You’ve probably heard that you should choose haircare products based on your hair type, but it’s all so confusing! 1C, 3A, 2B, oily, dry, combination, high porosity, low porosity–what does it all even mean?! If you don’t know your hair terminology, it all sounds like, gibberish, right?
Fortunately, we’re here to decode it all. Here’s how to understand the different hair types so you can choose the right haircare products for your hair.
Let’s start with all those numbers and letters. Hair types can seem super confusing at first, but they’re really just a way of defining whether you have straight, wavy, curly, or coily hair. Type 1 is straight, type 2 is wavy, type 3 is curly, and type 4 is coily. Pretty simple, right?
Now, think of the letters as degrees of texture. 1A is straight, fine hair. 1B is still straight but has a bit of bend. And 1C is straight, coarse hair. Type 2A is loose waves, 2B is wavy with a more clear “S” shape, and 2C is wavy with obvious “S” shapes.
You have type 3A hair if your curls make loose loops, type 3B if you have tighter, bouncy curls, and type 3C if your curls form an “S” or “Z” and return to their shape after being stretched. Finally, you have type 4A hair if you have loose S-shaped coils, type 4B if you have zig-zag coils, and type 4C if you have tight coils.
Straight hair tends to be on the oily side, so dry shampoo is good to have on hand. Wavy hair does well with mousse or sea salt spray. You’ll want to choose curl-defining products for curly hair. And coily hair needs plenty of moisture, so look for products that contain natural conditioners like cocoa and shea butters.
When it comes to choosing haircare products, knowing your hair’s porosity is pretty important, too. Porosity refers to how porous your hair is, which determines how well it absorbs moisture.
If you have high porosity, your hair both absorbs and loses moisture easily. In contrast, if you have low porosity, it’s hard for your hair to absorb products. But once moisture enters your hair shaft, it’s also not easily lost.
If you have low porosity hair, you’ll need to choose haircare products with humectants, like aloe vera, to help your hair get the moisture it needs. Learn how to tell your hair’s porosity here.
You’ll also hear hair referred to as oily, dry, or combination. These terms refer to how much natural oil your hair produces and retains. If you have oily hair, you tend to produce a lot of sebum, so your hair looks greasy. If you have dry hair, your hair doesn’t produce or retain oil as well and can be prone to frizz and breakage. And if you have combination hair, your hair tends to be oily near the roots and dry at the ends.
It’s important to know which type of hair you have because you’ll need to choose haircare products that help you remove excess oil or add additional moisture, depending on your personal needs. In general, we recommend Citrus Yao if you have oily hair and Terrace Garden or Hidden Waterfall if you have normal or dry hair. Some people with combination hair also choose to use Citrus Yao at the roots and Terrace Garden for the rest of their hair.
Now that you understand different hair types, it’s time to start shopping!
Still have questions? Take our hair quiz for personal recommendations.