The Ultimate Guide to Determining your Natural Hair Type
Did you know there are more than 5 different hair types? Hair types are not as simple as the classic "straight" and "curly." When it comes to finding the right hair care products and accessories for your hair, the very first step is knowing your specific hair type. Your hair type refers to your natural air-dried hair. Knowing your hair type is key, but did also know that many people have more than one hair type at a time? This all may sound a bit complicated, but lucky for you GlamIt has compiled this ultimate guide to hair types.
You can spend hundreds of rands on hair care, but if they aren’t meant for your hair type then you are wasting your money and time. This guide will not only help you find the right hair care regimen but also help you turn any bad hair days into a fab hair day!
First thing's first, determining the diameter of your hair- the width of a single hair strand. The best way to do so is by comparing a single strand of hair to a thread. If your hair is thinner than the thread, then you have fine hair. If it is noticeably thicker, then you have thick hair. If it is about the same width and more an "in-between" length, then you have a medium, moderate hair type. Hair diameter is important because it serves as your basis when searching for hair care products. For example, if you have thin hair, the natural oils are more likely to easily spread throughout your hair, making it greasy fairly quickly. On the other hand, a coarser hair type is more frizz-prone and less likely to retain natural oils meaning it needs more hydrating products. Now that you have established your hair diameter, it is time to get a more in-depth look into hair types.
From super-fine strands to dealing with fragility and breakage, hair type 1 is better known as “straight hair”. This hair type is the most resilient, hard to damage, gets oily quickly, and dries easily and often, quite hard to style into a curl or an updo.
Synonymous with being fine and super soft, type 1A cannot hold a curl and is perhaps the oiliest hair type since hair is flat and straight. It is important to remember to be extra gentle with this hair type since over-drying or over-washing can cause a lot more harm than good. Type 1A hair is also prone to limpness and can quite often seem to look dull since it has no wave.
While 1B hair is a little easier to manage since it is a little thicker than type 1A, this hair type has a little bit of body and a slight curl at the end. The strands are slightly fuller and can, with a little bit of coaxing, hold a curl.
Slightly thicker than type 1B, type 1C is still classified as straight but can hold a curl. It is known to be coarser in texture than 1A and 1B and has a few soft waves between some straight strands. While this hair-type is the frizziest in type 1, it is still prone to oiliness and looking limp. Recommended for this hair type are products packed with protein and oily scalp treatments
Somewhere in the middle, type 2 hair is generally classified as being Wavy with an “S” shape running through each strand. While it is a happy medium between straight and lusciously curly hair, type 2 hair can also be a mix of dry and oily. This hair type is full of body, prone to frizz, easy to curl & a 50/50 balance of moisture and protein.
When thinking about type 2A hair, “bed-hair” is the visual that easily describes this hair type. With some bends scattered around in the hair strands, this hair type needs to be cared for with a frizz-protectant product so that the hair does not break or snap. While it does at time resemble beach waves, this hair type is the least frizzy in type 2.
Tousled and effortlessly glam, type 2B hair is the sweet spot of curly, beachy wave. Defined as “wavy” this hair type needs slightly more moisture and can easily be distinguished since waves are likely to stay near the top of the head.
Thicker than 2B with a mix of curls and waves, this mass of bouncy and soft curls are prone to damage and breakage since they are much drier than any of the other hair types in type 1 and 2. This hair type needs a nourishing anti-frizz product to help ease the knots and curls. Recommended for this hair type are products that contain Argan Oil and Frizz Control products.
Classified as curly and frizzy, type 3 hair is made up of wavy to springy curls that start from the shaft until the ends of the hair. It is important to be gentle with this hair type and ease up on using heat styling tools since type 3 hair is prone to dryness. This hair type has high volume and body, lacks shine, straight when wet, curls when dry, is a 50/50 balance of moisture and protein.
With strands that are large in diameter and made up of a mix of tight waves and curls, type 3A hair is classified as being “silky curls”. Because they still have lots of movement between the waves of the strands, this hair type is not too dry and does not frizz as fast as type 3B and 3C.
Known as a springy curl that ranges from ringlets to corkscrews, this hair type is voluminous and has a circumference similar to a blackboard marker. Type 3B hair also tends to be textured and dense which means that it will greatly benefit from a nourishing hair masque and spray.
With curls that follow the pattern of a corkscrew, type 3C hair is the thickest and most prone to frizz. While it doesn't shrink that often, it is extremely frizzy and needs both nourishment and protection so that it does not tangle or snap. Recommended for this hair type are products that contain Argan Oil and Frizz Control products, and leave-in conditioners to hold curls.
Known as kinky hair, type 4 hair is easily distinguished as being full of tight curls. This hair type does not need much washing but it is important to keep it hydrated and moisturized at all times. This hair type is highly textured and full of volume, prone to dryness and breakage, about 75% shrinkage, fragile hair and scalp and is a 25/75 balance of moisture and protein.
Made up of a myriad of mini-curls, type 4A curls are dense, springy, and very fine and have the circumference of a crochet needle. They have a visible S pattern when stretched and are tightly coiled.
With more of a zig-zag shaped curl, type 4B hair is the circumference of a pen. While the stand can range from fine to coarse, the curl in this hair type is can also range from tight to undefined, making it a tricky hair-type to navigate. Be sure to keep hair moisturized at all times and wash only once or twice a week.
With a more zig-zag curl running through the hair, is coilier and dries out quite easily. This hair type is extremely fragile and shrinks under humidity or excess moisture. The strands, which are tightly coiled, range from super fine to coarse and are very delicate. Recommended for this hair type are products that are high in moisture, leave-in products and scalp treatments and if chemically treated requires protein.