Natural hair textures decoded: Your curlicious guide to natural hair types

Amra | 15 September 2017

Not all natural hair textures are created equal! 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 ID your curls & care for them

 

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: indigitalimages.com

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!

TONI&GUY Curl Sculpting Spray

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: indigitalimages.com

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.

TIGI Bed Head Calma Sutra Cleansing Conditioner

Editor’s tip: When in doubt, just reach for the TIGI Bed Head Calma Sutra Cleansing Conditioner!

Formulated with ingredients that pack a punch, this sulphate-free cleanser works to refresh, detangle and hydrate 3B/3C natural hair textures. Did we also forget to mention how divine and fruity it smells? Yum!

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: indigitalimages.com

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: indigitalimages.com

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. This shape can make 4B hair appear to look much shorter than it is (which is known as shrinkage).

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: indigitalimages.com

Type 4C

If you have Type 4C hair, then your strands are likely to be coarse with lots and 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…

TRESemmé Platinum Strength Stay Soft Leave-In

Simply apply an ample amount of the TRESemmé Platinum Strength Stay Soft Leave-In to your hair and lock in moisture with the Dove Pure Care Dry Oil Nourishing Treatment. This will keep your strands at the top of their mane game and make them look more curlicious!

 

Now that you know everything about different natural hair textures, get on over to Black Hairstyles pages ASAP to discover the latest trends and styling tips for kinks and coils!