Tuesday, November 10, 2009

HAIR TYPING




I know some folks want me to talk about my hair steamer results but I want to use it a few more times before I give an official review on it. Please give me another week-ish so that I can get a few more steam treatments under my belt before I speak on it.

Today I want to focus on what really matters when it comes to deciding what products to use and/or try on your hair. Going by the standard hair typing system (which was formulated by Andre Walker), my hair would be classified as 4a/4bish, I think. You can see his typing here. It’s so doggone confusing to me that I really don’t know. And I’m not even going to try with the LOIS method which you can read about here.

Here’s one of the major reasons: I’ve purchased products based on my hair type only to have my use of them result in an epic fail. Then have purchased & used some products that would be categorized for type 3’s or 2’s and it works on my hair just fine. Just spend enough money on a product only to have it do nothing and you will feel my pain.

So I’ve decided to check out another professional’s advice on how to pick products for your particular hair. Tiffany Anderson is that person whose perspective, research and findings make a whole lot more sense to me. Also known as Struttswife on NaturallyCurly.com, she is a hair stylist and curly hair expert. You can also catch her at her blog Live Curly, Live Free. She has two great posts dedicated to, in my opinion, true hair-typing. You can find them here and here.

Here are a few excerpts from each:
Hair texture is the thickness or diameter of the individual hair strand. Your hair texture plays one of the most important roles in how you should care for your curls, not only through daily maintenance, but also when considering any chemical services such as haircolor or texturizing. Even how your hair is cut needs to be adapted to the texture of your hair.

There are three different textures: fine, medium and coarse. Not everyone has the same uniform texture over their entire head, however; for example, you can be fine at the nape and coarse at the hairline (especially if those pesky grays are starting to pop up). The hair textures are:

Fine Hair
Fine hair can appear very limp or flyaway and does not hold a style well. It frequently seems dry, when in fact it is quite often over-moisturized. It is very easy to over-process and is quickly damaged by chemical services if great care is not taken. Products with a lot of humectants and emollients should be avoided in favor of those with protein.

Medium Hair
Medium hair is what is considered “normal” hair, meaning it has a mid-range texture. It does not require any special considerations for chemical services and usually processes normally. Undamaged hair with a medium texture can generally support products with a wide range of ingredients.

Coarse Hair
Coarse hair is much thicker and stronger than fine or medium hair, but typically does not bend and cannot hold a style well. It is also often dry and brittle, due to an overabundance of protein. Coarse hair is much harder to process and is often very resistant to chemical services. Products with a lot of protein should be avoided in favor of those with humectants and emollients.

Hair texture is key to establishing the best routine for your hair
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And on hair porosity...

Porosity is, simply put, the hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Porosity is a critically important factor in determining one's curly hair care. Since moisture is what defines and shapes our curls, the inability to keep moisture within the hair shaft will defeat the most valiant efforts to maximize curl potential.

If you don't know your hair's porosity, you won't be able to make the best product and maintenance routine choices to maximize the amount of moisture your curls retain. The existing "curl classification systems" never, ever mention porosity in their classification process. Since lack of moisture is one of the biggest causes of frizz, I personally find that odd in the extreme. Just one more reason I don't find those systems very helpful or informative.

Your degree of porosity is directly related to the condition of your cuticle layer. Healthy hair with a compact cuticle layer is naturally resistant to penetration. Porous hair has a raised cuticle layer that easily absorbs water, but is quick to lose moisture as well. The texture of your hair is not an indication of its porosity. Different degrees of porosity can be found in all hair textures. For example, although coarse hair normally has a low porosity and is resistant to chemical services, coarse hair can also have high porosity as the result of damage or previous chemical services.


Tiffany aka Struttswife, has some really detailed and most helpful information that is beneficial to all curly girls. She makes me wanna book an appointment and go down to Florida for her hair services. You can read more of her findings on curly hair basics at LiveCurlyLiveFree.com.

4 comments:

  1. I'll be sure to check out the site. Right now I am having a hard time trying to find products that work for my hair without weighing it down and causing breakage. It is getting very frustrating. Thanks for sharing this! :)

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  2. great post with good info . Thanks for sharing this with us ( smiles)

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  3. The LOIS system is actually a lot easier to figure out than the other one, and a lot more specific! The other one confuses me too much to even really bother figuring it out.

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  4. Oooohhh look at your luscious hair! Love that close-up.

    -Gem

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