If you have curly hair, you should most definitely know The Curl Type System but if you don't we are here to enlighten you on the system, what each classification resembles and actually looks like, and the characteristics of each hair type. The system was produced by Oprah Winfrey's hairstylist, Andre Walker who classified hair into 4 types, each with three letter classifications from A-C within. Each number type represents a different type of curl (or lack of curl) and the letters represent how tightly wound the curls are. It is very important to know your hair type to know how to care for your hair and the best ways to protect it. As you will quickly discover, it is completely normal to have multiple hair types in your luscious locks.
Below you will see an illustration that we made of what each individual follicle resembles up close. As you can see, 1 resembles the absence of curl, or straight. 2s represent the wavy hair, 3s represent the spiraled curls, and 4s represent the kinks and coils.
All curly hair types have natural arcs that expose the inside of the cuticle allowing moisture to escape. Since its a bumpy road, unlike straight hair, the scalp oils cant travel down curly hair leaving them more prone to dryness.
Before we break it down by hair type, let's take a look at the two important factors that play a huge role in how to care for your hair. These factors include Porosity and Elasticity.
Porosity: This term describes how easily your hair will absorb liquid, pretty much how porous it is. This is the reason why some of you may have to wait forever for your hair to dry after a shower. An easy way to figure out just how porous your hair is is to dip your hair into a bowl of water to see if your hair sinks, floats, or stays somewhere in between. Nonporous hair will float, porous hair will sink. If you have nonporous hair it will be best to choose the more heavy duty creams and serums that will work harder to absorb into your hair. If you have porous hair it is best to choose lighter, water-based products.
Elasticity: Although this is something that can be fixed with the right product, elasticity is how your hair will snap back into its original shape. To test this out, stretch out your curliest curl with your fingers. If it snaps back into place your hair is very elastic and has the right amount of moisture. If you want to loosen your curls you need to use heavier products to weigh them down, but to keep them in their place you should use lighter products. If your hair just stays straight, your hair is begging for moisture and you should avoid using oils while your hair is wet. If you use oils while your hair is wet they will have a very hard time absorbing into your hair. Instead, choose a nice curling balm, like our Argania Curling Balm that has the right ingredients to quickly absorb into your hair and nourish your curls.
The Chemistry: Curls are formed by disulfide bonds. In the hair, when two sulfur atoms pair up and bond, the protein will bend to create a curl. Disulfide bonds are the strongest of all the bonds in hair and can only be permanently altered with chemical treatments.
Type 1 Overview- Straight
Straight hair is fine & fragile to coarse & thin, it reflects the most sheen, is hard to damage and difficult to curl.
How To Care: Wash your hair with a gentle sulfate free shampoo three times a week to get rid of excess oil and grease from your scalp. We recommend our Argania Shampoo, it is sulfate, paraben, and sodium chloride free. A flat paddle brush may be your best friend to battle static frizz and smoothen hair.
Type 2 Overview- Wavy
Type 2 hair is typically a wavy S-shaped pattern. It is usually straight at the top of your head, wavy in the middle, and dry/straighter at the ends. It imparts sheen and is more prone to frizz.
How To Care: This type of hair needs lightweight curl amplifying products. We recommend our Argania Curling Balm. Using anti-humidity protective stylers can help keep your hair in gorgeous waves. Make sure you don't touch your hair after styling, it will make it frizzy.
Type 2A- This type of hair has a fine and loose wave. It has the slightest wavy bend to it. This type of hair can easily be styled straight or curly with the use of the proper heating tools.
Type 2B- If your hair is flat and straight at the roots and gets wavy middle to ends then you have this type of hair. This hair is difficult to style since it usually frizzes at the top of the head.
Type 2C- This type of hair has waves that start at the roots and get more curly as you travel down the hair. They may also have some ringlet curls in their hair. This hair is typically on the thicker end and is prone to frizzing.
Type 3 Overview- Curly
Type 3 hair has a consistent and defined S-shaped pattern. Your hair will usually coil from roots to ends. When dehydrated these curls become frizzy and less defined. This hair type is full-bodied and is climate dependent, the humidity will result in frizz which makes your hair damage prone.
How To Care: This type needs gentle care and balanced moisture. You have to experiment with this type of hair. Too much product will weigh down your curls and make them look greasy but too little product will make you look like a puffball. Always cleanse, condition, moisturize, then apply your styling product of choice, we recommend a mix of our Argania Serum Lite and Argania Curling Balm.
Type 3A- If you have big loose curls than you have this hair type. This hair type can look beautiful with the use of the right products to help the curls keep their definition and not frizz. A barrel curling iron can help define these curls.
Type 3B- If you have more tightly wound curls then you have this hair type. This type lacks in any shine, but has great volume. Using a styling cream like our Argania Curling Balm can greatly help to block humidity and combat frizz.
Type 3C- Small corkscrew-like curls from root to end. Tend to be finer and lighter in weight. Without proper care can look dense and unmanageable. Need deep hydration for softness and strength. Don't use cleansers that strip the natural oil from your hair, we recommend you try our Argania Shampoo.
Type 4 Overview- Kinky
This type of hair has kinky curls and each strand is usually in a zigzag pattern. This hair usually shrinks up to 75% of their actual length. Contrary to popular belief this hair is the finest and delicate, it breaks easily if not care for properly. It is a common thought that this hair grows very slowly but that's not the case. This hair grows at the same rate as other types but if not treated properly it breaks a lot easier.
How To Care: This type needs protective moisture. Moisturize as much as possible. We recommend a mixture of our Argania Serum and our Moisture Recovery Maque. Be sure to sleep in a silk or satin bonnet to prevent tangles, knots, and breakage during the night.
Type 4A- If your hair has wirey springy coils and us very fine textured then this is your hair type. They mix between a Z-shaped pattern and an S-shaped curl. Thicker creams are best for this type of hair.
Type 4B- If your hair follows a strict Z-shaped pattern and is course textured then this is your hair type. Make sure to treat your hair with a serum or coconut oil about an hour before you shower to retain some of its natural sebum.
Type 4C- If your hair follows a strict Z-shaped pattern and lacks definition then this is your hair type. This hair is very prone to shrinkage and usually appears much shorter than it actually is. It must be treated gently as its very fragile. Before detangling make sure to use a thicker cream like our Argania Styling Cream.
So these are all of the hair types defined. As I said earlier, it is very normal for your hair to fall into more than one type, so embrace your luscious locks no matter their shape and make sure to take good care of them when styling and picking out your hair care products. Comment below with any questions you may have as we would be more than happy to answer. What type of hair do you have?