Decoding the Natural Hair Chart

Eunice Lucero | 05 September 2018

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

Thanks to celebrity hair stylist, Andre Walker, and his hair type classification system, categorizing your strands with a natural hair chart has become popular. This is downright awesome because it streamlines the needs and products for each specific hair type.



What is the Natural Hair Chart?



One of the most popular 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. This indicates an increasing level of texture, i.e. very fine, straight hair is classified as 1A, and Z-coiled kinky hair is a 4B/C.

natural hair chart long straight blonde
Type 1: Straight hair. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

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. 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 (1A), fine and thin (1B), or coarse and thin hair (1C).

Type 1 hair benefits from lightweight clarifying daily moisturizers and volumizing wash and care systems. They also love styling products that impart body, bounce and lift to fine, limp hair.

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TRESemmé BEAUTY-FULL VOLUME HAIR MAXIMIZER
natural hair chart wavy hair
Type 2: Wavy hair. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

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 frizz-prone. It benefits from anti-frizz shampoos and conditioners, lightweight hair oils and humidity-resistant styling products.

Our Recommendations:

SUAVE MOROCCAN INFUSION STYLING OIL
natural hair chart curly hair
Type 3: Curly hair. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Type 3: Curly Hair, Loose

Curly hair is categorized as Type 3 hair and grouped via the tightness of its curls. This ranges from loose ringlets (3A) to tight corkscrews (3C), regardless of ethnicity. It is considered a dry hair type due to the coils that prevent sebum from evenly coating its lengths. Curly hair is fragile and prone to breakage and damage, especially when treated roughly. There is a disparity in several hair type charts. Some have only two subcategories for Type 3 hair—3A and 3B—and other, more natural-hair friendly charts, include a 3C type, which is 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.

Our Recommendations:

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

Type 4: Curly Hair, Tight

Considered the driest according to the natural hair chart, kinky-coily hair falls under the Type 4 category in the natural hair chart. It has a definitive Z-pattern to its corkscrews. This can vary in extremity from tightly coiled with a 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. This type 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. Treat this type with care! Gentle shampoos, co-washing, leave-in conditioners, nourishing daily moisturizing butters and super-hydrating, non-petrolatum hair oils are what to look out for.

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