What's My Hair Type?: A Curl Pattern Chart and Guide
When looking around for products, you've definitely run into these terms. 4C? 3A? 2B? Are these codes for a vending machine?
No, these "secret codes" refer to your hair type or curl pattern. Knowing your curl pattern can help you better understand how your hair works and the best ways to treat it. Unsure of what your hair type is? Don't sweat it! In this blog are tons of examples you can compare with your own hair.
When determining your hair type, it's best to look at your hair when it is dry with no products in it. That way, your hair is at its most natural. Once you wash your hair with clarifying shampoo and let it dry, you can see your true hair type.
Hair Types can be separated into 4 categories:
- Type 1: Straight
- Type 2: Wavy
- Type 3: Curly
- Type 4: Coily
From there, each type can be further broken down by how tight or loose they are with A being the loosest, B in the middle, and C the tightest. It may be a little confusing, but today I’ll go over each category so you can identify your hair type.
Hair in this category is straight as a needle. Technically, there are 1A, 1B, and 1C hair types. However, the difference is minor. Type 1 hair makes it easy for natural oils to coat your strands, maybe a little too easy. People with type 1 hair will need to wash their hair the most often and use lighter, water-based products.
2A hair is fine and slightly wavy. The hair can be easily straightened and curled (with help from some products and techniques). People with 2A hair may experience flat, lifeless-looking hair. So, steer clear of heavy products and opt for lighter ones that won’t weigh down your strands.
2B hair is a defined S-shape. Waviness is more apparent starting midway down the strand going towards the end. The strands are thicker than 2A, but still easily able to be straightened.
Thick and wavy, 2C hair is close to naturally curling up. Easy to curl, yet also easy to frizz, 2C hair needs to be careful around heat to avoid frizzing.
Loose curls that you can poke a couple fingers through. Extensive brushing can disrupt the curl pattern and lead to fly-away frizz.
Tighter curls around the size of a marker. Often springy, 3B hair will need moisture to retain those curls. Look for products with humectants like honey to draw water into your strands.
3C hair is dense, tightly packed corkscrew curls. The curls are quite narrow and may become knotted with out regular detangling and moisture.
4A hair features tight coils that are around the size of an AAA battery. Out of all the type 4 hair types, 4A has the least shrinkage and easiest time achieving curl definition.
Z-shaped hair. Type 4B curly are tightly coiled. It’s often hard to achieve well-defined curls and is prone to tangling.
The most densely coiled hair of all. To many, 4C hair feels like its own category. 4C coils are compact, easily tangling and knotting up. 4C hair also experiences extreme shrinkage, up to 75% in some cases.
Those with 4C hair need to regularly detangle their hair to prevent split ends and undo shrinkage. Also, heavy moisturizing is a must to reduce breakage.
Now you know what your hair type is. Understanding your hair type, along with your hair porosity, are key to selecting the right products and creating a haircare routine for your needs. You have any more questions about how to treat your hair, read more of our hair care tips or contact us!