After months of debating, you’ve finally made the decision to go natural—congratulations! While going natural is a very personal decision, it’s not a journey you have to take alone. You’ll join the millions of women who are already a part of the natural hair community. The first thing you’ll notice when you go natural is, it’s not just about your hair—it’s a lifestyle. So much so, the natural hair community even has its own lingo!
Before you try to figure out what words like stretching, no-poo, and pineappling mean, you should start with the basics like—what’s your hair type? There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about hair types but Ashley Brown, Mizani brand ambassador and artist, is here to clear up any confusion. She’s breaking down everything you need to know about natural hair types and how you can identify your own.
What is a hair texture key?
While there are many hair typing systems out there, Brown relies on the newly improved Mizani Texture Key.
“The Mizani texture key is an amazing tool to use when trying to determine your hair type. It is exclusive to Mizani and has detailed descriptions of the characteristics and personality traits of every hair/texture type,” Brown explains. “The texture key breaks down growth pattern, body/volume, elasticity, as well as the porosity of each type of hair.”
Before we delve into the different hair types, Brown says it’s important that everyone know it is totally possible to have more than one hair type.
“In fact, when it comes to textured hair, it’s very rare to have just one type of texture. More often than not, women and men with textured hair have two—sometimes three—different types of texture that make up the personality of their hair,” she says.
Understanding all of the different characteristics that make up your hair type will help you and your stylist choose the perfect hair care routine for you.
How do I know my natural hair type?
To determine the true texture of your hair, you’ll want to examine your strands while they are completely free of product. Wash and condition your hair with the Mizani Moisture Fusion Moisture Rich Shampoo and Intense Moisture Mask and allow your hair to air dry. As your hair dries, begin to examine your texture.
Does your hair dry straight? Does it curl up? Do you have loose waves or zig-zag ringlets? Once you’ve thoroughly examined your hair, refer to the Mizani Texture Key which breaks down hair texture into eight types.
What are the different types of natural hair?
Texture Type 1
If the majority of your hair dries straight or has a very minimal wave, you have type 1 hair. Brown says this hair type typically lacks body and volume unless manipulated. This texture is also known as type 1A-B.
Texture Type 2
If your product-free hair slightly resembles beach waves—an open wave with a loose s-curve—you have type 2 hair. Brown says this hair type typically has more body than type 1 hair and is less prone to frizz. This texture is also known as type 2A-B.
Texture Type 3
If you have wavy hair with distinct s-shaped curves, you have type 3 hair. Brown says this hair type is typically more prone to frizz than hair types 1 and 3. This texture is also known as type 2C - 3A.
Texture Type 4
If your curls are defined with mixed curl patterns (loops to spirals, ringlets to corkscrews), you have type 4 hair. The stylist says this hair type has a natural bounce is and prone to frizz. This texture is also known as type 3B.
Texture Type 5
If your hair is undeniably curly with defined s-shapes forming into coils, you have type 5 hair. If you’re unsure whether or not your hair is very curly, Brown says curls should stretch with immediate spring back. While curly hair is typically known to be frizzy, the stylist says this particular hair type is less likely to become frizzy and tangled. This texture is also known as type 3C.
Texture Type 6
If your curls are coiled with medium coils close to the scalp and moderate shrinkage, you have type 6 hair. This hair type usually has less movement as the curls are very compact. This texture is also known as type 4A.
Texture Type 7
If you have tightly coiled, springy coils closer to the scalp, you have hair type 7. Brown says this hair type is prone to tangles and knots. This texture is also known as type 4B.
Texture Type 8
If your hair is so coiled your curl pattern begins to resemble zig-zags, you have type 8 hair. Brown says this hair type typically has more volume than body. This texture is also known as type 4C. For more information about this hair type, check out our guide to 4C hair.