hair typing

Over the past few years women have been taking keen interest in gaining deeper knowledge about their hair. One of the aspects of this is the hair typing system. This is meant to help us understand our hair’s coil pattern, but has led to a lot of confusion as well.

First of all, where did the system come from? It was developed by Andre Walker (Oprah Winfrey’s hair stylist) to market his line of hair products. Herein lies the first problem. Since it was born out of commercial reasons, is it something to be trusted? TheĀ hair typing chart describes hair from types 1 to 4, with the former being the most straight and the latter, coily.

Merits

Understanding your hair type is beneficial. It enables you to understand why your natural hair looks the way it does. If yours is tightly coiled, for instance, you won’t stress over what products to apply to make it curly (like type 3 hair). This helps in accepting and loving your strands as they are.

It also guides you on what kinds of products to use. Looser curls require styling products that contain gel to ensure the style stays intact for long. Coily hair doesn’t need gel necessarily since the strands coil around themselves naturally.

Knowing one’s hair type comes in handy when developing a hair care regimen. Looser curled hair tends to retain moisture longer than tightly coiled hair. Thus is you’re in the latter category you’ll include products with lots of moisture, and hydrate your strands more often.

Demerits

There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to the sub-types. How do you tell the difference between type 3a, 3b and 3c for example? Two people can have the same hair type but their strands look different. Hence the online wars about ‘your hair isn’t really 3b’ and such. This defeats the purpose of supporting each other in the natural hair community.

Besides, it’s rare for someone to have only one type of hair. Most times there’s 2 or 3, but one is dominant. So for someone to say they’re type 4c is inaccurate. They are predominantly 4c with 4b in some sections, for examples.

Some crafty brands have developed entire product lines for each sub-type, taking advantage of newbies who think they can’t use products for the other sub-type.

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