Types of Hair: How to Style and Care for Your Hair Type

Let’s start here: Your hair is beautiful.

It may soak up your time and money. It may morph the moment you step out into actual weather. It may dramatically defy what other people say “good hair” should do. Never mind all that.

Whether fine, thick, long, short, matte, glossy, curly, coily, or straight, your hair deserves respect. Get to know your hair’s curl patterns, its porosity, density, and styling needs because healthy self-care includes your hair.

What does hair type mean?

Your hair type is primarily based on your hair’s curl pattern. The amount of curl in your hair is determined by your hair follicle. The shape of your follicle determines whether your hair is:

  • straight
  • wavy
  • curly
  • coily

The more oval or asymmetrical your follicle is, the curlier your hair will be.

Your hair type is determined by geneticsTrusted Source.

You can alter your curl pattern with heat or chemicals, and your curl pattern can changed somewhat by hormones or medications you’re taking, but your basic curl pattern is in your DNA.

Every time your hair goes through its growth cycle, those genetic characteristics are reasserted.

What types of hair are there?

Andre Walker, known for decades as Oprah Winfrey’s stylist, is credited with devising a system that classifies hair according to one of four curl patterns:

Type 1Straight hair
Type 2Wavy hair
Type 3Curly hair
Type 4Coily hair

These types are further divided into subcategories based on the tightness or looseness of the curls and coils. It may sound simple, but like most attempts to define human characteristics, it isn’t.

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