Determining Your Hair Type

This week’s question comes from SC readers Michelle about hair types:

Hey orAKAle,

I am considering going natural and currently are in the first stages of transitioning.  Right now, I am not too sure of my hair type. I know I need to give it time to grow out, but I’m not sure of my hair type.  Can you explain more about this thing you speak about of “type 4 hair”, etc?  Am I that type or something else?

Thanks for question Michelle and congrats to your decision to go natural. I hope The Silky Chronicles and its readers can show you the positive and exciting side of being a naturalista!

Remember, your hair is supposed to be however God made it.  Please don’t try to “make” your hair look like your favorite celebrity or even your home girl down the street. Lol.  Embrace YOUR hair type and make it work for you.

When I first started to transition, I searched and referenced regular sites that spoke about hair types.  Please note – you have to give your scab hair (the immediate hair under the skin effected by chemicals that grows PRIOR To your natural texture coming out) time to grow out in order to really get to YOUR hair texture. So many new naturals quit after experiencing this for they don’t like it and think its to hard to manage.  Be encouraged my sister for this too will pass.

Getting back on subject, the below should give you some insight on the different types of hair:

Type 2: this type of hair is wavy or curls form throughout the hair in the shape of the letter “S”.  Hair sticks close to the head; it won’t bounce up, even when layered.

  • 2a – Fine, thin and very easy to handle; easily straightened or curled
  • 2b – Medium-textured and a little resistant to styling; has a tendency to frizz
  • 2c – Thick and coarse and more resistant to styling and will frizz easily

Type 3: this hair type has an “S” pattern with well defined curls and springy curls.   This hair has a lot of body and is not coarse by any means.  Hair is soft and very fine.

  • 3a – These curls are big, loose and usually very shiny
  • 3b – Medium amount of curl/bouncy ringlets
  • 3c – tight curls in corkscrews

Type 4:  this hair type is kinky or very tightly curled….either way you will see some sort of curl pattern to the hair.  This type of hair can be fine, thin and even coarse.  This type of hair is very fragile, so while it looks thick, you must be very gentle when matriculating.   Please note – this hair will shrink up to 75$ depending on your actual hair….so be prepared.  There are wo sub textures to this type of hair:

  • 4a – Tightly coiled hair that, when stretched, has an “S” pattern, much like curly hair. It tends to have more moisture than 4b; has a definite curl pattern
  • 4b – Has a “Z” pattern, less of a defined curl pattern. Instead of curling or coiling, the hair bends in sharp angles like the letter “Z”; has a cotton-like feel


I am classified as a definite type 4a hair beauty!  While it was difficult in the beginning to adjust to my new hair type, I loved every coil and wouldn’t change it for the world.   Again, you have to be patient and make sure to show your hair some TLC…only then will you be living life to the FULLEST!!!

For more GREAT information on hair types, click here for a previous post on good reads while transitioning and for natural hair maintenance. Also Naturally Curly and Napturality are great natural hair forums to provide assistance with your hair type.

The orAKAle has spoken………


Sources: Naturally Curly


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