When I started my healthy hair journey (HHJ) and learned there was a system in place that helps you determine what type of hair you have, I would sit for hours with my eyes pasted to the computer screen here, over at BGLH and YouTube just hoping to get it spot on.
I wanted to see who had my type, look at the products they use and perhaps copy their regimen. I would drive myself crazy trying to figure out where on the spectrum I fell.
The thing is, I had gotten it in my head that unless I figured this out from the word go, my journey would be seriously compromised. I’d get so frustrated when I recognized I couldn’t find anyone who I could call my hair twin. Sound familiar?
Perhaps even now there are some of you who have just started your journey and you are going through the same thing.
Can I tell you that I think hair typing is overrated? Consider the following points:
It’s a hierarchical structure
I think many can attest to the fact that they hair typing systems that exist have kinda served as some type of benchmark or grading system wherein superiority is given to certain types over others.
Perhaps the inventors of these systems genuinely wanted to make the categorization easier so that haircare could be more focused based on the characteristics of the type one falls in; however, given the complex nature of our individual reasoning abilities and the concepts that shape each person’s outlook, some have interpreted the system as something based on an hierarchical structure to promote prejudice.
There is no shortage of this representation in the media. In fact, until recently there was hardly ever any representation of girls with kinks and coils, it was mainly black girls that had the loosely curled tresses that were featured since they were considered more aesthetically appealing.
For this reason an undertone of resentment is bred with persons showing contempt for those who they claim are “mixed”. Hence, I think the typing system has been more divisive than helpful in our community.
Hair Can and Does Thrive Regardless of One’s Knowledge of the Hair Type
Being ignorant of your hair type won’t prevent it from growing. The typing system only exists as a guide that may assist you in deciding the type of products would work best for your hair but it is not as though knowing your hair type will boost your results.
I am sure you will find several persons who do not subscribe to the typing system and they have healthy hair. In fact many of them who had length aspirations at the beginning of their journeys have long surpassed what they themselves imagined. The fact is whether you know your hair type or not your hair is still going to grow.
You Don’t Necessarily Need the Hair Typing System to Make Product Choices
While the typing system can help you choose products according to your hair type, in some cases what works for one 4C may not work for another 4C.
It may even be that products made for a 4A may be a mainstay in the arsenal of a 4C so depending on the typing system to decide which product to get doesn’t necessarily benefit everyone, nor does it dictate that you must stick to products specifically for your hair type.
Just think about it, how many Caucasian products have you used simply because you recognized that it works great for textured hair too?
Courtney Gray says
Sheree RowellArmstead-Morgan says
My hair is a combination of 3a,b,c.
Tracey Machio says
I must be 4z
I am no longer thinking about my hair type. All that it’s important is whether or not my hair is healthy and moisturized. And it’s growing.
I have always believed hair typing was Over rated!
Amen! So glad someone finally stood up and said it. Hair typing is totally ridiculous and ignorant. Just another way of saying “good hair” as far as I am concerned.
Carla Morgan says
3b I think
Cheryl Martin says
Rose Martin read this
Actually the hair typing thing had me all stressed out and depressed when I began my journey until I let it go and that is when I got real freedom and accepted that my hair will work with what I try and what it thrives with as an individual. Whether we like it or not even the numbers sound discriminatory to some of us who have always been classified. I am from Africa, lived all my life in America and am back in Africa but shoot me if you want the numbers remind me of the classifications used in determining who would serve in the house and who would go out into the fields. Could all be innocent but the truth is the connotation is there.
I think the hair typing system was designed to be a general guide for hair care, but unfortunately people have taken the hair typing system and made it about type 3 vs. type 4…so on and so on. But regardless of what a women’s hair type is or isnt, all that matters is that she is taking care of her hair and keeping it healthy. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOOD HAIR-JUST HEALTHY HAIR!
I agree. If it is simply used as a descriptive tool, so someone can get a visual of hair being described, it’s fine. It’s when people use it as a tool to try and find the perfect regimen then it blows up in their face). It can make people forget that each head of hair is different beyond description. I guess people read too much into it, try to use it to do more than it is designed for?
Its only a negative if the person allows it to be a negative. I have used the system and yes it helped me a LOT in my journey. When I first started 3 years ago I didn’t understand why certain techniques / products just didn’t work for me like it did others… then I found hair typing, started focusing on the bloggers / vloggers demonstrating products on hair closer to my type and guess what.. THEY WORKED! I threw away lots of money that could have been saved if I had understood typing. Yes hair types can change, big whoop, once you see the change then try the products of the other types. Some of the products that didn’t work for me early on when my hair was more 3c/4A now work for me as a mostly 4B/4C. But because I understood typing when I saw this change in my hair type I knew to retry some other products. I think people try to make it an exact science when its not. just look at the photo then look to see what the most (not all but the majority) of what you have on your head then you search for product / blogs/ geared towards that. I will never understand all of the negative connotations, etc. people try to put on typing.. you’re giving way more weight than its worth in life. Its just a tool, one of many, to help a person find products, tools and techniques for their hair..
Rodemirma Viljean says
Hair typing has actually helped me ALOT through my through my journey. By learning more about your hair type, you learn how to better manage it, accept its different qualities, knowing whats normal and whats not and most of al, how to treat it. It also aids in hair styling. As soon as i learned my hair type i statred to follow those with the same on youtube and such. I realized there was nothing wrong with my 4c hair. ( prior to hair typing i would often wonder what i was doing wrong with it that it would skrink so much, or why its so thick i can’t do a pony tail.) Hair typing helps understand your hair’s specific needs.
I don’t use hair typing anymore either. I have tried to so many products for my type and the majority didn’t even work in my hair. So I went with just using what works and I don’t care whose hair it was meant for if it works then it works. But I did follow those that had similar hair that helped me out a bit cause it helped me figure out my own regimen, like doing my hair in sections, that was a big help. But I don’t live and die by my hair type, but it helps people who are familiarizing themselves with their hair a better understanding and a little guidance to help them through their journey.
Michelle Nicole Charley says
I’ve always paid very little attention to hair typing because I’d been using black products as well as some white products for decade with no special problems. Either they worked or they didn’t. That was it. I had also worn an afro in the late 60s all thru the 70s when there were few products other than grease ,StaSofFro & Afro Sheen & our ‘fros gre HUGE & looked great without any “hair typing” needed to get it that way. Some folks had naturally curly afros & others didn’t. Nobody seemed to care. As soon as this typing business started ,it was clear that there was a definite preference for type 3s as opposed to type 4s. .All the black magazines showed them in ads as did mainstream commercials; the “light & curly ” look. There developed an emphasis on getting curl definition.
I have multiple “types” of hair all mixed together. My sides are primarily 4c, my back primarily 4a. the top of my head to crown 3b (primarily)…..I use primarily because I have the luxury or misfortune of having some of each type all over my head. I learned early in my HHJ to listen to my hair rather than type-trends.
Charlene Cha LaBranche says
I still don’t get hair type system
The typing chart is just a tool that can help new naturals narrow down which products to start with on their journey. Looser curls use more liquids than oils, tighter coils benefit from a higher oil to liquid ratio. All hair types need some combination. To give it more power than that seems to be more about internal judgment. Like it or not, It has become a way for naturals to understand and communicate across all spectrums and around the world! That means it has to be helping lots of folks. I hate to see those just beginning their journey and not knowing where to start think the chart is the problem with the way we feel about our hair. Jmho~
Tiana Dowell says
I’m a mixture of all 4’s but hair typing is not necessary. What’s more important for product choices would be to learn your hair porosity rather than hair type. That tells you what types of products YOUR. Hair specifically would need
Asha Jamia says
It’s only overrated because to many people get OFFENDED by THEIR hair texture.
Viqtorea Issah says
i think hair typing is really overrated and i find it extremely depressing because i do not fit in with any whatsoever. i am african and i have no american heritage yet our hair is being referred to as “african american” and to be honest that alone feels very discriminatory towards enthusiastic african naturals. this isnt to take a stab at anyone though.
I agree completely with you, I feel the hair type system is geared more toward curly and/or African American hair types, witch is fine, but because of this I am having a hard time deciding what type I am, I know I am an a because i have very long straight hair that is medium to thick. Also, even though I am Caucasian, I use plenty of hair products that I love that are made for kinky/natural hair. But I do have a question for you, when I read or hear about ‘natural’ hair products or techniques, I believe ‘natural’ hair is referring to African American hair. Is this correct?