I was looking up some information on hair typing (you know 3c, 4a, etc.) the other day and ran into a forum thread where there were 17 pages of replies on the subject. I admit that I sat there and read all 17 pages – can you say “ultimate lurker”? In the thread, ladies were posting pictures of their hair and having others tell them their hair type. It was an interesting thread.
I have been on other forums where hair typing is strongly discouraged; sometimes resulting in somewhat heated arguments. Some people believe that using the different systems of hair typing is just another way to say, “my hair is better than yours.” Others feels that it is a good tool to know what products and hair routines may work best for them.
I’m not 100% on where I can stand on the whole issue of hair typing. I’ve been asked my hair type a few times over the years, but I never knew what answer to give. I just know that my hair is thick, coarse and tends to coil up about the size of a coffee stirrer. I’m not too sure if that puts me at 4a or 4b. On one hand, I’m beginning to be pretty curious about the whole thing while on the other hand I wonder if any of it even matters.
My questions to you:
Do you think that hair typing causes a divide among the natural hair community?
I believe hair typing is useful and no I don't see it as a another way of saying "my hair is better than yours". Its simply a way to get to know your hair better. I think some people are still insecure about their hair type maybe this stems from childhood I don't know. But in no way do I think that categorizing hair is a bad thing.
Im a newbie (kinda) and it'd done nothing for me. I'll be a year natural in August 2010 but wore it in a Caesar/wave length for 7 months. I've just started growing it out and am incredibly frustrated. I tried to use hair typing but I've literally given up. When it was short(er), I had very defined waves, a little longer it was incredibly curly…now I have about 3 inches and I have looser curls on the top, coils in the back, almost no curl on the side, and all under frizzies! When it's wet I I have thick super curly hair but when it dries, I have tight coils and spirals. As it grows (and it grows FAST)…so literally every month I have to try a new regimen.
I thought hair typing would help me determine what products/procedure to use. It's been completely unhelpful for me. I just want to know what products to use and to establish a regimen!!! I dont care if Im type 36 DD!! *tears*
I don't think the point of the hair typing scheme was to divide. I think it was an earnest attempt at categorizing a wiiiiiiide range of textures and create a structure under which we could understand and identify curly hair. yeah, there are tons of textures, so there's no way it could be perfect, but what categorization system is? For those that are groping in the dark in the beginning, trying to sift through the plethora of info, it is really helpful. it helped put me on the map when i thought i was all alone and gave me a starting point. curlies that are primarily concerned with the health and development of their hair might use it for the purpose of research. any other reason, like division is just parochial and archaic, and chances are, the women who use it for vindictive reasons were insecure or mean-spirited all along. if it helps, use it. if not, disregard it. no biggie.
I think hair typing can be helpful when you're discussing and sharing different types of products, routines, and hair styles with others. It can be especially helpful when deciding on products to try because it could save you a few dollars in the process! 🙂 But personally, I find that type of information to be very valuable as a newly natural woman.
Let's Parlez: Love, Life, and the Pursuit of Healthy Hair
Yeah, I'm a new natural and these ladies that are against it are going in deep and sound militant. It's very disappointing and sad. It sounds like they are insecure because if people are saying it has helped them, then you can't argue that. And any positive thing can be used as a weapon for bad depending on the persons thinking. Does that make it bad though? I don't think so. As long as your mind set is not to use hair typing to hurt people or to say my hair is better, then its harmless. Its all a choice ladies, it doesn't mean its bad just because people are using it for bad.Think about it, because it does sound like insecurity issues.
I want to know what the ladies who are against hair types have to say to the women that it has helped? Are you ladies who are against it really gonna tell me and other women, that it didn't help us? Well I'm telling you ladies it has helped me and my many friends who are natural in a tremendous way!!! You ladies who are against it can't argue our positive experience and tell me or them any different. Go sit down some where because you can't speak for every one and as a professional therapist, it speaks volumes on how insecure you ladies are.A secure person is unaffected by issues such as this, there can be bad found in everything in this world if you choose to psychologize that way.Go put your energy into something more productive. I love my 4c to the z hair and hair typing doesn't bother me a bit and has helped me.
Real talk, there no way I would have been able to go natural without the hairy typing system. I understand the thought against, but in reality regardless of what system we use, what label we give it, there are people who want 3c or lightly textured/ curly uncoiled hair (as said more eloquently by anonymous 9:18^^). Me, I was getting perms form the age of 14, which was at an age that I was most concerned with playing football with my big cousins then whatever Moms wanted my hair to look like. So when I hit 20 and decided the permed like was too expensive and realized the damage I was doing to my hair, I decided to make a change. I was too afraid to make the big chop (big mistake) so I decided to transition. This experience was both traumatizing and hella legit. So as I was watching my permed hair fall out, my natural hair was growing in and I kept up the same routine. Even to the point to where I was still trying to wrap my hair, which looking back on is mad funny. So I went to a friend for help, because I could tell I was completely ignorant to the stuff I was supposed to be doing. My friend told me everything I needed to know. She gave me a bunch of places online for research (including this one) and showed me how to treat natural hair. I'm closer to a 4c, in case you were wonder, and I rocks my 4c hair to the fullest, which actually inspired many women at the college at my school to go natural. A lot of them ask me a lot of questions about natural hair and decided to make the switch after seeing the changes my hair has made. The funny thing is, even though there's so much hype around 3c hair, the friend who helped me later transitioned herself and end up being closer to a 3c and she hella wishes her hair was as tightly coiled as mine.
I don't see the problem with hair typing. When used appropriately, it can be quite effective in helping one decide on products and techniques. Just because some people decide to use it in order to be negative, that does not mean that hair typing is bad. The typing system is not the problem: negative people are the problem. I appreciate having some idea of what my hair type is because it helps me out a lot on what to buy and how to care for my hair.
LOL! Anonymous 12:14am – you really called me out. Yes, you are correct.
Thanks for all of the comments. It's interesting to read so many different point of views!
I believe it to be a guide only as textures can be so varied.The main thing is to believe you have beautiful hair no matter the texture!
"The grass isn't greener on the other side but greenest where you water it the most."
I believe that like most thinks hair typing has both positive and negative aspects.
On one hand different types of hair responds differently to different product. In that sense hair typing is a very useful tool in pointing women in the right direction; because the fact is that using the correct products makes hair care just that much easier.
On the other hand, and as many have stated before me, hair typing can be used to perpetuate the "good hair" myth that is so abundant in Black culture and that is very unfortunate. All hair is good hair and not matter how kinky or curly you should feel good about it.
As a new natural my problem with hair typing is that it is rather vague and unscientific. I can look at pictures of hair for days and I still can't tell the difference between the different kind of 3's and the 4's and the overlapping. I still haven't seen anyone with hair like mine. Maybe I'm a 6m.
"I think it's ironic that women come into the blogs and forums asking what their hair type is (obviously hoping for 3c confirmation) only to hear from other readers that she is in fact a 4a, b,c whatever. She then will proceed to get irrate and insist that her kinky 4z hair is actually 3b. IT's annoying and pointless. I feel that hair typing only perpetuates the good hair bad hair issue."
yup then they proceed to take a million more pics wetting their hair and from different angles, until someone says they see a strand of 3c…all they need is one person to tell them that…i think hair type can be useful in certain situations, but not when its abused and people just want to have the label type 3 hair even if they're 4a/b, then it just becomes like a contest, and there are divisions…if hair typing didnt matter to some people (other than for product/style suggestions) then they wouldnt be on the boards fighting for the right to call their 4a/b hair 3c SMH…i do sometimes believe that its the good hair/bad hair debate in disguise…oh & LV was no doubt lurking on LHCF lol
I have never heard a person of any other race talk about hair typing. Granted other groups have their own hair issues but for Black women to sit and dissect a, b, c ,d …. How is this so important, when no one used it up until a few years ago?
It's not rational to me that any given product works best on one hair pattern – products can't be formulated that specifically, that's marketing. All curly/natural me, my relaxed/highlighted sister and my white straight-haired/bleach blond friend use the same natural products – and the results are great effects on all our heads. I understand we're describing hair patterns online w/o the benefit of photos as we continue to embrace a renewed chapter in Black hair..but still, I've never heard "I'm a 1 or 2b" on any predominantly non-Black board.
See, even this discussion shows how it creates divisions, because in addition to the fact that the system has been altered (and does that make it even valid), not instead of complaining that there are no natural women on TV, in commercials, in magazines (which isn't true unless you are only reading black magazines), now we have people saying that their TYPE of natural hair isn't shown.
So now, it can't just be afro hair in the commercial, it needs to be a certain kind or you feel marginalized?
Until viewing this post, I never saw "hair typing" as an surfacing issue plaguing the natural communities. I don't see it as a bad thing. It seems to me that folks seem to make issues out of nothing. I think its a perfectly good way to categorize or classify one's hair in order to better understand how to treat/manage hair. All the hoopla that seems to be arising over this "hair typing" thing kinda reminds me of (dare I say) issues over skin color within the black community (as in dark-skin vs light-skin). I guess its because historically light-skin has always been more widely accepted (or better said "more desirable"). And when thinking about 3c/4a vs 4b….it seems like soft shiny curls are more desirable then dry kinky coils. I can see where the division amongst naturals can come in. To be honest, I myself love the idea of embracing my natural hair. It was the beautiful curls of curlynikki and others with similar curl patterns/hair textures that gave me the extra little push I needed to start my natural hair journey. (Not to be judged/criticized..simply being vulnerable and honest)I wouldn't be too thrilled if my hair grew in as very dry coily kinks, however I'm preparing myself to accept myself and my hair because this is who I am. I am what I am!
@ anon 6:42pm….lmbo! I prefer my men TALL, and that is a label/type. It is what it is, if you think labeling or typing hair is bad, then reconsider your whole attitude of the labeling/typing you do in your every day life. If your against hair typing then you should be against ALL typing!
Sooooo…, if we don't use labels, how do we learn the difference between a Z pattern, spiral pattern, S pattern, etc…which in turn helps us learn how to properly take care of our own hair??????? Labels are every where, some people are short and some are tall. Why is it that I always hear women talk about how they want a "TALL" man. That's a label ladiesss!But when it comes to hair some of these same ladies are being a hypocrite because they say we shouldn't have labels/hair types they divide. A certain type of thinking divides, not an actual hair type/label!
I have 4c frizzy coils. Learning this helped me stop "shingling" attempts , putting texturizers in, and wasting my money.
A friend relaxed her biracial daughter's hair and wrecked it. This was in the '90s.
Hair typing has it's place as an educational tool, please don't demonize it. My only grief is with the "z-pattern" description. My hair grows out in tight coils, not zigzagged like some kind of machine
Hair typing only holds the power you give it. Anything that is good can be used for bad unfortunately. We live in a world where anyone can twist a positive to a negative. I have used hair types to select creams/leave ins/stylers, etc… and it has worked for me. It saved me from wasting my money on other products. I have also used it to find hair styles with my hair type. These tools have been very useful and have cut down time, which I need because I'm a parent. These are all positive things, but if someone uses hair types and turns it into a good hair/bad hair debate, then that's negative and I'm against that type of thinking.
Yes I think that it does cause a division amongst us black and biracial black women. Especially when most women may have
textures that are 4c, and their being told no there's no such thing, you"re an 4b instead. Everytime you look around it's 3a/b/c and 4a/b this and that even on the commericals as well. But there are all different types that should be acknowledged whether we want to or not. I have seen where even on here as well and other blogs depending on the texture of hair that some photo blogs hardly get a comment response. While those with a looser texture will get so many comments that it's not even funny. I personally think that alot of women cut off their hair going natural in anticipation of having really curly hair. Remember that not one head is alike and that you won't get the same hair as the next girl.
Yeah it may be nice to know what hair type in reference for what product might work for your head, but again not all heads will react the same. The same as "Why" so many women are focused on having a "Curl Pattern" and spending hours on end trying to cultivate the hair with products to get it to be just right. Remember those products only work if you have a curl pattern to begin with, if not then you are basically wasting your time and hard earned money. Remember in the long run that its your head and how you take care of it is up to yourself.
For a while, I tried figuring out what my hair type, or types, is. I would research blogs, forums, and other people to confirm what my own hair type is. However, the 3/4 type all confused me since people with different types of curls claimed to be one or the other or both. So eventually, I gave up. I just say my hair is kinky curly. If I want it nappy, I make it nappy. If I want it curly same thing.
I don't think it divides natural ladies, unless there are those who don't have the looser curls but are claiming they do. Also, nobody truly knows the kind of hair we have except us… and our hair dressers so we shouldn't judge them anyway, especially if they claim to be a certain hair type that doesn't fit someone elses description. To me, those who are not happy with their natural hair textures and crave for the looser, or tighter curls, are the ones who start the divide, but that's just my personal opinion.
I like watching ladies with all kinds of hair types. However, I like to watch ladies who look like they have my hair texture. Some say what type it is and others don't. So for me, I don't feel isolated or feel bad about my hair.
I just like watching people with a lot of hair. It ranges from bone straight hair to extremely kinky and love it all the same ^_^
Product wise, I just know the tighter the curls, the more moisture one needs. All I need to know.
I don't think there is anything wrong with the typing itself. It is what it is. The problem arises when people say '8z' hair is better than '6h' hair. I haven't seen much of this on the hair boards or blogs. Typing someone's hair as whatever doesn't automatically put them in a category as having bad or good hair.
You are what you are and it is what it is. If one feels insecure about their hair type, that is their problem. I will not play politics to make everyone feel happy or good about themselves. Hair type (including texture and curl) is very important. Just like products for straight hair has types (thin, thick, or whatever), why is is a problem to differentiate the different curly types. Some people won't be happy until we are all wearing uniforms, driving the same car with the same color, and living in the same type of house…
I honestly don't understand it. Some people use hair types as a way to find similar ladies on youtube or blogs, because maybe then they can style their hair that way or use those same products.
But I've learned there are women with my same type of hair who have different reactions to products that I do.
I've also learned that just because one woman with similar hair as mine styles it one way, doesn't mean I can too. Maybe I don't have the skill set. Maybe my face isn't shaped the same.
So hair typing has never helped me figure out what styles to try or what products would work.
Therefore, I don't care about "hair types".
Personally, I don't use it because it is to inconsistent and confusing because people incorrectly mistype their hair, some people think they are 4a when they are really 3c or think they are 4b when they are 4a so I don't use it for anything because 9 times out of 10 most naturals have a mixture of different hair types on their head and leave out to many variables like size of your curls, if you have thick hair, etc. It could help with product review like the tangle teaser for example but for like shampoos, conditioners, etc. the best method is still to try it out so…
I think hair typing is useful for someone who is completely new to natural hair. Specifically, parents who have adopted children with curly hair that is completely different from their own. It gives them a sort of "starting point" and then they can develop their regimens from there.
A lot of naturals who finally figure out what works for their hair and what doesn't, usually leave the hair typing system in the dust and do their own thing. Initially however, I know, like Evelyn stated, that my frizzy hair will not be enhanced with a curl definer. It just won't. Seeing someone else with my type of hair (whether they identify it with a number or not), gives me at least a small notion to know, hey, this might not work for me.
Every person's hair is different, we all know this. However, I don't think this should be as big of an issue that it is.
yes!!!!!!! once you discover that there are DIFFERENT types of natural hair (it's not just all afro) then you can proceed to care for it in a REALISTIC manner.
If you have z-type hair or the "frizzies", you won't waste your money on curl definers. and if you don't have thick CURLY hair you won't waste your money on countless special combs and brushes.
Although people can get carried away with natural "good hair" ideals, hair typing in and of itself is supposed to help us identify what we're workin wit' especially since most of us haven't seen our true texture since childhood.
On one hand, for me, I know giving my hair a "type" helps me get to know my hair better, based on how styles work, and the way my hair sits. On the other hand, I do believe that people let everything about their hair revolve around the type it is, specifically to engage some sort of pretentiousness to show that their hair type is "better" or easier to deal with- which isn't necessaily true. I guess it's really up to the person to determine whether they want to let their hair be called upon a certain scale or not.
I agree with Kitka82. Hair typing is what it is. There are no positives or negatives in those numbers or descriptions on the chart. It's when people enter with their own biases and agendas that it becomes something other than what it was intended to be.
It used to annoy me when people would say that hair typing perpetuates the "good hair/bad hair" issue, but after seeing some arguments online over it, I see what they mean. People are a TRIP! Even after going natural and SEEMINGLY embracing their hair in it's natural state, a lot of women are STILL on some BS about "good hair". They go natural thinking they will automatically have "curls" like Rachel True or CurlyNikki. OR that there is some magical product that will transform their Z-patterned hair into loopy curls. Then we have people in the 4s categories that discount and dismiss people in the 3s saying they are not "really" natural and don't share in the same hair struggles. Assuming that 3-type hair is somehow easier to deal with. Not true.
It's all ridiculous! Hair typing has helped me to identify what kinda mop I'm dealing with and also find products. Like anything else, it's hit and miss. Not every person of a certain hair type is going to be able to use the same products. But it's a good starting point to weed out some things that off the bat won't work.
Until WE get our biased crap out of our heads, it'll be an issue. But hair typing alone is not a negative or bad thing.
My hair type is 4ME!
i just think in terms of type 4 which i define as kinky or mostly kinky black hair and different from 3's and 2's. i don't care so much about type. as others have said, thickness and porosity also matter.
even with identical types certain people will like certain products more or less based on texture, smell and how they like their hair to look and feel.
Hair typing has not been useful for my hair; esp since I have so many different "types" in my head. I started out my natural journey trying to emmulate the hair products and regimens of those with hair that "looked" like mine. More times than not, it was a fail. I thought I was doing something wrong until I researched and did some trial and error on my own. Now when I choose a new product, reggie or style I rely on other variables that are far more valuable for MY hair, like weather conditions, dew point, where certain ingredients are on the ingredient list and the overall look I'm going for (ultradefined vs "fluffy"), etc. Bottomline: using the hair typing system was a no go for me and my hair, but like they say: "everything ain't for everbody".
I think hair typing is useful to me to a certain point, at least in terms of stying ideas (not so much products). My hair is 4a/3c and I try to follow people with my same hair type online.
When I was a newbie, it appeared to be valuable, but now it seems to be more confusing then anything, because what some people view as 4a others view as 3c, so the system doesnt appear to be too accurate.
I automatically identify with 4a/3c hair just to give people an idea of what I'm dealing with. When I was going through youtubes (as a newbie) I quickly learned not to go by hair types, but to pay close attention to people who's hair texture LOOKED similar to mine. That kind of sucked as well though because I could barely find anyone who I felt shared a similar head of hair as mine.
Anyone that gets into heated debates, gets irate, or have poor self esteem about their hair will do so whether their hair is in the category they want it to be or not. Preconceived notions about what's good or bad exist with and without the hair typing system. Imagine if we lived in a society where the media considered 4c hair the best. It's not about the reality of the category, it's the perception. If you perceive your hair to be good or bad then that's what it is. Your perception is your reality.
Hair typing can be helpful, but it doesn't replace getting to know your own hair. Every person's head of hair is unique and you have to take the time learn about products and techniques that work for you. Personally, I've learned from youtubers of all hair types. But because I now know what works and what doesn't work for me, I can sort through all the products and techniques a lot better.
I tend to think this system helps with product selection, but when you think that most curly hair needs tons of moisture no matter the texture—what difference does it matter if it's in the 3's or 4's?
A salesgirl once suggested I try the Mixed Chicks line, she said it worked great for her and she thought it would do well for my type of hair. She was in the 3's, I'm in the 4's and I thought it was interesting that she did not note the difference–esp. when we were standing in front of the Miss Jessie's display-lol. For me this system helps primarily with styling techniques, ie a twist out vs. a wash and go.
And speaking of brands–when I see a one marketed to "join our multiracial movement" and all the models have silky coils I'm like, huh? I know biracial people with hair kinkier and more coarse than my own soft, fine hair. And I have seen ladies on YT with thick, kinky hair (non-silky) and those products work very well for them also. Interesting.
I don't believe the Andre Walker hair typing system is useful. According to that system my hair type would fall in the 4a/3c/3b categories, as far as curl pattern and size go. In the beginning I was married to the typing system. I sought out those with my hair type to identified what they use. Then I realized that the variations within those categories were endless. I now know what really matters. Density (very), strands (fine), porous (very), and problematic characteristics (shrinking+high frizz). I find that those with similarly hair characteristics are in the best position to recommend products. Figuring out MY hair, was clutch in narrowing down the necessary products in my arsenal. I now have my regimen on lock, because I focused on my hair's individual needs, and not some arbitrary system.
The hair typing system has been very helpful to me. When I was a nubie I thought that my hair was supposed to curl up in my twa and I would look at other videos of hair that was looser than mine and expected similar results. But when I discovered that I was a 4c (wooly hair with min curl pattern) I was able to find advice that gave me predictable results. As I learned more about how my hair type behaved I was able to appreciate what my hair could do. While I know many naturals use hair typing in a negative way by categorizing good hair as anything below 4b, I was able to use it in a positive way. I think that many naturals have brought the permed mentality where you compare yourself to others into their natural journey. I have to say its kinda sad to see so many videos on how to create a curl pattern in wooly hair using an entire jar of eco! Everyone should just accept what God has given them!
To be honest when I'm stalking YouTube I'm looking for ladies with hair my length so I can try new hairstyles – as far as products I've learned more from this site then any other blog or YouTube video. I'm really close to having a clear regime with only being completly natural for 2 months (I transitioned for 8 mths). Thanks Curly Nikki!
God has made us so unique that not even two 4z will have the same look, feel and hair issues – How Beautiful is that?!!
I agree with some of the comments above. It's not the typing system that is the problem, it is a person's perceptions or opinions of the various types of curls/kinks/coils. Pretending we don't notice the differences or that there is a difference in texture is like saying we don't notice different skin color/tones either. Is it better to pretend we all look the same? What's so wrong with noting that one head of hair is mostly tighter or looser curls/coils/kinks? It's just a description. I've wondered if the people so vehemently opposed to typing are the main ones who think one type is better.
I've never gotten into hair typing but I'm sure it's valuable to some people. I view it like this- if I'm an interior decorator and I need to bring a shade of blue to your home, I may send you a sample of different color blues with labels such as: BlueA, BlueB, BlueC, etc., and then, within the one chosen we'd break down whether you want the bright baby blue or light baby blue and so forth. It's just a label and if it helps an individual take better care of her (or his) hair, then so be it.
I believe that there is nothing denigrating about the number-letter system. In fact, I would speculate that this system and similar ones were created to detract from "good vs. bad" labels. I feel that it is a good tool to know what products and hair routines may work best for me. Also, because there is a plethora of info on the web, I find that when searching I can save time by primarily viewing sites, articles and videos that have my hair type in the title.
My thing is, hair typing is NEVER consistant. 3c is different depending on who you ask, and the same is true for 4a, and 4b.
I really don't get it.
I think it is valuable to the extent of knowing if you hair is damaged.
I have 2c-3c type hair (you can probably imagine my distress). For a long time I thought I had heat damage in the front-hairline/crown area because the curl pattern was very loose almost straight, but on my temples the hair is tight and spiraled.
So I stopped using heat, which I barely used anyway, and my hair remained straight & wispy. So then I thought it was the color treatments. I did away with those and it remained the same, but now the hair was growing out much coarser and a bit wiry. The hairs were as thick as mechanical pencil lead.
So I thought I needed a DC, you know, to soften the hairs. Then the next few months of new growth I notice blonde hair, not grey, but blonde hairs in my growth. I screamed to myself, what have I done.
Defeated and tired, I resulted to the ultimate cure, I BCed AGAIN 3/21/10, two years of new growth gone. I cut it down to maybe .5inches.
And boy did I feel freed, it really help, I was less tense throughout the day, I wasn't always trying to find a mirror or some sort of reflective surface to check if my hair was misbehaving. I could breathe again.
But then a month passed and the hair are still blondish, coarse, but not wiry ( more of a cotton/silk texture now). 2 months, 3, 6,8 months passed. Now I see a mix of brown and blonde.
I finally asked my mom about two days ago, what the heck was going on with my hair. She goes over to the entertainment center and pulls out a photo album and shows me my great grandparents from both sides. And lo and behold: My paternal ggmother has red hair down to her hip and my mom tells me that my ggfather is from Sweden; My maternal ggmother was Native Amer. with waist length black hair and my ggfather was half AU Aborigines with freckles.
Seems like they were put in a blender and out popped me.
It made me think: This heritage mix explains the coarse hair, the weird blond brown mix (which come to think of it does look red) and my overall hair texture and I cut my hair for nothing.
Now 10months and 3 days in, my hair is healthier than ever and I'm completely confident in my hair care regime now that I know my hair type with is 2-3cMCiiiSOs/c
I totally agree with kitka82 about the hair typing system not taking into account, thickness, porosity, etc. I believe the system is value added especially to a newbie trying to find out what works, but it has its flaws. I do not believe hair typing itself causes a divide, I believe it's the people that use hair typing in a way that says "my hair is better than yours" that causes the divide. I do not believe that was the intentions of the classification system.
How valuable/helpful is hair typing?
***I understand Andre's hair typing system to define hair by curl pattern (of lack thereof), and the size of those curls. The system is incomplete, because it does not include important factors such as porosity and thickness. These are the things that I consider when I search for products, not whether my curls/coils/cloud/whatever are easily defined. lol.
Do you think that hair typing causes a divide among the natural hair community?
***No. Insecurity and a serious inferiority complex is what causes division among "naturals" and ALL women for that matter.
Personally, I find product reviews and YouTube vids to be most helpful to me. My hair is most similar to YTers Nikkimae2003 (naturalchica) and Naptural85. I also watch ellepixie's vids on her site (questfortheperfectcurl.com) because she reviews a wide variety of products. Her curl pattern is not like mine, but she seems to emphasize moisture balance in the hair, which helps me a LOT.
To be honest, I do get annoyed when (1) people ask what their hair type is and get annoyed if it doesn't fit a certain category, AND (2) when people rant about those who obsess over curl definition.
But to each his/her own, right?
I like it. It helps to understand what type of products will work well in your hair and what type of styles are easier to achieve with your hair type. In my family we have everything from 3c to 4b, and everyone is proud of their hair. The problem comes when you start thinking your hair is better than someone else's because of texture. I remember on another site that I will not name, they didn't want you to call your hair curly, because if you were black there's no way you could have curly hair, it has to be kinky, but I have both textures in my hair. People can be so ignorant sometimes!
I think it's ironic that women come into the blogs and forums asking what their hair type is (obviously hoping for 3c confirmation) only to hear from other readers that she is in fact a 4a, b,c whatever. She then will proceed to get irrate and insist that her kinky 4z hair is actually 3b. IT's annoying and pointless. I feel that hair typing only perpetuates the good hair bad hair issue.
I'm really 50/50 on the hair typing. Since I'm just getting into learning about natural hair and reading every blog and watching every youtube video it is helpful to have a common system as a guide. It can help steer you in the right direction, but product discovery is mostly trial and error. Its important to remember no one can tell you definitively, via pics on a website, what "type" of hair you have. There are so many environmental factors, health factors, and other elements that creates hair type, not to mention that hair changes over time.
Everyone I've asked about products has told me unanimously "you have to try it and see what works for you!" I have seen threads where it is used as a divider and fuel to the "my hair's better than yours" fire. That has to do with the insecurities of the person at the keyboard and should just be ignored IMHO.
Just goes to show you that we HUMANS can make a pointless arguement and debate out of anything!!! At the end of the day we all will have the same texture and type that GOD gave us!!! Learn about it, and be happy with it POINT Blank!!!
Stop the Maddness.
Hair typing for my journey has not served a valid purpose. I have not used that system but rather watched you tubes and tried only one or two different products to see what worked. I have hair that gets definied curls when water is applied to it but I also have hair that when it is in a dry set I can fro it out if I chose to pick out my hair (and I like wearing my hair like this as well), some people have asked me if I have a texturizer in my hair and I explained this is my natural hair texture, black hair is not all the same curly hair texture it depends on genetic make-up not complexion or facial features, etc. I have noticed for women with tightly curled hair they are told to mainly use Miss Jessies products, let me tell you, I tried Miss Jessies and my hair rejected the products. I still support their products and tell people about them but I know they do not work for me. And lots of celebrities support Miss Jessies (those that even have a softer texture of curls than I do). On the other hand I use Sherry Davis' product Kinky-Curly or I will use Eco-Styler gel (most people think these products are only for people with softer texture curls which has proven for me to not be true because they work on my hair texture and I do not have wavy to soft curly hair). So I will use KC or Eco-styler gel with just water and these two products work for me everytime. I have never got caught up in hair typing if I see a female on you tube that has similar hair to mine I learn from her video and might pick a product when I have some extra cash, but my advice is to keep it simple at first when your starting out. Aloe Vera Gel works for all curly hair textures, just remember to wet your hair before styling all curly hair needs to have product or water applied to it before placing a comb in it so that your hair is manageable. I celebrate the fact that our hair has so much versatility, I can wear it in a fro one day, a wet twist out, dry twist out, some of it up in a bun with a twist-out, a wash and go (preferably in the summer). All curly hair is beautiful it has personality, once you find something that works for you stick with it and do trial and errors sparingly, because when you have a good thing going there is no need to change it.
For me its useful. I like to know when I am reading reviews for products. I am more likely to try something that someone with my hair type had a good experience with. That's the reason I care about hair typing. Once I get my staple products down, it will be useless for me.
the point is that looking it as good vs bad is not what's on everybody's minds when they hear hair type. It's really annoying that people are fighting to keep from hair typing because they are thinking that someone is trying to say they have bad hair or good and thats not the case. Can we please get over that? Stop being so overly sensitive nobody cares about that anymore. The point that a lot of ladies are saying here is it is a great way to avoid becoming a product junkie!
I think it is useful…
I am 4b/4c and i know who to watch for styles ( which is about everybody) and who to watch for products and techniques which would be those 4b/4c divas (although i think i have my products down)…
So i think it helps narrow down your product trial period…
That's all i think it's useful for.
Maybe it helps me with styling choices. I tend to gravitate towards articles, you tube videos, etc. of those with my hair type.
I really don't understand why people insist on making this so complicated.
Hair typing, particularly the Andre Walker version that's most common online, is very unscientific. That said, from an OBJECTIVE standpoint it is merely a means to an end. The problem comes when people place SUBJECTIVE opinions and perspectives on different types…and that's what brings us right back to the "good hair/bad hair" b.s., which, sadly, predates hair typing.
I've never had a problem with hair typing because I'm able to keep it in its proper objective place (see above). But technically I guess you don't have to know that someone is 4b to be able to look at their hair album and recognize their hair as similar to yours…especially if, after you find this out, you learn that only 50% of their hair regimen works for you. Just because you are able to correctly identify and place yourself in a hair type "group" doesn't mean you don't have to still experiment with products and techniques!
A lot of black women who are still hung up on the subjectivity of "good" vs. "bad" hair manage to carry that subjectivity into hair typing. People's subjective opinions are what define hair "good" or "bad", not the hair itself…there's no such thing as "bad" hair.
besides being useful for product reviews, i could take it or leave it *shruggs*
I think it can be valuable on hair sites like this and youtube videos because when you are a newbie you are looking for your hair type and when you see a heading that says 4a you can click and be assured that you are going to find something similar to yours. I have 3B/4A hair and something that I have found to be common among this type is our hair loves shea butter and products that have shea butter. That small piece of info helps if you are newbie with finding your way. I know some people get pissed off but I don't think it should be seen as a stereotype but rather see it as a way to help you find the right products quicker.
Just my hair cents….