Hair Types: The Ultimate Guide

Not sure what hair type you have? This guide will help you figure it out! We’ll show you how to determine whether you have wavy, curly, or straight hair.

Hair is a protein fiber that is very common in mammals with years of evolution. We as humans have hair for a show of physique, but hair growth has been one of the most significant issues that living beings face. Hair types are completely genetic, and scientists are still figuring out everything about hair and how people’s hair changes their shape. Different hair types come with different personalities.

Why are hair types important to understand? I have slightly curly hair, which was apparently in the straight category. But as I had a bit of volume, I thought my hair was in the curl section. Big curls. So all I ever used was shampoos and conditioners for curly hair. And believe me when I say that my hair had terrible shapes and frizzes that still haunt me. And just when I had tried learning about different hair types and how to protect and style my hair type, every day was a good hair day, some exceptions apart.

And this is why I think it is important that you learn about all the hair types. Like related products, hairstyles and all their perks vary according to culture and region, and we can safely say that the hair types in a region generally have the same hair type. But how you wear and manage your hair is completely up to you. So in this article, we’ll be including all the hair types that meet major criteria and give an overview of how you can use different products to manage your hair.

Hair types will always play a crucial role in how you style them, so we’ll be including a brief section on how you can style your hair type.We’ll go all in with our different hair types article and ensure the answers you’ve been looking for all these years will be included in the parts.

What does “Hair types” mean?

What Does Hair Types Mean

Hair types are the overall texture or the curls of your hair. The curls in the hair are determined by the hair follicles, which are the roots of the hair. Hair follicles are the parts that are located under the skin and are made up of stem cells, so this is where a new hair will grow out once it falls. And the part you usually see is the shaft of the hair, which gives length to the hair. The shaft is made up of

  • Cortex
  • Medulla

The shape of the hair is determined by the hair follicles. People with very straight hair have round follicles. If your follicle shape is oval, the hair is wavy, and s-shaped follicles equal curly hair. The more asymmetrical your follicles, the curlier your hair is. These are all purely genetic. You can obviously change your hair texture with heat and chemicals, but whenever you have a growth cycle, the genes have their effect and grow out as fast as possible.

Types of hair

Generally, there are four major characters in hair. They can further be divided into some sub-sections. We’ve included them below:

Straight hair

  • Fine, straight hair/1a
  • Medium straight hair/1b
  • Coarse straight hair/1c

Wavy hair

  • Fine wavy hair/2a
  • Medium wavy hair/2b
  • Coarse, wavy hair/2c

Curly hair

  • Big curls/3a
  • Loose curls/3b
  • Tight curls/3c

Coils or kinky hair

  • Springy coils/4a
  • Z curls/4b
  • Zigzag coils/4c

These are just the basic 12 types of hair. But depending on your DNA, your hair can feature 1a at the crown and 1c at the bottom. As a result, you have straight, fine hair at the roots and a little wave at the ends. The main point of all of it is to understand what kind of hair you have and how you can take care of it.

Other characteristics of hair

Here we’ll be including different hair characteristics that also define what kind of hair shape you have. And this might also impact how you can shape and texturize your hair.

Hair density

Hair Density

This mostly defines the amount of hair you have on your head. This is the number of hairs on your head. And thus, with hair density, your hair can appear thick or thin. Hair density is highest in the crown. Typical hair density starts from eighty thousand hairs on the scalp to a maximum of twelve hundred thousand. Depending on a person’s race and whether they are healthy or not, hair density will vary. But as you age, your hair density will also start to fall.

Measuring hair density

Thoracoscopy is usually applied in the lab to measure hair density. One can apply phototrichogram imaging to find the hair growth to measure the hair density. But the easiest way to inspect hair density for different hair types at home would be by visual inspection. The hair density is low if you can see your scalp without moving your head too much. If you move a bit and see the scalp, it is medium, and if you need to spread it by hand to see the scalp, then it is high density. Or you can just measure hair density by putting it in a ponytail. If the ponytail is less than two inches, it is low density, and if it is more than four inches, it is high density.

Hair structure

Hair porosity is basically to address the pores in your hair. Hair is a natural filament and tends to have pores like different fibers. This ultimately results in how much moisture the hair can absorb and how much moisture it can retain. This also determines the value of the cuticle and how much it can absorb fluids like water and oil. There are three different types of hair porosity.

Hair with high porosity can absorb much liquid, and cuticles are spaced widely. And if you have low porosity, then the cuticles are dense. The hair had to pass moisturizing products and oils from the cuticles to the cortex. This is what determines the key to healthy hair. If your hair is damaged and the cuticles are damaged, your hair growth won’t be normal.

If you have hair with high porosity, then the hair will break off easily, and it’ll get dry and frizzy. With low hair porosity, products sit on top of the hair, and the hair will not dry easily. The medium porosity of hair is where you count healthy hair to be, and it’ll be glossy and hold on to a hairstyle for a long time.

Measuring hair porosity

Measuring Hair Porosity

You can measure your hair porosity at home and choose the right product for you immediately. First, you need to clean your hair and remove any oil build-up. Then dry the hair completely and take a strand of hair. Take a glass and fill it with water. Drop the strand into the water.

If the hair floats, then you have a low porosity of hair. And if it is in the middle of the glass but still floating, then you have medium porosity hair types. And if the hair sinks quickly, then you have hair with high porosity.

Hair structure

Hair Structure

The hair structure is the thickness and thinness of the hair. This refers to whether a person has a thick or thin strand of hair. There are three different types of hair structures:

  • Thin
  • Medium
  • Thick

The hair structure varies with the shape of the hair. But as a person ages, their hair structure will also change.

Measuring hair structures

You need to take a hair strand and hold it up to the light. If the hair is thin, then it’ll look almost transparent, and you’ll not be able to see the hair. And if you hold it against a background, even then, the hair will be invisible. They feel light and a lot like silk strands. The hair is in the middle with medium hair structures. This sort of structure can be compared to a cotton thread. As for the coarse hairs, they can be identified easily, and they are hard and strong.

Straight hair types

Straight Hair

Here we’ll be including some details regarding straight hair. It might be brief, but we’ll be including all the basics for straight hair. Straight hairs are mostly easy to manage, and they even flow straight. But still, there is room to learn and experiment with straight hair types.

1a Hair types: fully straight and fine hair

This straight hair usually doesn’t hold curls unless you use a heat tool and a textured spray. They are shiny and soft and less prone to damage. And they are most likely flat, and Asian women usually have this kind of gauzy texture. You might have to go with dry shaves after dry shampoo as thin hair gets oily very early, and the oils peak through.

  • The hair texture is flat on the scalp and has no patterns or waves.
  • There is little to no volume in the hair
  • Hair gets shiny and oily if it isn’t washed during a day 

1b Hair types: straight hair with some textures

These hair types are not completely flat. You can see some waves in the hair, and they can hold a curl. The hair has more body and texture compared to the sleek outlook. Even with this kind of hair, you need to stop using many oils as the hair gets oily frequently. But it is easier to incorporate volume into the hair.

  • They have a medium thickness
  • Have some volume in your hair.
  • It can hold a curl and has somebody
  • gives more movement to the hair

1c Hair types: soft bends with straight hair

This hair has more volume and has some slight bends in the length of the hair. The hair has some natural and loose curls; if you put on a curl, it’ll hold it better. If you have these soft bends, you don’t need to worry about how to style your hair. But humidity will determine how your bends look.

  • has a wave pattern on the hair, but the hair is not that wavy
  • The hair is coarser and thicker.
  • has volumes
  • It’s easy to curl and can have noticeable frizz.

How to style straight hair?

Here we are including some ways to style and manage your straight hair.

Regularly washup

Straight hair tends to get more oily, and the oiliness makes the hair flatter. So you must wash your hair regularly to get rid of the oil. Find shampoos that will get rid of the oil build-up, and you can use some products like dry shampoo once in a while.

Hair Oils

Straight hair might get oily very frequently, but you can use some dry oils like grapefruit seed oil or vitamin E for the hair to protect it. It’ll strengthen your hair and provide enough moisture, giving it an extra shine boost.


You can use different texturizing sprays and hair sprays. Hair spray is a must to hold the curls, but you might need to do more than one coat as straight hair doesn’t usually hold curls for long. Finish the styling with a finishing spray.


  1. Tresemme Beauty-full Strength Shampoo And Conditioner
  2. Kerastase Chroma Absolute Shampoo And Conditioner
  3. Neutrogena Healthy Scalp Rapid Recovery Shampoo And Conditioner


  1. Color Wow X Chris Appleton Money Masque 
  2. Sisley Paris Hair Ritual La Creme

Dry Shampoo

  1. L’oréal Paris Ever Pure Tinted Dry Shampoo
  2. Living Proof Advanced Clean, Dry Shampoo 

Wavy Hair Types

Wavy Hair

Here we include the prequel before the drama: wavy hair types. They hold characteristics of both straight and curly hair.

2a Hair types: stretched ‘s’ waves 

This is the tousled hair, the beachy waves we all love and crave. The hair is nearly straight from the scalp down, with some waves at eye level and then straight from there. You’ll need minimal styling if you let the hair air dry.

  • Straight on the roots and loose waves till the end
  • Thinner and finer than the other wavy hair
  • can hold a proper curl and is easy to keep up

2b Hair types: distinct ‘S’ waves

This hair type has more defined waves and is likelier to stick as a wave. The roots are on the flatter side, and the ends will curl up. These sorts of hair are prone to frizz if you don’t style them properly.

  • The waves are naturally defined and are noticeable in the middle
  • Is more prone to fizziness

2c Hair types: few curls with waviness

You’ll get the highest volume and curl with this sort of hair. They have some bouncy textured curls and look a bit more coarse, and there is no fine line between the curls and the waves.

  • Thicker and fuller appearance
  • Waves start from the roots and will go on to form slight curls
  • It has a very noticeable s-shaped wave

Curly hair types

Curly Hair

Next, we have curly hair, from very loose curls to small and definitive ones.

3a Hair types: larger curls

These curls lack tightness, and you can even call them the 90s hairstyles. The hair looks less thick, and the waves are not that frizzy. The curls look loopy, and if you style them, you must go for each hair curl without breaking them.

  • It has a defined shape on the curls
  • The curls are big and spiral
  • The curls start from the crown and roll down to the neck, and the rest of the length

3b Hair types: springs and ringlets

They are in the middle ground between the cock screws and the ringlets. Bouncy and tight can be applied 50-50 to this kind of hair. They get frizzy easily, and the curls are much tighter.

  • The crown of the hair is not flat
  • They are more on the dryer side, so you’ll need hydration 
  • The hair has more volume

3c Hair types: corkscrew curls

Tight and highly textured curls are the main features of this sort of hair, and they hold more defined volume and texture than usual. If you’re looking for curl movement, this kind of hair is perfect, and they are a bit hard to maintain.

  • The dryness percentage will be higher with 3c types of curls
  • The hairs have defined helixes right from the roots
  • Using a comb will only mess up the curls

How to style wavy or curly hair types?

How To Style Wavy Or Curly Hair Types

Here we include some methods that you can use to take care of your lovely waves.


You should avoid using sulfates and alcohol on your hair because they will make it dry and frizzy. So choose a product that will provide hydration, and if you want to shine, go for any oil-based shampoo or conditioner. Keep on some hair masks to make the hydration last longer. Leave-in conditioners are better for wavy and curly hair.

Put up a bun

To maintain the waves and curls of your hair, you need to put it in a loose bun or ponytail at night, which will lessen the friction between the hair and the pillow.

Finger detangling

Instead of using a brush, you must style and detangle your hair while in the shower. This way, you’ll be able to hold up the curls without running them. And if you’re using different products, you need to scrunch the products.

Avoid styling tools

Using direct heat on the curl will only end up harming the hair. You can use a blow dryer or a diffuser on a low heat setting and avoid using hot tools. Other than that, the cuticle of the hair will be severely damaged. Curly Jai is prone to breakage, so you must maintain product use.


  1. Living Proof Curl Enhancer
  2. Kristen Ess Ultra Hydrating Curl Co-wash
  3. Herbal Essence Potent Aloe And Mango Shampoo And Conditioner


  1. Bread Beauty Supply Hair Cream
  2. Ouai Leave-in Conditioner
  3. Naaturall Avocado Curl Custard


  1. Mizani Coco Dew Pre-styling And Styling Spray
  2. Sunday 2 Sunday Revive My Daily Moisturizing Spray

Coil or kinky hair types

Coils Or Kinky Hair

These hair types are hard to handle, but they look the most voluminous and precious if you manage them well.

4a Hair types: ‘s’ coiled curls

These curls involve the s pattern in length and tend to be cylindrical and springy from the very top. This kind of hair is very fragile; if you use too many chemicals, they will damage the hair.

  • Hair coils have a generous movement
  • The hair will shrink while drying
  • It needs hydrating and fewer products

4b Hair types: ‘z’ patterned coils

These hair types have more crimps, and the curls are on the right side. They can form a z instead of s-curves. The hair shaft, or the length of the hair, has more patterns and is more defined than the rest. You can use the shingling method or twist out with this kind of hair.

  • The tiny zigzag patterns are characteristic of this hair type.
  • It can contain both s and z-shaped coils
  • The thickness of the hair can be medium to coarser

4c Hair types: defined ‘z’ patterned coils

This kind of hair has very little definition compared to all the curly hairs that are tightly kinked. They are often defined as the tightest curls, and while treating them, one needs to be extra careful with chemicals and tools.

  • 4c coils are more prone to breakage.
  • They need moisture and hydration.
  • It has the most volume to work with when styling.
  • It is densely packed and has a coarse texture.

You May like: Hair Care Tips: How to Take Care of Your Hair Properly?

How to style kinky or coiled hair?

How To Style Kinky Or Coiled Hair

Kinky or coiled hair must be taken care of with delicate hands, or it’ll break with too much energy. Here we include a few tips on kinky hair types.

Moisture and hydration

The tighter your curls are, the drier they get. So, before you start using your shampoo and conditioner, make sure that you apply a moisturizing hair mask. Avoid products with parabens, sulfates, and alcohol. Also, you can apply different dry oils to keep the hair healthy.


Coiled hair gets messed up easily, and it will break if you comb through damp hair. So the best way to avoid damage from heat or drying is to go for towel drying. Or you can use a diffuser to avoid further damage.


  1. Shea moisture coconut and hibiscus curl smoothie
  2. Kinky curly knot today natural leave-in detangler
  3. DevaCurl one condition original daily cream conditioner


  1. Suave professional cream detangler spray
  2. DevaCurl high shine multi-benefit oil


1. How do I identify my hair type?

To identify your hair type first, you need to take a strand of your hair and put it on a flat surface.
If your hair falls straight, then you have straight hair.
If your hair has slight bends, then you have wavy hair.
If your hair has s-shaped curls, you have curly hair.
And lastly, if your hair has z and s-shaped defined curls, you have coiled hair.

2. What are the basic hair types?

The most basic hair types are

Wrapping Up


Hairstyles are one of the major things that a person must grow up learning, and they learn even when they are adults. The density and porosity of the hairs change with time and age. And thus, your hair texture might change too. But there are different things you can do and products you can choose. There are some major hair categories, and there are some sub-categories. So it is likely that you might belong to one category, and the sub-category might not be yours to feed, as your hair texture is different.

✨ Next Attraction: Repair Damaged Hair- A Proper Guide for Every Hair Type

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