When I decided to transition a few years back hair typing was a very hot topic and it still is today. And personally it’s just as confusing to me now as it was then when I first heard it mentioned on YT. Some of you may be wondering, what is hair typing? Well, basically it’s a hair classification system that was created to help women (and some men), especially those of us with curly/kinky textured hair, find products that would be most beneficial to our hair’s needs. The hair typing system was created by Andre Walker, a famed hair stylist to Oprah and author of the book Andre Talks Hair. Walker’s hair typing system is one of the most widely used and referenced systems in the natural hair community. Some naturalista’s swear by it and others simply think it’s just another way to cause division among us. But the question still remains is natural hair typing necessary?
Let’s take a closer look at Walker’s hair typing system:
|Hair Texture||Hair Description|
|1a||Straight (Thin/Fine)||Hair tends to be soft, shiny, oily and hard to damage. Does not hold a curl|
|1b||Straight (Medium)||Hair has a lot of volume.|
|1c||Straight (Coarse)||Hair is typically bone straight. Most Asian women have this texture.|
|2a||Wavy (Thin/Fine)||Hair has a definite “S” pattern and normally can accomplish many styles.|
|2b||Wavy (Medium)||Hair tends to be frizzy and often resistant to styling.|
|2c||Wavy (Coarse)||Hair has thicker waves, tends to be frizzy and resistant to styling.|
|3a||Curly (Loose Curls)||Hair has a definite “S” pattern, tends to be frizzy and is thick & full of body. It may also have a combination of textures.|
|3b||Curly (Tight Curls)||Hair tends to have a combination of textures and has a medium amount of curl.|
|4a||Kinky (Soft)||Hair has a more defined curl pattern, tightly coiled and tends to be very fragile.|
Hair has a less defined curl pattern; it’s more of a “Z” shaped pattern. The hair is very fragile and tightly coiled.
The most common hair types for women of color are Type’s 3 and 4. But even after narrowing it down to those, some (like me) still find it difficult to determine their hair type, simply because we typically have more than one texture on our heads. However, there are many women who have found this hair typing system to be very useful. If you are lucky to know your hair type, then more than likely there is a blogger/vlogger with the same texture…which means hair inspiration, styling ideas and product recommendations. And then there are those that think that the hair typing system is just another means of separation, “good hair vs. bad hair.”
Personally, I don’t find the hair typing system to be that useful for me….it’s a bit difficult to for me to truly categorize my hair. And although I haven’t always had the best luck when trying products, I have determined which products/ingredients work best for my hair from simple trial and error. However, I do understand that everyone may not be as fortunate as I am to have found products/techniques that work so using the hair typing system can be a very using tool in guiding you in the right direction. But always keep in mind that even if your hair is similar in texture to another naturalista’s, there is no guarantee that the same products/techniques will work for you. As always I suggest good ole’ trial and error when it comes to natural hair. And learning to love and embrace you texture no matter what it is.
So do you think natural hair typing is necessary?
UPDATE: Please note that the hair types 3c and 4c are not mentioned in the hair typing chart above. Type 3c and 4c were excluded because in my research I discovered that they were not a part of the original Andre Walker Hair Typing System but were later created and added by those in the natural hair community. Type 3c hair is curly (tight curls/corkscrews) with a circumference similar to that of a pencil or straw. And the curls can be either kinky or very tightly curled, with lots of strands densely packed together. Type 4c is very similar to type 4b however there is little to no definition.