As we step into the natural hair world we are bombarded with terms, products, methodologies and suggestions. It’s enough to make your head spin, isn’t it? One term that you will encounter many times is “hair type”. This term flourished out of Andre Walker’s curl pattern classification.
It is useless to say we’ve all noticed that African hair comes in different curl patterns. But did I ever imagined that I could fit into a category? No. I can’t say that I have. However, ever since I started this transitioning adventure (that is how it feels sometimes!) and the term “hair type” started popping out like popcorns, I couldn’t help but wonder – “Where do I fit in?”.
What is the Hair Type (Curl Pattern) Classification?
Simply put, curl pattern can go from straight to kinky/coily hair. In his book, Andre Walker identified 4 different hair types and each one has 3 subcategories (a, b and c).
How Does This Classification Help Me?
You may ask yourself “How does this classification help me?”. Well, the purpose of this classification is to help us find the right products for each hair type. In general, each category has a specific set of characteristics. Check the following chart to see some of the characteristics (click to see larger image).
By now you might have an idea of where your natural hair fits in and what products you need to care for it. However, can you fit nicely into just one category?
Personally, my hair ranges between all categories of type 3 hair. The same thing probably happens to you too. You could fall between hair type 3c and 4a. So is hair typing that important?
Oh, Boy…! Hang In There.
There are other factors which are important to consider such as porosity, density, texture and elasticity. Now you’re probably thinking “Oh, boy…!! What am I getting into?”. I know, I know… It’s a lot of information, but I promise you it will be worth it. Your hair will thank you! Hang in there!
I will talk about porosity in my next post as we unbox the intricacies of natural hair in this blog post series. Until then, I would like to know which type do you think your natural hair is and if knowing this is helpful to you in any way.
Can you identify your hair type?
The truth is every African American woman has several different types of curls/coils in their hair. I have 4a, b and c, and the hair in the back of my head is actually a type 3. No joke. That’s why I just stopped trying to find products that worked on my hair. I only use organic oils and a mild, organic soap to clean and nourish my hair. If I want a style and I want it to stay, I use Kinky Curly, because it’s the only thing that actually works as far as products go. Everything else basically hates my hair (or my hair hates it). That includes mayonnaise, silicone treatments, eggs and even products you use to just oil your scalp. None of it does anything for my hair. It doesn’t soften it or anything, and mayo actually dries it out. Ick. My hair is its own beast, and I’ve accepted that.
Hello Kinya, welcome back! You are right hair type is not the most important thing when caring for natural hair as I say in my final of the Unboxing Natural Hair. It sounds like you have low porosity hair and products just seem to seat on top of the hair strand. Read this post if you want to know how to improve it. Also your type 4 hair is thicker which normally means hair that is stronger, hair that doesn’t need much protein because it leaves it dry. So be careful when using products which have protein.
This is a great website with very useful info. Great job.
Thank you Misty!
OMG I LOVE THIS SITE!! I have very curly hair and it’s hair to find people/information that understands the everyday woes of having a head of hair like ours.
Bookmarking this site!!
Thank you Brianna. Hope to see you here again in the comments section.