How many hair types are there?

Image of a woman with curly hair

Knowing your hair type is key when learning how to looking after it. Our hair’s different densities and textures require specific care.

Hair texture is defined by one of 4 categories; straight, wavy, curly and coily. These then have 3 sub-categories each as detailed below:


  • 1A Hair – Straight and fine hair
  • 1B Hair – Less straight hair with a slight bend
  • 1C Hair – Bone straight hair
Diagram of straight hair
Diagram of wavy hair


  • 2A hair – Soft waves
  • 2B hair – Waves
  • 2C hair – Deep waves


  • 3A hair – Soft curls
  • 3B hair – Curls
  • 3C hair – Tight curls
Diagram of curly hair
Diagram of coily hair


  • 4A hair – Coiled
  • 4B hair – Zig-zag pattern
  • 4C hair – Tightly coiled

This classification was devised by hair stylist Andre Walker, who specialises in textured hair in category 4A-4C.

Straight Hair

An image of straight hair

Straight hair is, sleek with almost no texture and the strands are often quite fine too. Hair this thin is more prone to breakage, so using heat tools and styling products must be done with care.

As the hair is naturally straight, it can be difficult to add texture. This means curls will often fall out soon after styling. There are many products such as hairspray or mousse that can add longevity to your curls. Also, holding them in place with pins while they set keeps curls in for longer.

Another problem thin, straight hair encounters is becoming oily soon after washing. Due to straight hair having little texture, the oil can spread down the hair strand easier. The heavy oil then weighs it down, resulting in hair having little volume and looking flat.

Wavy Hair

An image of wavy hair

Wavy hair is also weighed down easily by oil soon after washing, but has a lot more volume and body. It also tends to be a lot easier to add curls to as it already has a bit of texture.

When it comes to taking care of wavy hair, it is important to condition your hair in the shower to prevent dryness. When your hair is dry, it will attempt to take in moisture from the air, which then results in frizzy locks.

Curly Hair

An image of curly hair

Curly hair has defined “S” shaped curls that bounce back when pulled. It has a lot of volume and texture and can handle more heavy styling products.

Curly hair is prone to dryness, frizz and tangles and needs plenty of hydrating products. It should not be brushed out with a regular hair brush, as this disrupts the curl pattern and causes it to look frizzy.

This hair type tends to need a lot of maintenance and products to keep it looking its best.

Coily Hair

An image of coily hair

Coily hair has the tightest curl pattern and often presents in a zig-zag formation. It also has the most volume, and due to the curls being so tight, hair often looks shorter than it would do straight.

Coily hair can also go a lot longer between washes and needs lots of hydration when washed.

Although hair is generally defined by one of these categories, your hair type could be a mixture. Knowing your hair’s individual attributes will ensure you care for it correctly, helping you acheive your hair goals.

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