HOW TO TELL YOUR HAIR TYPE
Can you distinguish hair types 4b and 4c apart? Here’s the new and updated video on how to tell the difference. In the video above, I discuss the different hair types and compare them. In particular, determining the difference between type 4b and 4c hair types. Then I’ll take my research and look at the strands of my own hair to determine my hair type. For the comparison, I’ve used the modified Andre Walker hair typing chart (below). I’ve also included photos of each hair type and video footage of my hair strands against the hair chart. Some of the photos are sourced from Naturally Curly and Kenny Olapade
Side Note: The LOIS System for strand pattern is ideal, I think. Mainly because it doesn’t talk about diameter at all, just pattern. This allows for more diversity in each category.
A VISUAL GUIDE THROUGH HAIR TYPES
This is the Andre Walker hair typing system. Who is he and why do we know him? He was Oprah’s hair stylist for years on her show. He won many Emmys for his work and he became well known because of his expertise. When looking at the chart, you’ll notice 3c or 4c hair types are not represented. The hierarchal structure of the chart and omission of hair types got him a lot of heat. Many people in the natural hair community were upset and felt excluded.
When was hair type 3c & 4c introduced? It seems that Naturally Curly heard the outcry and created a modified chart that included the missing hair types. Now we have 3c and 4c naturals represented and this is the chart most often used today.
WHAT ARE THE HAIR TYPES?
Hair type 1 is the easiest to spot. It’s bone straight naturally. Below are the remaining hair types.
The chart for type 4 coily hair above is flawed. All three of these models do appear to have type 4 hair, but they could all have the same strand pattern. Perhaps their hair strands are manipulated – we’ll never know. So I’ve decided to add some other photos below to help better see the distinction.
Type 4a hair appears to have a pattern like this. Large visible springy coils.
This represents 4B hair. It doesn’t have a curl or a coil, so on the chart many draw a tight zig zagged line and refer to it as “kinky”. The model on the bottom left (@aarianjayy) has 4b zig zag strands with seemingly some 4a S strands, but the hair is loaded with product which can alter the shape of the pattern. The model on the bottom right appears to not have any product in her hair and the strands don’t have any curl or coil.
4c strands are very tightly coiled. Like teenie corkscrew curls that are almost difficult to see with the naked eye, unless defined.
4B VS 4C HAIR TYPES SIDE BY SIDE
4b and 4c hair strand types are probably the most misunderstood and misrepresented hair patterns on the Andre Walker hair typing chart.
WHY THE CONFUSION?
As the modified chart stands, when one is looking at the progression of the rest of the chart many assume that 4B must mean there IS a curl that is slightly smaller than 4a, yet larger and more defined than the 4c hair type.
The chart moves from straight to wavy, curly, coily, kinky – then coily again. Very confusing. In the chart below I’ve swapped places with 4b and 4c so that you could see what the chart might look like had Andre added 4c himself. The coily strands are now together and kinky is on the end.
The most common mistake is determining strand pattern by texture. For example, 4c hair can be highly defined and rather silky in appearance like this gentleman @leemfrm38 (top left). It can also have a more cottony appearance while wet and dry (top right).
Factors like environmental humidity, products used, personal health, pattern mix, porosity, density, shine, styling technique, and hair texture can all make the same strand pattern look completely different. I highly recommend you take a look at my video on the LOIS hair typing system to find out more about the variety of hair textures spongy, cottony, silky, thready, and wiry.
4b left. 4c right.
The truth is that as much research as I’ve done, natural hair in its fluffed state can look very different. The photos chosen for 4B could very well be 4C hair fluffed out. I’d have no way of knowing unless I met the people photographed and was able to wet and examine their strands in person.
There also is no official charted diameter for the size of any of these coils to date, but here’s a cool video of someone measuring their own here. I myself have at least three different coil sizes and identify as having mainly 4c hair.
There’s probably no way that everyone on earth could fit into these categories as neatly as suggested, but this is a really great general guide to finding others with a similar stand pattern.
MY HAIR TYPE
Based on my hair being soaking wet and the photos I chose for reference, I’d say my hair is mostly 4c. I have 4a along my hairline above my side burns and the nape of my neck and small traces of 4b throughout.
I encourage you to watch my video breaking down 4c hair even further below.
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If this was helpful for you, share it with your friends. Comment below and tell us, what your hair type is.
Also, check my Youtube natural hairstyles playlist for more tutorials. I’ve also got a youtube tab here on the navigation bar at the top of this page where you can see all of my videos that upload every thursday. Subscribe to my newsletter, so you don’t miss any of my content. See ya in your inbox soon!