The Hair Type Chart – Discover Your Hair Type

The Hair Type Chart

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What is your hair type?

So, you have the letter part of the grade which goes as follows:

  • The letter A would be a looser curl pattern.
  • The letter B is a little more defined
  • and the letter C is the tightest curl pattern of each group.

Now the numbers are graded from 1 to 4. Number 1 is straight hair without any curl pattern so curls start from the number 2 which is wavy textured hair, 3 is for curly hair, and 4 is for tightly curly to kinky hair.

Type 4 – Kinky Curly Coily

Hair type 4a 4a – Mixture of ringlets and kinks, curls when wet, may dry into less defined curls
Hair type 4b  4b – Very tightly coiled or curled kinks are more distinct and curls may not be visible when dry. May look like zigzag curls.
Hair type 4c 4c – Extremely tight coils that shrink very close to the scalp when dry. Curls may not be visible when dry.

Type 3 – Curly

Hair type 3a 3a – Defined slightly loose ringlets – 3a
Hair type 3b 3b- Deeper more defined S shape in coils
 Hair type 3c 3c – Tight spirals or coils

Type 2 – Wavy

Hair type 2a 2a – Very loose wave: almost straight
 Hair type 2b 2b – Loose wave
 Hair type 2c 2c – Wavy with deeper S shape

Type 1 – Straight

 Hair type 1  1 – This hair is oily, resilient and has no discernible curl pattern.

Now you can see from this hair classification system that you may have 3a hair in the back 2c hair in the front, I’ve even seen women with a combination of all three curl patterns on one head of hair!

If you still confused, here is how to tell just by looking at it. The best way to tell your curl pattern is by wetting your hair first. You make look like a 4c when you hair is dry, but really be a 4a because the hair can change in appearance when it is wet. And if your hair has been chemically treated, even if its been months or even years, you cannot accurately assess what your hair type is until you are fully natural.

I can’t tell you how many times I consult with clients about curl type and they want me to tell them their curl pattern when they haven’t cut off their relaxed or texturized hair. Ladies, in order to know for sure what you are working with, the chemically treated hair has to be removed, yes, even the texturizer.

If anybody was following my post on hair grading systems, you’d know I’m not that crazy about classifying my hair type into an a,b,c grade. I feel that the need for women to know there hair type has been carefully constructed by product manufacturers, the bottom line (to me) is it makes their pockets fatter. Think about it!

Non curl pattern specific brands are just as likely to give you the same results as curl pattern specific products. All you need to know is that for kinkier curls, choose a heavier product like a thick gel and for looser curls, light leave in conditioners or more liquid gels will do the trick.

Products work based on the curl pattern you already naturally have. No product will be able to change your curl pattern.

About Alma

Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!. I started as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.


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  • Nena

    Alma, this article made me think about my mistakes about my hair type. Thought I was a 4c and you told me I was a 4a. Although this haven’t changed the needing of keeping on DCing my hair and waiting for its growth, it gave me hope – now I really know the way it looks now is not the way it is. This changes things. Thanks.

    • Alma

      No worries Nena!

      • Nadine A. Joseph

        I think from the chart, I am 4c. I would like to know if there is a hair store in Brooklyn, New York, close to flatbush, New Kirk and Foster.

  • NubianPrize

    I think hair typing can be much ado about nothing. You just try products til you find what works. Back in the late 60sthru the 70s, I wore a huge afro as did a lot of folks. There was no such thing as curl definition or hair typing. We all used Afro Sheen, grease, water, whatever conditioner worked, hot oil treatments, etc. We used “white” products if they worked as well as “black” ones. No big deal. I just call my hair type 4. If I wash it with one shampoo, it has little 4a ringlets mixed with some frizz; use another shampoo & it’s all frizz. I also have about 3 curl patterns on my head. Same goes for products. It looks straight up 4a with KinkyCurly & Taliah Waajid Curl Cream, use Shea Moisture curl smoothie & it looks like a birds nest. My hair hated that stuff as well as the souffle last year. With all this hair moodiness, & the fact that black women have a MYRIAD of textures within each type I refuse to get hung up on whether it’s 4a or 4b.. I usually say 4ab. I just look for products that work with my hair whether they’re for white or black hair.

  • Mine ain’t on here

  • Isn’t there 4D? My hair grows very close to the scalp.

  • Yours is prob a combo! Think mines is too… kinda 4a/3c looks nothing like any of the pics

  • I think I’m any where from 3b to 4c I dunno

  • Hell, don’t see mine either

  • 4c & 4b

  • This was very informative! Thank you!

  • I was just wondering about this, thanks for sharing!!!!!

  • 2c dont look like a hair type that look like its been wand curled

  • Mine too

  • The texture of my hair is always changing . I’ve had 3C, 4A,4B and 4C ! Either way I love my natural hair !

  • 3c

  • There are a few hair types that are missing, right!

  • 3c I think..

  • 3c n the front 4a in the back

  • My new growth right now looks like it could be 3a since I am transitioning to natural. I hope. Lol.

  • Shoot I can’t tell between 4a, 4b or 4c

  • I honestly do not know my hair type. I would say 4b but I strongly think 4c.

  • Between 4b en 4c

  • Not helpful to me personally! I have 2-3 different types!

  • I’m so proud to be a 4c. Should I twerk about it or stay classy?

  • Between 4b and 4c

  • I’m a 3C

  • 4b

  • I needed to see this! Now I know I’m 4a I never knew my hair type til now

  • I have a mixture. 3a, 4a, 4b, & 4c. It is possible, and I find, common for many people to have many textures threw out there head.

    • I was about to ask because I have the same combination as well

    • Yea, definitely. The more people I talk to in my life or meet, when hair comes up in conversation they will say there’s multiple textures (two or more). You can however manipulate your hair to show one pattern, whether you do braid outs, twist outs, perm rods, etc.

    • Me too!

  • None of these look like mine mine is kinda straight with a few waves

  • 3c

  • Mine is just a 4 thats it because when it rains or gets wet there isn’t a curl anywhere it just turns into a straight up 70’s

  • 4a/4b

  • 3b

  • I’m a 4a/b/c it’s cray up in my scalp

  • I have 3c 4a and 4c on different parts of my head

  • 4b

  • I am 4b it’s zig zaggy

  • Some are missing

  • I also have a mixture of 3b in the back, 4b on the sides and front, the crown is 4c

  • 3c/4a

  • The way my shrinkage be set up I’m definitely 4c

  • Aliyah Morrison

    I say this is the best description and chart of hair types . I’m between 3c and 4a i have spirals and coils . I have a mix of both . Thank you for this .

  • Am between 4a and 3c

  • 3c

  • 3c/4a

  • That is not 4b hair

  • Can’t see mine lol

  • Im a 3 c

  • 3c

  • Mine 4a/4b