Your Guide to Natural Hair Textures

Alyssa François | 29 June 2018
natural hair textures

Your official hair type guide.

Have naturally curly hair and don’t know your hair texture? It’s not too late to learn. Not all natural hair textures are the same and it’s important to identify what type of curl pattern and texture you have so you know how to care for and style your hair.

With so many different natural hair textures out there, you might not know where to begin. To help make the process a bit more easier, we’ve decoded the different textures of natural hair. Read on to find out different natural hair textures to help identify what yours is and thank us later:

Natural Hair Textures 101: Here’s How to ID Your Curls

natural hair textures: 3A hair
S-shaped curls fall in the Type 3 family. Photo credit:

Type 3A

Natural hair textures that fall under the Type 3 hair category generally tend to have a definitive S-shape curl pattern. The model above has a great example of 3A  hair type. Her springy, loose curls have a distinct silhouette and are super shiny.

Like all natural hair type, hydration is key. Moisturize and style 3A natural hair patterns with a lightweight conditioning cream like Dove Quench Absolute Supreme Creme Serum. This formula will help you maintain hydrated and defined curls while keeping frizz to a minimum.

natural hair textures: 3b 3c curls
Short 3b/3c curls. Photo credit:

Type 3B and C

Natural hair textures that fall under the 3B and C categories range from beautiful bouncy ringlets to tight corkscrews as shown in the picture above. Since type 3B and C hair has a lot more body to it, it gets easily tangled and dry, too.

On this hair type, use a cleansing conditioner like Bed Head by TIGI Calma Sutra Cleansing Conditioner. Formulated with ingredients that pack a punch, this sulfate-free cleanser works to refresh, detangle and hydrate 3B/3C hair, in addition to other natural hair textures. Did we also forget to mention how divinely fruity it smells? Yum!

natural hair textures: type 4
Kinky-curly coils. Photo credit:

Type 4A

Have you got a head full of tight coils? Then you fall into the 4A category. The Type 4 family can be characterized as the driest texture, as sebum from your scalp has a harder time traveling down your hair strands since your hair is so tightly coiled.

With Type 4A hair, coils still have a visible curl pattern, just like this above model has. As you can see, her curls are dense, tightly curled and smaller in width. To care for this hair type, be sure to add a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner into your routine. Use Love Beauty and Planet Purposeful Hydration Shea Butter & Sandalwood Shampoo and Conditioner for moisturized hair.

natural hair textures: type 4 b
Zig-zag tight coils. Photo 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. 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 as much shrinkage, you can either choose to embrace it or try out curl-stretching natural hairstyles. Our favorite? Twist-outs and flat twist hairstyles.

natural hair textures: zig zag coils
Super tight zig zag coils. Photo credit:

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 method (which stands for liquid, oil and cream) will help nourish your strands. Begin with a liquid-based leave-in conditioner like Dove Absolute Curls Leave-In Detangler, then follow up with an oil of your choice (we like coconut oil), then seal with a cream-based product—this can be one of your favorite hair moisturizers or something you created on your own.


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