11 Ways to Style Different Black Hair Types

Learn your hair type and find your favorite style. 

Hair typing has become the go-to method for women when it comes to figuring out their hair needs and locking down the right styles to wear for their texture. Many women are opposed to hair typing, but it can be very helpful to know the different Black hair types and what they look like. This way you can take hairstyle and haircare inspiration from women that have similar hair types as well.

To make it easy for you, we’ve rounded up images of black hair types to help you visually understand the difference between each one and the hairstyles that you can wear with each:

There are some Black women that may have naturally straight hair due to genetics. However, the majority of the time, if you see a Black woman with straight hair, she either has relaxed hair or is natural but uses heat styling tools like a flat iron or blow dryer to straighten her locks.

1. Long Straight Hair

black hair types: long straight hair
Style your hair bone straight or with a curl.

Whether relaxed or natural and straightened, there are so many ways to style straight black hair types. Add body to your straight styles with loosely curled ends.

2. Short Straight Hair

black hair types: short straight hair
Cut straight hair into a short pixie.

There’s nothing like a short-style pixie haircut. Try a short pixie style on straight hair if you prefer a hairstyle that helps you put your face shape on display.

This hair type is made up of hair that has S-shaped curves. When figuring out which hair type 2 you are, it’s good to know that 2A hair has the loosest S-shape wave, 2B has medium thickness with a tighter S-shape and is frizz-prone, while 2C coarse and thick with a prominent S-shape.

3. Long Wavy Hair

black hair types: wavy hair
Undone waves add more texture to your style.

Add a bit more texture to your waves with TRESemmé Dry Texture Finishing Spray. Add it to freshly washed and air-dried for a natural finish and light hold.

4. Wavy Curls

black hair types: wavy curls
Add a hint of color to the ends.

Some waves are tighter than others. This hair type above has a more defined wave. Use products that help define your wave or curl pattern. If you’re looking for extremely defined hair, apply Dove Amplified Textures Define N’ Moisture Styling Gel to each section of hair and diffuse to dry.

5. Wavy Ombré

black hair types: wavy ombré
Add dimension with ombré. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

Make your curls stand out with a pop of color. Try an ombré or balayage for a natural look.


Curly Black hair types can be made up of one or more curl patterns. Think of Type 3 hair as curls that create a super defined S, or noodle shape. Type 3A hair can be defined with looser curls that are flatter and frizz-prone. Hair that is 3B is full of springy, voluminous ringlets, and type 3C hair has corkscrew curls that are dense.

6. Curly Afro

black hair types: curly hair
Brushed out curls for a big effect.

There are so many ways to style curly hair. This brushed-out style is one of our favorite ways because it creates a big afro style and shows off your volume.

7. Short Curls

black hair types: short curls
Try a low-maintenance haircut.

Keep your look short and sweet with a pixie. Use a gel, like SheaMoisture Papaya & Neroli All Day Frizz Control Milk Gel to define your curls. If you prefer a brushed-out look, you can opt for gently brushing your curls out after styling.

This hair type is made up of tight curls that have a zig-zag shape. This hair type can often be prone to dryness and shrinkage. In fact, the curls found on this hair type can gain about 50 percent (or more) of their actual length when straightened. People with type 4A hair have a dense, springy s-shape curl pattern. 4B hair is packed with dense, almost Z-shaped coils. Lastly, 4C hair is similar to 4B, but it has denser curls and is more fragile.

8. Coily ‘Fro

black hair types: coily afro
Wear your coils wash and go style.

If you want to wear your hair in its true coily form, consider wash and go styles.

9. Stretched Coils

black hair types: stretched coils
Stretch it out to combat shrinkage.

If shrinkage on your coils drives you insane, try twist-out styles to help stretch them out.

10. Voluminous Afro

black hair types: kinky afro
The bigger, the better. Photo credit: Allyson Alapont

Blow out your texture to create big afro styles. For protection and shine while you blow-dry your hair, use a product like Dove Smooth & Shine Heat-Protection Spray.

11. Medium Afro

black hair types: kinky hair
An afro with a precise shape. Photo credit: Allyson Allapony

A good haircut will help you achieve afro styles with a great shape. Black hair is prone to split ends like everyone else, and constant styling and brushing can wreak havoc on your strands. Be sure to keep up with your trims and your natural hair care routine to maintain the healthy state of your hair.

Whether you have relaxed hair and you want to achieve a 1B look or you’re fully embracing your coily 4C hair, there are so many variations and ways to style black hair types.

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