Let's Talk About Hair: Hair Typing

This is a rather quick and dirty post featuring hair type charts, a hair typing quiz and my personal thoughts about hair typing. Discuss your feelings about hair typing in the comments!

Hair typing is basically a means to determining which texture category your hair falls under. The most popular chart was created by Andre Walker in 1997. It uses numbers and letters to determine hair types from straight to kinky.

Type 1:

  • a: Straight (Fine/Thin) – Hair tends to be very soft, shiny and difficult to hold a curl. Hair also tends to be oily, and difficult to damage.
  • b: Straight (Medium) – Hair has lots of volume & body.
  • c: Straight (Coarse) – Hair is normally bone straight and difficult to curl.

Type 2:

  • a: Wavy (Fine/Thin) – Hair has a definite "S" pattern. Normally can accomplish various styles.
  • b: Wavy (Medium) – Hair tends to be frizzy, and a little resistant to styling.
  • c: Wavy (Coarse) – Hair is also resistant to styling and normally very frizzy; tends to have thicker waves.


Type 3:

  • a: Curly (Loose Curls) – Hair tends to be shiny and there can be a combination of textures. It can be thick & full with lots of body, with a definite "S" pattern. It also tends to be frizzy. The longer the hair the more defined the curl becomes.
  • b: Curly (Tight Curls) – Also tends to have a combination texture, with a medium amount of curl.
  • c: This type of hair can be described as tight curls in corkscrews. The curls can be either kinky, or very tightly curled, with a lot of strands densely packed together.


Type 4:

  • a: Kinky (Soft) – Hair tends to be very fragile, tightly coiled, and has a more defined curly pattern.
  • b: Kinky (Wiry) – Also very fragile and tightly coiled; however with a less defined curly pattern -has more of a "Z" pattern shape.
  • c: Kinky (ZigZag) - Very fragile and tightly coiled; has almost no defined curly pattern.


Here is a chart with celebrity-type people so you can get a general idea of what the types look like:

It is extremely common for curly-haired people to have more than one texture on their head. I'm a black woman and I have a combination of 3C and 4A hair. The 3C hair is mostly on the underside of my head and the 4A hair is on the crown and toward my forehead.


How I Feel About Hair Typing

Hair typing was extremely useful for me when I first cut my hair off and went natural. I had no idea how to take care of my newly natural hair. Typing it made it easier to find products and techniques that would work for my hair. While I understand people who say it can be divisive, I feel like it helped me a lot.

I used this quiz from Naturally Curly which uses a slightly different system but it helps you find your texture and products that other people have found to work well for that texture.


So let's talk about hair typing!