Hair is an underrated part of the human outward appearance. This is because hair is arguably the most visible part of the human body.
While most of the other parts of the body are covered by clothes and fabrics, the hair is mostly always exposed except for a few times when it is covered up.
If it is then a fact that our hair is an integral part of our dressing, taking care of it – just as we take care of the other parts of our dressing – becomes imperative. Most people would spend hours doing the laundry and shining their shoes to have that ‘killing’ appearance but won’t even take a second to tend their hair.
However, to be able to properly take care of our hair, we need to know the type of hair we are blessed with.
What does hair type mean?
The natural hair we see is divided into two; the hair bulb and the hair shaft. While the hair bulb refers to the root where the hair grows out, which is situated on our scalp, the hair shaft is the hair strand we see growing on the outside.
The hair type then refers to the curl pattern of our hair and there are four main types;
Type 1: Straight hair
This natural hair type is the easiest to figure out of all the other hair types. If you make out that your natural hair doesn’t look wavy or curled, that simply means you most likely have straight hair.
Straight hair has an oil tendency because of its high porosity; they are easily coated by the natural oils from the scalp. This is why it is advised by natural hair experts to always check our hair care labels before buying them, to ensure the products won’t add extra oils to our hair.
There are three main types of straight hairs.
• Type 1a: this hair type is best described as fine, thin, soft, and shiny
• Type 1b: This hair type has a mid-texture and is thicker than the former.
• Type 1 c: The type 1c hair is the coarsest of the type 1 hair. It is also quite resistant to curly styling.
Type 2: Wavy hair
The wavy hair is a hybrid of straight hair and curly hair and just as the name suggests, it has the looks of water being wind-swept. It dries with a slight curve or S shape and usually comes with a gentle and tousled texture.
The beauty of the type 2 hair types is the wave, and experts advise keeping off creamy and oil–based hair care products. To maintain it, special wave-enhancing gels are suggested.
There are different types of wavy hair.
• Type 2a: this type has a fine and thin look. It looks straight from the root to around the mid-structure, and from there on to the tip, it has a loose, undefined wave. It makes for easy styling because it can be straightened or curled easily.
• Type 2b: Just like the former, this type comes out straight and then curls from the middle to the tip, but with a relatively more defined S shape. The type 2b takes more effort to straighten but makes for easy creation of that “beachy’ look.
• Type 2c: Type 2c gives the most well-defined S shape. The wave pattern starts quite close to the hair crown, unlike the other types.
Type 3: Curly hair
The type 3 hair type is naturally curly and has the S or zigzag look. This hair type requires proper care as it is prone to get frizzed and tangled up, which makes for easy damage. Because of its well-defined twists and twirls, this hair type is not as shiny as the straight and wavy hair types.
Type 3 hair is divided into three types, depending on the thickness and tightness of the curls.
• Type 3a: this type of hair is defined by loose big curls. This type is quite easy to maintain because of the size and loose nature of the curls.
• Type 3b: This is considered the most beautiful of the curly hair types and can be often seen sported by celebrities. The curls are bouncy and form perfect ringlets. It has a mid texture; not too thick or thin, which makes it easy to maintain.
• Type 3c: this is the coarsest and thickest of the curly hair types. It has a corkscrew type of structure and is the hardest to maintain of the type 3 lot. The right type of product is needed to soften the curls.
Type 4: Curls or kinky hair
Type four hair is the most difficult to manage out of the hair types. The curls are super tight, voluminous, and full of movement.
It is also called the Afro–textured hair and can sometimes even be a hybrid of the S and zigzag shape. This makes it relatively harder for the essential oil produced on the scalp to penetrate easily.
For maintenance, proper, frequent moisturizing is advised.
The curly hair type is divided into three types.
• Type 4a: this hair type comes with tight curls that look like a spring and is full of activity.
• Type 4b: this hair type comes in a zigzag pattern and unlike the former, has less defined characteristics. Its curls are even way tighter and the strands come in different forms, ranging from fine to coarse.
• Type 4c: this is the last of the coily hair types and comes with the tightest curls of all. This hair type needs more care than others as they are easily prone to shrinkage and breakage because of its extremely coarse nature.
Just as we earlier stated, knowing your hair type is the first major step to keeping healthy hair.
To know your hair type, all it takes is a simple test. Pluck a strand out of your hair and drop it on a plain sheet of paper and try to tell the type or category it falls into by using the chart below.