by Jor-El of ManeManBlog

Hair typing is as controversial topic as any in the hair community and frankly its existence has been debated over and over again across natural hair sites and forums everywhere. There are a few typing systems out there, all of which you can read about if you do an internet search for “hair typing”. Today, I wanted to give you my personal take on the pros and cons of hair typing systems and how they might help you to better understand your hair.

Pro: Hair typing systems can give the otherwise uneducated consumer a wealth of information VERY quickly. For instance, I’ll totally pull my man card and say that I never thought about my hair “type” before reading these charts and within 10 minutes I had a basic understanding of what products my hair needed to flourish in style and health.

Con: Unfortunately, the systems generally focus mostly on understanding your curl pattern and not focusing on other arguably more important issues such as porosity.

Pro: Hair typing systems can help you not only understand what your hair type may be but it also gives you an opportunity to look into other types and compare your mane. This may help bring more clarity to your own understanding of the material and where to begin in your journey.

Con: In my personal experience, this breadth of information can also be confusing without further guidance. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at hair typing charts in an attempt to better understand my hair and walked away from the computer baffled. I’ve since discovered that I may have multiple hair types…go figure.

Pro: Some systems include a more holistic view of hair, which can help you understand how your texture, density and porosity affect how you use products to get your desired result.

Con: And this is a biggie, typing has become a “raced” way of looking at hair. By that I mean, that due to historical implications of various hair “types” we have this ongoing misconception that Black people can only have kinky hair while White people have straight hair AND that straight hair is somehow better than curly/kinky hair. To be honest, I even had to check some of my own biases in this area. There is the ongoing and inaccurate misconception that White people can’t understand curly and/or kinky hair because they don’t have it. Well, that’s just not true! Many guys and girls of all races/ethnic groups straighten and relax their hair and in my experience, I’ve met very few people who have straight hair naturally. It’s actually more common to be a wavy and beyond. This is a pretty unfortunate status quo, but can be helpful in examining deeper issues of stereotypes and prejudice if you think critically about the material being presented to you.

These are just some quick pros and cons that I’ve thought about over the past couple of days after reading some discussion on various sites and forums.

What’s your take?