The Evolution of Natural Hair Texture

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Slay Magazine

When it comes to natural hairstyles, the possibilities are endless.  In the world of natural hair, rocking protective styles has become an added bonus of having better options for concealing hair on a multitude of levels. Protective styles include but are not limited to: twists, goddess braids, and Bantu knots.

So, what is texture? Texture, as it relates to hair, refers to the straightness or curliness of the hair’s surface. Our hair texture can be wavy, curly, soft or rough if you will, and we no longer must apologize for our hair, instead we should celebrate and appreciate our God-given beauty.

Over the past few months, several readers have asked us to break down hair typing. Whether or not hair typing is important, the fact remains that it can be difficult to follow along with discussions without knowing the various texture references. So, let’s take a closer look at the different textures.   

Type 4 Kinky Hair

Type 4 is kinky, or very tightly curled with a clearly visible curl pattern

• Circumference: Crochet needle or even smaller

• The hair is very wiry, very tightly coiled and very, very fragile

• Type 4 hair can range from fine/thin to wiry/coarse with lots and lots of strands densely packed together

• Type 4 hair has fewer cuticle layers than any other hair type, which means that it has less natural protection from the damage you inflict by combing, brushing, curling, blow-drying and straightening it

• Type 4 hair is known to shrink up to 75% of the actual hair length. Celebrities with type 4 hair are Solange Knowles and Macy Gray.

Type 3c – Curly Kinky Hair

Subtype 3c is really more than a subtype. It’s a type NaturallyCurly members developed because the original system left out this hair type, which falls between 3b and 4a, having its own special characteristics.

• Type 3c hair has tight curls in corkscrews

• Circumference: Pencil or straw

• The curls can be either kinky, or very tightly curled, with lots and lots of strands densely packed together.

• Getting this type of hair to blow dry straight is more challenging than for 3a or 3b, but it usually can be done.

• The very tight curls are usually fine in texture.

• 3c Celebrities: Alicia Keys, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Tracee Ellis Ross

Type 3a/b – Curly Hair

• There is a definite loopy “S” pattern

• Curls are well-defined and springy

• Type 3 hair has a lot of body; it is easily styled in its natural state or straightened with a blow dryer.

• It isn’t coarse, like many believe, but soft and very fine—there’s just a lot of it

• Combinations of Type 3a and 3b curls are common

There are two Type 3 subtypes:

•3b: Medium amount of curl; bouncy ringlets to tight corkscrews.

Circumference: Sharpie size

•3b celebrities: Keri Russell, Bernadette Peters, Melina Kankaredes

Now that you have some knowledge about the different textures, let’s take a look at my top hair tips on how to maintain those gorgeous, beautiful locks.

Hair Care Tips

  • Washing

The frequency of washing varies for every individual. Most people wash their hair about once a week, but others can wash only once a month. You must consider whether you lead an active lifestyle or not. If you sweat more, you need to wash it more often. Don’t do it too often (every day is an absolute NO) and use smaller amounts of gentler, sulfate-free shampoos diluted with water.

  • Conditioning

Conditioning helps keep moisture in your hair so it can be strong and less prone to damage. You should condition it with leave-in products after every wash and use deep conditioning at least once every two weeks. It’s especially important you don’t skip this part if your hair is dyed or otherwise chemically treated. Conditioner will help you not lose vital proteins from your hair that are lost through everyday manipulation and stress from chemicals, thermal treatments, and sun exposure.

  • Moisturizing

Try applying protective oils once a day and reduce if this seems too much. Cover entire length of your hair but focus on your ends especially, Don’t use too heavy oils like castor oil, instead, opt for coconut oil, Amla oil, jojoba or grapeseed oil. It’s not a bad idea to do this before you go to bed, which allows the oil to distribute evenly and your hair won’t be too weighed down.

  • Detangling

This can be the most unpleasant part of your natural hair routine. Do not try to detangle completely dry hair. It is important to use some kind of moisturizer to help you, but don’t try to detangle completely wet hair either as it is most prone to breaking then. Be patient, otherwise, you’ll pull out chunks of your hair. Get help from a friend if you can’t see any tangled strands on the backside of your head. Start from the ends of your hair all the way to the roots using your fingers or an extremely gentle brush. Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase

  • Styling and maintenance

Protective styles such as cornrows, twists or Bantu knots are a great way to let your hair rest if you want to let it grow more. It can help you save time on daily styling, but make sure nothing is too tight and your hair doesn’t get pulled or strained. If you want to proudly wear a healthy mane, make sure you don’t stress it too much with heat, no more than two times a month.  Your hair will be beautiful as long as it’s healthy and strong.

By: Bridget Pace


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