • Help! I’d like to try a wash n go (I’ve been natural since birth but it’s been damaged by over straightening and products so I cut it almost two years ago and just started styling it for the first time) but I’m having a slight confusion that could hinder that? Obviously 4c hair lacks defined curl shape and wash n go wouldn’t be very effective but my hair looks mostly 4b with some 4a when freshly washed and wet but once dry, even without product it looks like a mix of 4c and 4b. Is there any way to clear this confusion?

  • I can’t figure out my hair type or if it’s just heat damaged. I wish I could send a pic so someone can help me. I’m so lost on this natural hair stuff as my mom has been perming my hair before I could even remember:(
    I’ve gone two years without relaxer but I didn’t really take care of it and I used hear a few times.

  • I’ve been wondering about the complexity of my hair, thank you. 4C it appears is me!! My daughter 4B…what a huge difference!

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