Black Hair Types

Black Hair Types

Black hair is characterized by its richness in eumelanin pigmentation, making it the global darkest and most common hair color. It encompasses a wide range of textures, densities, and curl patterns, creating a unique hair type for each individual. Decoding black hair types involves considering various factors such as texture, porosity, density, and moisture retention capacity.

Categorically, black hair types can be divided into two main classifications: Type 3 and Type 4 hair. Type 3 hair features large curls, loose spiral curls, or springy tight spiral curls, and it requires proper moisture and cares to maintain its softness and avoid frizz. On the other hand, Type 4 hair exhibits tight coils, kinks, and zig-zag patterns, with Type 4c having no defined curl pattern. Handling Type 4 hair delicately is essential to prevent breakage and maintain moisture.

Understanding the nuances of black hair types empowers individuals to choose appropriate products and styling techniques for their unique hair needs. By embracing the diversity within black hair, individuals can nurture and showcase their hair’s natural beauty.

List of black hair types

Black hair types typically include two types: Type 3 and Type 4 hair. Therefore, let’s explore these two black hair types to facilitate your understanding of which category your hair belongs to. Identifying your hair type will assist you in effectively caring for it.

Type 3

  • 3A hair consists of very large curls and/or crinkly waves
  • 3B hair has loose spiral curls
  • 3C hair is characterized by springy tight spiral curls

Type 3 hair is generally soft but requires significant moisture, maintenance, and care. It is often styled as a wash & go, although there are countless style options available.

To minimize frizz and flyaways, it is advisable to use a gel, sebum, or edge control product specifically designed for Type 3 hair.

Avoid using heavy products as they tend to weigh down your curls, giving them a limp and greasy appearance. However, if you have 3C hair, you may be able to handle heavier products, but for those closer to 3A, it’s best to stick to lightweight moisturizers and oils.

Type 4

  • 4A consists of loose/tight coils while
  • 4B features a very tightly coiled/zig-zag pattern. On the other hand
  • 4C doesn’t have a distinct “curl” pattern

Type 4 hair is the curliest, showcasing tight curls, coils, and kinks. Despite its shrinkage, which gives the appearance of shorter hair, Type 4 hair remains highly versatile, even if it reaches waist-length.

Many individuals have a complex relationship with Type 4 hair, but with an understanding of its nature and how it responds to specific products and styling techniques, maintenance becomes manageable. It’s crucial to exercise caution when handling type 4 hair due to its vulnerability to breakage and tangling. 4a is characterized by small, ringlet curls and coils, and it can experience up to 70% shrinkage compared to its original length.

Type 4b behaves similarly to 4a but often has tight coils or a zig-zag pattern.

Type 4c is extremely delicate with no defined curl pattern and can shrink up to 85% of its length. It requires ample moisture and responds positively to the LOC or LCO method.

Problems of Black Hair Types

Hair types 3 and 4 have the most dryness. Prioritize moisturizing. Avoid frequent washing and choose a suitable sulfate-free shampoo, as sulfates strip away natural oils. After washing, apply a good moisturizer to prevent excessive dryness and enhance appearance.

Frizz is another concern for these hair types. Avoid using a brush to detangle hair, as it exacerbates frizz and disrupts curl patterns. Additionally, refrain from using a hair dryer, as it worsens frizz.

Black Hair Types Maintenance Tips

Maintaining black hair requires specific care to keep it healthy, hydrated, and protected from damage. Here are some essential tips:

Washing Frequency: It is recommended to wash tightly coiled black hair once a week or less to avoid removing essential oils and drying out the scalp and hair. However, individuals with scalp conditions like seborrheic dermatitis may need to wash their hair more often, as advised by a dermatologist.

Gentle Shampoo and Conditioning: Choose gentle, moisturizing shampoos that do not contain harsh ingredients like sulfates. Harsh shampoos can strip away natural oils and make the hair difficult to manage, leading to breakage. Use a conditioner with each wash, ensuring it coats the ends of the hair. Massage the scalp gently during washing and pat the hair dry with a towel instead of rubbing it.

Deep Conditioning: Incorporate deep conditioning or oil treatments once or twice a month to add moisture to the hair. Apply the treatment after shampooing to provide extra hydration and nourishment.

Moisturize the Scalp: Due to the coarse and kinky nature of black hair, it can be challenging to keep the scalp moisturized. Therefore, it is essential to moisturize the scalp correctly. Using products specifically designed for black hair, apply moisturizers or oils to keep the scalp hydrated and prevent dryness.

Heat and Styling: Minimize the use of heat styling tools and harsh products as they can cause damage and breakage. Avoid excessive heat from flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers, and opt for protective hairstyles to reduce manipulation and stress on the hair.

Regular Trimming: Regular trims are essential to maintain the health of black hair. Trimming split ends helps prevent further damage and breakage, promoting healthy hair growth.

Protect at Night: Use a satin or silk bonnet, scarf, or pillowcase to protect the hair while sleeping. These materials minimize friction and help retain moisture in the hair, reducing breakage and preserving hairstyles.


What type is black hair?

Black hair has a significant amount of eumelanin, a type of melanin, which makes it denser in eumelanin compared to hair colors like brown, blonde, and red. In English, different variations of black hair are often referred to as soft-black, raven-black, or jet-black.

What is natural black hair called?

People of African descent typically associate afro-textured hair with its tight coils, curls, or kinks, and commonly refer to it as ‘afro-textured hair’ or ‘kinky hair.’ These terms describe the unique texture and curl pattern of natural black hair.

Is black hair attractive?

The study’s findings state that lighter hair (blond and brown), in contrast to darker hair (black), is generally linked to perceptions of youth, health, and attractiveness. Additionally, it tends to generate more favorable views regarding relationships and parenting potential.

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