May 16, 2023
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Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Verna Meachum
When you enter the drugstore, you see shelves filled with a million different hair products for each style and type. Most of us might think that you get straight hair and curly hair, but there is more to it than that.
Hair is complex and includes structure, porosity, density, and texture. Hair texture refers to how the hair strands feel and can be categorized into three divisions: fine, medium, and coarse. Each texture is more commonly visible with different hair types.
Some people love their hair type and texture, while others always want to change theirs. We will look into the different types of hair textures, how to determine yours, and if you can change it.
Hair might sound simple, but like any other human characteristic, it is not. You get different types of hair and different textures, and you could have two types of hair at the roots and the ends.
To know how to best look after your hair, you will have to know what kind of hair you have, and these are characterized by the following:
• The thickness and feel of one strand of hair
• Overall thickness
• The shape of one strand of hair
• Overall strand texture
The cause of hair texture and type is mainly genetics. The DNA in our hair will determine whether we have straight, wavy, curly, or coily hair. Some instances, like pregnancy with hormonal changes, might lead to a change in hair texture and type, but this can be temporary or permanent.
Some might use heat and chemical products to try and modify their hair texture and type, but the DNA in your roots will always be there.
There are many theories out there, but the most logical and understandable one is that there are hair types that categorize your hair into a curl pattern. Then, apart from that, you have different hair textures or structures that fall into three types. Some of these textures are more common with specific hair types.
Fine hair is one of the hair textures that can be great or dreaded, depending on how much hair you have. The strands might appear thin, but there is a difference between thin hair and fine hair. Fine hair is the structure of each strand, and thin hair is the amount of hair.
Fine hair is sensitive and doesn’t go well with frequent styling and harsh chemicals. It can easily break and lose its shine. Use a conditioner and fine bristle comb to get the natural oils to the ends. Type 1 hair is most likely to have this texture.
Medium hair texture is the most common hair structure between fine and coarse. The medium texture is also great for styling as it is a bit more durable than fine hair but still gives a shiny look. The medium textured hair can be partnered with any of the hair types.
If you have medium-textured hair, you should invest in a detoxing agent to clear your scalp from pollutants and build-ups that can cause dryness and dullness.
Coarse hair defines strands that are thicker in diameter. Rubbing a strand between your fingers will be more prominent than fine hair you cannot feel. Any hair type can have a coarse texture, but manipulating coarse hair is almost impossible.
Because coarse hair has a thicker hair shaft that needs nutrition, the natural oils our scalp produce isn’t enough. Thus, coarse hair can quickly become dry and result in split ends. To look after coarse hair, you must introduce moisturizing agents and leave-in products to keep your hair smooth and nourished.
The types of hair are actually only different ways the hair curl. The 4 types go from straight to the most coily spiral possible. Each class has subdivisions to define the type better. Let’s look at the curl patterns and the characteristics of these types.
|Type 1: Straight||1A – straight with no kink.|
1B – more adjustable than A, but still straight.
1C – might have a slight wave here and there.
|Type 2: Wavy||2A – loose and light beach waves.|
2B – straight at the roots, more s-curve downward.
2C – a little tighter than 2B and prone to frizz.
|Type 3: Curly||3A – bouncy, loose curls.|
3B – ring formed curls.
3C – pencil-sized cork spring curls.
|Type 4: Coily / Kinky||4A – s-shaped tight coils.|
4B – mixed s-shaped coils and z-line hair.
4C – only z-lined hair with no curl shape, very tight.
Many people think they want straight hair, but it can also be a challenge if you don’t find the correct style to wear. Also, because of the fine texture the type 1 hair is usually paired with, oil production can be overwhelming, which means regular washing is a given.
Type 1 hair is divided into three subdivisions. Type 1A hair is as straight as possible, with no kink or wave. For this reason, you will never have any natural volume in the hair, as the straight strands pull down the weight of the hair.
Type 1B and 1C have a better chance of a wave or kink after naturally drying them. They could hold a curl better from a curling iron or curlers, but keeping the shape for long will still be challenging as their main natural shape is straight.
Limit too many products to decrease the oil production of type 1 hair. Volumizing products might be necessary to keep a style in place with type 1 hair. Use a soft bristle brush, and do not use oily shampoo or conditioner.
Type 1A hair can be great with bangs and a cut of the same length. Type 1B has a little more volume and is a bit stronger than 1A, and a feathered cut will look best with this type. Type 1C has the most volume of all the type 1 styles, and a layered cut would work best.
Type 2 hair is mid-way between straight type and curly hair. This type can quickly become frizzy if handled incorrectly or not using the correct products. The kink in wavy hair is more of an S-shape, and the shape gets a little tighter from type 2A to 2C but still not curling.
Type 2A starts straight at the roots and becomes wavy from eye level. The waves are more beach waves than curls. Type 2B also starts the S-shape from the middle downward, but the shape is a little tighter and a more defined S-shape. Type 2C has a more defined wave that starts closer to the roots.
Type 2 hair is prone to frizz; too many products can weigh it down. Opt for lighter products like mousses to define the waves, and do not apply too much. When drying type 2 hair, press the water out and don’t wring or rub it dry, as this will lead to frizz.
Type 2A works best with shorter styles to decrease the weight and give more volume to the hair. Type 2B will look beautiful when worn at one length. Type 2C is close to curly hair but not there yet. This type can easily frizz, so find the right products and cut to show off your curly waves.
Type 3 hair is the hair most people want, but it can be hard to manage it if you don’t have the knowledge. Curly hair tends to dry and frizz quickly and has a lot of volume. On the other hand, curly hair has less maintenance than some of the different types.
Type 3A gives a shape of s-shaped waves that fall into more rounded curls. Type 3B is more rounded and starts at the roots, providing a springy, curly look. Type 3C curls are closer to coils but still have a smaller circumference.
With hair that dries quickly, you get faster breakage too. Thus, you must invest in moisturizing products and curl-defining gels and mousses to take your curls to the next level. Another tip would be never to brush your hair when it is dry. This is a frizz explosion waiting to happen, as the curls change into a triangular shape when brushed.
To ensure a low chance of frizz, use a leave-in conditioner and gently comb your hair while wet. This way, the curls get defined, removing tangles and smoothing out hair strands that want to frizz.
This type of hair is an ideal on-the-go hair type, as experts advise to let it air dry and not to use a hairdryer. This will keep your curls intact and the damage to a minimum.
Coily hair is the type that curls the most. From tight s-shaped curls sprouting from the roots to z-shaped coils that shrink the length because of the tight curls. Type 4 usually is also thick, a bonus most people strive for in hair goals.
Type 4A has an S-shape curl that starts at the roots, is tight, and looks great with bangs to define the look of these coils. Type 4B combines s-shaped and z-shaped curls and coils, making defining it more difficult. Finally, type 4C is the type that shrinks the most and has no defined loop but only z-shaped hair strands.
Because of the thickness, volume, and super curly strands of type 4 hair, it can quickly dry out and break. Thus, you will need to incorporate daily moisturizing between washes. Type 4 hair is fragile, and you should detangle it with your fingers or use a detangling brush and a lot of moisturizer.
Black hair falls into the type 3 and type 4 hair categories. The curls and the coils are signatures of Black hair, and the ladies on the red carpet will show you how to flaunt these curls.
Type 4 curls are denser, thicker, and driest, which can be problematic in maintaining healthy hair. In addition, maintenance can be tricky to ensure the least amount of breakage and keep the hair moisturized without weakening them.
Tips for handling Black hair:
• Do not wash too often.
• Opt for sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.
• Moisturize your hair after washing while it is still wet, but not with products that will leave it greasy.
• Use alcohol-free products for styling to enhance the natural curl.
Now that we know what different types of hair and hair textures are, how do you know your hair type? We must look at appearance, porosity, structure, and density.
• Appearance – the best way to determine your hair type would be to let it air dry and look at it. Does it dry without nicks or curls, soft wavy-looking strands, s-shaped curls, or z-shaped hair strands? This could help you place it into one of the 4 categories.
• Porosity – this is your hair’s ability to absorb moisture. If you have a high porosity, it absorbs all the moisture, and a low porosity does not. For example, place a strand of hair in the water. If it sinks, you have a high porosity. High porosity is usually dry hair and would be partnered with bleached hair and permanently colored hair.
• Structure – do you have fine, medium, or coarse hair? Place a strand of hair next to a piece of clothing thread. If your hair is thinner, you have fine hair. Thicker would be coarse, and more or less the same would be medium. With structure, you can categorize the subdivision of a type better. For example, say you have fine wavy hair; you are most likely a type 2A.
• Density – refers to the thickness of your hair or how much hair you have. To determine this, you can look at your scalp. If you can see your scalp, you have a low density. However, suppose you must move hair out of the way to get to the scalp; you most likely have a high density.
Lower density most of the time relates to type 1 and 2 hair, whereas high density you may find in type 3 or 4 hair.
Your hair type is genetic, and you won’t be able to change it. Some natural causes might change your hair type slightly, but there are no guarantees. There are, however, some measures you can follow to change it temporarily.
Some natural causes that can change your hair type include hormonal changes, environmental changes, and aging. These won’t give you your preferred kind and depend entirely on natural causes. You won’t know how long it will last or if it will change again to another type.
• Hormones – Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are related to hormone changes. Hormone changes can change your hair type, but the result will only be slight. For example, you won’t go from type 1 to type 4 hair. However, hair thinning is common and might shift you from a type 2C to a 2A.
• The environment changes – moving to another state or city can influence your hair type in a few ways. For example, the water may lead to dryer hair, and the air can cause dryer or oilier hair. Also, the moisture in your hair can slightly change your hair type.
There are a few interventions you can apply to your hair to change your hair type temporarily. These usually come with an expiry date. After that, you can decide whether to keep doing it or go natural again. However, these treatments may damage your natural hair type if repeated too often.
• Perming – a method salons use to add waves or curls to your hair. The chemicals they apply bind with the protein in your hair and alter the texture. It can last a few years, depending on which product they use. However, new hair that grows will always have the genetic hair type.
• Brazilian blow-dry – a treatment that gives a straight hair type for four to five months.
• Hair styling/drying tools – blow-dryers, hair curlers, hair straighteners, and manual curlers are all ways to alter your hair type for a day or two. Once you wash your hair, the natural hair type will return (that is, if you didn’t damage your hair).
• Hair care products – using gels and mousses can lead to a temporarily altered hair type by adding curls or removing frizz.
Hair is such a unique thing because of the different types and styles out there. Now that you can determine your hair texture and type, you can implement the best caring regime to keep your hair healthy and shiny.
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