17 April 2011

What's your HAIR TYPE?

Hair. Black hair. African hair. European hair. Caucasian hair. Mixed hair...este pelo mezclado. It comes in so many different textures and tones; and sometimes all on one person's head. For example, the hair to the front, sides and top of my head is very soft and almost straight. Now the middle is very thick with a wavy/curly texture. Then, at the very back of my head, my hair is still thick and coarse; but to me the curl is not as defined. 

I've grown up hearing hair being classified as 'straight', 'tough', 'hard', 'soft', 'good' and even 'knotty'. Now, whether you chose to embrace those terms took your view of what your hair meant to you, along different paths of hair care maintenance - if any at all.

Nelly Furtado - Type 2
But, being armed with a different mentality as I got older and especially having decided to go natural again, I'm really intrigued by the term 'hair typing'.

Focus - the Andre Walker classification
According to the classification system created by Andre Walker, it would appear that 'hair typing' focuses on your hair texture and by extension any curl formation, or lack thereof.

Why should you pay any attention to your hair type?
Well, for starters, you are better informed on how to style and care for your hair. And that leads you into buying the right kind of product(s) to maintain a healthy head of hair. As I've realized for many years now, manufacturers themselves type produce some of their brands. In other words, they make and label their products for a particular texture and type of hair. 
Here is an example:

Herbal Essences Totally Twisted
They recommend it for: Curly/wavy hair

Rachel True - Type 3

So, what are the different hair types?
As mentioned earlier, the system divides hair into categories. In this case there are four (4) classifications. Then, there are further classifications with letter definitions - a, b and c (in some instances).
  • straight
  • wavy
  • curly
  • kinky  

Category 1: Straight hair - no curl pattern
Straight hair ranges from being very fine to coarse in texture. It is also said to be the most difficult to curl or style. 

Category 2: Wavy hair - has 'S' pattern, more prone to frizz
a - FINE: easy to manage, but do not use products which can weigh hair down. Eg. use a mousse for styling
b - MEDIUM: very textured and has the tendency to be frizzy. May also be resistant to any styling
c - COARSE: tends to have thicker waves, and can be more difficult to put into some styles                                   

Category 3: Curly hair - very springy hair with a well-defined 'S' pattern
a - LOOSE CURLS: hair has naturally big, loose and bouncy curls
b - MEDIUM CURLS: hair with a medium amount of curls, tending to be tight in formation
c - TIGHT CORKSCREW: fine hair that is extremely tight, almost like it was done in a straw set. And are densely packed on the head, tend to be frizzy in texture and need lots of moisture

Jill Scott - Type 4
Category 4: Kinky/coiled hair - has a wave pattern, is very tightly coiled and tends to be fragile.
a - TIGHT COILS: so tight that even when stretched the 'S' pattern is still visible, needs to be moisturized
b - SOFT LETTER 'Z': somewhat softer than type a, wiry, but it's pattern is more of a bend then a curly 'S' shape. Thrives on moisture

If I were to follow this classification, I'd have to type myself as a 4b kinda chic!

But, then I believe there are women who may not find a relevant classification for their hair; nor do they care to be fitted into a box. On some reviews,  I have read about a 4c type which is mentioned as "undefined curls prone to dryness". And funny enough, I came across a Type 5 classification!  So have a read and maybe comment here on your thoughts.

However, regardless of whichever type of hair you have, in my opinion there are some things that are important:
  • Do not abuse with constant heat styling.
  • Moisturize when necessary.
  • Protect your tresses at bedtime. A silk scarf/head-tie works well for me.
  • Turn that deficit (in your eyes) into a positive! If you love your long hair but you think it is too fine, why not use a product to add some volume to your hair? Or, is your tightly coiled kinky type 4 stress to detangle? Why not condition, moisturize and braid it in cornrows (protective styling); then, do a braid out later in the week?
  • Humidity also plays a part when it comes to styling hair.
  • Just love your hair!

Naturaleza ( 0:

For additional reading you can see:


  1. I think that was very informative! I'm still growing out and the grade seems like it's continually changing. I think I might be a 3c for now, according to your article.

  2. bajanbeautyblogger28 November 2011 at 06:39

    the first time I went natural.. hairtype seemed like the all consuming question.  Now I just stick to the basics that work for my scalp and hair. clean scalp, moisturised hair and low manipulation


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