How to Determine Hair Type on Natural Hair


In the natural hair community hair typing is a popular discussion. Knowing your hair type is very useful in understanding why your hair responds to certain products and why it doesn’t respond to others.  Knowing your hair type is very useful in understanding which hair styles are best for your hair.  Knowing your hair type is very useful in understanding how to care for your hair.  Here are 3 basic things I’ve learned about type 4 hair in comparison to type 3 hair.


Women with 4abc coily/kinky hair as myself, find very little success when using gel to define our curls. While type 4’s can use gel, it is much better used for slicking and smoothing, than for curl definition. Watch this video of what happened to my type 4 hair when I tried defining my hair with gel. Get ready to laugh. LOL

Women with 3abc coily/curly hair, find great success when using gel. Her curl pattern is brought to life and held into place. Many type 3 curlies don’t even need to use gel in order to see their true curl definition because her hair has a very defined curl pattern, naturally.

Hair Styles

Women with 4abc coily/kinky hair as myself, have very little curl definition and lot’s of frizz.  Loose styles (afros and twist outs) don’t maintain moisture as well as braided or twisted styles do.  Type 4 hair also holds twists and braids with ease, no barrettes or bands are needed at the ends of the hair. Check out some of my favorite hair styles here.

Women with 3abc coily/curly hair have lot’s of curl definition. Loose styles can maintain moisture, but braided and twist styles don’t hold as easily, tending to loosen and become frizzy sooner.

Hair Care

Women with 4abc coily/kinky hair, have to moisturize frequently! When we don’t our hair is greatly effected by the lack of moisture.  For me I find success in moisturizing my hair every 3-4 days, but there are many who must moisturize on a daily basis.  Oils and butters absorb into the hair strand very easily.  Less washing is recommended to maintain moisture into the hair.  Check out my regimen, especially if you’re struggling with dry hair.

Women with 3abc coily/curly hair don’t need as much moisturizing, but all hair needs moisturizing and type 3 curlies are no exception.  The difference when it comes to type 3’s, is that if she moisturizes too often or if she uses heavy moisturizers, her hair will be heavy, weighed down and oily.  Frequent washing may be needed to control the moisture levels in her hair, this is especially true for type 3a.

My Hair

As I’ve stated time and time again, my hair is type 4, more specifically, I’m a type 4b with a hint of 4a in the very very back.

Jenell's Naked Hair In the video below I share what my naked hair looks like when it’s completely dry.

In the video below you can see  what my Type 4 hair looks like both wet and dry. Scroll to about 2 minutes and about 15 seconds. Enjoy!

Hair Type Charts

Here are a bunch of hair typing charts that you can use to help you determine what your hair type is. Click on the picture to enlarge and read details.

Source¹ NaturallyCurly Source² LOIS Hair Type System