Decoding the Hair Type Chart

Eunice Lucero | 08 June 2016

It’s not all just a jumble of numbers and letters.

Thanks to the popularity sparked by celebrity hair stylist Andre Walker’s hair type classification system, categorizing your strands via a hair type chart has now made its way into the mainstream. This is downright awesome for several reasons, mainly because it streamlines the needs and products for each specific hair type (#WeLongtoBelong).

Whether straight, wavy or curly, we now have a definitive guide to what our hair is supposed to look like, which then makes it infinitely easier to tackle.

What’s the Hair Type Chart?

One of the most commonly used hair classification charts categorizes hair into four groups: straight (1), wavy (2), curly (3) and kinky (4). Each group is then subdivided into A, B or C, in increasing level of texture, i.e. very fine, straight hair is classified as 1A, and z-coiled kinky hair is a 4B/C.

decoding the hair type chart long straight blonde
Type 1: Straight hair. Photo credit:

Type 1: Straight Hair

Straight hair is classified as Type 1 hair. It is also considered to be the most resilient and oiliest of hair types, as sebum from glands can easily make its way down to the hair tips. It is also generally considered to be curl-resistant, and can range from superfine and fragile hair (1A) to fine, thin hair (1B) to coarse, thin hair (1C). Type 1 hair benefits from lightweight clarifying daily moisturizers and volumizing wash and care systems, as well as styling products that impart body, bounce and lift to fine, limp hair. We like the benefits we get from Dove Radiant Shine Shampoo and Dove Radiant Shine Conditioner, Nexxus New York Salon Care Diametress Lavish Body Gel Spray, Nexxus New York Salon Care Hydra-Light Root Lift Mist and TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Hair Maximizer.


decoding the hair type chart wavy hair
Type 2: Wavy hair. Photo credit:

Type 2: Wavy Hair

Wavy hair is classified under Type 2 and ranges from fine and almost straight (2A) to wavy (2B) to coarse and very wavy (2C). This hair type has a moderate amount of sheen and natural body, but it is also a hair type that is very frizz-prone. It benefits from anti-frizz shampoos and conditioners, lightweight hair oils and humidity-resistant styling products, such as Dove Anti-Frizz Oil Therapy Shampoo and Dove Anti-Frizz Oil Therapy Conditioner, Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil, TRESemmé Climate Protection Mousse and Nexxus New York Salon Care Humectress Encapsulate Serum.


decoding the hair type chart curly hair
Type 3: Curly hair. Photo credit:

Type 3: Curly Hair

Curly hair is categorized as Type 3 hair and grouped via the tightness of its curls—from loose ringlets (3A) to tight corkscrews (3C), regardless of ethnicity. Considered a dry hair type due to the coils that prevent sebum from evenly fortifying and coating its lengths, it is also fragile and prone to breakage and damage, especially when treated roughly. There is a disparity in several hair type charts, with some having only two subcategories for Type 3 hair—3A and 3B—and other, more natural-hair friendly charts including a 3C type, which is typified by very tight, almost z-like corkscrews. Products that moisturize hair optimally throughout the day and protect it from frizz without deflating the ringlets are a priority for this hair type, like Dove Quench Absolute Ultra-Nourishing Shampoo, Dove Quench Absolute Conditioner and Dove Quench Absolute Supreme Crème Serum, Suave Professionals Coconut Milk Infusion Intense Moisture Mask, Bed Head by TIGI On the Rebound and Dove Style+Care Curls Defining Mousse.


decoding the hair type chart kinky
Type 4: Kinky/natural hair. Photo credit: Dvora

Type 4: Kinky Hair

Considered the driest according to the the hair type chart, kinky hair falls under the Type 4 category in the hair type chart. It has a definitive z-pattern to its corkscrews, which can vary in extremity from tightly coiled with a definite, specific curl pattern (4A) to z-coiled but with no visible curl pattern (4B). Some hair type charts add another subcategory to this type: 4C hair, which was presumably added by those in the natural hair community to include hair with a curl pattern kinkier than 4B hair. As expected, Type 4 hair is very fragile and breakage-prone, so treat it with care: Gentle shampoos, co-washing, leave-in conditioners and nourishing daily moisturizing butters and super-hydrating, non-petrolatum hair oils are what to look out for. We love the hydration and definition kinky hair gets from Suave Professionals Coconut Oil Infusion Damage Repair Shampoo, Suave Professionals Coconut Oil Infusion Damage Repair Conditioner and Suave Professionals Coconut Oil Infusion Damage Repair Treatment, Dove Quench Absolute Leave-In Detangler and Dove Quench Absolute Intense Restoration Mask.

Which category do you fall under in the hair type chart?

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