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Decoding Your Curl Pattern

Posted on October 18 2016

What's your hair type? This is one of the most common questions asked to women with naturally curly hair. Understanding your hair helps guide you to the best hair care, styles, and products. The most common system used to categorize hair was created by Andre Walker (Oprah's stylist) and has been expanded to include the additional textures initially left out of Andre Walker's hair type system. Every category has it's own unique characteristics and knowing your curl pattern will help you determine how to care for your curls. 

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Type 1 - Straight Hair

Straight hair is classified as Type 1 hair. It is shiny and doesn't hold curls for an extended amount of time. Straight hair is strong and easy to damage. It is less prone to breakage and retains length easily. The natural oils produced by the scalp, known as sebum, easily travels down the length of the hair making straight hair oily and in need of frequent cleansing. 

Type 2 - Wavy Hair

Wavy hair is typically straight at the root and is represented by small to large up and down hills throughout the length of the hair. Wavy hair textures are versatile and can easily alternate between straight and curly styles. It has the ideal amount of moisture because the waves slow down the distribution of sebum to hair strands preventing it from becoming overly oily. As a result it has less shine than straight hair but more noticeable sheen than curly hair. Wavy hair can range from fine to coarse and is prone to frizz. Light styling products that don't weigh wavy hair down are ideal. To add moisture and refresh tossled hair apply Knotty Nectar Leave-In Conditioner and tame frizz and fly aways by using a small (pea size amount) of Flower Bomb Hair Growth Oil. Avoid heavy products or applying too much oil. 

2A - Wavy hair that is fine and easy to switch between straight and curly hair.

2B - Wavy hair that lay close to the crown of the head.

2C - Wavy hair that frizzes easily and can be coarse.

Type 3 - Curly Hair

Curly hair is curly from root to tip. It forms in an 's' pattern with spirals and curls of various sizes. Curly hair can be oily at the root and dryer at the tips because the curls make it difficult for sebum to travel the full length of the strands. As a result curly hair does not have as much sheen as straight or wavy hair. Curly hair frizzes easily especially in humid climates. It ranges from fine to coarse and can be weighed down when too much product is applied. To prevent hair from being weighed down stagger your product application by applying less product at the root, where hair is oilier, and more and the ends, where hair is drier. To style dull curls hair spray Knotty Nectar Leave-In Conditioner from root to tip. Apply a light layer nickel size amount of Sweet Cream Daily Moisturizer to hair focusing on the ends. Seal in moisture and tame frizz with small (dime size amount) of Flower Bomb Hair Growth Oil. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times per week or as needed.

3A - Shiny loose curls that resemble a stretched out slinky. Curls the size of sidewalk chalk with ample space between each bend making the curls resemble a capital 'S'.

3B - Medium curls that look like spirals. Curls the size of a sharpie with a medium amount of space between each bend. 

3C - Tight curls that resemble corkscrews. Curls are the size of a pencil with a small amount of space between each bend making the curls resemble a lower case 's'.

Type 4 - Kinky Hair

Kinky hair is represented by hair that forms a mixture of a 's' and/or 'z' patterns. It's fragile and is prone to breakage because it coils around itself and is very dry. Kinky hair is perceived to grow slower than other textures but, it actually grows at the same speed. However, because it's more fragile and breaks easily it breaks off faster than it grows making it appear to grow slowly. Kinky hair shrinks and appears to be up to 70% shorter than it actually is. The small coils requires you to put in more effort to detangle without breaking. The tight pattern makes it impossible for sebum to to reach the ends of each strand causing kinky hair to be very dry. The secret to moisturizing kinky hair is use products with rich butters and apply products in layers. Start with spraying Knotty Nectar Leave-In Conditioner to soften and loosen hair. Apply an quarter size amount of Sweet Cream Daily Moisturizer to large sections of hair from roots to tip concentrating on the ends of hair where breakage occurs. Finally apply a nickel size amount of Flower Bomb Hair Growth Oil to each section focusing on the ends of the hair. Repeat the process every other night or more frequently if needed. Always treat kinky hair like a delicate silk garment by choosing low manipulation styles that don't require daily combing.

4A - Tiny curls the size of a needle. 

4B - Zig zag 'z' pattern with sharp angles instead of an 's' pattern.  Hair is fluffy and resembles cotton.

4C - Hair with no visible pattern.

To determine your curl pattern look at your hair when it's clean, wet, and has no hair products applied. Examine hair in the front and back of your head as well as the right and left side and the crown. Don't be surprised if you notice different patterns in each location or multiple patterns in the same section. It's common to have a minimum of 2 - 3 different textures of hair throughout your head. Choose the hair texture that is most dominant and use the hair typing system as a guideline to care for your hair.

It's important to note that this hair typing system provides basic information about each hair texture and is to be used as an overview. There are other elements to take into consideration such as hair porosity, density, and thickness of your strands that help you to create a custom hair care regimen.

 

What's your hair texture and how has the hair typing system helped you care for your curls?

 

 

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