Analyze your Hair Type
Understanding your hair type can be a helpful step in creating a natural hair routine. Most often when people mention hair type they are referring to the curl pattern of someone’s hair. However I think there are other traits or characteristics of the hair that are just as important and that can tell you more about the health and needs of your natural hair. Typing alone, particularly when only referring to curl pattern can be limiting. Getting a true understanding of the nature of your hair can be eye opening and will assist you on your journey to the healthy natural hair your desire.
There are several methods for typing the curl pattern of hair. The most commonly seen method was developed by Andre Walker. Andre Walker is a well known stylist who created a method using numbers from 1-4 to identify hair type (pictured below). Types 3c and 4c were added by naturals who felt that these categories were needed to describe additional hair types.
So assuming you are a natural curly or coily head here are some brief natural hair tips:
If your hair is a type 3 you mostly likely have definable curls that will benefit from a routine that includes moisturizing conditioners and little to no use of sulfates in your shampoo. You most likely will benefit from using curl defining gels and stylers if you want to wear loose curly looks. Type 3c’s have some similar traits of type 4 and may benefit from those tips as well.
Type 4 is typically the most fragile of all types. Gentle handling of your hair is key. Your hair needs regular deep conditioning and moisture. Oils and butter can also be helpful to help hold in moisture. Drying shampoos can strip type 4 hair of it’s natural oils and make it very difficult to manage.
I personally like the Mizani Natural Curl Key, it is similar to Andre Walker’s method but includes some characteristics that his method does not describe. PLEASE do not get too caught up into this because many people do not have hair that neatly fits into one type. Not to mention I have received helpful information from people of all hair types.
Based on the hair typing systems above I believe my hair is 4a/b in the Andre system or a mix of type VII & VIII on the Mizani system.