Black hair has long been seen as a mark of pride, yet many of us struggle to maintain healthy strands with styles that suit our textures. Andre Walker first created a hair texture chart to market his product line, categorizing hair into four categories – straight, wavy, curly, and kinky.
Although with controversy, Andre Walker’s hair classification system has gained widespread support among natural hair communities. Professional Black hairstylists and beauty influencers – not to mention an entire TikTok community – utilize it as their preferred way of categorizing curls.
Straight hair has several varieties, from super fine and thin (1A) to coarse and thick (1C). People with this texture usually benefit from clarifying shampoos and volumizing wash and care systems; additionally, they can utilize various styling products to add waves or curls for style variations.
Wavy hair types range from soft and romantic (2A), to beachy and loose (2B). 2C waves have more of an S-shaped wave pattern and may experience frizziness in humid climates; therefore, they should utilize products designed to control frizz, like frizz-control serum or gels or products which give volume or bounce for best results.
If your roots feature straighter textures that gradually transition into more wavy waves as you progress down your mid-lengths, this could be Type 2 hair. Less frizzy than other curls, Type 2 curls require special care in their management and maintenance.
Type 2A strands feature fair straight near the scalp with subtle waves at eye level. Type 2B curls feature loose corkscrew curls. Both of these types may be susceptible to frizz, so using leave-in conditioners and light products is vital to keeping them healthy.
Type 3 strands are tightly coiled and more susceptible to frizz than other curl types, while Type 4 is composed of tight coils with tight coils resembling waves that kink into their locks tightly, making care difficult and time-consuming. Heat styling tools should be avoided while working with this texture, opting for mousses or gels for styling purposes instead.
“Kinky hair” is an affectionate term for this black natural hair texture with tight coils, coil-kinks, and kinks that often form tight curls that tend to shrink dramatically over time. Additionally, this versatile style can easily be changed using LOC and the appropriate styling tools.
Brown states that to identify whether your hair falls into this category, you should examine it when wet and examine its structure. “Big, s-shaped curls indicate type 3A hair,” according to her, while loose spirals indicate type 3B.
Type 4c hair features tight zig-zag patterns with very fine to coarse textures ranging from very fine. This delicate black hair texture requires frequent moisture and conditioning treatments; thick natural emollients like mango or shea butter may work best as solutions.
Andre Walker, Oprah Winfrey’s hairdresser, created the Hair Texture Chart, which has become an indispensable resource in Black women’s natural hair journeys. Used by professional stylists as well as TikTok creators and beauty influencers to categorize curl patterns, the chart has proven immensely popular despite some criticism for encouraging whiteness and euro centricity while stigmatizing kinkier curls.
The hair texture chart categorizes 4a hair types into subtypes according to their curl patterns. Individuals with 4a hair have medium-sized, loosely packed coils with an “S” shape that don’t interlock like those seen in 4b and 4c types; each strand has its spiral shape. 4a has high porosity for maximum product absorption while being particularly susceptible to breakage – for this reason, Ahmed recommends protective styles and regular deep conditioning treatments to maintain long, healthy locks.