Just like there are different skin types and blood types, hair experts have also classified hair into different types to make it easier for people to determine how should take care of their own hair. Although all hair consists of the cuticle layer and the cortex layer, textures and structuthey res can largely differ from one type of hair to another. Different hair types require different levels and techniques of care for the hair to stay healthy and look great at all times. For example, while one hair type will benefit from products that reduce oil, another hair type will be damaged if the same products are used on it. This is one of the major reasons why determining your own hair type is such an essential part of maintaining healthy, beautiful and damage-free hair. The same rules apply if you're wearing a weave as well!
The 12 Different Hair Types
A total of 12 hair types have been identified, and every person’s hair can be classified into one of these categories. There are four primary types of hair that have been identified, and each of these types has three sub categories that also tell important details. After classifying your own hair type into one of these categories, you will be able to determine what type of products to use on your hair, what accessories are safe to use, and whether or not using certain styling equipment is appropriate for your hair. Let’s take a look at the various hair types that have been identified, as reported by Curl Centric.
The first hair type is known as type one. This is straight hair that does not naturally curl when air dried. Straight hair, or type one hair, can be classified into three sub categories, based on the specific characteristics it possesses:
- 1A – This hair type is usually thin and soft. It possesses a shine and the hair is generally very fine.
- 1B – This hair type has a medium texture. It also possesses a higher level of body when compared to type 1A.
- 1C – While this is also a straight hair type, it is coarser than the other type one hair. This hair type is considered to be more difficult to style in curls when compared to type 1A and 1B.
Interesting fact: Since type one hair is very straight and does not have any type of curls, the sebum that is expelled from the scalp travels towards the end of hair strands. This means that type one hair is oilier than other hair types. This is why people with this type of hair tend to use products that contain ingredients that reduce oil on the scalp, instead of products that add additional oils and moisture.
Type two hair is wavy, but does not curl naturally. This hair type is less oily than type one hair, but it is not dry either. Type two hair, or wavy hair, can also be sub categorized:
- 2A – Type 2A hair is usually easy to deal with, and it can be easily styled. The hair can be styled straight or curls can be added, depending on the person’s preferences. People with this hair type generally complain that their strands are thin.
- 2B – This type of hair is characterized by waves that start from the head, but the waves do not appear as curls.
- 2C – This hair type is somewhat coarse and people find that it frizzes quickly.
Type three hair has a curly texture. This hair type is less oily than the first two types of hair. People often associate the curls that people with type three hair have with the letter “S”. The three sub categories of curly hair include:
- 3A – This type of hair has loose curls.
- 3B – This type of hair has more curls than 3A. In some parts of the head, the curls may be ringlets, and in other parts formed like corkscrews.
- 3C – A thicker version of curly hair that is somewhat more difficult to manage than 3A and 3B.
Kinky hair is most common in African Americans. This type of hair is known as type four and it include tight coils. Kinky hair is usually very fragile and seems to be “wiry”. The three sub categories of this hair type include:
- 4A – This type of hair includes a lot of coils that seem to be very tight. When stretched, the curls will look similar to type three hair, forming an “S” shape.
- 4B – The curls in 4B hair are less defined than 4A’s curls, and the hair rather forms the letter “Z” when stretched.
- 4C – People often find that 4C hair type is very difficult to manage as it becomes dry rather easily. Hair is thicker than with 4A and 4B, and the curls are even less defined. The letter “Z” is also represented when this type of hair is stretched.
Interesting Fact: Unlike straight hair, the tight curls that form in type four hair causes sebum to only reach a few inches down the hair strands. This means that type four is the driest type of hair, and that’s why it is treated with moisturizing products instead of products that reduce oil.
While hair types may seem straightforward, determining your own hair type can be a difficult task. Yet, it is still an essential step to take in order to properly care for your natural hair and keep it looking at its best all the time. Instead of studying each individual hair type thoroughly to determine where your hair should be categorized, you can save time and take a hair types quiz. Simply answer a few questions and you’ll be presented with your hair type.