Hair Type Chart: How to Determine Your Actual Hair Type (2024)

Hair Type Chart: How to Determine Your Actual Hair Type (1)

Think you know your hair type but can’t always find products that will work for it? Chances are you’re not as in tune with your hair type as you thought. Much like understanding your skin type is crucial for implementing an effective skincare regimen, determining your hair type can play a massive role in the efficacy of your daily hair care routine. And yet, figuring out your correct hair type may be easier said than done. That’s where a hair type chart comes in handy.

In addition to the obvious categories like straight, wavy, curly, and coily, a hair type chart can include several other factors to consider when pinpointing your unique hair type. If choosing among all the different hair types and factors sounds overwhelming, don’t worry — we’re here to help. We’re sharing everything you need to know about determining the type of hair you have and what that means for your daily hair care routine.

Hair Texture

Hair Type Chart: How to Determine Your Actual Hair Type (2)

While hair type charts vary in what hair qualities they feature, one factor they always include is texture. Hair texture generally refers to the natural shape or pattern of your hair strands. If you’re unsure about which category you fall into, leave your hair free of products and let it air dry the next time you wash it. If it dries straight without a bend or curl, then you have straight hair (or type 1 hair as it is commonly referred to). If it dries with a slight curve or “S” shape, then it’s considered wavy hair (type 2).

If your hair dries with a defined curl or loop pattern, you have one of two curl types. Type 3 curly hair has springy ringlets or corkscrew curl patterns but is not as dense as coily hair. Coily hair texture is classified in the type 4 category and is often called a natural hair type. It’s characterized by dense spirals, zig-zag patterns, and shrinkage that occurs when its tight coils go from wet to dry. This hair type is more fragile and prone to breakage than others, requiring a more specialized hair care routine.

But just because two people both have a natural wave to their tresses doesn’t mean they possess the same exact hair type. While they may both have type 2 hair, one might have type 2b hair and the other a type 2c. Likewise, two people with coily hair can vary between type 4a hair, type 4b hair, and type 4c hair. This is because hair type charts contain subcategories within each of the four textures. The classification system within each texture relates to hair structure — let’s get into it.

Hair Structure

Hair Type Chart: How to Determine Your Actual Hair Type (3)

When we talk about hair structure, we’re referring specifically to the thickness of the strands, which can affect how well your locks hold different hairstyles and react with certain hair products. Generally, your hair can fall into three categories: fine, medium, and coarse (or thick). So for example, when a hair type chart is used to determine different types of curls, someone with fine hair and loose curls would probably be classified as a type 3a curly hair type.

How to Figure Out Your Hair’s Structure

Hair Type Chart: How to Determine Your Actual Hair Type (4)

An easy way to tell whether you have thick or thin hair is to take a single strand from your hairbrush and lay it down on a plain, flat surface. Next, cut a piece of sewing thread about six inches long (choose a similar color to your hair if you can) and place it next to your strand of hair. If your hair appears thinner than the sewing thread, you have thin hair; if it seems thicker, it’s likely coarse. Anything in between them would be medium.

You can also tell your hair’s structure by how well it holds a hairstyle, especially with straight and wavy hair. For example, if you have fine type 2a waves your hair looks and feels delicate and will not hold onto curls very well. Medium hair is relatively easy to style and will hold its shape for a longer period of time. Thick hair can hold curls very well but can often be difficult to style as it’s typically less supple and can become frizzy more easily.

Pro Tip: Make the most out of your natural hair structure with these no-heat hairstyles.

Hair Porosity

Hair Type Chart: How to Determine Your Actual Hair Type (5)

Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb moisture and product. While not as commonly discussed as part of the hair typing system, knowing how porous your hair is can help you determine what kind of styling products you should be putting on your locks.

An easy way to assess your hair’s porosity is to place a single strand of hair into a bowl of water. If your strand sinks to the bottom, it has high porosity, which means it is absorbing all the moisture. If the strand remains below the surface but floats above the bottom of the bowl, your hair is well-balanced and of normal porosity. Finally, if the strand of hair floats above the surface of the water, your hair has low porosity, which means it does not absorb moisture easily.

What does that all mean for your hair? Hair with high porosity typically absorbs moisture too quickly because of gaps or tears around the cuticle. Those damaged areas cause it to release moisture at a high rate, making it dry and brittle. For these hair types then, it’s best to avoid heat styling and harsh chemical treatments that can cause frizz, dryness, and breakage.

Instead, look for nourishing hair masks, oils, and leave-in treatments that will provide extra moisture and help seal the cuticle to prevent future damage from occurring.

Low porosity hair types, on the other hand, are those where the cuticle lays flat blocking water or moisture from being absorbed into the strands. For these hair types, the biggest concern is typically product buildup, especially with thick hair oils and mousses. That’s why it’s recommended you apply products while your hair is still damp to help ensure they’re more easily absorbed and distributed.

Pro Tip: Here’s the best leave-in conditioner for all hair porosity types.

Scalp Moisture

Hair Type Chart: How to Determine Your Actual Hair Type (6)

By now we all know that if your scalp isn’t in good shape, your strands won’t be either. Taking care of your scalp isn’t just a good idea — it’s a must. Determining the condition of your scalp can be easier said than done as you may experience both an oily scalp and dry, split ends.

To determine how oily your scalp is, we recommend inspecting your hair and scalp on the second day after a wash. If your roots appear flat and greasy, you’re most likely dealing with an oily scalp. In that case, we suggest adding our oil control hair goal to your shampoo formula to help balance out your scalp’s sebum production and prevent the risk of buildup.

How to Tame Flakes and Oiliness

Hair Type Chart: How to Determine Your Actual Hair Type (7)

If you experience flaking, chances are your scalp is dry and in need of a more gentle, hydrating shampoo and conditioner like our customizable formulas. These can be formulated specifically for a dry scalp to ensure that your hair is properly cleaned without ever being stripped of its natural oils.

But what if your scalp is both oily and flaky? A mix of symptoms is typically brought on from product and oil buildup due to infrequent or improper washing. In that case, consider adding both the oil control and soothe scalp hair goals to your formula as it will help limit excessive oil and buildup.

Pro Tip: Learn how to deal with both dry scalp and oily hair.

Why Hair Type Charts Matter

Hair Type Chart: How to Determine Your Actual Hair Type (8)

After going through these hair tests, you may discover your hair is a mix of different types — curly but highly porous, or fine but extremely dry. Either way, having a thorough understanding of hair type charts will make for better and easier hair care decisions to help ensure your strands always look and feel their best.

Ready to start properly caring for your hair type? Find your perfect hair care formula now by taking our quiz!

Hair Type Chart: How to Determine Your Actual Hair Type (2024)


How do I know my exact hair type? ›

How To Determine Your Hair Type?
  1. Straight Hair. If your hair falls flat from the roots to the tips, you have straight hair. ...
  2. Wavy Hair. Wavy hair lies between straight and curly. ...
  3. Curly Hair. Check if your hair strands have an 'S' pattern. ...
  4. Coily Hair. Coily hair follows a 'z' pattern.
Nov 19, 2021

How do you know what type of hair do we have? ›

Take a piece of hair in between your fingers and rub it back and forth.
  1. If you don't feel anything, your hair type is considered fine.
  2. If you can feel the hair in between your fingers your hair type is medium.
  3. If your hair feels thick in between your fingers , then your hair type is coarse.
Jan 31, 2022

What is the most commonly recognized hair type? ›

Hair type has 4 major categories: straight hair (type 1), wavy hair (type 2), curly hair (type 3), and coily hair (type 4). These 4 types of hair are further categorized into A, B, and C subtypes creating 12 total categories: Type 1A Straight Hair.

What is the most desired hair type? ›

A general observation across experiments was that straight hair was perceived as younger, healthier, and more attractive than wavy hair and darker shades (medium copper and brown) were perceived more positively than blonde hair.

Why can't I figure out my hair type? ›

Hair Texture

The best way to figure out where you are on the spectrum is to check out your hair after you wash it and let it air dry. If it dries straight without a bend or curl then you're Type 1. If it dries with a slight curve or S-shape patterns then you're Type 2.

What does 1C hair look like? ›

According to Gregory, while still predominately straight, type 1C hair has subtle body to it with ends that tend to curl inward toward the chin. Because of the coarse texture, type 1C hair tends to be more susceptible to frizz and flyaways, as well as poofiness from the mid-lengths down.

What are the 7 types of hair? ›

Whether fine, thick, long, short, matte, glossy, curly, coily, or straight, your hair deserves respect. Get to know your hair's curl patterns, its porosity, density, and styling needs because healthy self-care includes your hair.

What does 4 type hair look like? ›

How Do You Know If You Have Type 4 Hair? Also called coil or kinky hair, Type 4 hair is usually a more tight-knitted zig-zag patterned hair texture.

How do I know if my hair is oily or dry? ›

"If you blot tissue paper on the scalp of a normal hair type two days after washing, it will leave a small translucent area," says Dr. Lombardi. "An oily scalp type will be more saturated, and the hairs will clump, and dry scalp type you may not see anything on the tissue paper."

What is the rarest type of hair style? ›

Type 1A: The rarest hair type, this one is very straight and fine with a “wispy” appearance. It's very difficult to get it to hold a curl. Type 1B: Though still straight, this type has a medium (rather than fine) texture and a little more volume.

What hair type is the rarest? ›

Type 1A hair is very straight and fine, with no waves or curls whatsoever. This hair type tends to get very oily and requires frequent shampooing. It is the rarest hair type and is common among women of Asian descent.

What is the least popular hair type? ›

The least common hair type, 1A hair is extremely fine and perfectly straight. Consequently, it can look a bit flat and limp and might prove difficult to style. Dry shampoo can be your ally in the fight against excessive oil and thick hair products that might weigh your hair down are best avoided.

What is the hardest hair type to maintain? ›

Type 4C hair is deemed to be the most challenging hair type to maintain because it is naturally dry, has little definition, can be difficult to style and requires daily maintenance. At KinkyCurlyYaki, we love natural curls regardless of the challenge of the hair type. Type 4C hair is beautiful.

What is the prettiest hair color? ›

Most Attractive Hair Colour According to Men

According to the survey, the majority of men (42%) found blonde hair to be the most attractive. This was followed by brunette (36%), red (16%), black (5%), and gray (1%).

What is the most attractive female hairstyle? ›

Let's have a look:
  • The Sleek Ponytail. Guys love a sleek ponytail. ...
  • Bangs. Dudes don't care too much for bangs. ...
  • The Bob. The bob is an elegant and glamorous look that most guys really like. ...
  • The Chignon. Classy. ...
  • The Shag. This is a powerful one. ...
  • The Wavy Curly Combination. ...
  • The Curls. ...
  • The Pixie.

What is the rarest hair type? ›

1A is the Rarest Hair Type

Recall that 1A hair is the straightest hair texture of them all. This hair type is not only pin straight - it's also fine in some cases. This hair type is common in people of Asian descent. If your hair is wavy, curly, or coily, you might think having 1A hair would be a dream.

Is my hair 2A or 2B or 2C? ›

2A hair tends to have a tousled texture. 2B hair consists of 'S' shaped waves in the lengths, but sits relatively straight at the roots. 2C hair has even more defined 'S' shaped curls that start from the root and continue down the lengths of the hair.

What is the rarest hair color? ›

The Rare Red Heads

When it comes to authentic red-headedness, this is the rarest hair color of all. The percentage of the world with naturally red hair is approximately two percent. But as with other hair colors, the percentage of red-headed people per country is quite varied.


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