Have you ever felt confused or overwhelmed by the seemingly complex world of hair typing? Well, fear not because we’re here to unravel the mysteries and help you understand the ins and outs of this fascinating system. Hair typing is a way to categorize and classify different hair textures based on their natural patterns and characteristics. It is a helpful tool for understanding and caring for your unique locks, but it can also be confusing if you need help knowing where to start.
In this post, we’ll break down the basics of the hair typing system, debunk common myths, and provide practical tips to embrace and celebrate your hair, no matter its type. Get ready to unlock the secrets of your tresses and embark on a journey of self-discovery and hair empowerment!
- Hair typing systems, such as the Andre Walker Hair Typing System, LOIS Hair Typing System, NaturallyCurly Hair Typing System, and Fia’s Hair Typing System, provide frameworks for categorizing and understanding different hair types based on texture and curl pattern.
- The Andre Walker Hair Typing System categorizes hair into four main types: straight (Type 1), wavy (Type 2), curly (Type 3), and kinky (Type 4), with further subdivisions within each type.
- The LOIS Hair Typing System considers hair patterns (L, O, I, S), hair strand sizes (fine, medium, coarse), and hair textures (straight, wavy, curly, kinky) to classify different hair types comprehensively.
- The NaturallyCurly Hair Typing System classifies hair into three main types: wavy (Type 2), curly (Type 3), and coily (Type 4), with subcategories within each type.
- Fia’s Hair Typing System categorizes hair into four main types: straight (Type 1), wavy (Type 2), curly (Type 3), and coily (Type 4), with specific subcategories based on curl pattern and structure.
- Understanding hair types is important for effective hair care, as it helps individuals choose suitable products, develop customized routines, address specific concerns, and make informed decisions regarding styling techniques and treatments.
- It’s important to note that individual variations exist within each hair type category, and factors like porosity, density, and thickness also play a significant role in hair characteristics, which the hair typing systems may not fully capture. Therefore, flexibility and adaptation to individual needs are crucial in hair care practices.
A Brief Overview Of Hair Typing Systems
Hair typing systems is essential for understanding and caring for different hair types. These systems categorize and classify hair based on its texture, pattern, and other factors, providing individuals with valuable information to select appropriate hair care products and techniques. Several established hair typing systems, such as Andre Walker’s, LOIS, NaturallyCurly, and Fia’s, offer various classifications and subcategories to identify hair types accurately. Additionally, emerging hair typing systems consider additional factors like porosity and density for a more comprehensive understanding of hair characteristics. By knowing their hair type, individuals can tailor their hair care routines to address specific needs, promoting healthier and more manageable hair.
Andre Walker Hair Typing System
The Andre Walker hair typing system is a widely recognized classification system that categorizes different hair types based on their texture and curl pattern. Developed by Andre Walker, a hairstylist known for his work with Oprah Winfrey, this system provides a framework for understanding and managing diverse hair types. The system consists of four main categories, each representing a distinct hair type: Type 1 for straight hair, Type 2 for wavy hair, Type 3 for curly hair, and Type 4 for kinky hair. Let’s explore each type in more detail:
Type 1. Straight Hair
Straight hair, designated Type 1 in the Andre Walker system, lacks a defined curl pattern. It is typically smooth and shiny and tends to lie flat against the scalp. This hair type reflects light well, giving it a lustrous appearance. It is divided into three subtypes:
|Fine, thin hair is generally soft and prone to oiliness.
|Medium-textured hair that has more volume and body.
|Coarse and thicker straight hair that may be difficult to style.
Type 2. Wavy Hair
Wavy hair, categorized as Type 2, has a defined “S” shape or loose curls. It falls between straight and curly hair, showcasing a mix of smoothness and texture. Wavy hair can range from subtle waves to more pronounced curls. The Andre Walker system further divides Type 2 hair into three subcategories:
|Fine and thin wavy hair with loose, gentle waves.
|Medium-textured hair with more defined waves and a tendency to frizz.
|Thick, coarse hair with pronounced waves, frizz, and volume.
Type 3. Curly Hair
Curly hair, denoted as Type 3 in the Andre Walker system, has distinct spirals or curls. It is prone to dryness and requires specific care to maintain its shape and moisture. Type 3 hair can vary from loose curls to tight corkscrews. The system further classifies Type 3 hair into three subtypes:
|Loose curls that are well-defined and tend to be shiny.
|Springy curls that are tighter and have more volume.
|Coily curls with a tighter curl pattern and significant volume.
Type 4. Kinky Hair
The Type 4 category in the Andre Walker Hair Typing System represents kinky hair characterized by tightly coiled or zigzag-shaped strands. This hair type is the most fragile and prone to dryness among the different types. Type 4 hair can be further divided into three subcategories based on the tightness of the curl pattern:
|Tightly coiled curls with a defined “S” pattern and visible curl definition.
|Z-shaped coils that form a sharp angle and have less defined curl patterns.
|Coily hair with a dense curl pattern and minimal definition.
Limitations of the Andre Walker System
While the Andre Walker Hair Typing System provides a useful framework for understanding different hair types, it is important to note that hair textures vary greatly within each category. Some individuals may have multiple hair types or a combination of different curl patterns, making it challenging to fit neatly into a single classification. Additionally, factors such as porosity, density, and thickness play a significant role in hair characteristics but need to be explicitly accounted for in this system. Therefore, it is essential to consider individual variations and adapt hair care practices accordingly.
LOIS Hair Typing System
The LOIS Hair Typing System was developed by Aeleise Jana, a hairstylist, and founder of Carol’sCarol’s Daughter. The LOIS Hair Typing System is a classification system that helps individuals understand and identify their hair patterns, strand sizes, and textures. It provides a comprehensive framework to categorize and embrace the unique characteristics of different hair types. You can customize your hair care regimen and select the right products to improve the condition and appearance of your hair by knowing your LOIS hair type.
The LOIS Hair Typing System recognizes four primary hair patterns:
“L” – This pattern refers to hair that forms clear, distinct “S” or “Z” shaped curls. The curls can range from loose and elongated to tight and compact.
“O” – Hair with an “O” pattern is characterized by hair strands that form circular or spiral-shaped curls. These curls are tighter and more defined than the “L” pattern.
“I” – The “I” pattern represents hair that appears straight when dry. However, when wet or styled, it may exhibit some subtle waves or bends.
“S” – Hair with an “S” pattern showcases a combination of waves and curls. The curls in this pattern tend to be looser and less tightly coiled than in the “L” pattern.
Hair Strand Sizes
In addition to hair patterns, the LOIS Hair Typing System considers three different hair strand sizes:
Fine: Fine hair strands are thin and delicate, often lacking in volume and body. Heavy products can easily weigh them and require extra care to prevent breakage.
Medium: Medium hair strands have a moderate thickness, balancing fine and coarse strands. They are more versatile in styling options and tend to be resilient.
Coarse: Coarse hair strands are thick, robust, and usually have a large diameter. They are more resistant to breakage but can be prone to dryness and frizz. Coarse hair often requires extra moisture and protection.
The LOIS Hair Typing System classifies hair into four main texture categories:
Straight: Straight hair has a sleek, smooth texture with no evident curls or waves. It is comparatively simple to customize and handle.
Wavy: Wavy hair falls between straight and curly. It exhibits loose, gentle waves that create a subtle texture and volume.
Curly: Curly hair forms distinct curls that range from loose to tight. It typically has a bouncy, voluminous texture.
Kinky: Kinky hair has tightly coiled curls or zig-zag patterns. It tends to have a dense texture and requires special care to maintain moisture and prevent breakage.
How To Determine Your LOIS Hair Type
To determine your LOIS hair type, observing your hair’shair’s patterns, strand sizes, and textures is essential. Here’sHere’s a step-by-step guide:
Observe Patterns: Examine your hair when it’sit’s in its natural, untouched state. Pay attention to the shape and formation of your curls or lack thereof.
Assess Strand Sizes: Evaluate the thickness of your hair strands by gently feeling them between your fingertips. Decide whether your hair is coarse, medium, or fine.
Analyze Textures: Consider how your hair naturally behaves and the presence of curls, waves, or straightness. Take note of the overall texture of your hair.
Refer to the LOIS System: Once you have gathered your observations, compare them to the LOIS Hair Typing System’sSystem’s descriptions to identify your hair type.
The NaturallyCurly Hair Typing System
The NaturallyCurly Hair Typing System is a popular method for classifying and identifying different hair types based on their texture and curl pattern. It was developed by Michelle Breyer and Gretchen Heber, the founders of NaturallyCurly.com, to help individuals understand and embrace their unique hair characteristics. The system categorizes hair into three main types: Type 2, Type 3, and Type 4, each with its subcategories.
Type 2. Wavy Hair
Type 2 hair, known as wavy hair, falls between straight and curly. It generally has a subtle wave pattern ranging from loose to more defined waves. Type 2 hair tends to be relatively fine in texture, making it easier to manage than curlier hair types. Let’sLet’s explore the different subcategories of Type 2 wavy hair:
Table: Type 2 Subcategories
|Loose waves with an “S” shape
|More defined waves with an “S” shape
|Pronounced waves with an “S” or “S-shaped” pattern
|Subtle waves, fine hair
|Moderately wavy, tends to flatten at the roots
|Thick waves, prone to frizz
|Easy to style, prone to frizz
|Frizz-prone, medium texture
|Coarse texture, requires moisture
Type 3: Curly Hair
Well-defined curls with more bounce and volume than wavy hair characterize type 3. These curls are loose to tight and have a distinct “S” or spiral shape. Let’s explore the different subcategories of Type 3 curly hair:
Table: Type 3 Subcategories
|Loose curls with a wider circumference
|Tighter curls with a medium circumference
|Dense, tightly packed curls
|“S” shaped, similar to sidewalk chalk
|Voluminous, marker-sized curls
|Smaller circumference (straw or pencil)
|Shiny, easy to style
|Prone to frizz, a mix of curls and waves
|Requires regular moisturization
Type 4. Coily Hair
Type 4 hair, commonly called coily or kinky, is characterized by tight curls or coils forming a distinct pattern. This hair type has a rich texture and is known for its versatility and unique beauty. Let’s explore the different subcategories of Type 4 coily hair:
Table: Type 4 Subcategories
|Tightly coiled curls with an “S” pattern
|Zigzag-shaped tightly coiled curls
|Tightly coiled curls with a “Z” pattern
|Small circumference (crochet needle or pencil eraser)
|Dense, sharp angle curls
|Dense, less defined strands
|Fragile, requires moisturization
|Cotton-like texture, significant shrinkage
|Requires moisture, protective styling
Fia’s Hair Typing System
Fia’s Hair Typing System is a popular classification system for categorizing different hair textures based on their curl pattern and structure. It was developed by Fia, a hair blogger and enthusiast, to provide a standardized way of identifying and understanding various hair types. The system is widely used in the natural hair community and has become a helpful tool for individuals seeking appropriate hair care and styling techniques for their specific hair type.
Type 1 (straight hair), Type 2 (wavy hair), Type 3 (curly hair), and Type 4 (coily hair) are the four primary categories under which the system classifies hair. Each category is further divided into subcategories, denoted by letters, to provide a more precise classification.
These tables provide a breakdown of the subcategories within each hair type category, as defined by Fia’s Hair Typing System. Let’s explore each hair type category and its corresponding subcategories:
Type 1. Straight Hair
Type 1 hair is characterized by its straight texture with little to no natural curl pattern. It tends to be fine and thin, although it can vary among individuals. This hair type is generally more prone to oiliness at the scalp, as the natural oils can travel down the hair shaft easily due to the lack of curls. Now let’s look at the subcategories of Type 1 hair:
|Straight hair with no visible curl pattern
|Straight hair with a slight bend at the ends
|Straight hair with a noticeable wave
Type 2. Wavy Hair
Alongside straight and curly hair, wavy hair lies. It typically has a defined S-shaped or gentle wave pattern. The texture of Type 2 hair can range from loose and beachy waves to tighter and more defined waves. Now let’s explore the subcategories of type 2 hair:
|Loose, beachy waves with a gentle S-shaped pattern
|Defined waves that form a clear S-shape
|Waves that are tightly coiled and have a distinct pattern
Type 3. Curly Hair
Curly hair is characterized by well-defined curls ranging from loose to tight coils. It has a distinct curl pattern and is more voluminous than straight or wavy hair. Type 3 hair can vary in size, with larger curls in the 3a category and tighter curls in the 3c category. Let’s take a closer look at the subcategories of type 3 hair:
|Large, well-defined, and springy curls
|Bouncy, medium-sized curls with a spiral shape
|Tight curls with a corkscrew or zigzag pattern
Type 4. Coily Hair
Coily hair, known as kinky or tightly curled hair, has a tight coil pattern ranging from small zigzag shapes to dense coils. Type 4 hair is often characterized by its high density and tends to have less natural sheen due to the shape of the hair strands. Now, let’s explore the subcategories of type 4 hair:
|Tightly curled coils with an S-shaped pattern
|Z-shaped coils with a less defined curl pattern
|Coils densely packed with no visible curl pattern
Importance Of Understanding Hair Types For Hair Care
Understanding hair types is crucial for effective hair care as it allows individuals to select the right products and develop customized routines that cater to their needs. By knowing their hair type, individuals can choose appropriate shampoos, conditioners, and styling products that address their hair’s unique characteristics, preventing damage and promoting healthier locks. Additionally, understanding hair types helps identify and address specific concerns, such as dryness, frizz, or lack of volume, leading to more successful and satisfying hair care outcomes.
Moreover, understanding hair types empowers individuals to make informed decisions regarding styling techniques and treatments. Hair types require specific heat styling, chemical treatments, and protective approaches. By clearly understanding their hair type, individuals can select the most suitable methods to minimize the damage risk and maximize the desired results. This knowledge enables them to embrace and enhance the natural beauty of their hair, leading to increased confidence and satisfaction with their overall hair care journey.
Can My Hair Type Change Over Time?
While your hair type remains consistent throughout your life, factors like hormonal changes, health conditions, and external influences (such as chemical treatments or heat styling) can temporarily affect your hair’s texture and curl pattern. However, these changes are often reversible, and your hair tends to return to its original type once the influencing factors are eliminated or managed.
Can I Have Multiple Hair Types On My Head?
Yes, it is common for individuals to have multiple hair types on their heads. Combining different hair types or curl patterns in different areas of your scalp is possible. This variation is entirely normal and is known as hair type diversity.
Can I Change My Hair Type Permanently?
Genetics determines your natural hair type, which cannot be changed indefinitely. However, various styling techniques and treatments can temporarily alter the appearance of your hair. For example, heat styling tools can straighten or curl hair, and chemical treatments like relaxers or perms can provide different textures. It’s important to note that such methods may cause damage if not used properly or overused.
How Should I Care For My Specific Hair Type?
Each hair type requires specific care routines and products tailored to its unique characteristics. Generally, it’s important to keep your hair well-moisturized, use products suitable for your hair type, minimize heat and chemical damage, and follow gentle hair care practices like detangling with care and avoiding excessive manipulation. Experimenting with different techniques and seeking professional advice can help you develop a suitable hair care routine for your specific type.
Who Created The Hair Typing System?
The Hair Typing System was popularized by Andre Walker, a renowned hairstylist who worked with Oprah Winfrey for many years. Andre Walker introduced the Hair Typing System in his book “Andre Talks Hair!” where he classified different hair types based on their curl patterns.
Is Hair Typing Real?
A: Hair typing is a subjective classification system that categorizes hair based on its curl pattern, thickness, and texture. While it provides a framework for understanding and discussing different hair types, it’s important to remember that it is a general guideline and not an exact science. Some people find hair typing helpful for product selection and styling techniques, while others may resonate with it less. Ultimately, the importance and relevance of hair typing may vary from person to person.
Q: Is Hair Typing Necessary?
A: Hair typing is optional for everyone. Whether or not to use the Hair Typing System to understand and manage your hair is a personal choice. Some people find it helpful to identify appropriate products and techniques that work best for their hair type. However, others prefer to focus on the unique characteristics of their hair and develop a customized hair care routine without relying on specific hair typing categories. It’s ultimately up to individuals to determine if hair typing aligns with their needs and preferences.