Hair Types

If your hairstylist were to ask you your hair type, would you be able to answer? After reading this, you will. Hair is made from the protein keratin and has three different layers of fibres known as the cuticle, the cortex and the medulla that give our hair its characteristic shape. People with straight hair have round hair fibres, and people with oval and other shaped fibres tend to have more wavy or curly hair.

The Andre Walker system is a system used worldwide to classify hair types. The system shows four categories of hair types, all with subcategories that add further definition. It’s normal for people to fall into more than one of the categories profiled.

Hair type 1: Straight hair

This hair type stays straight and is generally very shiny. It is the most resilient of the four hair types, making it difficult to damage, but also challenging to curl as there is a high amount of oil secretion. There are three different types of straight hair:

Info about straight hair type
  • Straight (Fine/Thin) is hair that is generally very soft, shiny, oily and poor at holding curls, but difficult to damage. This is the most common type of straight hair.
  • Straight (Medium) is hair that has volume and body.
  • Straight (Coarse), very common in Asia, this type tends to be very straight and difficult to curl.

Hair type 2: Wavy hair

Sitting between straight and curly hair types, wavy hair has a slight curl pattern at the lower end of the hair. It is a hair type that holds hairstyles very well as it has a rough texture and is thicker. Wavy hair is more likely to become frizzy than straight hair. There are three types of wavy hair:

Info about wavy hair type
  • Wavy (Fine/Thin) Hair has definite "S" pattern and can easily alternate between straight and curly styles.
  • Wavy (Medium) Can tend to be frizzy and a little resistant to styling.
  • Wavy (Coarse) Frizzy or very frizzy with thicker waves; often more impervious to styling.

Hair type 3: Curly hair

This is hair that curls in an S-shape pattern that stay as fixed curls that stay curly irrespective of any amount of straightening. Curly hair has a higher thickness, making it appear voluminous, though in humidity can become frizzy. It gets tangled easily.

Info about curly hair type
  • Curly (Loose) Curly hair that usually presents a definite "S" pattern and tends to combine thickness, fullness, body and /or frizziness.
  • Curly (Medium) Is the same as 3a above, but with tighter curling like a spiral.
  • Curly (Tight) has tight curls

Hair type 4: Coiled hair

This is hair that looks coarse and rough but is actually quite fragile and soft. It is tightly coiled or has no obvious curl pattern, with the curls having a ‘z’ shape. Very dense, this hair type will shrink when wet.

Info about coiled hair type
  • Coiled (Soft) Hair tends to be very fragile, tightly coiled and can feature curly patterning.
  • Coiled (Wiry) As 4a but with less visible curly patterning.
  • Coiled (Extremely wiry) The same as 4a and 4b, but with almost no defined curl pattern.

Coiled hair is predisposed to breakage and damage with inappropriate care. See here how to treat damaged hair. Kinky hair has high density with extremely tight curls. This hair type is divided into three sub-types:

Density of hair strands

Hair density refers to how much hair you have on your scalp. There are three levels of density which can be found by taking a simple mirror test. All you do is pull aside a large section of your hair to see how much of your scalp you can see.


If you can easily see your scalp, you have fine, or thin, density of hair. That means your hair is scantily placed. These strands of hair are usually translucent when held up to the light and feel like silk.


If you can partially see your scalp from underneath your hair, you have medium hair density. This hair feels like a cotton thread between the fingers and is not rough.


If you can hardly see your scalp, you have thick hair density. This hair type is usually found in people from Asia or people from the Afro-Caribbean.