How to tell what type of natural hair you have?

Natural hair is beautiful, but figuring out your hair type can be a struggle. With so many different textures and curl patterns, it’s no wonder that some people just throw their hands up in frustration and reach for a wig. But fear not! In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on all the different natural hair types (seriously, there are a lot) and how to determine which one you have.

The Basics: What Are Hair Types?

First things first, let’s define what we mean by “hair type”. Simply put, hair typing refers to the system used to categorize different curl patterns within Afro-textured or curly/kinky/coily/curly/wavy/frizzy/natural going hairs (whichever term sparks joy).

The most commonly used system for classifying African-American hair types was created by Andre Walker, Oprah Winfrey’s stylist. He divided humans into four broad categories based on their curl pattern.

Knowing Your Curl Pattern

It all starts with understanding your curl pattern. If you’re not already familiar with the various types of curls out there, then buckle up buttercup because here comes an education ride- like Dorothy heading down tornado alley – this time however Toto stays at home while you embark onto understanding curls

  1. Type 1: Straight
  2. Type 2: Wavy
  3. Type :3 Curly
  4. Type 4: Coily/Kinky

Let us break these down:


People who fall under this category generally have straight tresses without any visible curves or bends in them; they tend towards stiffer textures than other kinds and often require more frequent washing due to their propensity for oil buildup near roots.

If yo know about Pokemon cards…these are like basic Charmanders- very playful and simple


All my mermaids wave their locks over here – this category encompasses loose waves. You may notice these follicles hold the shape of an S, which is slightly more defined than your straight friends but not yet a tight curl.

Think about Ariel from Little Mermaid (no comb hairbrushes required)

Based on how pronounced or detailed those curls/waves look will determine whether you have Type 2a, b, or c.

  • 2A: has a fine texture
  • 2B: has medium-textured body waves
  • 2C: textured with thick babyish and some tighter bends near the scalp area


These tresses might make one think of spring time! Curly types have well-defined ringlets that appear in varying shapes such as spirals, loops etc. They tend to be coarser than wavy varieties so they need considerable care.

With regards to precision:

  • Type 3a- wider spiral loops(resembles inflated shopping bags)
  • Type 3b-ringlets are tighter(crayon size diameter)
  • Type 3c- densely packed tiny coils (interlocking circular tools).

Karen from Mean Girls would say “they aren’t carbs,they just wanna stick together”


Coily tresses, often referred to as kinky or z-shaped curls. These locks typically feature super-tight coils and corkscrews that can range from extremely fine strands to coarse textures; however they all maintain density volume regardless.

According kink patterns:

Type4a-lock sizes include pencil/straw sized;
Type4b-showcase zigzag curls/coils sizes – similar(spiral shaped pen!).

People who emanate such tresses are those with the likes of Lenny Kravitz or Solange Knowles – they carry own distinct style and vibe!

Understanding Hair Density

Another factor to consider when identifying your hair type is density – a measurement of how many individual hairs there are on your head. Your hair density can range from low to high, making it important to find a routine that works for you. You’ll want the right amount of moisture and products to suit you specifically.

To check how dense yours is:

  • Take a small section
  • Tie/pin down rest
  • See scalp visibility- if visible,you have low volume,if not seen that’s ok!

Deciphering Porosity

Porosity completes understanding what your locks wants in life.Together with curl pattern& denisty-this factor indicates how well moisturized one’s mane remains On examination,the pores/hair strand surface appear smooth,damaged scorched earth like texture/glued rock-like together/no defined pattern.

It’s all about water retention folks which 3 basic types determine (cue drumroll)`


If you’re Type 1 then congratulations—your hair kind wouldn’t take up any moisture even if H2O was poured over it from top let alone penetrate deep into strands.This might make washing/manipulating tasks super easy but unfortunately also means thirsty locks .Always ensure warm water usage as hot drying kinds may lead dryness naturally avoided by this group due their inherent nature.

With regards look :

People describe feeling ‘moisture-resistant’ after adding creams/oils might be coated unnaturally(figuratively speaking).

One suggestion would be careful oil application restraint whilst pre-poo treatments could potentially aid hydration levels before washes/watch-outs diffusers either directly/scalp causing caking residue build-up


These moderately porus individuals achieve balance: mane easily retains moisturizers just not as open & receptive to absorption like a sponge. Nevertheless, likewise oiliest conditioners/hair milks leave base strands strong enough without damage unless there is extreme.

To discover this trait,

  • Obtain single strand
  • Submerge in H2O for 5mins
    • result=sunk= intense porosity,
    • suspended=pacing’s medium;floating vigorously then it’s low


Blessed,yet at same time cursed by the thirst.The increased moisture absorbent nature of locks increases likelihoods of breakage/ tangling – which consequently affects overall hair volume and even texture.
Such characterizations are noticeable because:

-Drying breaks happen faster and more frequent than low-mid counterparts;
-Color processing/warm equipment usage impact stronger;

But no fret buddies! Once you understand your inherent hair characteristics/tendencies, you can mold them into a beautiful hair routine fit only specific tresses type

Deciphering Hair Width

Another aspect worth noting when analyzing your Type is width – (cue flashback American psycho) “we need all metric data from mouth entry circumference growth trajectory…”(oops sorry let us cut off early before an impromptu mask-making scene takes place!).

When we discuss/ measure thickness , two factors come into play :

  1. Strand width- think about pencil size vs marker pen ones();
  2. Texture-Creative curls with defined coils

The general measurements are usually classified regarding these attributes either ‘thin’,’medium&thick’ –

While narrow examples often lack bulk,mid ones have healthy amounts whilst those thick types represent dreamt full locks -I mean who doesn’t want braids that resemble heavier chunkier plait rather one that represents opposite notion so thin it seems almost invisible!

Finding Your Holy Grail Routine

Now that we’ve given you the rundown on hair types and how to determine yours, it’s time to talk about finding a routine that works for you. It all comes down to moisturizing & nourishing plus not forgetting patience. Patience when rehabilitating damaged tresses!

Regardless of your specific hair type/ porosity level it is important (bird noise)to know the following:

  • Co-washing will be your friend ;avoid shampooing too frequently
  • Oiling hair/scalp treatments are vital -you gotta keep hydrated
  • Protective styles go beyond aesthetics – they genuinely aid in retaining structure health

The Bottom Line:

Understanding natural hair takes time and practice; but knowledge key . With these guidelines included above obtaining insight regarding what makes our locks ‘tick’ as well as which resources available we can achieve healthier mane,surely worth every moment of those extra minutes spent working on ourselves because haven’t you heard…’the secret is great hairstyles are derived from health!’

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