“What Is My Hair Type?” is a series focused on the various aspects of hair typing. The most common hair typing system used is Andre Walker’s hair types (3b, 3c, 4a, 4b, 4c, etc.). But your hair is much more than letters and numbers. There are many other ways to describe your hair — texture, density, porosity, and elasticity. If you are not considering all aspects of hair typing, then you may not be as well-equipped to meet your hair’s needs. In this five part series, I will cover the various aspects of hair typing. And of course, I’ll cover the popular Andre Walker hair types.
One would assume that the first installment of the hair typing series would be the Andre Walker hair types. But it’s not. Why? Because, a portion of the explanation of Andre Walker’s hair types includes hair texture. So if you don’t first grasp the concept of hair texture, you cannot fully understand Andre Walker’s hair types.[pullquote_right]What is your hair texture? How will you use this information to aid with your hair styling and maintenance?[/pullquote_right]
So what exactly is hair texture? Hair texture is the thickness of your hair strand. Your hair texture can be fine, medium or coarse(thick). People often confuse hair texture (or thickness of hair strand) with density of hair. Hair texture refers to the diameter of the actual hair strand, while density refers to how many strands are on your head. Many times women with kinky (4a, 4b, 4c) hair may state that their hair is coarse, but kinky hair can be fine, medium, or coarse. The same is true for women with straight (1), wavy(2), and curly hair (3a, 3b, 3c) hair.
Fine refers to hair that has a small diameter. It should not to be confused with low density hair. Fine hair is more prone to mechanical damage and breakage. So if you have fine hair, you should take extra care with your hair, especially if you have a tighter curl pattern. If your hair has a tighter curl pattern, it is more difficult for natural oils to reach the ends of your hair. Hence, why those of African descent add moisturizers and oils to their hair. Fine, delicate hair + dry hair =breakage… unless you handle with care and moisturize properly. If you have fine hair, you may want to consider the use of protein treatments since fine hair has a lower protein content; protective styling to limit manipulation; and limited use of brushes, combs, and heat tools to reduce mechanical damage. Fine hair also doesn’t hold curls well when twisted or set on rollers so it must be reset at night. When considering moisturizers and oils, you should consider lighter options such as argan oil, sweet almond oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and mango butter).
Medium (Normal) refers to hair that has a medium thickness. It has more protein structure than fine hair, but more manageable or pliable than coarse hair. If you have fine to medium strands, then you should follow the considerations for fine hair. If you have medium to thick strands, then you should consider the recommendations for coarse hair.
Thick (Coarse) refers to a thicker, more durable hair strand. Although coarse hair is more durable, care should be taken when brushing and styling. Thicker hair strands can be more rigid than finer hair strands, thus they can fray while brushing and combing. So if you have coarse hair, you should detangle it while wet or damp so that it is pliable. When considering moisturizers and oils, you should consider heavier options such as avocado oil, castor oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter).
So there you have it. The first installment of the hair typing series. What is your hair texture? How will you use this information to aid with your hair styling and maintenance?