Finding your hair type – it’s not an exact science…

What are hair types? Well, from what I understand, it’s a way to classify your hair and it can help you figure out what products and styles will work best on your hair. I’m not really down for hair typing because some people use it as a way to say, “my hair is better than yours! I’m a 3b and you’re a 4a” or something stupid like that.

But before I get too into it, check out NaturallyCurly for more details. I was trying to condense and paraphrase, but, dang, there’s a lot of information and I’m confused about how to describe the different textures of Black hair. To make matters simple, most Black hair comes in these designations — there are many exceptions, of course, to the rule — 3C, 4A and 4B. (FYI, there is another hair typing classification system: LOIS. I don’t know much about this one and haven’t typed my hair using it. I will at some point. If you’re interested, check it out here.)

Like I said, I’m not a big proponent of hair typing, but it did come in handy when I was trying to figure out what products to use when I first went natural. I have all three textures on my head and I have to work with all of them to get my hair looking the way I want it to. This is how it goes down on my head:

  • 4B at the temples – this hair doesn’t have any real curl definition. It’s thick and, once it’s styled, I have to stay away from it — no playing, twirling, disturbing — or it will lose any curl that I’ve managed to get in there. They say that it can have a Z-pattern, but my 4B doesn’t even seem to have that. It’s pretty coarse, but manageable.
  • 3C at the crown and at the nape – this hair goes into pencil-sized curls. It’s the least coarse hair on my head — it’s very coily and curly and falls easily into curls with or without product. Even when my hair was relaxed, these were the areas that grew the fastest. I’ve never had any trouble up top or in my ‘kitchen’.
  • The rest of it is 4A – it grows in a ‘S’ pattern and is coily and curly. The curls range in size from small pen springs to about straw-sized curls. This hair will go into curls when it’s wet or with product. Without it, like my 4B hair, it will shrink and go frizzy.

Here’s an up-close picture of my hair texture:

With my red eyes from getting conditioner in my eyes, you didn't really wanna see my face.
With my red eyes from getting conditioner in my eyes, you didn't really wanna see my face.

My hair combination 3C/4A/4B requires a lot of moisture or else I’m in for some trouble. I’ve already told you about the fairy knots and tangles when my hair isn’t moisturized. My hair, although it looks strong, it’s really fragile — as most Black hair is — so I have to be extremely gentle when styling or combing. That’s something I’m working on because I can rip a brush through my hair when I’m in a rush, frustrated or tired.

Talking about styling, here are the tools that I use regularly when styling my hair (not including my hands):

  • Jilbere shower comb: after I detangling by hand and co-wash, I will spread my wash-out conditioner using the shower comb. I heard that Goody sells a cheaper one (mine was $9.99 CDN). As long as it’s a seamless comb, meaning it’s all one piece without any seems that can catch and rip out your poor hairs, it’s good to go.
  • Denman brush: I wasn’t too sure about the brush when I first heard about it, but when I went into Trade Secrets to get one, the salesperson told me that it was one of the best brushes on the market. And I’m a believer. While I’m styling (remember, I style my hair when it’s wet), after I put my gel in for hold, I brush a section with the Denman brush. That helps smooth the hair from root to tip and gets my curls to clump together.
  • Sectioning clips: I only use these when I’m putting flat twists in as part of a style. They are highly helpful to keep hair out of the way.
  • Plastic caps: Because I style my hair wet and don’t like a mixture of water, moisturizer and oil dribbling down my back, I keep whatever hair I’m not working on under a plastic cap. It’s also to keep the hair wet, because styling wet hair means less frizz, which is a great thing!

So, folks, what type of hair do you have? What styling tools do you use?


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