Knowing your hair type can help you determine what type of products to use for your hair and also which natural hair routine to adopt for your hair to grow long and healthy. It generally guides you on your natural hair journey and how to handle and style your hair more effectively.
Hair typing is a medium that helps you determine your hair type and it’s okay if you don’t have a clue how to go about finding out what your hair type is; you’re just a few words away from getting educated on how to do so.
Before we get started, I think it’s important to be clear about a few things. There are multiple hair typing systems – the Andre Walker hair typing system, LOIS hair typing system, and FIA Hair Typing System. However, the Andre Walker Hair typing system seems to be the most discussed, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a more accurate hair typing system than the others.
That being said, we are going to discuss the Andre Walker’s hair typing system as this article is supposed to be beginner friendly, I would not like to have us confused with all three different systems, moreso, they’re all basically saying the same thing.
I was confused for a while after going natural, I didn’t know my left to right especially when it came to hair typing but This system helped me know and embrace my hair type as a beginner and I hope it helps you too.
THE ANDRE WALKER’S HAIR TYPING SYSTEM
Oprah’s beloved hairstylist Andre Walker, In his book titled “Andre Talks Hair” reveals his hair typing system. His creation of hair typing system has made him famous or infamous depending on your view of it.
Andre starts off by making it quite clear that there is nobody with bad hair, hoping not to sound like he is having the good hair Vs bad hair debate before going ahead to reveal his hair typing system but this seems not to have exactly worked out quite well for him as many people believe that Andre intentionally places kinky hair as the worst type of hair by placing it in the bottom.
Many type 4 (kinky hair) women have been offended by some comments Andre has made over the years. Examples is
“I always recommend embracing your natural texture. Kinky hair can have limited styling options, that’s the only hairstyle I recommend altering with professional relaxing”
The above was said by Andre Walker, referring to type 4 hair which happens to be the most common hair type for blacks.
Regardless of his original intentions which he later tried to clarify, the statement definitely offended many women and really attracted a lot chaos on the internet.
However, do not let the above make you feel a bit uncomfortable about Andre Walker and his hair typing system. Like I said, “it helped me really understand my hair type”, and I’m sure if you put your mind to it, you’ll understand too. You could Read his book and then make out your personal opinion of it. Now, Let’s move on. According to Andre Walker, there are basically 4 hair types. Let’s have look at them.
1. TYPE 1 HAIR (STRAIGHT HAIR)
This generally means straight hair, it is difficult to damage and close to impossible to curl. Andre further divides it into three categories : 1A, 1B, 1C
- 1A (fine) type of straight hair is thin, soft and shiny, though it might often need a lift at the root it’s very easy to manage and style.
- 1B (medium) type of straight hair has more volume and body and is therefore easier to style with little effort
- 1C (coarse) type of straight hair is usually difficult to make in curls or waves, it’s usually stick straight with a lot of volume.
2. TYPE 2 HAIR (WAVY HAIR)
This falls somewhere between type 1 and type 3 hair. It is curlier than type 1 hair but not as curly as type 3 hair. It just has a wavy pattern and tends to be very frizzy. It is not overly oily or too dry. This also is further divided into 3 Categories: 2A, 2B, 2C
- 2A type of wavy hair is easy to manage, it can easily be straightened or curled.
- 2B type of wavy hair is a bit frizzy and the waves tend to adhere to head shape.
- 2C type of wavy hair is very frizzy and almost resistant to styling.
3. TYPE 3 HAIR (CURLY HAIR)
This hair type is characterized by a definite curl pattern. Pulling a strand of a type 3 hair reveals curls of an S shape, be it capital s or small s. In some cases it might be a z pattern but it is definitely curly with or without products in it. Curly hair isn’t as shiny as type 1 or type 2 hair. Andre divides this into 2 categories : 3A and 3B. There is a type 3C though it isn’t inclusive in Andre’s system.
- 3A curly type curly hair type has loose curls and it is shinnier than types 3B and 3C
- 3B curly hair type has a medium amount curls. It is most times mixed with both loose and tight curls.
- 3C curly hair type isn’nt inclusive in Andre’s hair typing system but for better clarification, this hairstyle was created after the release of the original hair typing system, this was after that release of Andre Walkers book. It was said to have been left out. It is characterized by very tight curls that look like corkscrews.
4. TYPE 4 HAIR (COILY HAIR)
This is the hair type mostly found amongst blacks, usually known as the kinky hair. It has a zig zag tight curl pattern. The curls are so clung together that they tend to hug each other thereby leading to tangles. it is very fine but appears to be coarse, it is the driest of all hair types and is also very delicate by nature and therefore prone to breakage;it has several thin strands packed together densely and requires a very gentle touch. It is for this hair type that Andre advises relaxer alteration. Just like the type 3 hair,he divides this into 2 categories :4A and 4B; but again, there is a 4C hair.
- 4A COILY hair type is full of tight curls. Though it has a zig coil pattern, it has an S shape pattern when stretched.
- 4B COILY hair type has a less definite curl pattern. It has a zig shaped tighter indefinite coils as the hair bends with very sharp angles.
Andre says there are just these above two categories of the type 4 hair. According to Andre, when you look at the mirror, if your type 4 hair has a definite coil pattern, then you’re a type 4A, if there is no definite coil pattern then you’re a type 4B and that’s all there is to it but the natural hair community has come to place a hair type that was also seemingly left out-4C
- 4C coily hair type is the kinkiest of all kinks or more appropriately the coiliest of all type 4 hair. The curls are so tightly knit together that it isn’t readily visible. It is also very dry,tangles a lot and prone to breakage.it is the most delicate of all hair types.
Note: Hair typing has its pros but we should not forget that there are several practices one can adopt to help grow healthy and long hair nomatter your hair type. it’s also very easy to wrongly determine your hair type based on pictures. Closely go over this topic and try to be right about knowing your hair type as this would go a long way to helping you.
The LOIS AND FIA hair typing systems will be discussed shortly.There are other recent hair typing systems coming up but sincerely, they aren’t legitimately followed yet by the natural hair community but I will be sure to get this post updated once there is a tangible one.
DID YOU KNOW?
Your one head can have more than one hair types!
I have looser curls at the back of my head than other parts. I am a 4c hair chick with a 4A at the back of my head.
do you know your hair type?
What type are you?