Hair Types: A Quick and Simple Guide
Do you know your own hair type?
And does it really matter if you don’t?
Understanding your own hair type is crucial to maintain a good hair care routine, just as knowing your skin type helps you choose the best cosmetics and moisturisers.
If you don’t know what to do and what not to do with your hair, you could damage it severely over time.
But don’t worry: this quick, simple guide will help you identify your hair type — and take better care of it.
What’s my hair type?
Hair types can be classified in a number of ways, but the Andre Walker system is the most popular.
Mr Walker is an award-winning hairstylist known for working on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and for styling many celebrities’ hair (including Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Halle Berry).
He developed the Andre Walker Hair Typing System to help market his own hair care products.
It includes four main hair types, with sub-categories in each:
Type 1: Straight hair
Straight hair is the strongest and oiliest type.
This means it resists damage well, but can be difficult to curl or add waves to.
Sebum can pass from the scalp to the hair ends easily when there are no kinks or curls.
- 1A hair is thin and soft, but with a visible shine
- 1B has a medium texture and more volume than 1A
- 1C has the highest resistance to curls and is coarser
Type 2: Wavy hair
Wavy hair falls between straight and curly, though it may take on a frizzy appearance.
- 2A is easier to handle than 2B and 2C types and can be styled in various ways
- 2B hair may become frizzy and show some resistance to styling products
- 2C can be extremely frizzy and difficult to style
Type 3: Curly hair
Curly hair has a clear ‘S’ or ‘Z’ shape and lots of volume.
- 3A hair has loose curls, shiny, and may be frizzy
- 3B is similar to 3A but the curls tend to be tighter (sometimes as ringlets or corkscrews)
Type 4: Kinky hair
Kinky hair is usually tightly-coiled, thick, but fragile.
That’s because kinky hair often shrinks when wet, as it has fewer cuticle layers than the other types of hair covered above.
It might look coarse but is actually made up of many fine strands packed closely together.
- 4A hair is usually fragile and coiled tightly, with strands forming an ‘S’ shape if stretched
- 4B kinky hair is largely the same as 4A, but has less visible curly patterning — or none at all
- 4C lacks any defined curl shape, though this isn’t officially part of the Andre Walker Hair Typing System
Hair care tips by type
- Remove knots from wet straight hair with a wide-toothed comb or your fingers, as a brush can cause it to break
- Avoid using too much product, which can weigh straight hair down
- Straight hair is prone to split ends, so trim it regularly (at least every six weeks)
- Keep styling tools on a low heat to bring out the best in your waves
- Choose shampoos and conditioners which moisturise your hair to maximise waves
- Define your waves with your fingers, rather than a brush or comb (which can pull the waves out of shape)
- Avoid washing it daily — curly hair should be conditioned more regularly than it’s shampooed
- Wash your hair with cold water to reduce the risk of frizzing and to add shine to thick curls
- Detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb carefully, one section at a time, to avoid putting too much strain on tight curls
- Use moisture-rich shampoos, conditioners, and oils — kinky hair is the most brittle type
- Avoid products containing silicones, which can be particularly harmful to kinky hair
- Don’t overdo protective styles: take breaks and allow your hair to be free from time to time
Restoring growth for all hair types
Understanding your hair type and following our tips can help you take better care of your locks.
But all hair types may start to shed due to genetics, hormonal changes, stress, and various other factors.
But there is a solution.
If you want to restore your hair with natural, thicker growth, hair transplant surgery can help.