Hair texture is something we’re born with, so the secret to great hair is to know and understand our hair type. Discover the different natural hair types and textures to make your hair long, strong & gorgeous!
There may be different types of hair loss but over the past few years, luckily, I’ve learned to take better care of my hair and understood where it falls in the hair classification system. So my hair has grown considerably long. And I’ve perfected regular hair care regimen, which has helped my hair to be hale and healthy. I realized all this was possible only when I first determined my hair type. This helped me to plan my natural hair care routine.
So, what are different human hair types? How to determine the natural hair types? Well, we have compiled everything about different types of hair and textures. Let’s check them out!
What is Hair Texture?
Hair texture describes the circumference of your hair. It’s basically the width of your hair and it has got nothing to do with your hair type. Usually, the texture is defined by how thick the hair is. The thickness is measured of each individual strand of hair. The comparison is typical to a piece of thread. So, let’s know about different hair textures!
Hair Texture Types
You can know your hair texture by comparing it with a piece of thread. To know which type of textured hair you have, wash your hair normally as you do and allow it to air dry. Once it’s dry, cut out a strand of dry hair and place it on a white paper. Also, cut a regular sewing thread about 6-8 inches long and place it side-to-side with the strand of hair on the white paper. And compare it with the thread to know your hair type.
There are three types of hair textures, fine, medium and thick or coarse. If your hair is fine then it’s thinner than the thread. Medium hair is usually of the same width and thick or coarse strands are thicker than the strand of the thread. The textures of the hair are dependant on the layers of hair shaft. So, before knowing about each hair texture in detail, get set to know about parts of hair.
Parts of Human Hair
Hair consists of two parts namely follicle and shaft. The hair is located above and below the skin. Hair follicle is located within the dermis, that is, inside where the hair develops and sprouts. The hair shaft is the hair we see growing through the pores located on the skin’s surface. Hair shaft is made up of three layers known as medulla, cortex and cuticle.
Cuticle is the outermost layer, which is comprised of colorless scales of keratin responsible for elasticity, water-resistance and thickness of hair. Cortex is located within the cuticle and contains melanin. The cortex determines the coloring, and flexibility and the tensile strength of the hair strand. The innermost layer of the hair shaft is the medulla. It is comprised of loosely connected keratin cells with air spaces in between, which determine the thickness of the hair shaft.
Okay, enough science, now let’s check out about each hair texture type!
Hair Texture Chart
Let’s check out each type of hair texture!
1. Fine hair is the most fragile and can be easily damaged. Each individual hair is thin and has only two layers; cortex and cuticle. Fine hair tends to get oilier compared to other hair types. Too much of product will weigh it down and make it look thin. It can also break easily as it’s fragile. It’s also more prone to split ends over other hair textures.
2. Medium hair is the most common hair type. It covers the scalp well and the hair texture is not as thin as fine hair. The individual hair has the same two layers as that of fine hair, but in some cases, it may also have the third layer, medulla. It’s easier to style medium hair and looks thicker and is more resistant to breaking.
3. Thick or coarse hair has all the three layers; cortex, cuticle and medulla. And this is the reason it has the strongest texture of all natural hair types. It can tolerate heat products, coloring and other chemical processes well and is less prone to breakage. And this also means it takes longer to dry and can get frizzy in humid weather.
What are the Different Types of Hair?
Determining your hair type will help you know how to take care of your hair, types of products to be used, understand the texture and patterns. There are basically four hair types, which include subtypes, too! There are various systems that people use to classify the hair but the Andre Walker hair typing system is one of the most widely used systems to classify hair.
According to Andre Walker system, there are four natural hair types – straight, wavy, curly and kinky. These are also known as Type1, Type 2, Type 3 and Type 4 hair. Basically, the Andre Walker hair type system was created in the 1990s by Oprah Winfrey’s stylist Andre Walker. It was created to promote Walker’s hair products but since then it’s been used for natural hair types classification. So, read on to know more about each hair types in detail!
Natural Hair Types
The natural hair types have subtypes depending on the hair texture.
1. Type 1 Hair
Type 1 hair is straight or fine hair. Straight hair often tends to get oily. This is because of lack of curls, which means that the oil from the scalp goes all the way down to the hair shaft faster than curly hair.
Type 1A hair is very straight and fine. Type 1B hair is thicker but very straight and has medium texture so it has more volume. Natural hair types for 1C is very thick and coarse, but still straight and shiny, so it can be hard to make curls last and is common with Asian women.
Natural hair types that fall in type 1 tend to get oily, so it’s better if you wash your hair atleast twice a week. If you curl your hair, make sure to use a hairspray to keep them in place. For Type 1A, avoid too much styling as your hair is fragile, just let it down or go for braids or half up buns. IB and 1C can be more easily styled to get waves or curls if you like. Try different types of braids, from French to multiple braids, they all look super cute on you!
2. Type 2 Hair
Type 2 hair is naturally wavy. It is usually thicker than Type1 hair. It’s also more frizzy than straight hair. Type 2A can alter between both straight and curly hair types. Type 2B and 2C are super-wavy and resistant to styling.
Girls with wavy hair should relish the fact that they own the style that others are trying to achieve with styling products. But you may experience frizziness, a great way to get rid of frizz is by deep conditioning your hair. And also using a live-in conditioner will help! You don’t need much styling as loose wavy hair looks great on its own. But you can also rock loose curls or straightened hair. On a bad hair day, just go for a messy bun or crown braid. Braids and buns are perfect hairstyles for you!
3. Type 3 Hair
Type 3 hair is natural curly hair. These types of curls will be straight when wet and then go back to curly when dry. They are easy to style and often have S-shaped curls. They are voluminous, climate dependent, which means in humid areas, hair tends to be frizzy. If not well-maintained, it may lead to less-defined curls. Type 3A hair is loose curls while type 3B hair is tighter spiral shaped curls.
Curly hair has more of a natural tendency to get dry and frizzy than straight or wavy hair. This is because the natural oils that your scalp produces can reach easier down the strand of a straight hair than a curly one. So, use a sulfate-free shampoo and avoid hot tools. Try to detangle your hair in the shower with a wide-toothed comb and minimize using brushes. Top knots and buns are great for Type 3 hair on a good hair day, you can also rock half up hair or plaids.
4. Type 4 Hair
Type 4 hair is very curly or kinky and this type of hair is common among African women. It is often fragile with a very high density. It shrinks when wet and has fewer cuticle layers, which is why the fourth category in natural hair types are prone to damage. Type 4A hair is tightly coiled curls and type 4B hair is with less curly patterning. While 4C hair is without definite curl pattern.
For kinky hair type, it’s essential to provide moisture to your hair. You can follow the same steps as type 3 hair. It’s also essential to deep condition your hair.
And also from styling tips to haircare to curling products for type 4 hair, our curly-haired SlubTeam mate, Nishita, has written an entire article about type 4 curly hair! So, make sure to check it out!
Hair Classification System
So, I hope you found our guide to natural hair types and textures helpful! What’s your hair type & how do you maintain it? Share your thoughts by tweeting @shilpa1ahuja!
Sahana is a Senior Staff Writer at ShilpaAhuja.com. With an experience in fashion and lifestyle writing, Sahana is responsible for Indian and international fashion week coverage every year, and is developing an expertise in apparel trend forecasting. She also writes about health and fitness, having pursued yoga for 6 years now. She’s not a gym person at all but is all for “running in the park” and is an amateur cyclist. Books and coffee are her other passions. She’s also an amateur photographer. She’s a hardcore Bollywood fan and she loves to cover the nostalgic topics on the same. From fashion trends to famous characters, she can make anyone love Bollywood! Her best article has been 90s Bollywood fashion, a readers’ favorite so far! Prior to her experience with ShilpaAhuja.com, Sahana has written as a freelance author for online magazine, Mashup Corner, and interned at EventsHigh as a content writer. Her blogs on basic fashion, makeup, fitness and city’s food joints that gave her a chance to experiment with her writing. She also has voiced her opinions about feminism and equal rights for men and women at PolkaCafe journals and after quitting her job, she decided to take up writing as her full time career.
Sahana is an engineering graduate and has worked in an MNC, Tesco, for more than a year as an Operations Support. It was her sheer love for fashion that made her quit the monotonous 9 to 5 job to pursue a career in the fashion industry. She’s originally from Bangalore and is currently settled in Chennai (she’s loving the city)! For any queries and discussions, contact her at [email protected] You can also tweet her at https://twitter.com/Sahana_17