HAIR BASICS- HAIR TYPING 3

Hello you! We are still learning about the fundamentals of understanding hair and today, we conclude the lesson we started on Monday on the system of Hair Typing. So far, we know that

1. hair may be classified into 4 groups, according to naturally occurring curl patterns.

2. We’ve got Type 1- Straight hair (no curl), Type 2- Wavy hair (not straight but not really curly either), Type 3- Curly hair (well defined loopy S pattern of curls) and Type 4- Kinky hair (less defined curl pattern. Ranges from a slight S pattern to a zigzag pattern to tightly coiled hair with no visible curl definition).

3. Yes, it is possible to have more than one hair type.

If you missed the last post, please read it here. If you’re new, the blog is currently in session, going back to school, trying to understand the very fundamentals of hair- what hair is, how it functions, why it acts the way it does, you are welcome to join the Hair Basics series.

Q: IS ANY TYPE BETTER THAN OTHERS?

A: No.

Yes I know, in Nigeria and beyond, people feel like the looser your curls are, the better. For one too many people, Good Hair = Loose curls. There’s a documentary I should find and put up a link to. I came upon it when I was transitioning and I was really shocked that people seriously think like this and it’s not just bants. A woman actually cried tears of joy (And relief?) when she saw that her baby didn’t have “nappy hair” like her, but “good hair” like his daddy. The occasional celebrity comment (hey Brandy) or random guy tweeting about wanting “good hair” for his kids. Or relaxed girls saying things like “The Natural hair thing is not for everyone.” Or even the random unnecessary comment you see in a problem solving forum from fellow naturals on a problem that has nothing to do with them- “Oh my 3C hair is like butter.” “Sectioning? My hair is so soft, I don’t need to section when I wash.” Who said you section because hair is soft? Who asked you sef? :s

Haha this should probably be a post on its own. Please please PLEASE do not listen to any of that. Do not let anyone intimidate you or oppress you. People of all hair types have bad hair days. All hair types get tangled and messy and have the potential to break combs. No hair type is better than others. If your hair is tightly coiled, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do- it’s being good. Just get to understand the features of your hair, and soon you’ll be on your way to figuring out what your hair needs. Give your hair what it needs and IT WILL cooperate.

Q: OKAY EKENE. HERE, HAVE SOME SPRITE. IS IT POSSIBLE TO PERMANENTLY CHANGE YOUR CURL PATTERN?

A: No.

In the post on Hair Structure, I tried to present the anatomy of hair; what it’s made of and how it functions.

Our hair keeps growing. The bit you’ve relaxed or processed or whatever might change your cortex (for a long or short while) but the hair that keeps growing out your follicle is never going to change. The external message never gets to the heart of it where the growth process begins, in your follicle. It’s not permanent if you have to do touch-ups and do this thing or rub that thing every now and then.

Q: PLEASE TELL ME AGAIN WHY THIS IS RELEVANT?

A: I used to think Hair Typing was really important. It is clearly not unimportant but let me just say, it’s not the beginning and the end.

Appreciating the different curl patterns certainly helped me be reasonable with my expectations. For instance, kinky hair tends to shrink, sometimes as much as 75% of its actual length. If I didn’t know this, I’d probably be frustrated that my teeny weeny afro only looks like half its real size or length when it’s not stretched out. I also think it’s going to be helpful when I start styling because kinky hair do what kinky hair do, and curly hair do what curly hair do. For this, I really love that the good people at BGLH feature fab naturalistas hair/styling stating their hair types.

Please beware of sweeping generalisations! Hair typing is largely based on the outside look of hair. There are other features of your hair- porosity, density, thickness and elasticity- that truly affect what goes on on the inside. These factors and their relationships with each other are the real big guys, who push the buttons to determine what exactly you should use on your hair and what to do to your hair, the nitty gritty. These things cut across all hair types and not knowing them will affect you more than knowing your hair type will. Don’t just lean on what you’ve heard about Type this or Type that. It is your business to figure out what works and does not work for your hair.

Next week, we’ll be moving on to a very very very VERY important fundamental, Hair Porosity.

Till then, my people. What do you think about hair typing? What’s your hair type? Share!

x

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10 thoughts on “HAIR BASICS- HAIR TYPING 3

  1. hi. I’ve been reading your blog because I want to ‘go natural’. My hair has been constantly relaxed for like 15 years. Someone told me that I should let my hair become ‘due’ again then leave only the new growth(cut my hair low) someone else told me that I have to scrape off all my hair.

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    • Hey Deaduramilade, thanks for reading!

      There are two roads to this market
      1. let your hair become due, and after a few months when you’re ready, cut the rest off, leaving only the new growth. This is called transitioning. It could be for months, or even as long as 2 years- just as you like. Till you get a length you’re comfortable with. OR you could wait for all your hair to become due. I transitioned for nine months before my big chop.
      2. Just cut everything off.

      They’re both right (ish) I’m saying, one way isn’t the best way. Do what you’re comfortable with. If you feel like chopping it all off, Do it! If you still need some mental preparation, and don’t think you’re ready to not have hair on your head, transition. Don’t relax your hair, and you cut off your undergrowth when you’re ready.

      Thank you for reading! And please let me know what you eventually decide 🙂

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      • hi Ekene, thanks. I finally cut my hair. I didn’t cut it all off but I cut off a lot. It wasn’t planned. I just did it.

        Now I want to dye my hair. I don’t know if using regular dye will damage my natural hair.

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      • Yay, congratulations on your big chop!! ^_^
        I haven’t dyed my hair, ever- but I’ve read it/heard a few times that even with relaxed hair, one can’t just choose any dye. Some dyes have been reviewed to be less lasting or more drying than others.

        Yes you can use a regular dye, or you could try some homemade options like henna + red wine or zobo (for a reddish tint)- or even do highlights with eyeshadow (yes, eyeshadow) like CurlyNikki does here- http://www.essence.com/2012/11/01/ask-curlynikki-how-can-i-highlight-my-hair-without-damaging-my-curls/

        I’ve heard/read quite a few times that when you colour your hair, you have to moisturise extra because your hair is much more fragile than usual.

        Please be careful! Do a little research before you color. Congratulations again on the big chop! I wish you a wonderful hair journey!
        x

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  2. Pingback: HAIR BASICS- POROSITY « AFRIKAN BUTTERFLY

  3. I like your blog. Wish we could see more pictures though…I’m a 4C and styling is usually soooo not easy, except my default- an afro. Don’t stop writing! You’re helping a lot…

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    • Thank you 🙂
      I know the posts can be a little too wordy, I’ll try to post more pictures.
      Hopefully, when my hair is long enough to start styling, I can explore that- and have more pictures to post.

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