Andre Walker, who won numerous Emmys for his work on the Oprah Winfrey Show, first worked out a hair type system to help classify his clients with textured hair. Inspired by his work, and combining years of input from other naturals and hair professionals, we created a texture typing system to help stylists attend to the unique care and styling needs of their clients with wavy, curly and coily hair.
Type 2 - Wavy Hair
The wave or curl in type 2 hair forms in the shape of a letter "S". Type 2 hair sticks close to the head and won't bounce up, even when layered.
2a Wavy Swavy℠ top ^
Type 2a hair tends to be fine, thin and very easy to handle. It is also easily straightened or curled.
Quick Tip: Use light mousses, lotions or gels that can enhance curls without weighing them down.
2a Celebrities: Scarlett Johansson, Naomi Watts and Cate Blanchett
2b Wavy Curvy℠ top ^
Type 2b hair sticks close to the head and won't bounce, even when layered. It's also a little resistant to styling, and has a tendency to frizz.
Quick Tip: Let hair air dry or use a diffuser.
2b Celebrities: Joss Stone, Nelly Furtado and Carrie Underwood
2c Wavy Whirly℠ top ^
Type 2c hair is thicker, coarser wavy hair that has a few more actual curls as opposed to just waves. It also tends to be more resistant to styling and will frizz easily.
Quick Tip: Do not use a brush or comb on dry curls.
2c celebrities Jennifer Nettles, Daisy Fuentes, Brittany Snow
Type 3 - Curly Hair
The wave or curl in type 3 hair forms in a definite, loopy "S" pattern. Curls are well-defined and springy with lots of body. Type 3 hair can be easily styled in its natural state or straightened with a blow-dryer.
3a Curly Twirly℠ top ^
Type 3a hair has a definite, loopy "S" pattern with springy, well-defined curls. It also tends to be naturally big, loose and very shiny.
Quick Tip: Use gels and creams that offer light moisture and curl definition. Milks and smoothies also work great!
3a Celebrities: AnnaLynne McCord, Debra Messing, Taylor Swift and Nicole Kidman
3c Curly Coily℠ top ^
Type 3c hair is voluminous with tight curls in corkscrews with lots of strands packed together. It can be either kinky or very tightly curled. Type 3c curls are usually very fine in texture.
Quick Tip: Use stylings creams, butters and oils. Since it's so fragile, this hair type needs extra moisture and tender-loving care.
3c Celebrities: Heather Headley, Alicia Keyes and Jada Pinkett-Smith
Type 4 - Coily Hair
Type 4 hair often shrinks up to 75% of the actual hair length. Hair can range from fine and thin to wiry and coarse with lots of strands packed densely together. Type 4 hair is more prone to damage from combing, brushing, curling, blow-drying and straightening.
4a Coily Springy℠ top ^
Type 4a is tightly coiled hair with definite curl pattern that is prone to shrinkage, but will spring back when pulled. The circumference of 4a coils is close to that of a crochet needle. Moisture is critical for Coily Springy hair. Be sure to use plenty of daily moisturizers, gentle cleansers, and deep conditioning treatments to maintain a healthy head of hair.
Quick Tip: Creams, butters and oils make the best stylers for type 4a hair.
4a Celebrities: Macy Gray, Monique Coleman and Leela James
4b Coily Crimpy℠ top ^
Type 4b hair has a "Z" pattern and less of a defined curl pattern. Instead of curling or coiling, the hair bends in sharp angles. The hair is very wiry, tighly coiled and bent, and very fragile; take great care when working with it.
Quick Tip: Detangle hair with a lot of conditioner and use a comb or detangling brush. Scalp should be cleansed anywhere from every 2 days to every 2 weeks.
4b Celebrities: Esperanza Spalding, Yvette Nicole Brown and Erykah Badu
4c Coily Ziggly℠ top ^
Type 4c hair is made up of curl patterns that will almost never clump without doing a specific hairstyle. It is also very tightly coiled with almost no curl definition at all.
Quick Tip: Use styling creams, butters and oils for type 4c hair and deep condition often to add extra moisture and strength.
4c Celebrities: Jill Scott