Know your hair type

One way of the most common classification method of hair is the Andre Walker system. This system is created by Andre Walker, hairstylist of Oprah Winfrey.
Hair type classification is well described in the this article. Below is the excerpt.


Please note that when I say ‘curly’ hair in this blog, I include type 2 to type 4. The styling method that are described in the blog are also used for wavy and kinky hair type.

TYPE 1: Straight – Hair that reflects the most sheen. It is also the most resilient hair of all of the hair types. It is hard to damage and next to impossible to curl this hair texture. Because the sebum (natural oil produced in the sebaceous glands of the scalp) gently works its way from the scalp to the ends without the interference of curls or kinks, it is the most oily hair texture of all.

Type 1a – Straight (Fine/Thin) – Hair tends to be very Soft, Shiny, difficult to hold a curl, hair also tends to be oily, and difficult to damage.

Type 1b- Straight (Medium) – Hair has lots of volume & body.

Type 1c – Straight (Coarse) – Hair is normally bone straight and difficult to Curl. Asian women usually fall into this category.

TYPE 2: Wavy – Hair that lies somewhere between straight and curly hair. It also imparts sheen, more than curly hair, but less than straight hair. The further down the wavy spectrum you go the less sheen the hair will impart. Wavy hair is typically more prone to frizz. While type A waves can easily alternate between straight and curly styles, type B and C Wavy hair is resistant to styling.

Type 2a – Wavy (Fine/Thin) – Hair has a definite “S” pattern. This type normally can accomplish various styles.
Type 2b – Wavy (Medium) – Hair tends to be frizzy, and a little resistant to styling.
Type 2c – Wavy (Coarse) – Hair is also resistant to styling and normally very frizzy; tends to have thicker waves.

TYPE 3: Curly – Pulling a strand of a type 3 curly, you will notice it has a definite S shape. Granted, the S may be a lower case s or upper case S, or it may even resemble a Z on some occasions…however, there is a definite curl pattern in place, with our without products. This hair type is full bodied, climate dependent (humidity = frizz), and damage prone. Lack of proper care renders dull curls
Type 3a – Curly (Loose Curls) – Hair tends to have a combination texture. It can be thick & full with lots of body, with a definite “S” pattern. It also tends to be frizzy.
Type 3b – Curly (Tight Curls) – Also tends to have a combination texture, with a medium amount of curl.
Type 3c – Tight curls or coils that looks like corkscrews

Type 4: Kinky – Despite many misconceptions, this tightly coiled hair is quite fine and fragile. It is wiry, and delicate by nature. Each strand usually has a zig zag pattern. Kinky hair is the driest hair type, thus it is more prone to breakage and requires a gentle touch. A misconception exists that this hair type does not grow. Kinky hair grows at the same rate as other texture; however, if not treated properly it breaks more than other textures. Treat this hair type like a fine silk blouse – cleanse gently, detangle softly, and avoid harsh chemicals.

Type 4a – Kinky (Soft) – Hair tends to be very Fragile, tightly coiled, and has a more defined curly pattern.
Type 4b – Kinky (Wiry) – Also very fragile and tightly coiled; however with a less visible curl patternType 4c – ‘Z’ pattern hair

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34 thoughts on “Know your hair type

  • Asha

    Preeti, do you use styling product and scrunch your wet hair? Because sometimes once you start wearing your hair curly, you will surprise to see that your hair type is completely different than what you think of it. And also it makes a lot of difference in your curls if you avoid sulfate and silicone in your hair care regime. Gradually you will see better curl formation.

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      You can use Giovanni smooth as silk and max 66 volume shampoo and conditioners. Also use homemade masks and cold pressed coconut oil regularly. Masks are really important along with products to keep your hair moisturized. I would not recommend to go for any smoothing as these are temporary solutions and also damage your cuticle layer every time and makes it weak.

  • Jeni

    hey. recently i came through your blog and i find it reallyyyyyy informative!! My hair is wavy, somewhere around 2b and 2c.I have been experiencing severe hair fall lately.i had done smoothening 2 1/2 years back though now i have my natural hair.I have thin fine hair with dry and frizzy ends. It gets really frizzy due to our indian climate. could you pleaseeeeee suggest me a good shampoo and conditioner that stops my hairfall as well as moisturizes and defines my waves…… Also could you suggest some good brands of virgin coconut oil in india as i feel parachute isn’t 100% pure.

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Jeni, there can be many reason for the hair fall like hormonal, dietary problem, stress and other health issues like thyroid problem. So, it is mostly inner things due to which our hair starts falling. So, if you have too much of hair fall then try to find the root cause by seeing a doctor. He might prescribe you biotin supplements. Other than that you can try Ducray Anaphase Stimulating Cream Shampoo. Although it is not CG friendly and has sulfate but my friend uses it and it is helping her with hair fall. You can use it on scalp and let it rinse through rest of your hair. Also, for conditioner you can use giovanni brand, try out their smooth as silk and root 66 max volume range. I use coconut oil of merit VCO brand which you can buy online. Also, use a leave-in conditioner after wash and you can try some hold product to keep the curl definition. Use homemade masks regularly to keep your hair healthy and moisturized.

      • Jeni

        thank yu for the super fast reply!!! 🙂 🙂 i started using onion juice for my scalp and there is a significant improvement !!!! can i use use organic shea butter as a leave in conditioner to avoid frizz. I dont prefer to use my regular matrix serum as im trying to avoid non- CG products…

        • Asha Barrak Post author

          That’s great!! Yes, you can use shea butter after wash. But I would also recommend to use a leave-in conditioner as well before the shea butter. Check out the LOC method on the blog and see how we use all these products after wash.

  • Himani Joshi

    Mine is 4a kinky soft” i dont want to straighten my hair !!!” but i can never keep them open after washing they look beautiful but just the moment they start getting dry i cant keep them open what should i do ???which products or routine should i go for i avoid going for haircuts cz they say whatever hair cut u do nothing is visible doesnt make a difference….fed up of the same hairstyle “pony” since years.
    please suggest me something!!! any salon in delhi? any products i should go for??

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Himani, for curly hair we have to follow a particular routine of styling hair. We should not comb our when it is dry as it separates all the curls and makes hair frizzy. To know how to wash and style curly hair you can go through this link
      After wash do not forget to use a leave-in conditioner and use it generously and more quantity until your hair start feeling squishy. You can follow the LOC method of applying products after wash. It will definitely give you lasting curls. Also, you can try squish to condish in the shower for conditioning and see if your hair likes that routine.
      I would suggest you to follow the CG method meaning use products that are sulfate and silicone free. You can try giovanni shampoo and conditioner, enliven conditioner, loreal one that is mentioned on the blog. Recently I tried Dalan D’olive conditioner and it is also good.

      A hair cut definitely makes a big difference in our hair. Even I used to think that any hair cut does not show in our hair until I met stylist names Avani in Mumbai. She gave me a really good hair cut and now I understand that we can control volume and appearance though hair cut.

  • Rubaina

    Hi Asha,
    Thanks for all the info. My hair falls under the 2b-2c type. I am not exactly sure how to go about using hair masks wit the normal routine. For eg ill be oiling my hair then clarifying using rainforest shampoo n baking soda. Then apply rainforest conditioner for around 5 min n then wash it off but not thoroughly so that there s a bit left in. Then Ill plop my hair. I wud like to apply a avocado n olive oil mask but wen ? After plopping n semi drying the hair, apply mask n then wash again ? If yes, this time anything else to be used? I don’t have any styling products n don’t go out much so don’t want to invest too much in products if I can make at home. I have cold pressed coconut oil, ACV, flax seed etc n will make whipped shea butter in a few days. Till then for the above routine can u plz help me out? It’s my first foray into CG that’s y.. Thanks in advance!

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Rubaina, you use hair mask before the shampoo as you are using oil in your mask. If used after the shampoo then your hair might feel weighed down. I wont recommend using baking soda for clarifying due to its high pH. Mask, shampoo, conditioner and then styling after wash. This is the routine you need to follow. If you are using store bought mask then shampoo, mask followed by styling. When you style after wash, use a leave-in conditioner and then a gel. after this you can plop your hair for sometime. No washing after this. Your hair is wavy so I am not sure if shea butter will suit your hair as it is a little heavy. If your hair gets weighed down easily then it might be heavy for you. Use a silicone free rinse off conditioner as a leave-in too in small quantity and homemade flax gel for hold. If you get confused then then go through ‘wash and style’ post on the blog, all the step by step instructions are there.

  • Meena

    Hi dear,
    My hair type is 3a.
    Please suggest me what are the products i have to use like shampoo, conditioner and gel. And how to maintain my hair as am a beginner i dont have any idea.

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Hi Meena, i like giovanni shammpoo and conditioner. Other than this, in conditioners you can try dalan, matrix, loreal and enliven (as a leave-in). For gel try flax seed gel first. You can follow the latest video to see how we apply all these products. In gel, try using flax seed gel first later on you can try gels from enliven or giovanni. You can also buy the US brands products but they are quite expensive.

  • Meena

    As i have posted previously i forgot to mention that i have hairfall too mainly after delivery. Now my age is 26. So please suggest me acc.

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Hi Meena, hair fall after pregnancy is very normal. Your hair starts falling from around 3-4 mths after the delivery. During pregnancy due to our hormones level more hair are in the growth phase (anagen) and hence very less hair fall. After delivery all those hair that were suppose to fall during pregnancy start falling and more hair are in telogen phase (restive) and start falling. It happens all because of our hormones and it happens to most of us. But you keep a watch on it. After a few mths it should get back to normal. If it is not then you should see a doctor. Because sometimes after the child birth you start facing hormonal problems like thyroid, low iron etc.

  • R.R.Braganza

    Hi. Just came across your amazing hair blog for us Indian women with all kinds of hair. ‘Thank you’.
    I have wavy Type 2c hair which used to behave and does when I go and get it blow dried after a haircut. But when I shampoo and condition at home, my hair takes the high road. I have dry scalp. To manage and maintain my now ‘rough’ hair I was recommended L’Oreal Professionnel Absolut Repair Lipidium and L’Oreal Professionnel Liss Unlimited.
    I just want to have soft and shiny wavy hair and a clean scalp.
    Am I using the right products?

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Hi, i think both these products contain silicone. I mostly recommend to follow the CG method meaning not to use sulfate and silicone free products. You can try conditioners like Giovanni, matrix, dalan, Schwarzkopf, oriflame etc mentioned in products catalog. to get rid of dryness you should use homemade masks or deep condition your hair at least once in a week. Also, it is recommended to use a leave-in conditioner after wash to keep hair moisturized for long. And to clean the scalp you can use a mild shampoo like giovanni or any other sulfate free shampoo on the blog. Oil your hair overnight with cold pressed coconut oil before shampoo. All these things will help to get softer hair. If you are starting the CG method then clarify your hair and scalp once with a clarifying shampoo. This article would help you to start.

  • Mrunal

    Hi Asha, thank you so much for your blog. All my life I struggled to get my hair straight, but I got your blog which saved my life. Thank you so much. My hair are of type 3a, loose curly. If I dont comb my hair and just scrunch them after drying they become so much freezy. How do I keep my curls intact? I not using leave in conditioner, but I use argan oil and flexseed gel. Still my hair are freezy. Can you help me to keep my loose curls intact?

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Hi Mrunal, I would highly recommend to use a leave-in conditioner after shower. It is a must have in curly routine. Flax gel and aloe gel does not prevent frizz in humid weather so you better buy gel available in stores as they contain styling polymers which helps to keep the curls intact for longer and works better in humid environment. Also, apply products in wet hair and do not disturb it too much when it is drying. You can watch my latest video to see how to apply leave-in and gel after wash.

  • Chaitra

    Hi Asha,
    My hair is of 3C type. It’s mid back length, dry, rough and frizzy but after hair wash I will have oily scalp in couple of days. Suggest me hair products and routines.

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Chaitra, you can go for a mild sulfate free shampoo to clean your scalp if your scalp gets oily. You can choose shampoos like Giovanni, body shop, Lovea, rustic art etc from the sulfate-free shampoo list on the blog. For your hair strand you should deep condition your hair regularly at least once in a week to keep it moisturized. For dry hair I would highly recommend using a leave-in conditioner after wash. You can also use a little amount of oil like jojoba oil, almond oil etc after wash to keep your hair moisturized for longer. Do not use oil on scalp after wash as your scalp is oily. You can watch my video to see how to use all products on hair. Always use cold pressed coconut oil on hair strands before the shampoo and keep it overnight.

  • Vini

    Hi asha ….today I went to a salon to have a trim (or dusting) ,after getting the cut I wanted to straighten my hair dye they used a blow dryer ,he didn’t applied any serum or hairspray before setting my hair…..and that was a disaster….my hair got burned…lost its texture….and it smells like hell .Even when I washed my hair it was still straight ….I just miss my old hair….right now I’m depressed. Form tomorrow onwards I will be trying mayo treatment…hoping get my curls back

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Vinni, we can’t reverse that kind of damage. you can try products containing protein so that it can repair the damage to some amount. Mayo alone wont work for such damage as it does not contain hydrolyzed protein. You can also try homemade gelatin treatment too. Next time ask them to use heat protectant before the heat. it is very very important.

  • Rashmi More

    Hi Asha,

    I think my hair type is 3a. Once a hairstylist said that i have porous hair. What does it mean?
    Whenever my hair are wet they look good and manageable (tats bcoz of the water weight i guess 😉 ). However, once they are dried they are frizzy and each and every single hair literally repel from each other . Specially the hair around my face and on crown section. So I have to tie it up in braids. I am 28 yrs and in my whole lifetime i have never set my hair free. They are alwz tied up in pony or braids.
    Can you advise me some routine or products ?
    Also i have grey hair so i need to retouch every 3-4 weeks.


    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Rashmi, first I would recommend you to use CG friendly products free from sulfate and silicone. Over the time your hair will be more moisturized. Give it at least a few month. Secondly, do not comb your hair when it is dry. Watch all the video tutorials on the blog and you will know the correct method to wash and style curly hair. Start with the ‘newbies, start here’ tab in the blog’s menu and try to read as many post from the website. Ask me question if you have question related to anything on the website 🙂

  • Prerna

    Hey, Its quite wired, I have a mixture of 2c and curly hair, actually I am not able to understand my hair type, my hair very thinker then the normal person and it seems like plastic and very rough in texture,
    i had done smoothening for 2 time 1 year back though now i have my half natural hair and half straighten. And my new born hair is still very rough and damage.

    Please help 🙁

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Prerna, hair type does not matter much in following all curly routine. Other properties of hair does matter like how much thick your hair is in diameter like fine, medium or thick. Hair porosity etc. Your hair must be thick and coarse. It is just the way they are naturally. You cant change the hair thickness.

  • Madhumitha

    Hi Asha, my hair type is 3a, with oily scalp and hair… kindly suggest me the shampoo, conditioner, gel and style for my hair type. I used to put ponytail but wish to leave my hair free with the curls….