We All Have Good Hair: A Breakdown of Curl Patterns

April 18, 2012  |  

When we talk about something or someone being “good” we are referring to the thing or person doing what is expected of it or him/her. We call behaved children “good kids.” We call chaste women “good girls.” And when we refer to food that meets our expectations in terms of taste and presentation, we call that “good food.”

When it comes to our hair, the same applies. There are several different natural curl patterns; the way your hair naturally curls depends on which curl pattern you’ve been blessed with. With the right products and care, your hair will do exactly what it is supposed to do. Despite definitions that are as twisted as they are arbitrary, we all have “good hair.”

How is your natural curl pattern determined? Scientists say it’s the shape of the hair follicle. Follicles that are round in the cross-section produce straight hair. Follicles that are oval or irregularly shaped produce different degrees of curly hair.

What’s your natural curl pattern?

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  • Rather than hair “type”, you should have told us the manafacturer, and “kind” of hair that was. UGH!

  • Dee

    We all have good hair however out of 4 pictures of women of African history not even one shows “kinky hair”! Any wonder why people talk about “good hair”?

  • Pingback: African-American Hair: Is the Hair Type Chart Useful? | Kate Beauty Tips()

  • Teresa Vasquez78

    As a reader AND a hairdresser, I am absolutely DISGUSTED with this article. 1st of all, good hair is HEALTHY hair, regardless of texture. And you were perpetuating the stereotype instead of dispelling it when you can’t even show us examples of these hair types in true form. Black people do not have straight hair and NO one with coarse hair should be washing any more than once a week. You used a Mowry sister, of all people, to demonstrate what STRAIGHT hair looks like? Are you serious?! They have one of the best examples of curls out! Obviously ANYbody can write an uninformed, ignorant article, but my intelligence level will not allow me to read this fuckry. i stopped after the first two hair types… Ya’ll have seriously dropped the ball. I’m so good on MadamNoire. wasnt a regular reader anyway, but I DEFINITELY won’t be now.

  • TheRealTPayne

    Why in the world would you publish photos of women who are all wearing a weave? 

    • KickWhitesOutAfrica

      LOL ~ Brilliant question 🙂


      WOW……I was thinking the same thing….most of the pictures were weaves or wigs!!!  Just no common sense!!!

  • LovelyGal

    umm why did this article have to be of celeberities??? to make this post more helpful-pictures of ladies w/ the acutall textures wouldn’t hurt. but thats what sites like curlynikki and curlmart are for

  • Mls2698

    I only comb my curly/kinky hair once a week when I wash it; otherwise I just scrunch and go. No thanks

  • Mls2698

    Curse word! Unbeweavable.

  • Courtneyhilton52

    come on madame noire….really this article is not a good or concise depiction of hair types…i could have all these hair types all i gotta do is go to the bss

  • Wow

    Really? You mean you couldn’t find a single picture of a woman who wasn’t wearing a wig or a weave (save 1 or 2) to illustrate NATURAL curl patterns.

  • Business406

    LMAO at a weave with pin curls that the article claimed was “curly” hair. WTF? LOL!!

  • Phoenix

    Thank you for this article. I found it very helpful. 🙂

  • Nesandiego

    I love Ya Ya DaCosta’s hair. (4a)

  • Poetsgroove

    Ok all of the type 4 are real!

    • Mimi

      no, solonge is wearing a wig or weave. that’s not her real hair

      • NubianPrize

        Actually that just might be Solange’s real hair.She’s been featured in several articles I’ve seen saying she’s now rocking her natural hair. A while back she had a twa & apparently it’s grown out. Here’s an article from Essence:
        http://www.essence.com/2011/09/07/hairstyle-file-solange-knowles/However, I  do agree with the other posters that this article features too many weaves & wigs. BTW, I’ve seen other hair type analyses that say Solange & Esperanza have types anywhere from 3c to 4c. All this picky hair typing really doesn’t mean much because many times the products you use might depend more on the hair’s porosity, overall condition,moisture holding ability, & density as well as curl pattern. And some folks use hair typing as an updated form of the old good vs bad hair  wars.You can go crazy trying to type your hair only to find out that a product recommended for your type doesn’t work as well as one for another type.There are also waaaayyyy too many hair variations to classify in the black community . Don’t forget, Aussie Moist, Giovanni ,Herbal Essence,regular Pantene, VO5 & other products basically aimed at white girls’ hair often works very well on our hair & some of them with frizzy hair use OUR products. You can go crazy with hair typing if you have badly damaged or unhealthy hair & then find you have to change hair type products once your hair is healthy again.  Then there’s the fact that different products produce different  hair type looks.I just say I have type 4 hair & call it a day !!

  • Poetsgroove

    The Mowry sisters are naturally curly head girls!


  • Mrsadkiah

    There are no Black women with naturally straight hair….why did they show these women with their weaves? SMH.

  • (From Alissa Henry) – The pictures featuring women with obvious weave may have been a bad judgment call on my part. The intention is not to deceive. (We all know that’s not Tyra’s hair lol.) I just wanted to post a picture of a black woman – even if the black woman has weave – because mostly black women read this site. Don’t we all see enough pictures of non-black women in other magazines and websites? I meticulously chose each picture to illustrate the descriptions. In hindsight, I could have used different illustrations, but I hope you can at least appreciate the content of the article. Thanks for reading :-).  

  • Alissa Griffith

    (From Alissa Henry) – The pictures featuring women with obvious weave may have been a bad judgment call on my part. The intention is not to deceive. (We all know that’s not Tyra’s hair lol.) I just wanted to post a picture of a black woman – even if the black woman has weave – because mostly black women read this site. Don’t we all see enough pictures of non-black women in other magazines and websites? I meticulously chose each picture to illustrate the descriptions. In hindsight, I could have used different illustrations, but I hope you can at least appreciate the content of the article. Thanks for reading :-).

  • Gebella

    I really don’t care to know my “hair type”. I believe that my hair is healthy long and very very thick!! So what does it matter? Hair typing is just another for way people to create unnecessary drama. Who cares if you’re is nappy as tangled roots or have fine silky care. As long as you care for it appropriately you have “good hair”. 

    • Gebella

      fine sliky hair* 

    • fitnessforlife

      Hair typing assists people in finding the appropriate care regime for their hair – coming up for a viable strategy for maintaining think, healthy, tresses. If your hair is typed as a dryer texture, then you know that you can wash it every other day, or use certain products on it.

      • Gebella

        I understand that most people need to know their hair type to care for their hair and finding the specific products to use, like for instance going on YouTube and typing in your hair type and finding someone similar to your hair type and getting help and advice to nurture your hair. That’s fine, but I’m scared that folks are going to use hair typing to say, ” “I’m a 3a and my hair is so much better, thank God I don’t have that slave hair/4a-c!” That’s why I believe we shouldn’t really emphasize hair typing that much, because ignorant people out there will try to degrade people with kinkier have textures.

  • fitnessforlife

    Most of the women pictured are not wearing their hair in it’s natural state, without chemical process or alteration (weaves/wigs). If you’re trying to make the point that we all have good hair, and that all textures are acceptable, I think it’s important to show natural hair, because we can all alter our hair style.

    1. Straight – None of those ladies are sporting their natural textures.
    2. Wavy – Who is that? K.D. Aubert is the only one sporting natural hair. The other two ladies styles have been either chemically or heat processed.
    3. Curly – Beyonce’s hair is the only one that might be it it’s natural state
    4. Kinky – Solange is wearing a weave

  • If I’m chicana and my hair is more like a straight wavy and my boyfriend is black and has curly-ish hair…what will our daughter’s more likely be? So far it looks curly-ish, but my hair used to be way curlier than hers when I was her age…

    • Mls2698

      It will be HER hair. Perfect!

  • LezMiz

    It would be more helpful if there were examples of people with their natural hair for 3a, 3b, and 3c. There are probably some black and mixed celebs out there with those hair types; I would rather see them than these chicks with weaves. I’m not sure why we had equal time dedicated to types 1 and 2 at all TBH. No offense, but this is a black site, and we have almost always types 3 and 4.

  • I wish this article wasn’t full of pictures of lacefronts and weaves!!
    Also ‘hair types’ these are all ‘hair styles’

    • fitnessforlife

      exactly, they could have used images of close up images of these hair textures, using hair in its natural state.

    • Mrsadkiah

      You put it perfectly “hair STYLES” not “hair TYPES”

  • Colliz6

    I don’t see what everybody here is fussing about. Weave or not the hair textures straight, wavy and curly were illustrated accurately. And the information listed for each of them are on point. We all know Tyra banks doesn’t have naturally straight hair. The author didn’t say that, so how is that trying to fool anyone??? The purpose of the article is to show the differences between different hair types not necessarily to show the models’ true curl patterns. So stop being so petty. GEESH!!!! 

    • fitnessforlife

       Know, this article suggests a facade that all of our natural hair types are embraces, accepted (we all have good hair)…If society generally felt that way; if this were a prominent sentiment among blacks, then most of the women pictured would be wearing their natural hair textures. OR, Madamenoire would have utilized better suited pictures.

  • i agree with many of the posters that the images dont give a good idea of the actual hair types… check out the naturally curly site and you can see pics of differnet real women and the 1-4 hair types plus tips on how to maintain that hair type.

  • Nefijones1

    Thanks for the information in the article, but honestly too many photos of the women shown – with the exception of a few are mostly women with wigs and weaves.

    Please don’t play the readers like this again!  It’s not cool.

  • Chliz88

    All these black women they posted for number 1, 2 and 3…they’re NARUTAL hair is number 4. Please stop playin!

  • Boo

    I don’t understand why most of the pictures in this article have women with wigs on… someone was being lazy and it was not respected. 

    • ok_dayumm

      Seriously though…with as many women who are natural now and all the photos and info that’s out there to rely on….just plain LAZY!

  • Black_diamond_44

    I don’t know why you posted this. Why, with the exception of the last curl pattern, are you showing women with weaves and lace fronts and not women that actually have those types of hair styles.

  • PrivateDancer

    I understand the concern about the fact that most of what we are seeing here are weaves, but they are still basically the textures being discussed, so still helpful in my opinion.

  • RenJennM

    Pictures of women with weaves, huh? smh… wow.

  • Lady A

    I’m in two minds with this article. It’s great that you showed the different hair types and they all have a name because I hate when someone says they have black hair; so it’s great to see publications like MN  give it a name. BUT all the individuals shown for 1 to 3 are wearing weaves and it’s really unhelpful. I agree with HUGGS2012 it would have been more useful if you had shown the hair patterns. Now can we have some more articles on best products to use on hair types 4 please.:-)

  • J A SASSY aka salon22w

    message to all white women.. dont come with the crap.. why dont  black  women shampoo their hair every day.. duh,, we dont have to , we dont have that oily licey stinking mess you have on your head.. our hair is drier and we can go longer without it smelling like your hair.. thank goodness.. so now who has the worst hair again?

    • guest

      no need to bash another’s hair…be confident in your own and f*#! whatever  is said otherwise.

  • CaliGirlED

    Wash every day, every other day? This is not for Black women. And like Gabby said below, most of the pics shown were of weaves. 

    • sweettea

      Can you wash a weave that often? I never had one so I’m curious

  • justme

    honestly this article didnt show true hair…most of the pic are of women that wear weave…show me some women with their natural hair…

  • Gabby

    Is this article a joke? Most of these girls (minus the girls with the 4 a-c hair types) have weave in! Thats not their hair. 

    • LiiSH

       I was dead at all those pics of weaves and lace fronts…

    • Jay

      I was going to same thing.  This article is a fail in regards of visuals. Nobody can determine their hair type with this.

  • Huggs2012

    I wished they had photos of just the hair patterns and not styled hair as examples or even both. That way it would be easier to determine your natural hair pattern.