Jun 4, 2012

DISCUSSION: Should we do away with the hair typing system?

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Lately there's been talk in the natural hair community about hair typing.

What is hair typing? Andre Walker, celebrity hair stylist, came up with a hair typing system to categorize wavy, curly, and highly textured hair. Depending on your hair type, hair stylists and hair care manufacturers suggest techniques and products to help your hair grow and become more manageable. The system which starts at 1a (bone straight) to 4c (kinky) usually becomes the road map to new naturals.

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Some take issue with this system saying that it causes natural hair wearers to block themselves from tips, techniques, and hair styles available to the wearer. In addition, some say the hair-typing system causes a form of prejudice among the community (source). It's true that when there are more 'curly' representations of natural hair in the press/television/websites and not so many kinky hair representations. This can be misconstrued as saying kinky haired naturals aren't as desirable as curly haired naturals.

There is definitely some truth to this concern. Why? Because there's more to taking care of natural hair than finding products that only cater to your curl pattern. Other factors to consider when describing and caring for  your hair is scalp health, elasticity, density, porosity, and your wave pattern (source). When taking these factors into consideration you will be open to trying various techniques, styles, and products.


In addition, the longer you are on the natural journey the more your hair will change. The techniques you used when you first transitioned or big-chopped will change as time passes. So, the hair typing system may not be relevant when you hit your 3, 5, or 10 year mark. Who knows!?

So, how do you feel about the hair typing situation, are we making a big deal out of nothing or should we do away with the system and encourage learning your individual hair? Let's discuss!
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