Curly Hair 101: Hair Types

Curly Hair 101: Hair Types

The key to giving your locks the tender, loving, care it needs is going back to your roots and determining what your specific hair type is. 

Understanding your hair type will make it easier for you to choose the right products and learn what techniques are most suitable for styling your curls. 

The broad spectrum of hair types is generally grouped into four main categories: 

  • Type 1 - straight
  • Type 2 - wavy
  • Type 3 - curly
  • Type 4 - coily

Now that we’ve identified the basic types, let’s dive deeper into the subcategories. Yes, you saw that right, these groups have sub categories! This might look like a lot to take in, but we’ll slowly dissect and describe each sub category. 

Each of these types are further broken down into A, B, and C subcategories. 

Type 1: Straight

Straight hair does not possess any curl formation and is usually silky straight from roots to tips. It appears to be shinier than most hair types since the natural hair oil easily slides through the strands because of its flat and smooth texture. 

Type 2 : Wavy

Wavy hair is thicker and has more body than type 1 hair.  It has loose undefined wavy and curly patterns, usually strands forming an “S” shape. This hair type falls between straight and curly which sometimes makes it hard to manage as it doesn’t hold its waves or curls for longer periods of time. 


  • Type 2A hair has thin strands which appear to be straight near the roots and forms a loose and stretched “S” shape by the ends.
  • Type 2B hair has a more defined and shorter “S'' wave pattern. It is thicker than type 2A and is more prone to frizz.
  • Type 2C hair is often confused with curly hair as it is coarser and thicker among all wavy hair types. It maintains tighter wave patterns and can even have some loose curl ringlets. 

Type 3: Curly

Curly hair usually has a natural loose to tight corkscrew spiral pattern. Because of its coarse and thick texture, it is prone to tangles, dryness, frizziness, and breakage. To maintain healthy and defined curls, it is important to regularly moisturize and use the right products.


  • Type 3A hair has thick hair strands and forms large loose curls. Among all curly hair types, this is the shiniest, easiest to manage, and prone to slight frizz.
  • Type 3B hair has thicker hair strands than type 3A and forms tighter ringlets. The curls easily form from the roots amplifying the volume of your hair.
  • Type 3C hair has the most coarse texture and thickest strands between all type 3 hairs. It forms tight and bouncy corkscrew patterns, has more volume, but is the most prone to frizz, dryness, and breakage. 

Type 4: Coily

Coily hair, also known as kinky hair, has very defined tight curls and has the coarsest texture among the four hair types. Since it is most prone to damage from heat and dryness, coily hair needs a constant moisturizing routine.


  • Type 4A hair is soft to the touch. The curls have very tight ringlet patterns and are very defined, between all Type 4 hairs.
  • Type 4B hair forms a very tightly coiled zigzag or “Z” pattern. It is more sensitive and fragile than type 4A.
  • Type 4C hair is the thickest and has the tightest coil formation accentuating hair volume and body, but is also the most fragile among all hair types. 

It is important to take note that you may possess multiple types of hair, especially if you’re just beginning to transition to the Curly Girl Method (CGM). Some girls have a combination of Type 2b, 2c, and 3a curls in one crown, others have 2a and 3a. 

Caring for and loving your hair means having to experiment what products and techniques are best for your hair. It will entail a lot of research, and trial and error. 

It might start to get frustrating when you don’t see the results you want to achieve but going through the CGM journey is mostly a “trust the process” thing. It is essential to focus first on keeping your hair healthy; the curl formation, body, and volume is sure to follow. 

Regardless of hair type, always remember to give your hair the love and care it deserves. It is your crowning glory and your best accessory to any OOTD.