I have never really been a fan of hair typing. Hair typing is a hair classification system developed by Andre Walker. Does that name sound familiar? Andre Walker is best known as Oprah Winfrey’s hairstylist.
Hair typing is the most commonly used classification system for explaining the hair’s curl pattern. Numbers 1-4 describe curl patterns beginning with straight, waving, curly, and kinky, respectively. The letters a, b, and c describe the diameter or size of the curl. I call this the ABC’s and 123’s of hair typing, which simply describes the physical appearance of hair.
The original hair typing system fails to fully describe the curl pattern of kinky hair. 4c hair was listed as no-curl pattern. Later, hair forum and sites like Naturally Curly.com gave this hair type a classification within the system.
Aside from the fact that the original hair typing system excludes a whole curl pattern, I have never found this system to be very helpful. I believe this is mostly because it speaks to hair’s physical appearance; it doesn’t provide any information about the physical composition of hair, and knowing your hair type can’t tell you what products will work for your hair or what products or ingredients it needs. The information is almost irrelevant, because an individual can have multiple hair types in their head of hair. As a matter of fact, we can have 2-3 hair types on a *single strand* of hair, making hair typing even more inconsistent.
There are some pieces of information that you’ll find helpful outside of curl pattern and texture that are often omitted. Andre Walker Hair Classification talks about density, porosity, and elasticity which address the hair’s behavior. Porosity, being the most important, is your hair’s ability to retain and absorb moisture. However, this information is separate from hair typing. You can read more about What Hair Typing Does Tell You.
In conclusion, it’s important not to get caught up in the ABC’s and 123’s of hair typing. If you want long, healthy hair understand that your hair is unique and patience is the key. Really, it’s best to build a healthy regimen.
Tamara Floyd is the Founder and Editor of Natural Hair Rules.com, a site dedicated to encouraging others to be who they are naturally. Visit anytime at www.naturalhairrules.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.