It is important to know the category your natural hair falls into. There are three types of curly natural hair; type 2, 3 and 4. These types also have sub categories A, B and C.
Type 2 Wavy Hair
Type 2 waves are neither straight nor curly. It is flatter at the roots and gets curlier downwards. It has S shaped waves mixed with curls.
2A’s have a fine texture and is very easy to straighten. This type of hair does not have much volume;
the strands are very fragile as heavy styling products can render them limp and lifeless.
This hair type is straight at the roots and has S shaped waves that have more definition from mid length to the tips. It has a medium texture.
2C waves are more defined and start from the roots to the tip of the hair.
It has springy curls and has more volume than the other type 2 hairs.
Type 3 Curly Hair
Type 3 curly hair ranges from loose to springy corkscrews. This type is more prone to frizz.
3A’s have well defined loopy curls; they tend to be shiny with large, loose curls.
3B hair ranges from bouncy ringlets to tight corkscrews. It has a more defined curl pattern with less space between each bend than 3A.
The hair texture is coarse and dense.
3C curls are tight corkscrews that range in circumference from a straw to a pencil.
The strands are densely packed together and the hair has great volume. This type of hair is prone to frizz.
Type 4 Kinky Hair
This type of natural hair is also called coily hair; it is very dry and spongy in texture. The hair can either be soft and fine or coarse and wiry. The strands form very tight and are prone to shrinkage. It is one of the most common hair types found in black hair.
4A’s have tight coils; it has an S pattern when stretched. It is wiry and delicate by nature. This type of hair has a naturally defined curl pattern.
4B strands are densely packed and can bend in sharp angles. They have a z shape pattern and have a more fluffy cotton appearance. It is prone to shrinkage so it appears shorter than it actually is.
4C is similar to 4B in look and texture but it is more tightly coiled. The coils are fragile and have a tight zigzag pattern that is not so visible. Without products it has no defined curl pattern. It is also prone to shrinkage. It is the most fragile hair type so you have to wear protective styles if you want it to grow long.
“Your hair type is determined by the shape of the hair that grows from your scalp. You can identify your hair type by the shape of your hair strands, whether they kink, curve or look like spirals. The best time to identify your hair type is when your hair is wet when it is not influenced by products.”
Examine a few hair strands from different positions on your head and see which category your hair falls into. Know that most people have at least two different hair textures so when you examine yours at the front it may be a 3B while some parts of it at the back of your head is 3A. However, the major part of your hair will fall into one category so you can file your hair under that category. Knowing your hair type is the starting point to finding the right products and styles for your hair.