When I first went natural, I didn’t care much about understanding my curl pattern. I just knew that my hair was slightly curlier than usual and that I was simply born with curly hair. However, I soon realized how products started effecting my hair in terms texture after styling. Before I get into curl patterns and how to determine them, let me tell you all my hair struggle in regards to finding the right products for my curl type. I feel like it’s not an honest discussion if there is no preface. After being held captive in cornrows and weaves for majority of my highschool career, my mom did my big chop. I was in the 11th grade (July of 2011). I was going through that product testing phase. You know – Constantly and religiously relying on youtube videos and trusting every word that was said! LOL. I soon realized that NOT ALL HAIR IS THE SAME. What might work for you, might not work for me and vice verse. People are different 🙂
Since then, that set me on a scavenger hunt. I was determined to find products that would aid my hair in remaining healthy. While on this tedious journey, some products made my hair hard, unmanageable, stiff or dry. I blame this on the lack of knowledge of my curl type. Going natural wasn’t something that I anticipated. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t a trend I was feigning to follow. A sista was just fed up, lazy and dreaded getting perms that made my hair bone straight and lifeless.
I started using gels like eco styler for my wash-n-go’s…hated it. Made my hair extremely dry, it flaked excessively and even left this gross white film in my hair.
According to Danielle of xovain.com: “Just because hair is extremely curly, does not mean that each individual strand is thick. In fact, most people with type-4 curls fall into subgroups a and b, the subcategories of fine or medium hair […] It often surprises people to learn that extremely curly hair is much more fragile than wavy or straight hair, as each acrobatic bend in the hair is a weak point. This is in direct contrast to coarse hair, which is resilient and does not have finer segments. Many products are suitable for all hair types, others are only suitable for certain textures or curl types. “
I wholeheartedly agree!
CURL TYPE: 2
- TYPE 2A: Hair tends to be fine. It is easily handled and can alternate between straight or curlier styles freely.
- TYPE 2B: Hair has a medium texture, tends to frizz and is resistant to styling.
- TYPE 2C: Hair has a courser texture. It is resistant to styling and prone to high frizz.
Characteristics to determine if you have Type 2 hair:
- Naturally forms a loose “S” pattern curl
- Light sheen
- Easier to curl or straightened
- Prone to Frizz
- Easier to damage than straight hair
CURL TYPE: 3
- TYPE 3A: Large, shiny, definite “S” shaped curls occurring naturally. The curl pattern is compared to the circumference of sidewalk chalk.
- TYPE 3B: Corkscrew curls or bouncy ringlets measuring the circumference of a sharpie marker.
- TYPE 3C: This type falls between the curliness of type 3 and the kinky pattern of type 4. It is tight corkscrew curl measuring the circumference of a pencil or straw.
Characteristics to determine if you have Type 3 hair:
- Definite “S” curl or corkscrew pattern
- Curl is tight and springy
- Is shiny or has sheen
- Has lots of body and is densely packed
- Prone to Frizz
- Easily damaged
CURL TYPE: 4
- TYPE 4A: Soft and very tightly curled with a visible defined curl pattern compared to the circumference of a crochet needle.
- TYPE 4B: Wiry and has a “Z” pattern shape.
- TYPE 4C: Very tightly coiled with no visible curl definition.
Characteristics to determine if you have Type 4 hair:
- Very tightly curled or coiled
- Has a Z-pattern curl
- Is naturally very dry and can appear dull
- Very fragile and prone to breakage
- Highly susceptible to frizz
- Very easily damaged
* A misconception exists that this hair type does not grow. Kinky hair grows at the same rate as other textures. However, if not cared for properly, it is prone to breakage and can be damaged more easily than other textures. Treat this hair type like a fine silk blouse – cleanse gently, detangle softly, and avoid harsh chemicals.
What’s MY Curl Type?
I’m definitely in between 3c and 4a, I consider my hair to be fine, with tight coils. I have a mixed hair texture, my curls are looser in the front and tighter in the back.
In addition, here’s how my hair looks without shrinkage. It’s actually bigger than this – i didn’t pick it out fully.
(curl type source: naturallydivinebeauty)