Hair Type Guide

What are the different curly hair types to choose from?
What type of hair do I have?
No need to worry, the multi ethnic curly hair experts are here to help!

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Hair Textures

Everybody is born with specific hair textures and it may change over the span of one’s lifetime. The amount of curl, wave, or lack thereof, is dependent on the number of disulfide bonds between hair proteins found in the hair shaft; the greater the number of links, the curlier the hair, and the fewer the number of links, the straighter the hair.

How Curls are Created

Hair is primarily composed of keratin, a protein, which grows from the follicle. Keratins, and other proteins, are formulated in the cells of the hair follicle. All of the proteins become a part of the hair shaft and contain sulfur atoms. When two sulfur atoms pair up and bond, they form a disulfide bond. If the two sulfur atoms in the same protein are at a distance, and join to form the disulfide bond, the protein will bend. This is how your curls are created.

Hair Texture Classifications

Oprah Winfrey’s beloved hair stylist, Andre Walker, created a broad-spectrum hair typing system that classifies various hair textures and breaks each hair type down into 4 types with added sub categories.

Straight and Wavy Hair Textures

STRAIGHT HAIR

Straight hair is classified as a 1. Straight hair reflects the most sheen. It is also the most resilient hair of all of the hair types. It is hard to damage and next to impossible to curl this hair texture. Because the sebum (natural oil produced in the sebaceous glands of the scalp) gently works its way from the scalp to the ends without the interference of curls or kinks, it is the most oily hair texture of all.

WAVY HAIR

Wavy hair is classified as a 2. Wavy hair lies somewhere between straight and curly hair. It also imparts sheen, more than curly hair, but less than straight hair. The further down the wavy spectrum you go the less sheen the hair will impart. Wavy hair is typically more prone to frizz. While type A wavies can easily alternate between straight and curly styles, type B and C Wavy hair is resistant to styling.

WAVY HAIR STYLING TIP: Because wavy hair is more prone to frizz, anti frizz/humidity protective stylers are key for creating and keeping gorgeous waves. Curls has ideal stylers for this hair type, as they provides the most hold and frizz protection. Keep your fingers out of wavy hair, the more you tousle the more frizz you experience.

Hair Types: 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C

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Curly Hair Textures

CURLY HAIR

Type 3 hair is curly hair. If you pull a strand of a type 3 curly, you will notice it has a definite S shape. Granted, the S may be a lower case s or upper case S, or it may even resemble a Z on some occasions…however, there is a definite curl pattern in place, with our without products. This hair type is full bodied, climate dependent (humidity = frizz), and damage prone. Lack of proper care renders dull curls.

CURLY HAIR STYLING TIP: Curly hair is the most temperamental hair type If you apply too much styling product= weighed down/greasy looking curls, apply too little styling product = Diana Ross’s 80’s afro! The key to guaranteeing effortless, frizz free curls is proper styling product application. Always start with a fresh, clean palette on day #1. Cleanse, Condition, Moisturize, then apply your styling product of choice, following the recommended CURLS product application technique. View our CURLS Product Application Demos for assistance.

Hair Types: 3A, 3B

Very Curly Hair Textures

VERY CURLY HAIR

At the end of the curly hair spectrum is Very Curly hair. Very curly hair is oftentimes classified as 3C. 3C hair is a curly hair type that is made up of tight coils with volume and lots of strands that are packed together to create this texture. 3C was created and added to the hair type chart when it was clear that there was a missing type between 3B and 4A. Type 3C curls are much tighter in circumference. Type 3C hair texture has tight curls and is amply voluminous. The stands are densely packed together, tightly curled and borderlines kinky hair.

Most women have two different hair textures at various parts of their head.

VERY CURLY HAIR STYLING TIP: Because very curly hair is densely packed, you will first and foremost need to support the fuller volume, without weighing it down, while keeping your curly follicles moisturized and define. Since sebum from the scalp doesn’t have a direct highway down the lengths due to obstruction from ringlets, oil doesn’t get distributed as evenly. Curly hair is then said to be more prone to dryness, dullness and yes, damage than straighter types. 

Hair Types: 3C

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Kinky Coily Hair Textures

KINKY HAIR

Type 4 is Kinky hair. Despite many misconceptions, this tightly coiled hair is quite fine and fragile. It is wiry, and delicate by nature. Each strand usually has a zig zag pattern. Kinky hair is the driest hair type, thus it is more prone to breakage and requires a gentle touch. A misconception exists that this hair type does not grow. Kinky hair grows at the same rate as other texture, however, if not treated properly it breaks more than other textures. Treat this hair type like a fine silk blouse – cleanse gently, detangle softly, and avoid harsh chemicals.

COILY HAIR

A subset of the Kinky hair family is Coily Hair. On the surface, coily hair may seem robust, but it is actually the most fragile of all hair textures because coily hair contains the fewest cuticle layers to protect from dryness. Type 4 coily hair is defined as fine, thin, wiry, and coarse while densely packed in coils. The main challenges coily hair women experience is lack of hair definition, dryness, tangles, shrinkage, and breakage. You can rock your beautiful coils if you take the right steps for hair health, moisture, and styling products that does not dry.

KINKY COILY HAIR CARE TIPS: Because kinky coily hair is dry by nature, and therefore breaks easily, it needs added moisture, daily. Dry hair breaks…well moisturized hair is supple and has elasticity. The key to keeping these natural locks healthy, shiny, and beautiful is to moisturize every step of the way. Start with a creamy, sulfate free, moisturizing cleanser, follow suit with a super hydrating conditioner, prep with a rich moisturizer and style with a rich cream, full of natural oils and rich butters. Look for moisturizing humectants, natural conditioning agents, and exotic extracts to add moisture to these locks. Avoid mineral, and petrolatum oil and heavy waxes. And lastly, take those hair vitamins to support hair health, hair strength, and hair growth! We have the best hair products for Kinky Coily Type 4 hair!

Hair Types: 4A, 4B, 4C

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