Hair Care

Different Black Hair Textures

By Choya Randolph

As a new natural, it’s a rite of passage to spend hours watching videos of naturals talking about their hair care routine. When watching these videos, these seasoned naturals may use words like “3b” or “4c.” Being a new natural, you’re probably like “what does this even mean? Is this a new kanekalon hair color or am I tripping?” No, you’re not tripping. These naturals are referring to their hair texture. Everyone has a certain hair texture that is labeled using numbers and letters. I know this may sound like some complicated thing you should’ve learned in algebra but it’s actually quite simple. 

When you think of hair texture you probably think it’s either straight or curly but it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Hair can be straight, wavy, curly or coily. Straight hair is straight. Pretty simple. Wavy hair has an S curl pattern that’s very loose. Curly hair also has an S curl pattern but it’s tighter. It kind of looks like a corkscrew. Coily hair has curls that are so tight that they form coils. 

Wavy hair is type 2 hair. Curly hair is type 3 hair. Coily hair is type 4 hair. This may make all those videos you’ve watched make more sense but what about all those letters? Each hair type has three categories. Wavy hair can be 2a, 2b, or 2c. Curly hair can be 3a, 3b, or 3c. Coily hair could be 4a, 4b, or 4c. These three categories represent how tight the curls are in each category. Type 2c hair is the waviest of the type 2 hair. Type 3c is the curliest of type 3 hair. Type 4c hair is the most coily of type 4 hair. 

But how do you know what texture you have? Look at your hair when it’s wet. That’s when it’s in its most natural form and when you can see your natural curl pattern. If you’re not seeing enough curl definition, that could be a sign of dry hair so maybe you should bust out that deep conditioner and/or gel to see your natural curl pattern. 

We all know what wavy, curly and coily hair looks like so your hair will definitely easily tell you what type of hair you have. Things start to get complicated when trying to figure out the category of our hair. Is it 3c or 4a? It can get confusing quickly but in many cases, we’ll have more than one hair texture in our hair. Some people have looser curls in the back of their head and tighters curls in the middle of their head. That’s normal. 

The purpose of knowing your hair texture isn’t to stress about it but to understand your hair so you can better take care of it. So don’t get too caught up in the numbers. If you know whether your hair is wavy, curly or coily, you’re doing amazing sweetie. Now next time you watch a video of a natural giving you the tea on how she takes care of her hair, you’ll know what she means when she says type 4 hair.

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