Knowing and understanding your hair type can help you take better care of your hair, know how to style it and use the right products on your hair. You may be wondering, “What is my hair type?” It’s a question which leads you to discovering how to style and care for your hair.
To start off, there are four main hair types, and three of those have subcategories based on texture and thickness, which we’ll break down below. Each hair type is beautiful in its own way, from straight lines to bouncy coils, which is why learning how to keep your hair type healthy allows you to show it off in it’s best form!
You can ask your hairdresser for their opinion on your hair type, but it’s great to understand why this matters and how you can care and style your hair type in your day-to-day life.
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Understanding Your Hair Type
There are many different types of hair, each requiring different care and styling methods. Although lots of hair care brands will promote their products for any type of hair, it’s important to understand your own hair’s needs to care for it with the right products.
Hair stylist Andre Walker, also known as Oprah Winfrey’s stylist of many years, created a system which determines hair type based on curl patterns:
The four main types of hair:
Your hair type is determined by your hair’s curl pattern. Curl patterns depend on the shape of your hair follicle. Hair follicles that are more asymmetrical or oval produce curlier hair. For types 2 to 4 hair (wavy, curly and coily), there are also A, B and C types, determining how loose to tight the waves, curls or coils are. See the diagram below for more information.
How to Style & Care for Your Hair Type
Okay, so now you know your hair type, which is either:
- Wavy (A,B or C).
- Curly (A,B or C).
- Coily (A,B or C).
it’s time to look into how to best style and care for your hair! Of course, you should style your hair however you like, but these recommendations are from top stylists and are less harsh on your hair, keeping it cute and healthy!
How to style and care for straight hair.
Type 1 hair, which is straight with no natural curl and can often become oily quite quickly.
Stylist Kristie Lovelace recommends:
Hair care for straight hair:
- Check the hair products you use won’t add additional oil to your hair.
- Avoid heavy butters and serums.
- Use texture sprays or dry shampoos if your hair is quite oily.
- Don’t over wash your hair; this can make your scalp overproduce oils.
Styling for straight hair:
- Chin-length blunt haircuts look great on straight hair.
- Almost any hairstyle can suit straight hair, so try to base it on your face shape to show it off.
2. How to style and care for wavy hair.
Type 2A hair.
If you have type 2A hair, you have slight waves or a hair with slight S-shape, but not straight. After towel-drying your hair, it will have a gentle texture to it and is fairly straight towards the top of your head.
Since your hair is fairly straight, you can care for it the same way you’d care for straight hair (see hair care for straight hair above).
To keep those waves more defined, Lovelace recommends:
- Avoiding creamy and oil-based products.
- Use a light mousse or gel near your scalp to boost your natural waves.
Type 2B hair.
People with type 2B hair have soft waves, mainly from the middle of your hair to the ends. If you have 2B hair, then your hair is similar to type 2A, but the S shape is more defined and your hair is more noticeably wavy.
With similar care methods to types 1 and 2A, make sure to avoid products that make your scalp too oily; instead use products that boost those waves!
If you’re looking for a new style to try for type 2B hair, Lovelace recommends:
- Balayage! If you look up photos of people with balayage, they typically have type 2B hair, which shows off the complexion of their colour with minimal need to style their hair each day.
Type 2C hair.
For those with type 2C hair, you’re wavy, baby! This hair type has the most defined types of S-shape waves, which can begin at your scalp all the way to your hair’s end. Also, your hair may be more thick and can frizz up when you’re in a humid climate.
To decrease the frizz and increase the waves, hair stylist Lovelace recommends:
- Using a diffuser; this is an attachment you can add onto your hairdryer to diminish frizziness.
- Using anti-humidity products like moisturising lightweight mousses with anti-humidity ingredients.
3. How to style and care for curly hair.
Type 3A hair.
If you have curly hair with looser loops (curls slightly larger than the size of a taper candle’s circumference) then you have type 3A hair! With this hair type, master stylist Silvana Castillo recommends:
- Not brushing your hair as it can damage your curl’s definition and make your hair frizzy.
- Avoiding ponytails as this can also damage your curls in addition to hair thinning and loss at your hairline.
- Using products which boost your natural curl.
Type 3B hair.
Hair curls with a circumference the size of a Sharpie marker fall into the 3B category.
For type 3B hair, Castillo recommends:
- Using moisturising products to help your curls maintain their natural shape.
- Avoiding products with sulphates and silicone in them, which can dry out your hair over time.
Type 3C hair.
The curliest of the curls is type 3C hair, which are tight, springy curls. The size of these curls are much tighter and would be able to wrap around a pencil.
Type 3C hair is much more springy, which is why stylist Castillo recommends:
- Avoiding brushing or combing your hair, which can lead to breakage and frizziness.
- Use leave-in conditioners to moisturise your curls and brush it through your wet hair with your fingertips.
- Avoid blow drying your hair.
4. How to style and care for coily hair.
Type 4A hair.
Type 4A hair is curly enough to wrap around a chopstick and is very delicate. Since your coils are so delicate, it’s important to ensure you know how to care for and style your 4A hair to keep your curls healthy.
Stylist specialising in type 3 and 4 hair, Silvana Castillo, recommends:
- Using butters, creams and deep conditioning masques to give your hair the moisture it needs.
- Avoiding styles like braids and weaves, which can damage curl definition and limit the ability to apply moisturising treatments.
- Find styles which show off your natural curls and allow you to use conditioning treatments.
Type 4B hair.
If you have type 4B hair, then your stunning curls appear to be zig-zagging from root to end. These curls are also delicate and require moisturising treatments and gentle management.
Once again, let’s look at what Castillo recommends:
- Shingling: this process begins with gently detangling your wet hair with your fingertips. Next, use a leave-in conditioner and separate your hair into four parts. From here, apply a curling gel or cream to each section, twisting the strands around your index finger as you apply the product.
Type 4C hair.
Type 4C hair is the most fragile and tightest of the coils, which means they need delicate care and lots of moisture.
For type 4C hair, stylist Castillo recommends:
- Avoiding rough combing, which can break your coils if combed too roughly or too often.
- Using conditioners, coconut oil or shea butter creams to moisturise your hair.
- Letting your natural hair shine! Castillo says she’s noticed having big, bold hair is a trend at the moment (although, letting your natural hair shine should always be in style), so show it off!
Looking to get your hair cut, styled or want recommendations for suitable products? You can find local hairdressers on Localsearch.com.au!