December 18, 2019

What Are the Different Hair Types?

types of hair

You know that some people have curly hair and some people have straight hair, but did you know that there are actually 12 different types of hair? It’s true. Celebrity hair stylist Andre Walker defined hair types in the 1990s through his hair classification system that is still widely used today.

Hair type is largely determined by genetics. Chances are, if your grandma had wavy hair, you will too. Your hair type is also determined by the shape of your hair follicle. If your follicles are symmetrical, or round in shape, your hair will be straight. If your follicles are asymmetrical, or more oval in shape, your hair will be wavy or curly.

So what hair type do you have? Read through our guide to find out.

Type 1: Straight Hair

Out of all of the hair types, straight hair tends to have the most shine, but the least amount of volume. Because of the lack of curl, oil travels down the hair shaft from the scalp much faster, so it tends to look greasier than other hair types.

  • 1A: Of the three straight hair types, the first is marked by fine, soft textured hair. It tends to be wispy, shiny and has no volume.
  • 1B: This type is a little thicker and has a little more volume, so it’s easier to manage than the first type.
  • 1C: The third type of straight hair has the coarsest texture and is thicker than type 1B.

Type 2: Wavy Hair

Wavy hair is thicker than straight hair, and the texture falls in between straight and curly. It’s also not overly oily, but not overly dry. The hair strands are curved in an “S” shape.

  • 2A: This hair type has a slight bend to it—think beach waves. It’s fine, but not frizzy and fairly easy to style.
  • 2B: The waves are tighter and a little more defined. This type is thicker than 2A and frizzier.
  • 2C: If you have this hair type, you know it looks like curly hair. It’s defined by loose spiral curls, and is courser and thicker than the other two types of wavy hair. It’s also the frizziest and the toughest to style of the wavy hair types.

Type 3: Curly Hair

Curly hair comes in loose ringlets or tight spirals. It can be dry, so you don’t need to wash it every day, but when you do wash it, it straightens when wet and curls back up when dry.

  • 3A: This is the shiniest and finest of all of the curly hair types, and it has the biggest, loosest curls. It’s also the easiest to manage, but is prone to frizz.
  • 3B: Springy ringlets define this type. The texture is not too thick, not too fine.
  • 3C: A mix of bouncy and tight, corkscrew curls. The texture is not soft, but course.

Type 4: Kinky Hair

This hair type is also known as coily or very curly. These curls can be “S” shaped or “Z” shaped, and they are very well-defined. It’s the coarsest hair type and is sensitive to heat and prone to damage. The best hair style for this type? Au naturale.

  • 4A: This hair can appear wiry, but feel soft. The curls are tight, kinky and very well-defined.
  • 4B: These kinks are definitely “Z” shaped, soft and more fragile than type 4A. The curls can be a little less defined and can vary in thickness.
  • 4C: These “Z” shaped curls are so tight they can almost look straight, and it tends to have a shape like an afro.

How Hair Type Can Change Over Time

You may not know this, but hair type can change over time. If this happens to you or someone you know, don’t worry—it’s totally normal. Here are some of the common causes:

  • Hormonal shifts
  • Over processing your hair
  • Major lifestyle and diet changes


There’s so much more to hair than color and style, and you can learn all about it at Salon Success Academy. Our California-based beauty school offers a comprehensive Cosmetology Program that can teach you the science behind hair as well as the latest techniques in cutting, coloring and styling. To learn more, call 877-987-HAIR (4247) or fill out the form below.

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