When first going natural, either via transitioning or big chop, many would have come face to face with the idea of hair typing, and all of the weight it carries in the natural hair world.
There are many different typing system, but the most common is the visual reference from NaturallyCurly.com and divides hair into: Type 2, Type 3 and Type 4. Each type even has its own subcategories (3a, 3b, 3c etc), and it’s all just really confusing so here’s a quick breakdown:
- Type 4 hair is typically very kinky and tightly coiled. The hair is densely packed, with a lot of shrinkage. Some Type 4 naturals can have a visible curl/coil pattern (4a/b), while others do not.
- Type 3 hair ranges from ringlets, to curls and loose ‘S’ patterns (3a). The hair curls are typically well defined and springy (3c). Some Type 3 naturals can experience shrinkage
- Type 2 hair is mainly wavy, loose curly hair that’s more resilient to styling.
But should you care?
Hair typing doesn’t take into account the important factors of your hair NEEDS, and its physical structure. Porosity, the protein and moisture balance and hair strand thickness are important when figuring out what products and routine methods works for you.
Also it’s more common than you think to have more than one hair type. As a natural with multiple hair types, each part needs to be treated uniquely either with less manipulation (i.e. finger-combing), or applying more/heavier style product in the kinkier areas.
So, short answer is: No, you shouldn’t care. Our natural hair is as unique to us as is our fingerprints, and relying on a chart to take care of hair isn’t ideal. But knowing hair types can have its benefits. It gives a good starting point for newly naturals to build upon for a hair regimen that’s tailored to them. Also meeting naturals with your same hair type is pretty exciting!
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