Natural hair is very complex and is as unique as a fingerprint, no 2 heads of natural hair are the same.
One of the most exciting aspects of natural hair is also simultaneously the most confusing.
While there are a number of ways you can go about determining your hair type, there are a few things you need to know before you will be able to accurately assess your own tresses.
The is the most common system used to describe curl pattern. Essentially, most Black women have curly (3) or kinky (4) hair. The A, B, & C refer to the diameter of the curl.
Knowing your hair type will enable you to choose more suitable products and will help provide you with guidance for how you should care for your hair. The typing system will also help to understand how your hair may look if you copy a particular style. Note that hair that is kinkier will be drier, because the tighter curl pattern makes it more difficult for natural hair sebum to reach the ends of the hair. Due to the nature of the coils makes kinky weak and prone to breakage hair. Hair texture determines hair strength, the more could the hair the weaker it tends to be.
The Quick and Easy Curl Pattern Guide:
|Type #||Hair Texture||Hair Description|
|1a||Straight (Fine/Thin)||Very Soft, Shiny, Hard to hold a curl, hair tends to be oily, hard to damage.|
|1b||Straight (Medium)||Has lots of body. (i.e. more volume, more full)|
|1c||Straight (Coarse)||Hard to curl. (i.e. bone straight) Most Asian women fall into this category.|
|2a||Wavy (Fine/Thin)||Can accomplish various styles. Definite “S” pattern. Hair sticks close to the head.|
|2b||Wavy (Medium)||A bit resistant to styling. Hair tends to be frizzy.|
|2c||Wavy (Coarse)||Hair has thicker waves. Also resistant to styling. Hair tends to be frizzy.|
|3a||Curly (Loose Curls)||Thick & full with lots of body. Definite “S” pattern. Hair tends to be frizzy. Can have a combination texture.|
|3b||Curly (Tight Curls)||Medium amount of curl. Can have a combination texture.|
|3c||Curly (Tight Curls or Corkscrews)||Tight curls in corkscrews. The curls can be either kinky, or very tightly curled, with lots and lots of strands densely packed together. (3c not in book)|
|4a||Kinky (Soft)||Tightly coiled. Very Fragile. Has a more defined curly pattern|
|4b||Kinky (Wiry)||Tightly coiled. Very Fragile. Less defined curly pattern. Has more of a “Z” shaped pattern.|
|4c||Kinky (Zingy)|| Some say 4c looks identical to 4b except that the curls are so tightly kinked, there is seemingly no definition. (Also not in book)
Charateristics Of Type 4 – Kinky Hair
• Type 4 is kinky, or very tightly curled, with a clearly visible curl pattern
• Circumference: Crochet needle or even smaller
• The hair is very wiry, very tightly coiled and very, very fragile
• Type 4 hair can range from fine/thin to wiry/coarse with lots and lots of strands densely packed together
• Type 4 hair has fewer cuticle layers than any other hair type, which means that it has less natural protection from the damage you inflict by combing, brushing, curling, blow-drying and straightening it
• Type 4 hair is known to shrink up to 75% of the actual hair length.
4a hair has a defined curl pattern almost like a “s” shape. Generally speaking it retains moisture fairly well, but as with most curly hair types can still be prone to dryness. Being that this hair type has a naturally defined curl pattern wash n’ go styles may be a great option as it can be easily achieved with the right product and technique. Gentle sulfate free cleansers, conditioners and rich creamy products or butters will be helpful for keeping hair moisturized.
4b hair has a “z” shape pattern and has a more fluffy cottony appearance. Due to the bends and curves in the hair strand it is highly susceptible to dryness and breakage. This hair type shrinks up to 70% so without stretching out the hair it will appear shorter than it actually is. Naturals with this hair type will benefit from protective (buns, twists, braids) and low manipulation styles (roller sets, ponytail puffs, twist outs) to protect the hair from damage. A lot of moisture, gentle cleansers and frequent deep conditioning will be helpful for naturals with 4b hair.
4c hair looks similar to 4b hair type only it is more tightly coiled. In its raw state (no products added and freshly washed) it does not have a defined curl pattern. Coils have to be defined by either twisting, braiding, or shingling through the strands. Many 4c naturals have shrinkage up to 70% or more. So while your hair may be 10 inches long it may appear like you only have 3 inches of hair if you do not stretch your hair out. It is the most fragile hair type, so if you desire to grow your hair long protective styles like twists, braids, or buns should be your go to style choice. These styles do not require daily manipulation (combing/brushing) giving hair less chances to break off. You can then wear your hair out for a couple of days in a low manipulation style (puffs, roller sets, twist outs) and then repeat the cycle for a balanced routine.
Tips For Type 4 Natural Hair
• Use styling creams, butters and oils for type 4 hair
• This hair type needs extra moisture and tender-loving care because it can be fragile
• Detangle hair with a lot of conditioner in your hair and use a comb or detangling brush
• Let hair air dry or use a hood dryer
• Do not use a brush or comb on your dry curls
• Reduce tangles by sleeping on a satin pillowcase or wrap hair in a satin cap.
MORE THAN ONE HAIR TYPE ON ONE HEAD OF HAIR?
it’s highly possible!
It is quite common for us to have more than one texture in our hair. Your edges may be 4b while the majority of your hair is 4c type. Or you may have 4c hair with some 3c strands for example. Remember no two heads of hair are alike. Hair type systems are good for learning about your hair or what could potentially be best for it, but they are by no means an absolute standard. Use it as guidance and always go by what you know works best for your hair.
Remember, All Hair Is Good Hair!
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