What are the 12 Hair Types and How to Style Them

Coily Hair

Have you ever paused to marvel at the incredible diversity of hair textures and styles that make up the rich tapestry of human uniqueness? Or maybe you’ve found yourself wondering how to truly harness the beauty of your own hair? This journey into the world of hair types will not only clarify the nature of your own tresses but provide a roadmap to truly making them shine. Split into four primary categories and further divided into twelve distinct types, each type of hair tells its own beautiful story and has unique needs when it comes to styling and care.

Coily Hair

So, whether you’re a straight-haired type 1 or a coily type 4, get ready to discover the wonders of your own hair type and unlock the secrets to flaunting it to its best effect.

Hair Type Chart

12 hair types chart

We all have unique textures and patterns that make our hair distinct. To better understand these differences and aid in their classification, we turn to the Hair Type Chart. This chart is essentially a spectrum that covers four primary categories: Type 1 (straight), Type 2 (wavy), Type 3 (curly), and Type 4 (coily). In this piece, we aim to delve into each category, offering a comprehensive understanding of the differences and specifics of each hair type.

Type 1: Straight Hair

Straight Hair

Straight hair is classified as Type 1 and is typically shiny and oily due to the ease with which the natural oils from the scalp can travel down the hair shaft. It doesn’t possess any natural curl and is resiliently straight. This type can be further divided into:

  • 1A: This category represents very fine and thin hair which tends to lack volume.
  • 1B: The hair is full with medium texture.
  • 1C: This type represents straight and coarse hair that is difficult to curl.

Type 2: Wavy Hair

wavy hair

Sitting between straight and curly, wavy hair is classified as Type 2. It’s characterized by the definitive ‘S’ pattern and can be further broken into:

  • 2A: The waves are loose and subtle, often appearing straight when cut short.
  • 2B: Here, waves are more pronounced, starting from the mid-length of the hair.
  • 2C: This hair has defined, S-shaped waves starting right from the roots, resulting in more volume.

Type 3: Curly Hair

curly hair 1

Type 3 signifies curly hair. The curls in this type are well-defined and springy and can be categorized into:

  • 3A: Curls are big, loose and shiny with a definite ‘S’ pattern.
  • 3B: These curls are medium-sized, resembling ringlets or spirals.
  • 3C: This type is marked by densely packed, tight corkscrew curls.

Type 4: Coily Hair

Coily Hair 1

Coily or kinky hair is recognized as Type 4. It boasts a very tight curl pattern and can be split into:

  • 4A: Defined, tight curls that appear as small spirals or coils.
  • 4B: Hair is less defined with a ‘Z’ shaped pattern.
  • 4C: The curl pattern is tightest in this type, with densely packed curls that may not always be well-defined.

With the Hair Type Chart, understanding and caring for your hair becomes more accessible. Knowing your hair type isn’t merely a categorization process; it is the first step in fully embracing your unique hair identity and knowing how best to maintain and style your hair.

How to Identify Your Hair Type: A Detailed Guide

curly hair

Your hair type significantly influences how you should care for and style your hair to keep it looking its best. Therefore, correctly identifying your hair type is an essential first step in establishing your hair care routine. Here’s a detailed guide on how to identify your hair type.

Clean Your Hair

The first step in determining your hair type is to start with a clean slate. Product buildup can alter your hair’s natural state, making it challenging to accurately identify its type. Use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo to cleanse your hair thoroughly and then allow it to air dry without applying any products.

Examine Your Strands

Now that your hair is clean and in its most natural state, take a closer look at its texture. Straight hair (Type 1) tends to lie flat against the scalp and has no curl pattern. Wavy hair (Type 2) lies relatively flat at the root but has an ‘S’ shape towards the ends. Curly hair (Type 3) features a definitive ‘S’ shape starting closer to the root, while coily hair (Type 4) has a ‘Z’ shape and is the most textured.

Consider the Thickness

The thickness of your individual hair strands can also be an indicator of your hair type. Fine hair tends to be almost translucent when held up to the light and feels like a strand of silk. Medium hair feels like a cotton thread and isn’t as easily broken as fine hair. Coarse hair, which is the thickest, feels hard and wiry.

Assess the Density

Density refers to how closely individual hair strands are packed together on your scalp. To determine your hair density, tie your hair back and measure the circumference of your ponytail. Less than two inches indicates low density, two to three inches signals medium density, and more than three inches means you have high-density hair.

Consider Your Hair’s Porosity

Porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb moisture and is a crucial factor in caring for your hair. To test this, drop a clean strand of hair into a glass of water. If it sinks quickly, you have high porosity hair, which absorbs moisture quickly but also loses it just as fast. If it sinks slowly, you have medium porosity hair. If it floats, you have low porosity hair, which has a hard time absorbing moisture.

Shine and Frizz Factors

Straight hair typically has more shine due to the ability of the natural oils to travel down the hair shaft. In contrast, curly and coily hair types often struggle with dryness and frizz due to the irregularity of the hair shaft.

Your Hair’s Behavior

Observe how your hair behaves in different situations. Does it frizz up at the slightest hint of humidity (a characteristic of curly and coily hair)? Does it get greasy quickly (typical of straight hair)? These observations can help you identify your hair type.

Identifying your hair type might seem complex, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor. It allows you to better understand your hair and, consequently, find the right products, techniques, and hairstyles to keep your tresses healthy and beautiful. Embrace your hair in all its glory because each type comes with its unique charm and beauty.

12 Hair Types and Hair Tips

Type 1: Straight Hair

1A – Stick Straight Hair

This is the straightest of the straight hair types. It’s typically fine, thin, soft, and shiny with strands that fall flat from root to tip. It tends to be oily as sebum from the scalp easily works its way down the hair shaft.

Hair tips: Use a clarifying shampoo to remove excess oils and a lightweight conditioner to avoid weighing down the hair. Additionally, volumizing products and occasional dry shampoo can be helpful in adding a bit of body and texture.

1B – Straight Hair with Body

This hair type is straight but has more volume and body compared to 1A. It can hold a curl better but usually still tends to fall flat relatively quickly.

Hair tips: Styling mousses and root lift sprays can add much-needed volume. For longer-lasting curls, a heat protection spray and curl setting spray can be very beneficial.

1C – Coarse Straight Hair

This type of hair is straight, thick, and coarse. It’s harder to curl and is resistant to damage due to its denser structure.

Hair tips: Keep hair moisturized with a hydrating shampoo and conditioner. You might also want to consider hair oils to add shine and smoothness, especially for the ends which can become dry.

Type 2: Wavy Hair

2A – Lightly Wavy

Lightly wavy hair lies close to the head and forms loose, undefined ‘S’ shaped waves. It’s usually easy to handle and style.

Hair tips: To enhance the natural wave, use wave-enhancing products like sea salt sprays. Avoid heavy products that can weigh your waves down.

2B – Wavy

This hair type has more defined ‘S’ waves compared to 2A. The waves usually start at eye level and may have some tendency to frizz.

Hair tips: Use a sulfate-free shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner to reduce frizz. You might also find that a curl-enhancing cream can help to define and hold your waves.

2C – Wavy and Coarse

This is the coarsest of wavy hair types with definite ‘S’ waves starting from the roots. It’s prone to frizz and may have a few spirals or curls.

Hair tips: A hydrating shampoo and conditioner are key. Also, consider using a leave-in conditioner and anti-frizz serum to manage frizz and keep your waves looking smooth and defined.

Type 3: Curly Hair

3A – Large, Loose Curls

This hair type forms loose, large, and well-defined curls roughly the size of a piece of sidewalk chalk. These curls have a smooth texture but can get frizzy.

Hair tips: Using a sulfate-free shampoo and a hydrating conditioner will help reduce frizz. You can also use a curl-enhancing cream or gel on damp hair to define and hold the curls. Try to avoid using heat styling tools which can cause damage.

3B – Medium Curls

3B hair consists of well-defined, springy corkscrew curls that range from the size of a marker pen to a sharpie. This type of hair is prone to dryness and frizz.

Hair tips: Keeping the hair moisturized is key. Opt for deep conditioning treatments and use a leave-in conditioner regularly. Also, consider using a curl cream to define and hydrate your curls.

3C – Tight Curls

The curls of 3C hair are tight and voluminous, often with lots of strands densely packed together. They’re typically the circumference of a pencil or straw.

Hair tips: Moisture is crucial for 3C hair. Deep conditioning treatments and using oils like coconut oil can help keep your hair hydrated. It’s also beneficial to use a detangling product and wide-tooth comb to minimize breakage.

Type 4: Coily Hair

4A – Soft Coils

4A hair has densely packed and springy, tightly-coiled strands that have a visible ‘S’ pattern. The hair can be wiry and fragile with a high density and lots of strands.

Hair tips: This hair type needs plenty of moisture, so use a sulfate-free shampoo and a deep conditioner. It’s also important to detangle hair gently using a wide-toothed comb to avoid breakage.

4B – Z-Shape Coils

This hair type has a ‘Z’ shape pattern and less defined coils. It’s usually very densely packed, which can give it a wiry or cottony feel.

Hair tips: Deep conditioning treatments and heavy butters and creams are necessary for maintaining moisture. Additionally, protective hairstyles can help prevent damage and maintain moisture.

4C – Tight Z-Shape Coils

4C hair has tight coils (even tighter than 4B), but with a ‘Z’ pattern instead of an ‘S’ pattern. It’s the most fragile hair type and can shrink more than 75% of its length.

Hair tips: Hydration is crucial, and so is gentle care. Use a leave-in conditioner and a gentle detangler. Also, try to use protective hairstyles and low-manipulation hairstyles to protect the hair from mechanical damage.


Exploring the landscape of hair types is akin to embarking on an exciting journey of self-discovery and self-expression. Unearthing your hair type isn’t just about categorizing your strands into a neat little box, but about understanding and honoring the unique characteristics that your hair brings to the table. So, whether your hair falls poker straight or corkscrews with a life of its own, know that it’s uniquely yours – a manifestation of your individuality. With the right knowledge and care, every hair type can be nurtured to look and feel its best. So, go ahead and celebrate your hair in all its glory. After all, your hair is not just an accessory, it’s a statement.

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