What Curly Hair Type Are You And How To Care For It?

Did you know that there are ten different types of hair textures? By knowing what kind of texture you have can help you to:

  • Know how to care for your hair
  • Choose the right products to use
  • Experiment with different styles and cuts

In the 90s, Andre Walker, the hairstylist of Oprah Winfrey, came up with system to identify the different hair types. There were originally only four hair types: straight, wavy, curly, and coily. However, as time has gone on, subcategories to each type have been added in order to best categorize more characteristics of hair.

Own your natural texture! It’s a part of what makes you, you! When it comes to natural hair, there are two categories and six subcategories. While many individuals may relate to more than one category, it’s important to take in all information so that you can learn how to best care for your hair type. Let’s look at each category along with their subcategories a little closer. You’re one read a way from understanding and loving your hair more!

hair types graphic

Type 3 – Curly Hair


woman of color with 3a curly hair type modeling outside

This hair type is characterized by the shape of the letter s. The shape of the curl can be tight like a lowercase s or a little looser like an uppercase s but there is definitely a pattern. It can have a lot of body but can also lose it as the day goes on. If you live in a humid environment, this hair type can definitely get frizzy when exposed to humidity, so a humidity-blocker is a great choice to use on these curls. The goal for this hair type is to create springy and defined curls that last the whole day.


woman of color with 3b curly hair type

Unlike 3a curls, 3b curls tend to keep their curls coiled no matter if you play with them. The downside is that they can be prone to frizz and dryness. It’s important to keep these curls moisturized and humidity-blocked. Use a leave-in conditioner, curl milk, detangler brush, and lightweight oil for best results!

Very Curly – 3c


woman of color with 3c curly hair type

3c curls are definitely tighter curls than 3a and 3b. They also have a finer texture which means they can be prone to more damage like breakage and dryness. For 3c ladies, moisturizing creams and conditioners as well as oils are perfect for keeping your hair shining and defined.

Kinky Coily Hair – 4a, 4b, 4c


woman of color with 4a hair type

4a curls are often referred to as tight coiled curls. When it comes to all the 4 types of hair, these curls tend to retain their moisture and shrink less than the other subcategories. To keep them hydrated and healthy, as well as maximizing their corkscrew shape, a curl cream is the best option. To define your shape, use a gel and finger-coil your hair in sections until you’ve completed your whole head. After that’s complete, we suggest letting your hair air dry. The less heat, the healthier your hair!


woman of color with 4b hair type

4b curls are also known as coiled curls. There’s no uniform texture – while some may be more coarse, others may be more fine. To properly define 4b curls, the coils usually have a circumference of a ballpoint pen. This hair type has issues with moisture-loss, shrinkage, and breakage. To best combat these issues, use the LOC Method! Products that help with defining and stretching the curls such as leave-in conditioners and gels are the best options.


woman of color with 4c type

4c curls are even tighter than 4b curls and often referred to as kinky curls. This is simply based on the shape. There is no clear pattern to these curls making many different kinks and angles. This texture is the most delicate of all curl types meaning it’s very prone to breakage, dryness and shrinkage. You can help these curls out with lots and lots of moisture! We suggest slighting picking-out your hair, following it up with the LOC method, and then follow with two-strand twisting until done throughout your hair.

First, we want to repeat: always own your texture! The Salon Professional Academy(TSPA), San Jose strives to help women of all hair types have a little more self-love and self-confidence getting out of our chair than when they walked in. If you need help with styling or curling your hair, we would be happy to assist you. If you’re already a pro at caring for different types of curly hair and want to make a difference in the beauty world, cosmetology school could be for you! Contact us today for more information on our program and get started on the process of reaching your San Jose cosmetologist dream.