Hair typing systems categorize hair based on several different characteristics such as thickness, texture, and curl pattern. Many people use these hair typing systems to get product suggestions and general hair care tips. Most people have several different textures in their head so don't feel like you must fit into only one category. No matter what your hair type is it should be treated with care!!
There are a number of hair typing systems but the most popular system used in the natural hair community is the Andre Walker System which is described in his book, Andre Talks Hair. He divides hair into four categories that have subcategories that more specifically identify the curl pattern.
- Type 1: Straight Hair-Straight hair is just that...straight. It has no curl pattern and is not a common hair texture for African-Americans. Straight hair is difficult to curl and has a shiny appearance.
- Type 2: Wavy Hair-This hair type has a wave pattern but little or no curl. It has "S" shaped curves and lies flat to the scalp. Type 2 hair has three subcategories: 2A-fine and thin, 2B-medium textured, and 2C-thick and coarse. 2A hair can take on a straighter or curlier style fairly easy while 2B and 2C hair is more resistant and tends to be frizzy.
|Chilli of TLC|
- Type 3: Curly Hair-Having well defined and springy "S" pattern strands is what classifies one as Type 3. Curly hair tends to be straighter while wet and then returns to a curlier state as it absorbs water and dries. Because the cuticle layers do not lay flat allowing light to reflect off of them, curly hair is not as shiny as straight or wavy hair. Type 3A curls are large and shiny and have a loose curl pattern. Type 3B hair has curls that range in size from medium ringlets to tight corkscrews. Type 3C hair has small tight curls that may appear to be slightly kinky.
|Tracey Ellis Ross|
- Type 4: Kinky Hair-Kinky hair is tightly curled and extremely fragile. It appears to be coarse but is actually very fine with lots of densely packed strands. Healthy Type 4 hair won't shine but will be soft to the touch. Although it appears to be tough and durable it is the most fragile of all the hair types and must be handled with care. Type 4A hair has a defined "S" shaped curl pattern and the curls range from pen sized to coffee-stirrer size. Type 4B hair has a more "Z" shaped curl pattern. Like 4A hair, it lacks shine and is fragile but has a less defined curl pattern. Lastly there is Type 4C hair, Andre Walker does not include this texture as part of his hair typing system but it is a suggested hair type. This hair type has been described as a more challenging version of 4B hair with very tightly curled strands.