Hair Types: How To Identify Your Actual Hair Type

Do you often struggle to find hair products that suit your hair type? If yes, then you’re not alone. Identifying your hair type can be tricky, and finding products that cater to its unique needs can be even more challenging. It’s highly likely that you may not be as well-versed in your hair type as you initially believed. Just as it’s important to know your skin type to establish a successful skincare routine, identifying your hair type can significantly impact the effectiveness of your daily hair care regimen. Determining your hair type can be a challenging task, despite its apparent simplicity.

When it comes to identifying your hair type, there are more factors to consider beyond the typical straight, wavy, curly, and coily categories. A comprehensive hair type chart can help you determine your specific hair type by taking into account a variety of other factors. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of hair types and factors to consider, fret not! We’ve got your back. In this post, we’ll be discussing the essential factors to consider when identifying your hair type and how they can impact your daily hair care regimen.

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Four Types of Hair

types of hair
Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy

Andre Walker, a well-known hairstylist, first introduced the classification system for hair and curl types. The system has been categorized into four major categories.

  • Type 1 pertains to straight hair.
  • If you have type 2 hair, you’re blessed with beautiful waves.
  • Type 3: Curly hair is a beautiful and unique hair type that requires special care and attention.
  • Type 4: Coily hair is a unique hair type that is characterized by tight curls and coils. This hair type is often prone to dryness and requires special care.

There are more subcategories (A, B, and C) for each hair type based on more minor differences in texture, making a total of 12 different hair types. Whether you’re a hair care novice or a seasoned pro, identifying and caring for your hair type can be a daunting task.

What Is Your Hair Texture?

When it comes to hair, texture is a term used to describe the inherent shape or pattern of individual strands. For those who are uncertain about their hair type, a great way to determine it is by washing their hair and letting it air dry without any products. This will give you a better understanding of your hair’s natural texture and characteristics.

Straight Hair

If your hair dries without any bend or curl, then you can classify it as straight hair, also known as type 1 hair. Wavy hair (type 2) is characterized by a slight curve or “S” shape when it dries.

Curly Hair

If your hair dries with a defined curl or loop pattern, congratulations! You fall into one of two curl types. Type 3 curly hair is characterized by its bouncy ringlets or corkscrew curls, although it is not as tightly packed as coily hair.

Coily Hair

The coily hair texture falls under the type 4 category, which is commonly referred to as a natural hair type. The natural hair texture is a sight to behold with its dense spirals, intricate zig-zag patterns, and unique shrinkage that happens when the tight coils transition from wet to dry. If you have this hair type, you know that it requires a delicate touch. It’s more fragile and prone to breakage than other hair types, which means you need to be extra careful when caring for it. A specialized hair care routine is a must if you want to keep your locks looking their best.

It’s important to note that having a natural wave in your hair doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the same hair type as someone else with waves. When it comes to hair types, it’s important to note that even if two individuals have type 2 hair, there can still be variations within that category.

Hair type charts are incredibly useful tools for understanding your hair’s texture. They provide a comprehensive breakdown of the four main hair types, with subcategories within each texture. By referring to these charts, you can gain a deeper understanding of your hair’s unique characteristics and tailor your hair care routine accordingly. Today, we’re going to delve into the classification system of hair textures and how they relate to hair structure.

How To Tell You Hair’s Structure

Hair structure is a crucial aspect to consider when it comes to hair care. It pertains to the thickness of your strands, which can significantly impact how your hair behaves with various hairstyles and products. When it comes to hair, it’s important to understand that it can typically be categorized into three distinct types: fine, medium, and coarse (also known as thick).

Determining whether you have thick or thin hair can be a breeze with this simple trick. Just pluck a single strand from your hairbrush and place it on a flat, unadorned surface. To get started, grab a piece of sewing thread that’s roughly six inches in length (opt for a hue that matches your hair if possible) and lay it beside your hair strand.

Determining your hair type can be a bit tricky, but there are a few telltale signs to look out for. If your strands appear thinner than sewing thread, you likely have thin hair. On the other hand, if your hair seems thicker and more substantial, it’s likely that you have coarse hair. The range between the two extremes can be considered medium. Determining your hair’s structure can be done by observing how well it maintains a hairstyle, particularly if you have straight or wavy hair.

How To Tell The Porosity of Your Hair

Hair type, how to tell porosity of your hair
Photo by Craig Adderley

One of the most important aspects of hair care is understanding your hair’s porosity. Essentially, porosity refers to the hair’s ability to absorb moisture and product. This can have a significant impact on how you care for your hair and what types of products you use. By understanding your hair’s porosity, you can make more informed decisions about how to keep your locks looking their best. Understanding your hair’s porosity can be a game-changer when it comes to selecting the right styling products. Although it’s not as frequently mentioned as other aspects of hair typing, it can make a significant difference in your hair care routine.

Assessing your hair’s porosity can be a breeze with this simple trick: submerge a lone strand of hair into a bowl of water. When your hair strand sinks to the bottom, it indicates that your hair has high porosity. This means that your hair is absorbing a lot of moisture. If your hair strand is floating above the bottom of the bowl while remaining below the surface, then congratulations! Your hair is well-balanced and has normal porosity. If you notice that your hair strand is floating above the water surface, then it’s an indication that your hair has low porosity. This implies that your hair is not able to absorb moisture easily.

So, what exactly does this imply for your precious locks? If you have high porosity hair, you may notice that it tends to soak up moisture faster than you’d like. This is because there are gaps or tears around the cuticle that allow moisture to penetrate too easily. When certain areas of the hair become damaged, the moisture is released at an accelerated rate, resulting in a dry and fragile texture. If you have these hair types, it’s advisable to steer clear of heat styling and harsh chemical treatments as they can lead to frizz, dryness, and breakage.

When it comes to hair types, low porosity hair is a common one. This type of hair has a cuticle that lays flat, which can make it difficult for water or moisture to penetrate the strands. When it comes to these specific hair types, the primary issue that individuals tend to face is product buildup. This is particularly true for those who use thick hair oils and mousses. It is highly recommended by hair experts to apply hair products while your hair is still damp. This helps in ensuring that the products are easily absorbed and evenly distributed throughout your hair.

Type 1: Straight Hair

hair types, straight hair type
Photo by Godisable Jacob

Straight hair is a hair type that is characterized by its smooth and sleek texture, with very little to no natural curl or wave. Adding texture to the hair can be quite challenging, especially depending on the type. This hair type is more susceptible to accumulating dirt and oil at a faster rate than others. For those with type 1 hair, opting for lightweight hair care and styling products can be a game-changer. This hair type tends to get weighed down easily, so using lighter products is key to achieving the desired look.

  • Type 1a: Straight and fine 
  • Type 1b: Straight with a little more volume and body
  • Type 1c: Bone straight, curl resistant hair

Type 2: Wavy Hair

Hair Types, wavy hair type
Photo by jasmin chew

Wavy hair is similar to straight (type 1) hair in that it lacks curls and is prone to accumulating dirt, oil, and styling products. However, it differs from hair types 3 and 4 in this regard. Curly hair boasts a fuller, voluminous, and textured appearance compared to straight hair. If you’re wondering about your hair type, it’s important to note that if you don’t see completely straight strands in your dry, clean hair or if you notice any sort of curls, you likely fall into the type 2 category.

  • Type 2a: Hair with a loose, wavy ā€œSā€ shaped pattern
  • Type 2b: Hair with a more defined, wavy ā€œSā€ shaped pattern
  • Type 2c: Hair with wide waves

Type 3: Curly Hair

Hair Types,curly hair type
Photo by Tim Mossholder

If you’re looking for a way to determine whether you have curly, type 3 hair, keep an eye out for well-defined curls that bounce back like a spring rather than looser “S-shaped waves. This is a clear indicator that you have curly hair. Maintaining strand health is crucial for those with type 3 hair, as curly hair demands more attention than straight hair. To achieve luscious, defined curls, it’s important to have a solid hair care routine in place. This means incorporating hydrating and moisturizing products into your regimen, as well as using a clarifying shampoo to eliminate any buildup. Additionally, using a Denman brush and tangle teezer can help effectively brush through and define your curls. Trust us, your curls will thank you! Find out how to tell if your hair is healthy.

  • Type 3a: Hair with loose curls
  • Type 3b: Hair with curls that begin to get tighter
  • Type 3c: Corkscrew curls

Type 4: Coily hair

Hair Types, coils hair type
Photo by Godisable Jacob

Coily hair is a unique hair type that boasts a tighter and more defined curl pattern. Just like type 3 hair, type 4 hair also tends to be dry and demands a great deal of attention when it comes to maintaining its health and moisture levels. It’s crucial to emphasize the importance of utilizing specific treatments and tools such as Denman brushes and tangle teezers. Additionally, incorporate ultra-moisturizing products and styling gels into your hair care routine.

  • Type 4a: Hair with loose coils
  • Type 4b: Hair with zig zagging coils
  • Type 4c: Hair with tight coils

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