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How To Determine Your Hair Type

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How many times have you stood in front of a wall of shampoo and conditioner and wondered whether you needed a volumizing, moisturizing or strengthening product? Haircare products are often designed for specific hair types. If you’re wondering how to determine your hair type, compare your hair with the descriptions below. This can help you care for your strands properly and choose the right products.

How to Determine Your Hair Type

Hair types fall into the four categories below. But the characteristics within each category can vary. Check out the subcategories to pinpoint your hair type accurately.


Straight hair lies flat. It distributes natural oils along the strand well and reflects light. The three types of straight hair include:

• Type 1A – Fine hair without any wave has a tough time holding styled curls. It can look greasy quickly because it distributes oils from your scalp so well.

• Type 1B – Medium-textured hair has some volume and movement. It holds a style well but also reflects light for a shiny finish.

• Type 1C – Coarse or thick hair is more likely to have a frizzy texture. It may swell in humid conditions but holds volume well.


Wavy hair has some bend to it. The waves take on an “S” shape, which can be enhanced with the right styling methods and products.

• Type 2A – Fine hair with some wave usually adapts to many styles. You can easily straighten or curl it. it might look straight when it’s wet or lie flat at the roots.

• Type 2B – This hair type has a medium texture and may have some frizz. It may be straight at the crown and develop more of an “S” shape toward the ends. It usually looks wavy when it’s wet.

• Type 2C – Thick, wavy hair is dense and holds onto its wave definition. Because it’s prone to frizz, it might not be as easy to straighten as other wavy hair types.


Curly hair falls into a spiral instead of an “S” shape. These ringlets are more sensitive to damage, frizz and breakage than straighter hair types. Because the follicle doesn’t lie flat, curly hair tends to have lots of volume at the root.

• Type 3A – Thinner, loose curls stay defined without too much effort. You might experience some frizz, but your style is often wash and go.

• Type 3B – This hair type is medium-textured, and the curls are springy. It can get dry and frizzy, but it responds well to products that help it maintain its definition.

• Type 3C – Corkscrew curls fall under this category. This hair type can be thin or thick, but it’s often dense and gets dry and frizzy easily.


Coiled hair is very tightly curled. It is fragile and can break easily. People with this hair type should nourish their strands and take steps to help prevent damage.

• Type 4A – Bouncy curls have an “S” shape and a diameter the size of a knitting needle. Although it may look coarse, this type of hair is usually quite soft.

• Type 4B – This fluffy hair type has tight curls that form a “Z” shape. The sharp angles make strands prone to breakage and shrinkage.

• Type 4C – Extremely tight, dense curls define this hair type. It shrinks up significantly when it’s dry and responds well to protective styles.

People with hair types at the top of the list may need products that provide more volume. Those with hair types at the bottom of the list could use extra moisture for their strands. Understanding your hair type will help you choose a styling routine that delivers the best results.


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