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. My hair is 3A in the front and something else in the back. It holds moisture great in the front but that back is a desert. Gheesh

  2. I am really not sure what my hair type is but I do know that it is course and dry and does not hold moistre very well at all and I need a product that will help to keep the miostre in my hair I have naturel hair. please help

    1. I have thin/fine (I think 4c hair) not sure but definitely not 4b and above and also it is tightly packed and always dry and breaking. i have struggled so much with it and sometimes I get frustrated. also, I am not so good with this hair stuff. I have decided to cut it off but then again, I want to leave a little hair. Where I live, there are barely black hair profs and my hair gets drier because of the weather. It is winter. I need help. I am so confused.
      Thank you.

    2. Melinda Edmunds

      Try Hawaiian Silky 14 in 1 Miracle Worker styling lotion green and white bottle (not the spray bottle). I discovered this recently and it keeps my dry 4C hair very moist for twists. I use just a little hair oil when I am untwisting and wow what a soft shiny difference. Make sure you saturate each section until slick twist and allow time for it to dry. I guess you could use a diffuser but I don’t have one of those things.

  3. my hair tends to separate and stand out in thick coil like strands when dried and it gets really hard to comb through. i used to think it was a type 4c or 4b but now i’m confused because the curls are loose and my hair feels fuller when wet but really thick, hard and shrunken when dry

  4. I have loose, straight hair with no defined curls. It is fine and thin, highly porous. I can’t find where I fit in this category…the test keeps telling me to “retake” though my answers will not change: it is what it is! Help!

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