What’s your type? Silky-straight? Extra-curly? Bouncy and thick? Every head of hair is different, and while some hair is coarser, finer, straighter, or drier than others, that’s okay! The key to managing YOUR particular head of hair, whatever it may be like—and keeping it healthy—is knowing what type of hair you have in the first place, no matter what your ethnicity is.
That’s where this handy guide to understanding hair types comes in. Based on the work and findings of Emmy-winning Oprah stylist and author Andre Walker, this information is meant to help you understand the different hair types that are out there, and then identify your own natural hair type.
Essentially, there are four main hair types. Numbered from 1 to 4, these categories represent a range of hair textures, from the ultra-straight to the super-curly; as the numbers get bigger, the curls get tighter. The hair also loses moisture and grows more fragile as the hair type gets curlier and curlier—a surprising fact for most women—but never fear. Armed with the knowledge of your correct hair type, you can make almost anything happen with your tresses!
So let’s get started:
Type 1 Hair: Straight and Free-Falling
This is your standard, straight-as-a-bone hair type. Type 1 hair, whether fine or thick, has little to no curl, and generally hangs straight down, loose and free. Of everyone, people with Type 1 hair are most likely to have problems with oily scalps, and this type of hair doesn’t hold a curl easily. But oh, it’s a breeze to wash-and-go!
Celebrities with Type 1 hair: Kim Kardashian, Cher, Rachel Bilson, Yunjin Kim, Frieda Pinto
Type 2 Hair: Wavin' in the Wind
Wavy with a little bounce, but slightly more resistant to straightening or styling, Type 2 hair is probably more common than Type 1, and definitely abounds on TV and in the movies. This is because Type 2 locks have just enough natural body and curl in them to move, but not so much as to get unruly. While frizzies can be a problem for Type 2 hair, it’s usually tamed easily with styling products.
Within the Type 2 category, there are three subcategories. All Type 2 hair seems pretty straight when wet, but the differences occur when the hair is dry. Type 2a tresses have just a hint of a bend in them, forming more of a “C” shape when completely dry, while 2b and 2c hair types twist into an “S” curl pattern and are more susceptible to frizz.
Celebrities with Type 2 hair: Rihanna, Scarlett Johannson, America Ferrera, Lisa Bonét, Sheila E, Kelly Hu
Type 3 Hair: Worlds of Curls
With even more curl definition than Type 2, Type 3 hair bounces, loops, springs, and generally runs riotous all over. Don’t be fooled, though. Type 3 hair is usually fine and—surprisingly—easier to style and blow-dry than even Type 2 locks. This is because the natural sheen, softness, and elasticity of Type 3 hair make it come almost pre-styled!
Like Type 2 tresses, there are three different varieties of Type 3 hair. While all three form a definite “S”, wet or dry, the difference is all in the size of the curl. People with 3a hair have curls about the diameter of a piece of children’s sidewalk chalk (about 1- 1½”). On the other hand, Type 3b ringlets are about the width of a marker, or the same diameter as a medium-sized roller (about ½”). Type 3c curls—which are not mentioned in Andre Walker’s book Andre Talks Hair, but which many women find describe their unique locks better than any other hair type—are very tiny, well-defined corkscrews, about as narrow as drinking straws (¼” and smaller). In fact, if you picture a straw-set, you’ll be picturing Type 3c hair!
Celebrities with Type 3 hair: Taylor Swift, Debra Messing, Alicia Keys, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sophina Brown
Type 4 Hair: Kinky Curls From the Motherland
This is the hair type most African-American women have, before relaxer services. Tightly coiled, wiry-textured, and even kinky, this hair type is often misunderstood, even categorized as “bad”. But Type 4 hair has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and, if fully understood and cared for properly, is beautiful.
There are two subgroups of Type 4 hair. Type 4a is a bit curlier and “flops” out, or grows downward, more than 4b hair. Coils of 4a hair are likely to look like tiny Os, around the width of a knitting needle (just forget about inches), while 4b locks zigzag instead of curling, creating a fluffy, Z-shaped pattern, much like a strand of yarn. Both of these curly hair types are very fragile, despite the way they seem strong, and like to “stand up” more than swing or fall.
Celebrities with Type 4 hair: India.Aarie, Macy Gray, Leelah James, Janelle Monae
Determining Your Hair Type
So how do you figure out which hair type is actually yours? Simply wash your hair, comb it out, and see what it does. Watch your roots and new growth if you currently use a relaxer or other chemical services that alter your hair’s texture. Let your hair air dry, and watch the curls form, tighten, or fall away, as the case may be. You’ll soon see what your hair looks like in its natural form—and be ready to find the Best Hair Extensions for Your Hair Type, Best Hair Styles for Your Hair Type, and Hair Care by Hair Type: Working with What You’ve Got to Make it Healthier (all coming soon)!
Styles to Embrace Your Natural Texture with Type 4 Hair
The texture movement is here to stay! No more hiding ever kink, curl and wave with straighteners or being ashamed of the hair you were born with! We believe deeply that hair should be celebrated in all its forms, and part of owning that feeling for yourself at home is really understanding and living in harmony with your hair. Some of the greatest frustrations for natural texture gals are taming it, getting composed curls without all the frizz that can ruin your day.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite celebrity and influencer styles to show you six different ways you can embrace texture WITHOUT texture controlling you (or your day).
Back in December for the Spiderman No Way Home Premiere, Zendaya dazzled on the red carpet with a custom made Valentino gown that looked like spiderway with a deep plunging neck and a high side slit that was just stunning. But it was her hair that rounded off the look: long, straight, and slicked back cornrows that cascaded down her back.
Another great example of the classic cornrow is artist Brandy who rocked the look last summer along with some slicked finger waves along her hairline in a way that really glammed up the look.
Rihanna’s Bantu Knots
Rihanna herself has rocked this style for several high profile gigs over the years and for anyone wanting to rock her roots, bantu knots have a long history. This traditional African hairstyle is stunning and fun, bold and inspiring and easy to do with some time investment. Make sure your hair and scalp are well cleansed and start with rectangular sections. Hold the sections of hair out, twisting and twisting, holding them tight and then just twist it around itself, securing it with a band.
Tia Mowry’s Box Braids
Box braids are a timeless style that any gal can wear, with or without hair extensions. It’s a bold and versatile look and a great protective style with the braid size varying from skinny tendrils to jumbo thick box braids. Sister, Sister star Tia Mowry’s box braid hair flip is a great example of #BlackGirlMagic that she shared on her instagram with almost 300,000 likes and loves comments from friends and fans. What makes this look pop is the true “wet” look that is so popular in summer, so before you braid, really drench them in an oil like our Perfect Locks Argan Oil for that luxe look!
Ciara’s Three-Strand Faux Ponytail
Ponytails are one of the most versatile hairstyles there is. They can be worn in the back, up top or even to the sides.But the three-strand faux ponytail is a newer trend for 2022 that begins by brushing your hair into an updo and braiding extensions right on your own natural hair in a ponytail. The 3 different plaits giving you meaty braids you can sling over your shoulder as you WERK!
Clip-in ponytails make this trend easy to acheive for almost anybody!
This protective style has a rich history, originating with the Fulani people of Africa that incorporates braids along the edges with a straight back center braid that is close to the scalp with sections braided on either side. This differs from a cornrow style because the braids are attached at the crown and are fairly free moving. They are often accessorized with beads or ornamental string and bands for a truly stunning look.
If there is one thing that the 21st century has given us, it is normalizes natural texture. After over a century of curls, kinks and waves being looked down on, today's texture is embraced in a way never dreamed of before. For the first time everyone from the average gal to Hollywood elite are rocking curly styles or reaching for curly hair extensions to give them even more texture to play with! But it comes with some challenges, so we rounded up our favorite tips, tricks and hair hacks so your curly extensions AND natural hair will look amazing all year round!
Managing Your Curls with Textured Hair
Tackle That Frizz!
There is no bigger enemy to texture than humidity. Curly hair (even extensions) tends to frizz up as soon as you finish showering, so tackling frizz starts BEFORE you even get out of the shower! Firstly, conditioner needs several minutes to do its magic, so leave it on as long as you can. Our Curl Care Defining Conditioner for example we recommend using daily, leaving it on for 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing. Twice a week we recommend a good deep conditioning mask like our Deep Conditioner, which you should leave on for at least 5 minutes.
After showering, minimize blow dryer use (even with a diffuser) as it can dry your hair out and lead to frizz and flyaways. You should also ditch the towel (as the course fibers can lift your cuticle) and instead use a microfiber towel or even a t-shirt.
If you need to brush your hair do that BEFORE drying your hair, or the result will be a frizzy nest. Remember to comb your hair from the bottom up, which allows you to detangle each knot.
Starting at the bottom allows you to gently detangle each knot, rather than compounding them all toward the bottom and yanking your way through with a comb.
If you want to use a flat iron, set it between 350 and 400 degrees, but no higher!
Style and finish with either a leave-in conditioner or even Argan Oil for additional moisture, using a wide-toothed comb to let your curls form naturally. Remember not to use too much styling product, just keep it simple.
Flip your head over and diffuse lightly with a blow dryer and just start scrunching to create great bounce and volume.
The Shape Matters
There are many different types of curl formations depending on the genes you were born with that determine them. A well known secret to Hollywood celebrity stylists comes down to the right haircut that can give your texture a lot of bouncy movement that doesn't require a lot of maintenance. Case in point is Tessa Thompson’s angular bob, a wash-and-go voluminous style that needs little more than a good leave-in conditioner or hair oil to look amazing.
If you want a little more length, ask your stylist to trim and shape your extensions into a shoulder length style, taking out the weight for movement, but keeping the length.
If you love big, big volume, working with a hairdresser to cut, tease and shape your natural hair and hair extensions into a stunning classic rounded ‘fro is a timeless summer look.
Learn to Love Oil
Slathering oil onto your hair might seem counterintuitive, but hair oils are a blanket solution for everything from lifeless tresses to damaged ends and the ultimate secret weapon to softer, shiner and more luxurious hair. Hair serums like our Argan Oil aren’t JUST great as a daily leave-in, but it can also be used as a PRE-shampoo rinse on dry hair before you shower. Similar to the reverse hair washing trend (conditioner and then shampoo), apply it through the lengths of your hair before you shower and it will add layers of protection from the damage that occurs when hair is most vulnerable: when it’s wet.
Must-Have Hair Care Products for Textured Hair
Chances are… You’re wearing 3 years of hair damage. Why? Because a single hair may live about 4 or 5 years. Given that hair grows, on average, a little less than half an inch (1 cm) per month, hair that is 12 inches (30 cm) in length has seen almost THREE YEARS WORTH of ultraviolet light, friction from brushing, heat from blow dryers, curling irons, and straighteners, and possible chemical exposure through coloring, perming or straightening. It’s little wonder that hair wear and tear, or "weathering," results in cuticle cells can become raised and softened, leaving the hair more prone to breaking and rougher in appearance. Textured hair in particular is prone to protein loss, resulting in breakage, damage and loss of elasticity, so what’s a girl to do?
The answer is a healthy dose of everything your natural hair needs as well your textured hair extensions or weaves (since they are prone to the same damage as your own hair). We can help you define your hair texture if you're unsure. Moisture balancing, rich oils and buttery formulations help to protect from all of that! But caring for that beautiful hair of yours has to start from the moment you wake up:
Defining Your Morning Routine
Salt, sulfates and parabens are just about the worst ingredients for your hair. So firstly you need to cleansing that maintains the natural hydration of your hair without stripping away beneficial oils and that also adds good oils back to your hair. Our Perfect Locks Curl Care Defining Shampoo and Curl Care Defining Conditioner are color safe and uses Grapefruit Extract and natural Avocado Oil to condition and detangle. It will keep your curls bounce without leaving films or leaving your hair feel like straw.
To Style Those Tresses
Before you head out the door what you use to amplify those curls or give you a little tamed structure to them depends on your haircut and even your preference.
If you like soft, defined curls with some movement, our Curl Care Definer & Amplifier bathes those curls with Jojoba Oil, as well as Sunflower Seed and Grapefruit Extract. It helps to separate the curls and give you that Hollywood frizz and humidity free shine without weight.
If you prefer a little more structure to your curls, our Curl Care Nourishing Spray Gel also uses Grapefruit Extract and Avocado Oil to give you a lasting frizz-free control with more hold than a curl cream. You simply spray it in when your hair is still damp and you simply scrunch and go, use a blow dryer or twist your curls and release if you look a little more ring-like definition.
Doing this Once a Week
Because textured hair is shaped into a curl at the microscopic level, your hair tends to lose moisture and protein as the little Keratin scales that make up the surface of our hair are open a little more than other hair types. Because of that, deep conditioning and treatment to replace that lost Keratin and protein is important as a weekly ritual. Pour yourself a glass of wine, and work through our Inspire Deep Conditioner loaded with natural ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Wheat, and Burdock Root. Leave it in for at least 15 minutes with your hair wrapped in a hot towel or leave alone while you shower. Your curls will love you for it!
Performing an intensive repair treatment aka deep conditioning is important any time of year but especially as temps transition from hot to cold. The cool air can leave your strands looking and feeling dry, frizzy, and brittle. A deep conditioning treatment will amp up the moisture, repair damaged strands and cuticles, and replenish your hair’s elasticity leaving it soft and strong. A weekly treatment is vital to maintaining a healthy head of hair that you will love all year round.
Let’s face it ladies, while the moisture levels from the frequent rainfall are great for natural hair, the frizz that comes along with it is nothing to be excited about. Investing in a quality leave-in conditioner will not only keep your tresses and extensions tangle-free and hydrated, it will tame the frizz! Leave-in conditioners are an easy way to give your hair the moisture it needs in between regular washing and conditioning. A quality leave-in conditioner will be lightweight, add body to your hair, and even treat the scalp with essential vitamins and antioxidants that strengthen and protect.
While using a sulfate-free, hydrating shampoo and conditioner are great steps in maintaining moisture levels, with the cool air and high winds in the mix, locking in that moisture is a must. This is accomplished through the use of hair oils such as argan oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil-all of which, are nourishing, non-greasy formulas that get down into the hair follicles treating them from the inside out. Adding a moisturizing oil to your hair regimen will help keep your hair hydrated, healthy, and shiny during the harshest weather conditions.
Giving your hair a break from constant styling, coloring, and manipulation means letting it “free to be.” Protective styling literally protects your hair from the harsh elements and breakage, encouraging growth retention. The most popular form of protective styling is that of hair extensions. Hair extensions allow you to still achieve the looks you want without further damaging your own hair. So, while your hair is given the opportunity to rest, you can easily and quickly add length, color, and style by using hair extensions. Check out these amazing style transformations for inspiration when considering your next creative hair goals.
How To Texture Match My Hair Extensions?
Ladies! Get ready, because we're about to let you in on the many benefits of hair extensions and how it works for YOUR texture. We know it’s been hard for our textured haired divas to find the perfect match, but we have your back with our new Kinky Curly and Relaxed Straight tape-in extensions. They really are the perfect addition to Perfect Locks gorgeous selection of hair extension products. We have been so excited to present these hard to find tape-in textures to our wonderful customers and the wait is almost over!
Some of the most common questions we are asked by customers are things we maybe weren’t taught in school that matter when finding the extensions of your dreams. “What is your texture?”, we ask. “It’s curly,” you say. But did you know there are 9 different types of curls, out of 12 different hair types? Check it out!
About the Textures
Our curly hair extensions will give you an exotic quality with the ultimate in density, volume, and bounce. The perfectly defined coils offer a natural and unique curl pattern that is ideal for achieving a variety of styles including afro-inspired looks to glam up-do’s. Embrace the curl!
If you’ve been longing for a more naturally straight style with the ease of tape-ins, look no further than our textured hair extensions. It sort of says, “I’m sleek and slim but I still got body!” These new tape-ins will blend seamlessly with many natural hair textures for a flawless, professionally relaxed look.
Texture Solutions for every hair type!
If you haven’t tried tape-in extensions yet, then these two new textures offer a great opportunity to experience how easy it is to install and maintain the popular hair solution. Tape-in extensions allow you accomplish the hottest hair styles without hours in the salon, constant maintenance, or costly weaves. Additionally, unlike other forms of extensions, tape-ins are pool and gym approved -- sport your tape-ins without worry of pulling, itching, or even slipping. Like all Perfect Lock tape-in extensions, these lovelies are 100% Virgin Indian Hair that has been steam pressed to give you the most durable, natural, and long-lasting extensions on the market.