Today we are going to talk about how to type your hair. This is going to be a little bit talk-heavy more than normal, however, probably one of the most important videos you can watch.
Simply because you’re gonna learn a lot about your hair and if you don’t already know this, it may completely change how and what you’re using on your hair because you’re gonna figure out your type which is gonna help you figure out which products to use.
What determines your hair type is the shape of the follicles on your head. That’s not controllable by you. Obviously it’s just genetics.
So, the shape of the follicle, if it is flatter or more oval, tends to produce curly hair. The more oval, the more flat, the curlier the hair. Where if you have more of a circular type follicle, then you tend to get straighter hair.
So, that’s what determines whether your hair is basically straight all the way up to very coily. Now, on top of that you also have playing into this the shape of your hair pattern.
When I say shape of your pattern, it can be anything from straight, just straight, stick straight like up and down straight to a wave that’s a soft, loose wave to a curl or even to a coil.
That is the shape of your hair, it’s the pattern that your hair makes. Those two things like how it grows and the shape of the pattern itself is what determines your hair type.
The man originally credited with coming up with the first typing system is named Andre Walker and I know that his system is the one that kind of introduced the idea of type one, two, three, and four, but I feel like in community in general now, there’s kind of this mashup where they’ve taken Andre Walker’s and they’ve mixed it with other people’s typing systems and so I know like naturallycurly has one that’s really good that’s kind of meshed with Andre Walker’s too.
I’m just gonna put that out there that I feel like now when you’re talking about hair typing system, you’re predominantly using Andre Walker’s, but you’re probably leaning into a few others as well when you’re referencing charts or things like that.
What Type Hair Do I Have?
So, let’s get into the basics of typing your hair.
There are four basic types that everyone pretty much agrees on.
Type one, which is basically straight, some variation of straight. It can be thin straight hair, it can be medium straight hair, it can be coarse straight hair, but it’s basically just straight.
Type two are your waves. So, within that there’s variations, of course, and then type three is your curls. Like typically what you would call somebody, “oh, you have curly hair. ” They’re probably a type three.
And then there’s type fours which are largely like your coily/kinky type hair textures.
That’s how you type one to four.
So, you kind of go, “okay, do i have straight hair, “or do i have a little bit of looser waves? “do i have curly, do i have coily? ” and then you can basically figure out like I’m probably roughly in the threes or I’m roughly in the fours, I’m roughly in the twos. So if you were gonna ask me, on my hair, when it’s wet like in it’s natural state.
Obviously I’ve curled it today, so this is not my natural curl texture or pattern. When I am just with my hair sopping wet, I fall within kind of the two i feel like. I have wavy hair, it’s definitely not straight, but it’s definitely not curly.
So, I used to always tell people when i was a kid like, “oh, it’s not straight enough to be straight, “and it’s not curly enough to be curly, ” so I always have to do something with my hair. Like, I either have to curl it or i have to straighten it. Or maybe I can try to diffuse it, but like I couldn’t just let my hair air dry because it would just look like this mash up of waves and curl mix.
That’s type two for me. (upbeat music) okay, under each one of those categories there’s subcategories. Under type one you have type a, type b, and type c. Most people just kind of mash type one together and just go it’s just straight hair, but there are type a, type b, and type c. And that’s more of just about whether your hair is thin, medium or coarse and then under type two there’s also type 2a, type 2b and 2c and under three there’s 3a, 3b, 3c. Can you see the pattern here?
And under four there’s 4a, 4b, and 4c. So, what determines the difference between 2a and 2c is typically the width of the curl, like how loose or how tight it is. Under 2a, like a 2a maybe, almost virtually straight with just the slightest little bend where a 2c is going to be somebody that has more of a slight s curve shape to their hair.
Type threes typically have a more corkscrew curls. So, the difference between a type 3a and a 3c is simply whether it’s a loose corkscrew curl or a tighter corkscrew curl and when you get into the fours, you have 4a to 4c and the difference between this one, this one’s a little bit different because a 4a is also that corkscrew curl, but it’s very, very tight where the 4bs and 4cs move into more of a zigzag type shape to their hair. Some 4cs don’t have a defined pattern even.
So, when you talk about paisley’s hair, i kind of reference sometimes that hers is typically 4b and 4c. I should say that it’s very normal for most of us to have more than one specific type on our head. I have anywhere from a 2a all the way to a 2c on mine just where it grows differently. Like, underneath i have some pieces that tend to be more straight. Where on top I might get a little more wave into my hair and that’s very normal.
So, Paisley is typically 4b and 4c. So, at some points in her hair, her hair is definitely a zigzag pattern and it’s very, very coily and tight. And then in some spots she almost has like an undefined curl pattern to her hair or very, very super, super, super tiny corkscrews like a little tiny bit like a 4a.
That’s very normal, so if find that when you’re looking at the charts that I’m sure are popping up on your screen and you’re going, “I feel like I’m more than one of those. ” that’s really normal. Most people have more than one on their head at any given time. This is really just a rough typing system. Obviously there’s a lot more that play into everyone’s specific hair. Remember, you are the expert on your own hair, not me.
So, I’m just giving you guidelines on how to try to figure out and sort out your own hair type, but ultimately it’s just you learning more about your hair, studying it and trying different things to figure out what works for your specific hair type. Besides hair curl pattern and hair type, also things that play into it are porosity, density and even elasticity. So, all of that combines to make your hair yours which is kind of cool ’cause it means that every hair type is really kind of unique in it’s own way.
It’s simply because different products work on different hair types differently. If you’re using something that is not a good product for your hair type, that might determine why your hair is oily or it’s too dry or it seems brittle, that kind of thing, and then you can find products that merge and mesh with your hair type much better and the way that you’re using those products lean into your natural hair type and make your hair even more amazing.
Samantha is a hairstylist with over 12 years of color and stylist experience. She enjoys using her knowledge to create what her clients really want when they sit down in her chair. Her passion is creating unique looks that her clients feel great in.