What's your hair type?

What's your hair type?

Ever wondered what a 3A or a 4B is? We’re not talking grades here, but hair types. Trichologist Iain Sallis explains hair varies in its structure due to genetic influences that are inherited and largely linked to either we or where our ancestry descends from. Here we give the lowdown from the straightest strands to the curliest of curls.

straight 1


1A Straight Fine/Thin

Hair tends to be very soft, shiny, oily and poor at holding curls, but difficult to damage.

1B straight medium

Hair characterised by volume and body.

1c straight coarse

Hair tends to be bone-straight and difficult to curl. Common in Asian women.

wavy 2


2a Wavy Fine/Thin

Hair has definite “S” pattern and is usually receptive to a variety of styles.

2B Wavy medium

Can tend to be frizzy and a little resistant to styling.

2c Wavy Coarse

Frizzy or very frizzy with thicker waves; often more resistant to styling.

curly 3


3a Curly loose

Curly hair that usually presents a definite “S” pattern and tends to combine thickness, fullness, body or fizziness.

3B Curly tight

As 3a but with tighter curling like a spiral.

kinky 4


4a kinky soft

Hair tends to be very fragile, tightly coiled and can feature curly patterning.

4B kinky Wiry

As 4a but with less visible (or no) curly patterning.

4C kinky Wiry

As 4a and 4b but with almost no defined curl pattern.

What's your strand type


Thin strands that can be almost translucent when held up to the light Shed strands can be hard to see even against a contrasting background Fine hair is difficult to feel – or it feels like an ultra-fine strand of silk.


Strands are neither fine nor coarse Roll a strand between your thumb and index finger – medium hair feels like a cotton thread You can feel the strand, but it isn’t stiff or rough. It’s neither coarse or fine Tend to hold hairstyles better than fine hair.


Shed strands are easily identified against most backgrounds Roll a strand between your thumb and index finger – coarse hair feel hard and wiry As you roll the hair back and forth you may here it Tend to hold hairstyles better than fine hair., it begs the question, which one are you?

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