Afro-textured hair is a term used to refer to the typical texture of Black African hair that has not been altered by hot combs, flat irons, or chemicals (by perming, relaxing, or straightening).
Each strand of this hair type grows in a tiny spring-like, corkscrew shape. The overall effect is such that, despite relatively fewer actual hair shafts compared to straight hair, this texture appears (and feels) denser than its straight counterparts. Due to this, it is often referred to as 'thick', 'bushy', 'coarse' or 'wooly'.
For several reasons, possibly including its relatively flat cross section (among other factors), this hair type also conveys a dry or matte appearance. Its unique shape also renders it very prone to breakage when combed or brushed. The members of many post-Columbian Western societies have typically used adjectives such as "kinky", "nappy", or "spiralled" 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. One particularly popular version of these systems describes afro-hair as being 'type 4' (as opposed to the straight type 1, wavy type 2 and curly type 3); with the subcategory of type 4C being the most exemplary of the afro texture (Walker, 1997)