Curls, coils, and kinks: Know your hair type

by Jade Rhode


We all have a complicated relationship with our hair, right? We sometimes find ourselves in the “it’s not you, it’s me” phase of the relationship, especially for those with curls. While you have time during the lockdown, get to know your type of hair and better that relationship!


For most of us, when we see hair, all we see is straight or curly hair and nothing in between. However, there is something in between, and those are the different hair types. Hair types range from type 1 to type 4. Type 1 is classified as straight hair, type 2 is wavy, type 3 is curly and type 4 is coily or kinky. These types, originally coined by hairstylist Andre Walker, can be divided into subcategories (A, B, and C) depending on how tight or loose your locks are. Don’t be alarmed if you find more than one hair type on your head, that’s normal!


If you’ve got the time, energy, commitment, and moola, consider going the curly route and embrace those hidden curls! But, before starting your journey and buying those expensive hair products, it is best to know your hair type first. This is because certain products cater to different types of hair.


Celebs showing off their different hair types. Starting with type 2 and ending with type 4. Source: Allure.com 

Type 1: straight hair


Although the hair appears to be straight, it can range from being thin to thick. If you have straight hair, it has the tendency of becoming shiny and greasy quite quickly. The reason for this would be that the oil from your scalp slides down your hair faster than those with curls.


Here are the subcategories for straight hair:

Type 1A: This hair, known to be thin and fine, is commonly found in those of Asian descent.

Type 1B: Hair is still straight but has more volume. You may be prone to greasy roots.

Type 1C: If you have straight and damaged hair, you’ll find yourself in this subcategory. Type 1C hair is thicker and coarser than the other subcategories.


Type 1 hair care tips: Because your hair tends to get greasy quickly, you may need to wash it regularly. Look for shampoos and conditioners that add volume to your straight hair. Avoid products that have too much hold and definitely buy dry shampoo. You can use this before you go to bed on the days you didn’t wash your hair.


Type 2: Wavy hair


Type 2 hair will be thicker than hair in type 1 and is naturally wavy. Picture those beachy looking waves or undefined waves. The subcategories here are divided by your hair’s thickness and the shape of your waves.


Type 2A: You’ll know you have type 2A hair when you see S-shaped patterns in your waves. Your hair is also easy to style and straighten.

Type 2B: With type 2B hair, you are prone to frizz, S-shaped patterns are more defined and you may need to put in a lot of effort when it comes to straightening your hair.

Type 2C: The S-shaped waves are well-defined and your hair is thick and coarse. You will also find it difficult to style your hair.


Type 2 hair care tips: Type 2 hair tends to frizz quite easily. Find products that will control your frizz without weighing down your natural curl. These include shampoos and conditioners that hydrate and moisturise your hair. It’s also best to use a moisturising hair mask once a week as this helps to lock in hydration and reduce frizz.


If you have type 2 hair, it is more bendable than hair in the first category. Source: Allure.com 

Type 3: Curly hair


If you have curly hair, you definitely belong in type 3. Instead of flat S-shaped waves, you have springy curls. You’re also one of the lucky ones as your hair is easy to style.


Type 3A: In this subcategory, curls are defined and loose, and you might find a few waves in between. The texture of your hair is thick but can still be frizzy.

Type 3B: Curls are tighter than those in type 3A. These curls typically have the circumference of your finger or a blackboard marker. Prone to dryness and frizz, type 3B will have you finding a combination of textures on your head.

Type 3C: This subcategory has the tightest curls and is easy to style – think Yara Shahidi. Your curls are thickly packed together, giving your hair so much volume. Unfortunately, this type of hair is prone to dryness and breakage.


Type 3 hair care tips: You will always find yourself battling with frizziness. To beat this battle, make sure to get yourself moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. If you want to define your curls, try using mousses, hair oils, or curl jellies to control your frizz too.


When it comes to type 3 hair, it is common to have a mixture of curls and textures. Source: Allure.com 

Type 4: Coily hair


Hair in this category has a mixture of textures. Due to the kinks, oils from your scalp do not easily lubricate your strands. This makes the hair fragile and prone to damage. However, type 4 hair is the most versatile to styling.


Type 4A: With well-defined curls and kinks, this hair type is soft in texture. It also has dense, springy S-patterned coils with the circumference of a crochet needle.

Type 4B: Instead of the S-shape, these coils tend to bend in a sharp zigzag.

Type 4C: These coils are the tightest and most fragile. People who have type 4C hair will experience a huge amount of shrinkage.


Type 4 hair care tips: For kinky hair, try using shampoos that are specifically for curly hair and heavy moisturising conditioners. Whenever you wash your hair, don’t forget to use a moisturising mask. Products such as hair oils and finishing creams can help to lock in the moisture and define your curls and coils.


Hair in this category can be defined as kinky or referred to as Afro-textured. Source: Allure.com 

Finding the right product won’t be an easy task. You will need to experiment with different products to find the one that best suits your hair type. Keep in mind that your hair is unique, so you’ll need to know how to take care of your hair. If you don’t know where to start or what to do, speak to a professional, preferably one that specialises in your hair type.

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