CURL PATTERN CHART: HOW TO FIND YOUR HAIR TYPE
Curly girl method, plop method, bowl method, Deva cuts, pineappling—the list goes on. Caring for curly hair can be time consuming and a true labor of love.
Not every method or haircare routine will work for you and your waves, curls or coils. Not to mention, hair can be fickle, and its needs change daily. Extra hydration today, heat protection tomorrow. Split end care, dry scalp treatments and more the following week. How do you know what to do and when to do it?
Identifying what type of curly hair pattern you have is key to nailing down a hair method or routine that leaves you with healthy strands.
Curly Hair Pattern Types
Not all curly hair is created the same or has the same needs. And something to consider is that you may have multiple curl types on your scalp! Combine that with your hair’s porosity, density and thickness—whew! There's a lot to consider. But let’s start with properly identifying your curl pattern.
Numbers and Letters
Beyond just the hair types (type 1, type 3, etc.), there are also letters that will accompany each number. This is used to further subdivide the type of hair to help you more closely identify your hair within this genome. The more precise you are, the more likely it is that you will find products and a routine that will work for you.
What is Type 1 Hair?
Type 1 is straight hair. There is no curl here, and sometimes you may find it difficult for hair to hold a curl, even after using heat tools or curling implements.
What is Type 2 Hair?
Type 2 is usually defined as “waves.” The pattern here is usually in the shape of the letter ‘S.’ Overall, the hair lays closer to your scalp. This hair type’s waves can also be mistaken for frizz when improperly cared for. Lots of oils or heavy products can weigh the wave down and cause you to mistake your texture for something else.
2a hair can be the hardest to manipulate and encourage to curl, as it’s the closest to straight hair (type 1). 2b is a bit curlier at the tips of the hair and is approaching the shape of Type 3.
What is Type 3 Hair?
Type 3 is the “quintessential curl,” more in a ‘C’ shape. These curls form ringlets, though the shape of the curl depends on the tightness of the spiral. These curls can be bouncy, springy and frizzy. Curlier hair has a harder time getting natural scalp oils (sebum) to the tips of the hair, so split ends and frizz can be common. This hair is also more delicate when wet and may need softer towels and tools to help maintain and manage the curl.
3a has looser curls that may require scrunching to help accentuate the shape. 3b has springier ringlets and type 3c has tighter corkscrews.
What is Type 4 Hair?
Type 4 is common amongst those with afro-textured hair – though you may also see type 3 fit the bill as well. This hair shape is referred to as kinky or coily, and can resemble shapes akin to a lowercase ‘c’ or even ‘z.’ This hair type is also susceptible to major shrinkage due because it twists in on itself, meaning that it’s likely much longer than how it appears to the naked eye. This hair type is also sensitive to a lot of heat damage, where over-manipulation, coloring and heat tools can disrupt the curl pattern, making it difficult, if not impossible, to revert.
Shrinkage is due to the fact that coily hair twist on itself. The hair curls and twist creating shrinkage.
Products for Each Hair Type
Finding the right products for your routine is critical. That’s why Pantene has shampoos, conditioners, deep conditioning treatments, serums, and more for every hair type. Explore what works for you and get more good hair days by knowing your hair type.
For more information on what hair products will work best for your specific hair type, take the Pantene Hair Advisor Quiz and find out!
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While there’s a range of curly hair (3a-4c), we’re focusing on 4a, 4b, and 4c hair types today.