Thursday, 2 August 2012

And So It Begins...But What Kind of Hair am I Dealing With?

After a couple of evenings spent starting to  "hairducate" myself about caring for Afro-Caribbean hair (by lapping up the great blogs and hair care websites out there, and purchasing  The Science of Black Hair [SoBH]), I've taken my first active steps on the road to healthy hair...classifcation

I realised that the first thing I need to do is figure out just which  type of "afro" curly hair I'm dealing with. I'm 2 weeks post relaxer so I can't really see my curl pattern to do a proper analysis of what my natural hair is like so I'm relying on memory/photos of myself as a child and the look and feel of new growth from the last couple of times I took out a weave (and therefore actually had enough growth to see a bit of "natural" hair).

Number Type
The majority of the sites I've been on have used the number type classification of hair-types and I'm definitely a Type 4 "Coily" girl in my natural state. From childhood I remember my hair being more "kinky" than curly (I'd never heard of the term "coily" then), with a spongy feel to it and a lot of shrinkage if it got wet - going off of this I'm inclined to say I'm a type 4C; however some of the hair that I see when I get a lot of new growth in between relaxers (i.e. after a period of time wearing weaves) seems to have a bit of a "looser" curl pattern (like a small wave/larger zig zag) - looking at the pictures of the very defined corkscrew 4A curls/coils I'd say that's defintiely not me so I may actually be a 4B. For now I classify myself as 4B/C .

This is the hair typing method discussed in The Science of Black Hair. In order to do this classifcation you need to actually look at an individual strand of hair and as I said, since I'm so freshly relaxed I'm not in a position to do that now. However based on the descriptions of what each hair type looks like, and my memory of my childhood hair, I would say:
  • I'm either an O or an S pattern (so for now I'm going with OS)
  • the texture of my hair is "spongy"
  • my strands are medium (SoBH defines this as the thickness of a frayed thread)

L.O.I.S Hair Types (from 

So based on the two methods of analysing hair outlined above I have diagnosed myself as "Type 4B/C" or "OS, spongy, medium" and I will be looking for and following advice for this type of hair. When my relaxer starts to grow out and I can see my natural new growth I will re-evaluate this just to make sure.

I also used the method recommended on to evaluate my hair density and while I expected it to be thin it appears it's normal - yay!! My ponytail measured in at 3 inches.

Ms Henissi

**Updated slightly on 03/08 following a discussion with my mum - I said 4C she said 4B so we settled on the middle ground :o)

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Ms Henissi