There is a lot of talk out there about hair typing and exactly what constitutes your hair falling into a particular category.
People want to know more about their hair type and even if it is possible to change your hair type.
To be honest I could probably write a whole dissertation about hair typing all by itself but I’ll spare you that for today and just hit you with the main points.
I’m making this my first point because you need to understand that all hair types are beautiful and no matter which category you fall into your hair is unique.
Now that I’ve pointed that out let’s move on.
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What is hair typing?
Hair typing is a system that was created by Andre walker who was Oprah Winfrey’s hairstylist at the time. I’ not exactly sure why he decided to create the system but people seem to have a love-hate relationship with it.
Hair typing exists to help you understand what kind of hair you have in order to help you manage it better.
According to the Andre Walker system, hair falls into one of 4 main categories labelled from type 1 to type 4.
There are of course many other hair typing systems out there but Andre walkers system by far seems to be the most popular in the natural hair community.
Types of hair
Type 1 hair is typically straight hair.
Type 1a. Tends to be very fine and thin. There is very little body in this type of hair.
Type 1b. Is usually medium density hair. It is very similar to type 1a hair but has a little more body.
Type 1c. This type of hair is still classed as straight although there may be a few bends here and there. This hair type is usually curl resistant.
This hair type is known as being wavy.
Type 2a. This hair is very thin and fine. There will be some noticeable wave pattern happening.
Type 2b. Hair that is wavy but not as thin as type 2a. Much more noticeable waves will be present.
Type 2c. Is classed as being coarse and frizzy. This hair has the most noticeable wavy pattern.
Type 3 hair is all about the curls.
Type 3a. Very lose curls that are apparent.
Type 3b. The curls here are a little tighter than 3a and are a very loose S pattern
Type 3c. This hair type resembles corkscrew curls
This is type is referred to as kinky hair
Type 4a. Coily hair where the curls are very defined.
Type 4b. More tightly coiled hair with some curls
Type 4c. This is the most tightly coiled hair where the strands resemble a z shape.
Can you change your hair type?
I’m sure there are many people out there that would love to be able to change their hair type for many different reasons. The truth of the matter is that although a hair typing system exists it is not absolute matter of fact.
Your hair is never going to be hair type 4a or a 3b because most people have more than one texture of hair of their heads.
Hair typing is similar to shoe sizing. It can give you an idea of the size shoe to choose but ultimately your feet are not the same as the person next to you.
If you fall into category 4b you may wish that your hair was a 3c instead, so is it possible to change your hair type?
The answer to that is yes and no.
There are ways you can chemically alter your curl pattern. Personally I would never advise it as in my opinion once you chemically alter your hair type your hair is no longer natural to me.
No matter what you try to do to your hair you can never fully change it to becoming a different hair type.
Type 3 hair has quite large curls. If you have type 4 hair you will notice that the diameter of your hair strands will be a lot smaller compared to type 3. If you have type 4 hair that means that you can never have curls that would naturally look the same as type 3 no matter how you tried to alter your curl pattern.
Why would someone want to change their hair type?
I remember the second time around when I become natural I was determined to do things the right way this time so I plunged into the world of natural hair and tried to learn as much as I could.
At the time I thought that natural hair was just natural hair. I had never heard of hair typing before. I did realise that some mixed-race people had curly hair as opposed to kinky hair but I thought that was just for them.
I genuinely thought that all black women had the same hair so when I discovered a YouTuber that I fell in love with (not literally) I wanted my hair to be exactly like hers. I believed that if I followed her technique to the letter that my hair type would be just like hers.
It took me a few months to work out that wasn’t going to happen no matter how hard I worked at it.
I wanted to change my hair type so I could do the hairstyles that she did. I thought that my hair would appear better in other peoples eyes if it was the same as her’s.
I was wrong.
I soon realised that 2 people can have the same hair type but there can still be differences. Some peoples hair is thin and some people have more dense hair.
You shouldn’t want to change your hair type you should rather learn to work with want you have.
It’s this very reason that some people don’t agree with the hair typing system. No two heads of hair are the same and this is why some products work better in some people hair than others.
Can you naturally change the texture of your hair?
Unfortunately, you can’t change the texture of your hair but you may notice some changes in it the more it grows.
As your hair grows longer the weight of the hair can cause your curls to stretch making the curls appear to be looser.
You can also never guarantee that your hair will always stay the same. As we grow as people things change, even your teeth move around and change position over time.
If you stretch your natural hair a lot, for example, if you like to do twist outs and braid outs then you may start to see a slight change in your hair. This is because your hair has some memory and therefore will easily remember a style the more you do it.
Does your curl pattern change as it grows?
Indeed it does.
As mentioned above the longer your hair grows the more your curls are likely to stretch because of the weight of your hair.
The longer your hair grows the more you will notice the changes.
How can I improve the texture of my hair
When it comes to natural hair there are usually improvements that you can make.
The number one thing that you can do is to make sure that your hair is always well moisturised. You can use the LOC method to help you achieve this.
Does dying my natural hair change the texture?
Yes, unfortunately, it does.
When you colour treat your hair you are technically chemically altering it.
If you are going to colour your hair then its best to get a professional to do if you don’t know how to do it yourself. This way you can minimise any damage that might occur to your hair.
When your hair is damaged it can make the strands of your hair appear rougher and your hair look much fizzier overall.
Bleaching is particularly bad for your hair.
If you are going to colour it, its best to go slowly and do it gradually over a period of time.
What can cause hair texture to change?
There are few other things that can also cause the texture of your hair to change other than those mentioned above.
- Poor diet
- Imbalance of hormones
Final thoughts on changing your hair type
In my opinion, you should learn to accept your hair for what it is. The whole point of becoming natural is so that you can embrace what naturally grows out of your head.
Your time is much better spent in trying to nurture your hair to grow healthy rather than trying to make it something that it is clearly not.
The hair typing system is there as a guide to help you know what may or may not work for your hair and not to make you try to fit into a particular category.