By Hadassah Agbaps - July 19, 2018

Hi peeps, what's been on?
I got the above question from a natural beginning her healthy hair journey. 
She had big chopped, gotten her natural hair kit and wanted to know how to tell her hair texture.

What is hair typing?

Hair typing was developed as a way to describe different hair textures and make it easier to identify products, hair styles and regimens best suited for that texture.
There are lots of information online about hair typing but the most popular hair typing system used is the Andre Walker (Oprah's hairstylist) classification.
 It groups hair into four types:-

Type 1 (straight hair)
Type 2 (wavy hair)
Type 3 ( curly hair)
Type 4 ( kinky hair)

Each type has subcategories a, b and in some cases you have 4a, 1b, 3b etc.
 In simple terms, subcategory 'a' type of hair has waves/coils/kinks that is looser than those in 'b' which is looser than 'c'.

Note that in the Andre Walker classification, there's no 3c and 4c subgroups. 
These were added later as the natural hair community grew larger.

Personally, I only find this classification system useful to give someone who hasn't seen my hair an idea of what it 'looks' like.....with an emphasis on 'looks like'.
This is because my hair might 'look like' someone else's hair but behave in a totally different way in the same conditions. 
This is because, there are other factors that will influence your choice of styling, products and regimen.
These factors I've realized, that are more important in knowing your texture are:

- Porosity

- Thickness of individual strands

- Density/ Volume of hair.

- Length of hair

- Age of hair

Just as there are different shades of melanin pigmentation that may fall in the black or white skin color groups, there are different shapes of kinks, coils and coils in one hair group.
(See here for my post on the subject)

That's why I try asking several questions to better understand your hair texture.

How to know your curl pattern

The simplest method to know your texture or coil pattern is by properly moisturising your hair.

That way, if you know what your hair looks and feel like when it's happy and hydrated, you can easily tell when

💗Your natural hair is dry
💗When a product isn't working for you
💗When a regimen isn't working for you

To do this,

- Wash your hair using a mild shampoo or shampoo bar to completely remove all products.

- Blot hair until damp, then apply a deep conditioner to your hair and cover with a cap for 5-20mins.
This is to intensely moisturise your hair.Your hair will definitely shrink because it's coily hair and that's what it's supposed to do.

- With the conditioner still in your hair, smooth several strands of hair between your fingers until they clump together and release.
No clumping action??? 
Well, now you know your hair doesn't clump easily!

Note your curl/coil pattern and size of each coil.
Are your coils 's' shaped or 'o' shaped like a pen spring?
How big are your coils?

Do this for different sections of your hair and note any difference in how they curl/coil and the size.

This should give you a general idea of what your hydrated curls/coils should look like.

- Rinse off the conditioner completely with cool water and blot dry.

Then when your hair is about 90% dry, take note of your shrinkage, your curl/coil pattern and the feel of your hair.
This is your real curl pattern.

This method should give you a general idea of what your coils/curls should look like and feel like when properly moisturised without being completely wet......and most hair types no matter how tight your coils are, feel soft when properly hydrated.

You can also compare your texture with the charts here or via the quiz here

Okay, I know my curl do I make it grow?

The simple secret to happy,healthy, soft natural hair is MOISTURE.

 All hair types can grow long with proper care and the only reason it looks like tightly coiled hair doesn't grow is because,it's not as stretched out as looser textures.
It is more fragile and because of the kinks, it tangles up more and thus, more likely to break with improper care.

Hope this post helped. 
If you have any more questions, do ask in the comments section or send a mail to

Live Beautifully.Naturally.

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  1. I am one that can't tell the exact type of hair I have, but I am sure it isn't 4b or C. And I have more than one hair type. Honestly, I don't even bother.

    1. Yes it's possible to have multiple textures of natural hair on one hand. That's why more emphasis is placed on what your moisturised hair should look and feel like than trying to fit it into a classification system. Knowing what your well moisturised hair looks and feel like makes it easier to know when your hair care regimen or product isn't working for you.

  2. Hmmmm! Am still on transition stage but I think my curls fall within type 4a wen moisturised. This is my observation from the tip..


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