4a 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.

4b 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.

4c 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. 4C hair type does best with products on the heavier creamier side. Learn more about the best 4c hair products. In order to grow 4c hair long, you have to be very gentle with it as it is the most fragile hair type. See more tips for 4C hair growth also see 4C hairstyles that help to reduce tangles and breakage.


3a 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 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 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?

It’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.

379 thoughts on “Know Your Hair Type”

  1. Stephanie Holbert

    I need help
    My hair has several different curls and textures
    My hair is a mixture of 3a 3b 3c with 4a and 4b with a little of 2c
    With frizzyness tangles and a z s and no shape.
    My hair does what ever it want’s at time when moisture is in the air I can not do anything with it because of the curls coils tangles and frizz.
    By the time I am down trying to fool with it I just braid it up.
    I need some help and advicr

    1. If you have those many types it’s possible you have some damage to your hair that is affecting your strands natural curl pattern

      Wash your hair and without putting in any chemicals or products look at the roots of your hair to determine true hair type

  2. Im still confused my curl patterns is more like 3c (strand test) i dont have a z shape strands more like circular coily which is closet to 3c based on the hair strand chart .. but my hair has the appearance of 4b or 4c.

    1. I had the same issue.
      I had heat damage, chemical damage and also damage from resetting hair that was already wet.
      you might have some damage to your hair that’s caused the strands in your hair to split and break making it dryer and frizzy

  3. please i am new to the natural hair thing and i have used to many products on my hair to bring out my natural curls but seems to not work and i think i have the 4c hair type

  4. So my hair is curly and kinky. Rn my hair is in two puffs but if i were to take it out the front would be like 3a/4a/4b but the back would be more 4a/4b what would my general hair type be?

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