Updated: Nov 3, 2020
First thing's first, realize that you can buy all the latest and greatest haircare lines but if you don't understand the fundamentals of haircare and address the issues that you are most concerned about you'll end up wasting a lot of time and money.
This blog category on my website is to be used as a resource for all hair types.
Determining your hair thickness by the diameter or width of a single strand of hair.
The best way to determine this is by comparing a single strand of hair to a sewing thread.
If your hair is thinner than the thread you have fine hair. If it's noticeably thicker, then you have thick hair. If it is about the same width and more an "in-between" length, then you have a medium, moderate hair type.
Hair diameter is important because it serves as your basis when searching for hair care products. For example, if you have thin hair, the natural oils are more likely to easily spread throughout your hair, making it greasy fairly quickly. On the other hand, a coarser hair type is more frizz-prone and less likely to retain natural oils meaning it needs more hydrating products.
Now that you have established your hair diameter, it is time to get a more in-depth look into hair types. According to Andre Talks Hair!, Andre Walker divides hair into these hair types categories: type 1- straight hair, type 2- wavy hair, type 3- curly hair and type 4- kinky hair. Each of these categories also have sub-categories that divide them into different segments depending on texture and curl pattern. Additionally, I have read that there is a 5th hair type which is more tightly coiled but has no defined curls even with product.
1A is considered completely flat hair that is thin and soft. It will not hold a curl and is shiny.
1B is not completely flat and has a little bit of body. Unlike 1A, 1B hair will hold a curl and has a slight bend at ends of the hair.
1C is the most coarse of all straight hair types and is more resistant to hold a curl, typically holding a style all day long.
Type 2 hair is classified as wavy hair with an "S" shape and is typically not oily or dry.
2A is what most people think of when they think "beach waves." Loose waves made up of thin hair and the least frizzy of all wavy hair.
2B is defined wavy hair with the waves typically stay close to the shape of your head.
2C is thick hair with a mix of tightly drawn waves and curls. This hair type will frizz up easily and is usually dry.
Type 3 hair is classified as curly, frizzy hair. Because the cuticle does not lay flat, Type 3 hair is not nearly as shiny as Type 1 or 2 hair. If cared for correctly type 3 hair can achieve curl definition without product.
3A is classified as silky curly hair. These curls typically take form on their own and do not require a lot of product.
3B is what is known as corkscrew hair with curls ranging from bouncy to extremely tight.
3C is shaped into tighter and defined corkscrews and has the circumference of a pencil. These curls tend to have more volume since the curls are more closely packed together on the head. The strands are the most dense and coarse out of the 2 & 3 hair types.
Type 4 hair is classified as kinky hair full of tight curls known as coils. Type 4 differs from Type 3 because unlike Type 3, Type 4 curls are not tightly defined. Also because of these curl shapes, Type 4 is very dry since the hair's natural oils cannot travel straight down the hair shaft. Keep in mind that most type 4 hair needs product to achieve styles with defined curls.
4A is solely tight coils that when stretched form an "S" shape.
4B is kinky hair that bends in sharps angles that form a "Z" shape. These curls are less defined and tighter- with the curl being the circumference of a pencil.
4C is extremely similar to 4B. The hair is shaped into a tight coil and can sometimes form into a zig-zag shape that is so tight that it can be difficult for the naked eye to see. This hair type also experiences the most breakage as the hair shaft is extremely dry and fragile. 4Cs also require a lot of extra hydration.
Additional information found on briogeohair.com
There are two aspects of curly hair that I'd like to make note of in this post.
1. Mixed curl patterns and 2. The transitioning phase.
Having mixed curl patterns is extremely common for people with curly hair. Mixed curl patterns are just as they sound - it's essentially having multiple curl patterns throughout your head of hair. For example, someone with 4A curls can also have typical 4C curls mixed within the 4A strands. If this resonates with you, it's always best to do a trial and error with different products to see what works best with your unique curl type. Transitioning hair is also another common hair stage that many curly-haired people experience. This is when someone with curly hair has put their hair through chemical treatments to manipulate the curl formation. A very popular treatment for curly hair is getting the hair relaxed. Relaxing curls essentially breaks down the hair shape and chemically changing its natural texture. When you decide to transition your relaxed hair to growing it out naturally, growing pains can definitely be involved. The hair growing from the scalp will go back to its original curly shape, while the grown out hairs remain in their relaxed state. This can cause, for lack of better words, a pretty awkward hairdo. If you're dealing with the growing pains of transitional hair, we feel for you. However, there are some ways to ease the pain. To manipulate those damaged + chemically-treated pieces, here are some of our favorite options: Braids, Braid Outs, Twist Outs, Flexi Rods, Spiral Rods.
The following pictures are based on different hair typing systems.
Hope this helps you and please stay tuned for more hair advice and tips in the future.