Years ago I came across the book “Andre Talks Hair” by Oprah’s hairstylist Andre Walker Andre gives a great classification system of hair textures.

It has become so popular, that the system has been used by many beauty companies to explain which hair textures their products work on. Here is the quick description – I am only focusing on wavy/curly hair:

Type 2 – Wavy Hair
If your hair curves in the “S” shape while laying flat against the scalp, you have wavy hair.
If your hair doesn’t “bounce” up and always hangs close to the head- even if you have your hair cut in layers, then you have wavy hair.
Although not as commonly seen as straight hair or curly hair, wavy hair is relatively very easy to style, both into straighter and curlier looks.

There are three Type 2 subtypes:
2A: fine and thin 2B: medium-textured & can become frizzy 2C: thick and coarse (can be harder to style and is prone to frizziness)

Type 3 – Curly Hair

Similar to wavy hair, there is a definite “S” pattern.
If you have a definite “S” pattern, and your hair has a lot of body, then you likely have type 3 curls.
If your hair is easily styled in its natural state, or it can be easily straightened with a blow-dryer into a smoother style, then you probably have type 3 curls.

Curly hair gets straighter when wet, but as the hair dries it contracts to its curliest state… That is way on a wet or humid day, curly hair gets even curlier or frizzy.

There are two subtypes of Type 3 curly hair
Type 3A is hair that is very loosely curled. The shorter the hair the straighter it gets. The longer the hair the more defined the curl. Type 3B is hair with a medium amount of curl ranging from bouncy ringlets – to tight corkscrews

Type 4 – Kinky Hair

If your hair is kinky or very tightly curly, then you have Type 4 hair.
In addition Type 4 hair is generally very fragile.
Type 4 hair appears to be coarse, but it is actually quite fine, with lots and lots of this strands densely packed together.

There are two subtypes of Type 4 Kinky/tightly curly hair
Type 4A is tightly coiled hair that, when stretched, has an “S” pattern, much like curly hair Type 4B, which 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”).
There is no curl pattern to type 4B hair, so if you can see a pattern, then it’s a 4A

Keep in mind that this description is not 100% accurate as each person’s hair is unique and will have different textures on different parts of the head. So you very well could be a strong mix of type 3 and 4 hair textures.

Written by Chandre Torpet — April 27, 2010

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