Q: HAIR TYPING. YOU NATURAL HAIR PEOPLE AND YOUR BIG GRAMMAR. *eye roll* WHAT’S THIS ONE NOW?
A: Hair Typing did not start with the natural hair community. Indian hair weaves are sought after by many for being wavy. Probably all the Chinese people you’ve seen on TV have straight hair. If you see a Nigerian with really curly hair, your first instinct is to think that she’s kind of mixed race abi? You my friend, have been hair typing with your eyes for as long as you’ve noticed the difference. :p
The origin of the system of hair typing as it is formally known today is credited to celebrity hair stylist, Andre Walker. He’s famous for being Oprah’s stylist and he classifies hair under four umbrellas in his book- ‘Andre Talks Hair’.
Q: WHAT IS THIS SYSTEM BASED ON?
A: This system of classifying hair is based on the feature of curl pattern. Your curl-pattern is one of the things you were born with, pre-determined by your genes, your cortex merely acts on instructions from source.
When you were a baby, your hair was really soft, wavy or curly and not as thick as it is today. As you grew, this changed- not because of anything you ate or because of anything you did. (I don’t know about type 1 or 2 baby hair but I know this is true for us Africans) Puberty I’ve read, can change your hair type. BUT the way your hair decides to curl or not curl is not something determined with your permission. The system of hair typing is based on naturally occurring, chemically unaltered curl patterns.
Q: OKAY… LET’S GET INTO THIS ALREADY, SHALL WE?
A: Yes, of course. Hair is classified under four umbrellas based on the naturally occurring curl pattern.
1 A, B, C. 2 A, B, C. 3 A, B, C. 4 A, B, C.
The letters in the typing system refer to the circumference and type of curl. Like imagine a strand of your hair as a slinky or a spring. Circumference of a circle is the total area the circle can go round. It’s the same with a curl. Circumference here refers to how big a curl is, like what can fit into the slinky or spring; something your curl or spring can easily accommodate in its middle.
For Type 3 hair, “a” is the circumference of sidewalk chalk; “b” is the circumference of a sharpie marker pen and “c” is the circumference of a pencil or a straw.
For Type 4 hair, the circumference is of a crochet needle or maybe smaller.
Type 1: Straight hair. 1A, 1B, 1C.
This hair type has no curl. This makes some people say that it is the most manageable of all the hair types. However, it is prone to tangles and split ends.
Any Africans with straight hair? I don’t think so.
Type 2: Wavy Hair. 2A, 2B, 2C.
Type 2 hair is somewhere between 1 and 3. Not straight, not curly either, what we have come to know as wavy hair.
Type 3: Curly Hair
This hair type has a definite loopy “S” pattern.
3A: has the most defined and most obvious loopy S. It’s circumference is that of sidewalk chalk.
3B: as previously mentioned, it is the circumference of a sharpie marker pen.
3C: this hair type has the circumference of a pencil or a straw.
Type 4: Kinky Hair
Kinky hair is tightly coiled. It is said to be the most delicate hair type, but it is no less manageable. Type 4 hair has the circumference of a crochet needle, or smaller.
4A: it has an “S” pattern, less obvious or defined than a Type 3 S-curl, but it’s there. It’s a little more obvious when stretched (and by stretched I don’t mean straightened in this case. If I pick my hair and pull a strand to the left or right, or anywhere, I’m stretching) Can you see the loopy S?
Type 4B hair bends in sharp angles like a zigzag similar to a “Z” pattern. It has little visible curl defintion. This is a little difficult for me to explain right now BUT just look at the pictures. The Type 4B hair is clearly curlier than Type 4C but not as curly as Type 4A.
4C hair is very tightly coiled with a short, “Z” curl pattern. It has the least visible curl definition. Some say it has no visible curl definition whatsoever. This is because it is so tightly coiled.
Q: IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE MORE THAN ONE HAIR TYPE?
My hair for the most part, is 4C Kinky hair. However, a small community behind my right ear does not feel as kinky as the rest of my head. I think it’s 4B territory. Not enough to make a difference though, at least not right now. And I have a few 4A strands like these that stand out.
This is just to say that I know for a fact that this is possible. SO many combination naturalistas abound. Your 4A side may not like to be combed with as much pressure, or may need more of a particular product than your 4C side or vice versa. Please be observant and treat your hair, or parts of it as it wants you to.
Are you bored yet? I hope not. This is the second of three posts on the phenomenon of Hair Typing. The final bit will be here on Friday, same time at noon. Don’t miss it! You could subscribe by email so that you don’t forget. 🙂
So my people, what’s your hair type? Share! x