Identifying your hair type


24 May

In my new book, A Beginner’s Guide to Afro Hair Care, I write about the different hair types. It's really important for you to know your hair thickness and texture because it will pretty much dictate what hair care products you should buy, what hair styling processes would be best for your hair and what level you should use within the styling process you're using. 

For the past ten years I have been using a very simple but effective system which identifies your hair texture as soft, medium or coarse and your hair thickness as fine, medium or thick. Within each hair thickness and texture your hair can steer more towards one end of the spectrum than the other.  

I really love this way of classifying Afro hair because it's very easy to understand and, most importantly, my clients understand it too. If you prefer to go by other hair typing systems, for example the Andre Walker hair typing system, this is fine too. The most important thing is that you choose the system that works best for you. 

Below are some examples below which will help you understand why you should identify your hair thickness and texture. Enjoy.


Choosing hair products

Fine woolly Afro hair types tend to get on better with Caucasian hair products or products for mixed-race hair because they are not as heavy (i.e. don't contain as many oils) as products designed specifically for Afro hair, so they won't weigh your hair down. A friend of mine was extremely shocked when, after many years of using Afro hair products, I told her she should be using products for Caucasian or mixed-race hair. Since she started doing this her hair has been less greasy and much more full of life.

Choosing a styling process

Coarse hair may break off if chemicals such as relaxers are used.

What level to use within a styling process

Believe it or not, there are actually different levels within each styling process. For example you can have a soft press or straighten, a medium press or straighten and a hard press or straighten. When talking to people I prefer to call these levels 'boundaries' because staying within a boundary helps to protect our hair.

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