Limp locks, fierce frizz, dull-as-dishwater look…and so goes the list of hair headaches that come from grooming routines that simply don’t work as they should.
It’s easy to get stuck in the same hair care routine, whether or not it delivers the best possible results. However, with the promise of better hair, and a bit of knowledge, old habits can be broken as easily as a strand of damaged hair.
Understanding your hair type is key to solving your hair frustrations and finding the right routine to work for you.
Before you dive into this post, learn the basics behind your hair type by taking our hair type quiz. It’s the perfect first step to mastering the maintenance of your own, individual hair type.
No One Size Fits All With Hair
As unique as the people that wear it, hair comes in all different shapes, sizes, textures, conditions – and on and on and on. Whilst we may try to simplify things by putting hair into the basic categories of straight, wavy, curly and coily this can be a dangerous trap.
Yes, curly hair is completely different from straight hair, but that doesn’t mean all curly or straight heads are the same – far from it. Within categories are subcategories and within them, even more variations.
Products and styling techniques that work on one head of hair may not work on another (the same being true with haircuts, hence the popularity of, say, the curly cut).
Even so, getting a basic grasp of your hair type is important because general rules do apply and can point you to products healthy for your hair or hairstyles that might best suit you.
Good Enough for Oprah
One of the original hair typing systems was created by hair stylist Andre Walker (Oprah Winfrey’s stylist) in the 90s. He did so to market his own hair care line, but it’s since become a standard for hair typing. The system, basically a hair type framework, is continuously being adapted based on the diversity of the hair types.
So What's the System?
The Andrew Walker system puts hair into four main categories. And then, within each category, three subcategories identified as A, B, or C .
With hair essentially broken into 12 various types, most will find something resembling their own hair. Learning about all the types and variations within is important in helping you to not only determine where you fall but understand the different characteristics of hair.
Think of hair types as a group of friends: each one having its own personality and reacting differently to situations. Your hair is the exact same way.
By the end of this read, you’ll have mastered hair typing and be armed with the knowledge to better care for it.
Plus, for each hair type, we’ve included tips and tricks to make your hair-life that much easier.
Break It Down
Type 1 - Straight
Straight hair is essentially without any curl pattern. It tends to grow faster than the other types. Straight hair has a tendency to be greasy because the strands give the natural scalp oils an easy ride all the way down the hair shaft.
On the plus side, this also means straight heads are likely to have more luminous shine, further promoted by the consistent alignment of strands.
Type 1 celebrities are: Dakota Fanning, Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevingne
Type 1A is characterised by baby-fine strands, completely straight from root to tip. With typically little to no body, it struggles to hold a curl. This hair type is actually quite rare.
Type 1B has more body than 1A and is not necessarily completely straight. The majority of Straights will fall into this sub-category. In comparison to 1A, 1B is better able to hold a curl. Ends tend to curl under or out slightly as opposed to being completely straight.
Type 1C is mostly straight but likely to have a few waves here and there. Best able to hold a curl, strands tend to be thicker and coarser than the other Straights. Left to dry naturally, 1C can rock an easy, tousled look.
Tips & Tricks for the Straights
The biggest struggle for Straights is the tendency to look greasy quickly. The best way to combat this is to wash hair often, even daily. If skipping a day, use products like dry shampoo in between wash days.
Recommended Products: With Straights often being low on body, use volumizing shampoos and conditioners to give your straight hair a little more jooj.
Steer clear of heavy products as they can encourage hair to become oily.
Styling Tips: When styling hair once dry, try a little dry shampoo on the roots to soak up excess oil. You can also try a texturizing product applied from root to tip to aid volume.
Type 2 - Wavy
Wavy hair naturally forms “S” shape patterns. It’s not as oily as the Straights because of its slight texture but neither is it completely free from getting too oily or, conversely, too dry.
Tending to be thicker than Type 1, wavy hair is a happy medium between curly and straight.
Type 2 celebrities include: Scarlett Johansson, Lily James, Lorde
Type 2A hair has natural loose waves often mixed in with some straight bits. This hair type has slight bends that forms elongated S shapes when dry. Of all the Wavies, it tends to be the least frizzy. Type 2A can be easily weighed down when using too much product.
Type 2B hair has clearly defined waves that are tightly drawn, think of surfer curls. It tends to be frizzier than 2A with the waves form a tighter “S” shape when dry.
Type 2C hair has set waves starting right from the root with strands thicker than the other subcategories. The “S” pattern can naturally flip to form loose spiral curls. Of all the Wavies, this one tends to be the most frizz prone.
Tips & Tricks for the Wavers
Frizz is normally the biggest frustration for wavy hair types. The challenge is finding the right balance between controlling frizz and not weighing down your natural bends and curls.
Essentially, you have to add moisture and volume while protecting the natural shape of your waves. The key is not going over board when applying products to your hair – a little can go a long way.
Recommended Products: Go for shampoos and conditioners designed specifically to hydrate your hair. Also try using a moisturizing hair mask once a week to help lock in that hydration and reduce frizz.
Styling Tips: The key to warding off frizz is to touch hair as minimally as possible. When your hair is damp, apply a little styling mousse or cream from root to tip to help define the waves and then, just let it be.
Type 3 - Curly
Curly hair has “S” pattern locks that spirals in on themselves forming ringlets or ‘cork screw’ shapes. Type 3 tends to be dry due to its texture.
The scalp’s natural oils aren’t heavy enough to forge the curl peaks and valleys to make it to the ends. Still, curly hair is often fine and surprisingly easier to style than Type 2 hair.
Some celebrities that have the curly hair type: Shakira, Tia Mowry, Thandie Newton
Type 3A boasts those loose, rolling ringlets. The curls are easily defined on their own without the need for a lot of product.
Type 3A curls are the largest in diameter and sometimes mix with wavy pieces. 3A curls can have some shine but can also be prone to a bit of the frizz.
Type 3B curls are spiralled and springy. With ringlets being about the width of a marker, 3B hair tends to stay well defined but can get frizzy if not properly maintained.
Type 3C curls are tighter and more coily than 3B. Hair is thick and often has a lot of texture. 3C strands are packed closely together and are moderately defined.
These corkscrew coils can range in size and are the most frizz prone of the Curlies.
Tips & Tricks for the Curlies
Curls and frizz are not the best of mates, and their rivalry must be kept in mind when keeping your hair moisturized. The right shampoos and conditioners can hydrate your hair while mousses, creams, and jellies can control frizz and define curls.
Style your hair when it is wet. Applying product to wet hair ensures moisture is locked in. Once you see your wet curls taking shape, you’re done – no more touching.
This may be like an itch you’re desperate to scratch but doing so will only promote frizz. Put on a pair of mittens if you must but KEEP HANDS OFF!
Recommended Products: Go for curl enhancing leave-in conditioners and creams. Try experimenting with different products like mousse, hair oil, or curl jellies to define your curls and control your frizz. With the right combo, your curls will be lush.
Styling Tips: To embrace your curls apply light-weight products like a hair milk so you do not weigh them down. After applying your conditioner, use a wet brush (or a wide tooth comb) to detangle without destroying your precious curls.
Type 4 - Coily
Coily, or kinky, hair is defined by tightly curled strands without the defined ringlets of Type 3. Type 4 hair typically keeps the same shape whether wet or dry.
It tends to be dry because of its shape and texture prevents the scalps natural oils from travelling far enough down the hair shaft. This hair type has a challenge with getting moisture and maintaining shine.
Celebrities that have the kinky/coily hair type: Issa Rae, Yaya DaCosta, Lupita Nyong'o
Type 4A is a head full of mini curls. Springy in nature, these ringlets can be as small as a pen coil to having the diameter of a pencil. Strands can shrink to less than half its length when its dry. 4A has the most defined curl pattern of the Coilies.
Type 4B hair has tighter curls than 4A and holds a crimpy pattern. This hair type takes on both “Z” shaped kinks and “S” shaped coils (easiest to see when wet). Distinguishing between 4B and 4C can be difficult, but 4B hair is clearly defined in comparison to 4C. Not necessarily so for the roots but the ends tend to have a clear curl pattern.
Type 4C hair has a “Z” shaped pattern and tends to be without definition. Densely packed 4C experiences a lot more shrinkage than the other Coilies. The texture of 4C hair ranges from fine to coarse.
Tips & Tricks for the Coilies
Similar to curly hair, the coily hair types need to fight off frizz and retain moisture. You really do need to experiment with different products because this category has a range of diversity.
Recommended Products: Start with a shampoo made specifically for curly hair and a moisturizing conditioner. Then go with a deep conditioning mask almost as often as you wash your hair.
You should also look into hair oils and creams to lock in moisture and to add definition to your curls.
Styling Tips: Once out of the shower, gently but thoroughly towel-dry your hair (try a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt) to remove excess moisture. This will reduce the risk of breakage and excessive dryness.
Afterwards, apply a leave-in conditioner and styling cream to add moisture for a defined wash-and-go or two-strand twist. I’VE GOT MY HAIR TYPE, Now what? Okay, after this rather lengthy hair type session, we hope you’ve found your place in the hair type world.
Now you can choose the products that are best for you and your hair type. Knowing your type will make learning about hair more fun and relevant to you.
Keep a lookout for different topics that are for your hair type because in those cases we will be speaking directly to you. No matter you hair type, RevAir’s Reverse Air Dryer is designed for you.
If you have any questions about your hair or our product, contact us today and a knowledgeable member of our team will be happy to help you.