Classifying Your Hairtype

Hair Type is a common one. I will admit to you all that I am yet to figure out what my hair type is, but I will and then I will let you know.

I would recommend visiting this site directly to get more information at Fia’s hairtyping system. The summary is here for you though.

Your curliness (or lack thereof)

1) The straight ones
1a – stick straight
1b – straight but with a slight body wave, just enough to add some volume, doesn’t look wavy
1c – straight with body wave and one or two visible S-waves (e.g. nape of neck or temples)

2) The wavy ones
2a – loose, stretched out S-waves throughout the hair
2b – shorter, more distinct S-waves (similar to waves from braiding damp hair)
2c – distinct S-waves and the odd spiral curl forming here and there

3) The curly ones
3a – big, loose spiral curls
3b – bouncy ringlets
3c – tight corkscrews

4) The really curly ones
4a – tightly coiled S-curls
4b – tightly coiled hair bending in sharp angles (Z-pattern)

What (most of) your individual strands look like

F – Fine
Thin strands that sometimes are almost translucent when held up to the light. Shed strands can be hard to see even against a contrasting background. Similar to hair found on many people of Scandinavian descent.

You can also try rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger. Fine hair is difficult to feel or itfeels like an ultra-fine strand of silk

M – Medium
Strands are neither fine nor coarse. Similar to hair found on many Caucasians.

You can also try rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger. Medium hair feels like a cotton thread. You can feel it, but it isn’t stiff or rough. It is neither fine or coarse.

C – Coarse
Thick strands that where shed strands usually are easily identified against most backgrounds. Similar to hair found on many people of Asian or native American descent.

You can also try rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger. Coarse hair feels hard and wiry. As you roll it back and forth, you may actually hear it.

Your overall volume of hair

Put your hair in a ponytail with as much hair as possible in it. Don’t bother with the way it looks – the goal is to have most/all of your hair in there. If it means it sits smack dab on top of your head, put it there.

Measure the circumference of the ponytail. If you have bangs and/or you can’t get all of your hair in there adjust according to how much of your hair you have measured.

To measure the circumference – take a piece of string, or a soft tape measure (the kind used by dressmakers). Wrap the string or tape measure <i>around</i> your ponytail – just below the elastic you have in to hold the ponytail together. Read the corresponding number from the tape measure, or hold the string at the length you’ve measured and use a ruler to determine how much it is. The number given is the circumference of your ponytail.

i – thin (less than 2 inches/5 centimeters)
ii – normal (between 2-4 inches or 5-10 centimeters)
iii – thick (more than 4 inches/10 centimeters)


4 responses to “Classifying Your Hairtype

  1. Good stuff. It is also possible to have more than one hair type on one head. I have very tight curls at the back, sort of straightish hair in the middle and sort of wavish in front. It is difficult to define.Masuka you are putting up useful information on the blog which is very good for all categories of naturals. But I also cannot wait to read about local stuff – the situation in Zambia (people's views about natural hair, availability of natural hair care products, hair dressers – not just locticians). I see more people are following the blog. Hope to see more.


  2. Thank you Chanda for your consistent support. We are working on it. It is hard to know what to start with and how much to say. There is just so so so much information.


  3. I liked this article – it reminded me of 'How to look good naked on BBC home channel, in that the presenter asks the participant/ woman being made over to place herself in a line up according to how she perceived herself, i.e bust, hips or derriere. And they always get it wrong – meaning their own body image is distorted – always smaller than they think.Well with before this article – i just my hair's nappy, nappiest. After pulling out a strand and studying the texture and curls, also the way my 'fro bounces off the comb – I think I'm 3a, medium – still working on the volume. It's so exciting to have my on unique hair type that needs it's own special treatment and style.Thanks girl!


  4. This is great Priscilla. I have recently learnt my hair type and it makes so much sense now as I have a much more realistic understanding of what my hair needs.


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