The different types of textured hair

Get to know your curls

How often have you taken a wild guess at which hair type you have? One day you’re a curly queen, and the next your locks are looking a little looser than you’d like. But what gives your tresses their wavy, curly, sleek label? It’s simply the amount of curl and thickness in each individual hair strand – but there’s no need to get your magnifying glass out, as each hair type can be broken down into categories 1 to 4, which can be broken down further to types A, B and C, with C being the curliest.

So, from gorgeous tight curls, to luscious loose waves; knowing which type of textured hair you have is key to giving it the care and attention it deserves. It’s time to decode the curls and take you through the textured hair ABCs…

Do I have wavy hair?

Natural wavy hair flows in a gorgeous ‘S’ shape and is usually fine, silky and fairly easy to manage, but wavy hair can be broken down into easy to manage locks and a mane that may need a little extra TLC.

Type 2a

This type of wavy hair can be easily curled and straightened, and is resistant to bounce and frizz. As it’s a little more delicate, always use a heat protection spray before getting creative with your hair tools.

Top 2a tip: Opt for lighter products when styling your hair, such as mousse, to help enhance your waves without weighing them down. 

Type 2b

If your hair is mostly straight at the roots and then falls into defined waves then you’re most likely a 2b hair type. You’ll have more of a wave than 2a and your hair could be a little resistant to styling. 

Top 2b tip: If you’re prone to a little frizz, then try a smoothing serum straight out of the shower. 

Type 2c

Hair is more curly than wavy and can also be thicker and coarser too. You could also have an underlayer of straight hair, or even an underlayer of ringlets and curls. 

Top 2c tip: Become best friends with your diffuser! It helps to remove most of the water from your hair so it can dry faster, meaning more bounce to those curls.

Do I have curly hair?

Curly hair has more of a defined spring than wavy hair – we’re talking ringlets and spirals with a whole lot of body. But what type of curls do you have and how can you keep them looking fab?

Type 3a

Your curls are big, loose and are roughly as thick as a lipstick. They have a well-defined ‘S’ shape and a gorgeous spring to them.

Top 3a tip: Take small sections when damp and twirl them around your finger to encourage definition.

Type 3b

Say hello to voluminous curls! Hair still has a spring in its step, but this can vary from ringlets to corkscrews, and curls are roughly as thick as a felt-tip pen.

Top 3b tip: Hair may be prone to frizz, so use products with extra moisture, such as masks and oils to help tame your tresses.

Type 3c

Hair is tightly packed with corkscrew curls that are the circumference of a straw, and bursting with gorgeous volume. Curls are prone to shrinkage though and can be fine in texture.

Top 3c tip: Moisture is a 3c’s best friend and helps keep curls bouncy. Think butters and oils to help soothe your locks. 

Do I have coily hair?

Coily hair is all about those super tight curls and volume. Hair forms tight curls in a zig-zag pattern from the scalp and has a naturally spongy texture. It can sometimes be referred to as kinky hair too. It can be the most fragile of the hair types as it has fewer cuticle layers to help protect it from dryness, but we have some top tips to help keep it looking and feeling great. 

Type 4a

This hair type has tightly coiled curls that are the circumference of knitting needle, and may have a wiry or fine texture. 

Top 4a tip: Have creams, butters and oils to hand as they are great for styling 4a hair.

Type 4b

Your curls are much tighter and less defined and have the circumference of a biro pen. 4b hair may have a cotton-like feel and be packed with a mixture of coarse, wiry and fine strands. 

Top 4b tip: Make conditioner your best friend and always use a detangling brush. 

Type 4c

This style looks very similar to 4b but has less definition and experiences more shrinkage. This hair type is very delicate and has curl patterns that will almost never clump without being styled.

Top 4c tip: 4c hair is like a sponge and thrives off of moisture, so make sure to deep condition to add extra hydration and strength. 

Now you've unraveled those hair types, why not find out more about how to look after textured hair with our handy guide? Hair come the curls!