Natural hair is a fabulous thing, but to get the most out of your hair, you’ll need to learn your hair type, and choose products and hairstyles that work for your particular curl pattern. For the newly natural, it can be a confusing ordeal to learn your hair type, but once discovered, it can make your life as a natural diva fairly easier. There are several hair types of natural hair, and all are classified by curl pattern and texture.
This type system was created by hair stylist to the stars, Andre Walker, but I suggest you don’t get too obsessed with this system or your particular hair type.
Here are the types of natural hair.
Type 4 hair is considered kinky hair. This particular hair type is tightly coiled and extremely delicate. It requires lots of care, and is known to lack in shine, even though it may be in a healthy state, but it does have a natural sheen. This kind of hair is usually soft, and fine by nature.
Although described as kinky, do not be mistaken, as this hair type has curls. These particular curls are very tight, and require much attention. The majority of African American women have this hair type, or at least some patches of it.
The are two subtypes of type 4 hair: A and B.
4A hair is tightly coiled. When stretched, it has a S pattern, which is very resembling of curly hair. 4B hair is less defined than 4A hair, and resembles a Z when it is stretched. It doesn’t bend or actually curl in traditional forms, but instead bends in very sharp angles similar to the letter Z. It also has less moisture than 4A hair, hence, it has a more wire like texture.
With this particular hair type, when wet, it will appear straight. Once the hair dries, a curl pattern will become visible. Humidity seems to make this kind of hair curlier, and in most cases, frizzier. When it comes to body, this hair has lots of it, and tends to be pretty easy to style. It can even be easily straightened with a blow drier; and is shiny, with small curls and plenty of elasticity.
This hair type has three subtypes. 3A type hair is very loosely curled, and usually shiny with bigger curls. Length is a factor in its curl definition, as shorter hair tends to be straighter, and long hair tends to have a tighter curl pattern. 3B type hair has medium sized curls to tight corkscrews. It is usual to see a mixture of both in one head full of hair. 3C is the final subtype, which is usually described as tight curls in corkscrews. These curls can be tightly curled or kinky.
This type of hair is described as the more wavy hair type, and usually has a definite s shaped pattern. It also has three subtypes, with 2A usually described as easy to manage. It can be straightened with a blow dryer relatively easy. Types 2B and 2C are harder to style and tend to frizz a lot easier than 2A hair.
Caring For Your Hair Type
Every hair type has different needs. When selecting a product, keep a couple things in mind.
If you’re a type 4, you’re looking for moisture and curl definition. Any product you select, should help with either or both. If not, you’re wasting some serious money.
For Moisture, I suggest the following products:
Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding
Organic Jojoba Oil
Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter
Shea Terra Certified Organic Shea Butter
Tip: Look for products that contain glycerin, honey, shea butter, and propylene glycol. Some naturals have even created their own mixture of oils and water to create the perfect moisturizer. Try water and coconut oil if you’re on a budget.
For Curl Definition, I recommend:
Oyin Handmade Style & Define
Eco Styler Gel with Olive Oil (Use an additional moisturizer)
IC Fantasia Gel (Use an additional moisturizer)
Kinky-Curly Curling Custard
Beauty Blended Curl Styling Butter
If you’re a type 3, you’ll need to focus on tackling dryness and frizziness. So you’ll need products that moisturize, as well as products that manage friziness.
For moisture, I recommend:
Oyin Handmade Frank Juice
Oyin Handmade Honey Wash
Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner
Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk
Kinky-Curly Curling Custard
Curl Junkie Coffe-Coco Cream
For frizziness, I recommend:
Blended Beauty Curly Frizz Pudding
CURLS Curl Souflle
If you’re a type 2, you’ll need to tackle frizziness, as it will be your greatest obstacle.
While it’s good to know about your hair texture and type, it’s definitely not an issue for you to obsess over. The reality is, we all have a combination of different hair textures, and we all have unique hair in some shape or form. No hair type is better than the other, since every hair type is God given.
Personally, I’m not big on the hair type method, but I do think it’s important to learn what your hair likes and despises product wise. When you learn about your hair, it’s easier to find products and ingredients that will work. I’m a type 4, and my hair loves moisture. Moisture alone will define my curls, so I seek products that have lots of moisture. To lock in the definition, a light gel works well for me. Some need expensive products to get the results they desire, while others do not. Trial and error will be your very best friend when it comes to natural hair.