Hair Typing is a system of classifying hair created by Andre Walker. The problem with hair typing is most people only focus on the ABCs and 123s of the hair classifications system or the physical appearance of hair. You know… I’m 4a/4b so on and so further.
Hair Typing is a great way to categorize ourselves based on textures and curl pattern. But this information is flawed for two reasons. First, one head of hair can have multiple hair types. You may have noticed that your curl pattern is looser in the front. Or maybe its tighter in the crown or center of your head. This really isn’t uncommon. Many people have noticed the differences in their hair.
Did you know that you can have multiple hair types on one strand of hair? Yeah, that blew my mind, too. Its true!
Just a side note the original hair typing classification never identified 4c as a hair type. That was later added by the internet. SERIOUSLY!!! by Naturally Curly.com to be exact.
Secondly, only focusing on the physical appearance of your hair can leave you in the dark about its needs.
Honestly, it doesn’t provide any information about your hair’s physical makeup. For example, is your hair protein or moisture deficiency? (Protein or Moisture deficiency can literally make or break your hair.)
Hair typing can’t answer yay or nay. Therefore it can’t tell you some very important pieces of information needed to properly care for your unique head of hair.
If you feel knowing your hair type is important make sure you also know about your hair’s porosity as well. Porosity is the most important piece of information you can take away for hair typing. You can read more about porosity on the post below.
SEE ALSO: Learn your Hair Type
There are other pieces of information that are often omitted in hair typing. In addition to porosity; density, elasticity and texture are also good things to know. Read Making Hair Typing Work For Your Hair to understand these three terms.
SEE ALSO: 4 Ways To Treat High Porosity
SEE ALSO: Moisturize Hair with Low Porosity
As a hair blogger, I kind of detest hair typing at least the ABCs and 123s of it. Some people tend to discredit your information. The “she can’t tell me about my hair because her hair’s this hair type” mentality. Or some people like to call them “texture-ists”, “curly-ist”, or even “hair type-ists”.
Good haircare information is just that; good haircare information. The hair typ-ists out there in the world are missing out some great products and hairstyles that might work perfectly for their hair. Hair typing shouldn’t be divisive or another means of dividing people of color.
In addition to the previously mentioned points, here four things hair typing doesn’t tell you:
4 Things Hair Typing Can’t Tell You
What Products Will Work
I get this question at least once a day. “What hair products will work for my hair type?” I don’t know. I can’t answer that question. Only you can answer that question.
When it comes to picking your products, there are basic things you should look for in ingredients as well as their functionality. Everything you do whether its using a particular product or styling your hair; should add moisture or help retain moisture.
The best way to find the perfect cocktail of shampoo, conditioner, and maintenance products is through trial and error; plain & simple.
How Your Hair Will Grow
Everyone’s hair, lifestyle, genes, hair regimen, and diet are all different.
Why did I outline these things? The answer is simple because these are all variable that can affect the rate in which your hair grows.
There’s no way a hair typing system can answer this question for you. There are women with the kinkiest of hair that is waist length while a woman with wavy hair only reaches neck length.
If a Style Will Work On Your Hair
We have all been there… you followed the youtube tutorial to the T. You even went out and brought the exact same products.
But your hair looks nothing like hers. Maybe you need a little practice or maybe the variables previously mentioned (i.e. your hair regimen, in particular) had something to do with it.
In some cases you can use hair type as a guide for a finished look but really its unreliable. This is another category where trial and error is the determining factor as well as patience and practice.
It takes time to master a hairstyle or technique, and patience with yourself during the learning process will eliminate frustration.
How Your Hair Will Change
Age, pregnancy, hormones, medication, and other internal factors can completely alter your hair texture and pattern. All the variables mentioned can completely change your “hair type”.
I know a woman whose hair type became looser after children. While another woman’s hair became very fine and tightly coiled upon switching to another medication.
In conclusion, hair typing is completely variable and in many cases irrelevant. A number of factors can alter your hair type, completely. The same person can have multiple hair types. Although you have a similar hair type, your hair’s physical makeup and needs can still be completely different.
very well put. i’m a new natural. just started in august of this year. i started the whole hair typing thing and watching youtube religiously hoping and praying i will find someone with my same hair texture. however, i was wrong. i am glad that you wrote this piece. i will take another look how to take care of my natural hair through trial and error. thanks girl for opening my eyes!!!!
Thanks for the read! I think it’s most important to know about the hair we have … aside from labels. Categories may be a place to start self-awareness but never the place to stop.
I found hair typing to be super helpful as a new natural. It may not tell you which styles and products will work on your hair, but it makes it a whole lot easier to tell the ones that won’t. Popular things like Wash and Gos and Tangle Teasers are big waste of time and money for a 4C natural.