Afro-textured hair is a term used to refer to the natural texture of Black African hair that has not been altered by hot combs, flat irons, or chemicals (through perming, relaxing, or straightening).

Adjectives such as “kinky”, “nappy”, “wooly,” or “spiralled” have frequently been used to describe natural afro-textured hair. More recently, however, it has become common in some circles to apply numerical grading systems to human hair types.


Type Of Hair Texture Hair Description

1a Straight (Fine/Thin) Very Soft, Shiny, Hard to hold a curl, hair tends to be oily, hard to damage.
1b Straight (Medium) Has lots of body. (i.e. more volume, more full)
1c Straight (Coarse) Hard to curl (i.e. bone straight). Most East Asians fall into this category.
2a Wavy (Fine/Thin) Can accomplish various styles. Definite “S” pattern. Hair sticks close to the head.
2b Wavy (Medium) A bit resistant to styling. Hair tends to be frizzy.
2c Wavy (Coarse) Hair has thicker waves. Also resistant to styling. Hair tends to be frizzy.
3a Curly (Loose Curls) Thick & full with lots of body. Definite “S” pattern. Hair tends to be frizzy. Can have a combination texture.
3b Curly (Tight Curls) Medium amount of curl. Can have a combination texture.
3c Curly (Corkscrews) Tight curls in corkscrews. The curls can be either kinky, or very tightly curled, with lots and lots of strands densely packed together.
4a Kinky (Soft) Tightly coiled. Very Fragile. Has a more defined curly pattern
4b Kinky (Wiry) Tightly coiled. Very Fragile. Less defined curly pattern. Has more of a “Z” shaped pattern.
4c Kinky (Wiry) Tightly coiled. Very Fraglie. Almost no defined curl pattern. Curls almost never clump together.


One popular version of these systems classifies afro-textured hair as ‘type 4’ (straight hair is type 1, wavy type 2, and curly is type 3, with the letters A, B, and C used to indicate the degree of coil variation within each type) with the subcategory of type 4C being most exemplary of this hair type (Walker, 1997). However, afro-textured hair is often difficult to categorize because of the many different variations among individuals. Those variations include pattern (coils, springs, zig zags, s-curves), pattern size (watch spring to chalk), density (sparse to dense), strand diameter (fine, medium, wide) and



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