Hair typing is the easy way to determine what type of curls you have. Although it is obvious enough that natural hair varies in texture, hair typing is a system that makes it easy to point out what category your strands fall in. Hair typing is a big thing in natural hair and while the verdict is out on whether it truly figures it all out for you, many still subscribe to it in aiding in hair product purchases and how to care for one's own curls.
Is Frizzy Natural Hair A Bad Thing?
There is more than just one hair typing system and while many may favor one over all the others, all bring some very vital information to the table. I've listed a few that you should get to know and you can then figure out which best suits your hair's needs.
Andre Walker Hair Typing System
Photo courtesy of Andrewalkerhair.com
In his book, Andre Talks Hair!, Andre Walker divides hair into these categories: type 1- straight hair, type 2- wavy hair, type 3- curly hair and type 4- kinky hair. Each of these categories also have sub-categories that divide them into different segments depending on texture and curl pattern. This is probably the most popular hair typing system that most naturals gravitate to.
Photo courtesy of Naturallycurly.com
LOIS Hair Typing System
This typing system determines hair type depending on its pattern, strand size and texture. If your hair falls in right angles with no obvious curve, it is considered an L. If your hair forms tight curls resembling an O, it is considered as O. If your hair has no bend and lies flat on the head, it is considered an I. If your hair has S shaped curls, it is considered an S.
Fia’s Hair Typing System
This typing system is an upgraded combination of the two previous ones. It defines hair type using three classifiers: definition of curls, visible moisture content and volume of the hair. The second classifier (moisture content) helps to determine if the hair is Fine; smooth and silky, Medium; a texture between fine and coarse, and Coarse; thick and wiry feeling strands. It seems a tad tedious but here's the breakdown:
Mizani’s Curly Typing System
Photo courtesy of Mizani.com
Lorraine Massey’s Curl Typing System
Photo courtesy of Luckyvitamin.com
This method is unofficially called the Curly Girl Method or CGM and was invented by renowned hairstylist Lorraine Massey. Her amazing book, Curly Girl, the handbook became a curly girl's bible with a new concept of eliminating shampoo, washing with conditioner, and learning about the specifics of our curly, coily and kinky strands.
As a huge fan of the CGM, what helped me more than anything else was the Curly Girl, the handbook and with the identification of your coil, curl or wave that came with specific instructions on washing, conditioning and overall care for your tresses. I started in back in 2013 and have a modified version that can be found here on my other blog Seriously Natural.
There are a few smaller or less known methods but these are by far the most popular, followed and helpful. Hair typing is still quite controversial as many find it classifying hair types with black women being on the bad end of the spectrum. I find them somewhat helpful but know they are just one determinant of hair classification. There is also hair porosity, density and width and all help to figure out what you may need for products, and styling options.
What method do you best feel is suitable?