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What's My Hair Type?: A Curl Pattern Chart and Guide

Curly Pattern Chart For Hair Type 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.

Taylor Swift 1A short hair in black dress

Type 1

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.

Emma Stone 2A red hair at Golden Globe Awards

Type 2A

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.

 Vanessa Hudgens 2B curly hair in blue top

Type 2B

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.

Shakira 2C curly hair in black top

Type 2C

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.

Zendaya 3A curly hair in pink blouse

Type 3A

Loose curls that you can poke a couple fingers through. Extensive brushing can disrupt the curl pattern and lead to fly-away frizz.

Tracee Ellis Ross 3B curl pattern in tan dress

Type 3B

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.

Nathalie Emmanuel 3C curly hair in see-through black top

Type 3C

3C hair is dense, tightly packed corkscrew curls. The curls are quite narrow and may become knotted with out regular detangling and moisture. 

Yaya Dacosta 4a curly hair

Type 4A

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. 

Viola Davis 4B kinky hair afro in black dress

Type 4B

Z-shaped hair. Type 4B curly are tightly coiled. It’s often hard to achieve well-defined curls and is prone to tangling.

Uzo Aduba 4C kinky hair afro at award show

Type 4C

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!

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