Andre Walker is a hair stylist and is the man behind Oprah Winfreys hair. He came up with a hair classification system and this is the generally accepted classification system of curly hair. So if you go on black hair websites you’ll find the terms ‘3c’, ‘4a’ and ‘4b’ being banded around because that is where most black/mixed race people’s hair type lies.
Naturally curly (http://www.naturallycurly.com/hair-types) has more information as well as examples of celebrities with the different hair types and tips for hair care for the hair types.
Type 1: Straight Hair
Type 2: Wavy Hair
Characteristics: Lies somewhere between straight and curly hair. Has the tendency to be coarse with an “S” pattern. Lays flat against the scalp.
2A: Thin easy to handle, quite fine can easily take on curlier or straighter styles.
2B: Medium- textured hair that hugs the head. More resistant to styling and has the tendency to frizz.
2C: More coarse than 2B, resistant to styling and has the tendency to frizz.
Type 3: Curly Hair
Characteristics: Has a loopy “S” pattern. Curly hair straightens when wet and contracts back to a curly state when the hair absorbs water. Humidity will make this hair type curlier or frizzy. Type 3′s have a lot of body and can easily straighten their hair with the use of a blow dryer. Type 3 hair that has been damaged will look dull, frizzy and feel dry and hard when touched. It isn’t unusual for type 3′s to have several different hair textures in one head with the crown being the curliest.
3A: Loosely curled with very large shiny curls. The shorter it is the straighter it will appear to be. The longer it is the more defined the curl.
3B: Medium amount of curl that ranges from ringlets to corkscrews.
Type 4: Kinky Hair
Characteristics: Very wiry, very fragile in tight coils. At initial glance it appears to be coarse but in actuality is fine with many strands densely packed together. People think this hair type is durable and tough but it isn’t because it has the least amount of cuticle layers out of all the hair types. Type 4′s can easily damage their hair especially with all of the abuse it’s subjected to.
4A: Tightly coiled. Has an “S” pattern when stretched. Has more moisture than 4B.
4B: Wiry and has a less defined “Z” pattern.
I personally think we should not get too caught up in hair types system as sometime this can cause curl envy. Instead, know your hair type in order for you to know what characteristics it has and so that you know how to take care of it accordingly.
For example im 4a and i know that my hair is very fragile, gets dry easily so i know it needs moisture and little manipulation. I love my little curls 🙂 !!
It’s all about knowing what you hair type is and what it needs and how you can supply it to result in your hair being healthy.