Natural hair textures: Two models backstage with curly hair, one with long spiral curls, the other with a tightly coiled afro

Natural Hair Textures Decoded: Your Easy Guide to Natural Hair Types

All natural hair textures are beautiful but there are some key differences you should know! Below, we simplify the different textures of natural hair, so don't you have to.

There’s something you should know: just like hair products, not all natural hair textures are the same — and it’s important to identify what type of curl pattern you have (via the curl typing system). Wondering why? Well, once you’re familiar with your curl type, taking care of your natural locks becomes a dream.

However, with so many different natural hair textures out there, you might not know where to begin. Fret not, though, we’ve decoded the different textures of natural hair. So, what are you waiting for?

Natural hair textures 101: How to workout your hair type and care for it

natural hair textures: shot of model with loose curly hair
If you’ve got a clear S-shape, you fall into the Type 3 category. Credit:

Type 3A

Natural hair textures that fall under the Type 3 hair category generally tend to have a definitive S-shape curl pattern. And this model’s 3A mane is the ideal example: her springy, loose curls have a distinct silhouette and are super shiny.

Without enough hydration, this curl type tends to be more frizzy and less defined at times, which are all things that can be tackled by investing in a lightweight curl sculpting spray. Our fave? The TONI&GUY Curl Sculpting Spray, of course!

This product will help define 3A curls and keep them looking on-point 24/7, while also keeping frizz at bay. Now, you can’t argue with that, can you?

back shot of model with spiral curls backstage
Type 3B and 3C natural hair textures can range from bouncy ringlets to tight corkscrews. Credit:

Type 3B and C

Natural hair textures that fall under the 3B and C categories range from beautiful bouncy ringlets to tight corkscrews (a la the picture above). And because Type 3B and C hair has a lot more body to it, it gets easily tangled and dry, too.

However, we feel it’s our duty to let you in on a little secret: great hair starts in the shower. Following a co-washing system will leave your hair smooth, soft, nourished and prepped for styling.

Editor’s tip: Another way you can up your hair washing routine? By using a hot oil treatment pre-shampoo weekly, of course! And, lucky for you, VO5 have brought back their iconic hot oils with an upgraded formula.

So, we suggest you try using the VO5 Nourishing Coconut Hot Oil as it tackles modern-day hair stresses (think pollution, excessive heat styling, dryness and damage) – all in 1 minute.

backstage shot of model with natural textured hair posing
Got a head full of gorgeous tight coils? You hair falls under the Type 4 category! Credit:

Type 4A

Have you got a head full of gorgeous tight coils? Or maybe kinky zig-zags? Then your locks are the most delicate and prone to shrinkage, so they need all the tender loving they can get.

With Type 4A hair, coils still have a visible curl pattern, just like this above model has. As you can see, her curls are smaller in width, tightly curled and dense.

different textures of natural hair: backstage shot of model with kinky hair
If you’re a 4B, you’ve got the kinkiest locks around! Credit:

Type 4B

In this example, this model’s curl factor is less noticeable and has more of a Z-shape to it, which you can tell by the sharp angles and way the hair bends.

While different natural hair textures may not experience shrinkage as much, you can either choose it embrace it or try out curl-stretching natural hairstyles. Our favourite? Twist outs, flat twist hairstyles or cornrows.

different natural hair textures: backshot of model with kinky ziggly hair
Less defined curls? You could be a 4C! Credit:

Type 4C

f you have Type 4C hair, then your strands are likely to have lots of Z-shaped strands that are densely packed together, which can make it hard to tell what curl pattern it is.

Due to the density of these tight curls, your hair is extremely prone to dryness and damage. Now there’s no need to panic, because following the LOC, LOCO or LCO method (which stand for liquid, oil and cream) will help strengthen your mane and give it the nourishment it needs.

Editor’s tip: Different textures of natural hair can majorly benefit from following this routine; however, we understand that it can be quite time-consuming, so to make it on-the-go friendly, we’ve made it less complex…

Simply apply an ample amount of the TONI&GUY Leave In Conditioner to your hair and lock in moisture with the Dove Advanced Hair Series Shine Revived Treatment. This will keep your strands at the top of their mane game and make them look more curlicious!

Sign up to our newsletter and get exclusive hair care tips and tricks from the experts at All Things Hair.