Adversity, Diversity and Hair Types

World Afro Day was founded to celebrate the natural hairstyles and textures of black and mixed-race individuals. This year it fell on the 15.09., which was just a couple of days ago.

The biases that have and still persist against this hair type are deeply rooted and have brought forth a generation of outspoken men and women that wear their kinks and curls with pride (as they should!) even in the face of adversity.

In order to enhance appreciation of Afro hair we must start by tackling the partialities and misconceptions of what it means to have kinky hair. With this blog, we aim to create awareness for and improve your clients’ understanding of all the different hair types.

In line with our #EmbraceYou campaign we already took a look at the care that Straight, Kinky and Thin hair types require and how they differ from each other. Hair literacy tools like Andre Walker’s Hair Typing System help normalise the variety of hair textures and can aid you in educating your clients about theirs.

The Andre Walker Hair Typing System

hair type

There are numerous ways in which one could define hair. By thickness, volume, pattern, dryness, porosity and much more. One way is the FIA System which classifies the hair by curl pattern, hair-strand thickness and overall volume.

To better understand what differentiates and relates all hair types and how this affects care regimes we need to agree on one grouping system.

The most frequently used one is the ‘Andre Walker Hair Typing System’ that sections hair types according to texture + pattern and names the four categories of hair; Straight, Wavy, Curly and Kinky.

Straight Hair Types 1a – 1c

straight hair
Straight hair type 1b

Type 1 is one of the most represented categories in Europe and describes straight hair types. It ranges from straight hair that is very fine (1a), to a medium thick (1b) and lastly coarse texture (1c). These hair types are typically very sheen, resilient and difficult to curl, hence why many of your clients with very straight hair have probably complained about lacking volume before. Additionally, because there are few to no curls or waves in its texture this hair type is most prone to being oily. That is due to the sebum, a natural fluid secreted by the sebaceous glands in our scalp that passes through straight textures more easily.

Type 1a (straight, fine)

clients would have very soft, thin and therefor oily hair that is difficult to damage but also difficult to manipulate with curls for example. We would recommend the NATULIQUE Volume Shampoo and Conditioner in combination with our Volumizing Dry Shampoo for dark and light hair. Instead of washing their hair every time it gets oily and thereby potentially doing more harm than good your clients can manage and style their hair with the dry shampoo, which will also help them get some body and natural lift.

Type 1b (straight, medium) and 1c (straight, coarse)

These do not have as much of an issue with lacking volume or a flat texture. Here we believe that moisture is key as this hair type will accentuate dryness, frizziness and breakages in its lengths, for lack of a curly texture. The NATULIQUE Moisture Hairwash and Conditioner will help nourish your clients hair without adding greasiness or messing with the natural oiling process of the hair. It’s low maintenance, high reward!

Overall our Medium Hold Hair Spray can also help your clients calm flyaways especially for type 1a and 1b!

Wavy Hair Types 2a – 2c

hair typing system
Wavy hair type 2b

Type 2 hair is almost as common as the first in Europe and describes your clients with wavy hair. This category also represents wavy hair that is fine (2a), medium thick (2b) or coarse in texture (2c). Clients with this hair type are more prone to frizzy hair and may wonder why their hair texture seemingly ‘changes’ all the time. We may be able to help with that.

Type 2a hair (wavy, fine)

This is the most transformational of the three as it can alternate between being straight and curly most effortlessly. This hair shows a clear “S” pattern and ‘likes’ to be styled. For these clients we would recommend you simply aid the hold and longevity of the desired styles by using the NATULIQUE Ultra Shine Finisher after going straighter or the NATULIQUE Volume Shape Hair Mousse when preparing to go curlier. The former adds shine and acts similarly to a light hair spray, whereas the latter helps prepare your clients’ hair for styling.

Type 2b (wavy, medium) and 2c (wavy, coarse)

These are more resistant to styling and prefer to stay in their natural wave pattern. These types are also the most frizzy, which can result in flyaways and a more messy appearance if not taken care of. We would recommend the same products here but with the addition of a more nourishing product beforehand to help the hair retain moisture. Clients with finer hair (2b) may take best to the NATULIQUE Moroccan Argan Oil, while clients with thicker hair (2c) may need something more intense like our Nourishing Hair Cream.

Curly Hair Types 3a – 3b

hair typing system curly
Curly hair type 2a

Andre Walker defines Type 3 hair as curly with only 2 subcategories unlike the previous three.

These define curly hair that is loosely (3a) and tightly curled (3b). Clients with these hair types will show a defined “S” or “Z” pattern that either resembles a lower case (3a) or upper case letter (3b) and have a lot of natural volume and lift. This hair is quite sensitive to heat and humidity, and you’ve probably already heard all the stories about a humidity-related hair catastrophe.

For this type a lack of proper care will result in the loss of definition and dependent on how your clients like their hair to appear they likely already have a very specific care routine in place… We don’t want to mess with this, just slightly tweak and upgrade it.

Type 3a (curly, loose) and 3b hair (curly, tight)

These are generally a very unique mix of thickness, volume and curls. For both of these hair types we would suggest the use of our NATULIQUE Volume Shape Hair Mousse to aid the perfecting process of unruly strands and curls. Additively this product helps protect your clients’ hair against environmental factors, fights frizziness and aids definition. Specifically for the more tightly curled textures we would additionally recommend our Rejuvenating Hair Mist which helps soften, refresh and detangle the curls before styling. Too much product will way these hair textures down and be counterproductive to the natural beauty of the curls your clients already have, so in this case less is more!

Oh, and if your clients are planning on visiting a very humid area we would suggest swapping the usual products for our Hygge Hair Spray Wax that will help keep those curls in place and under control!

Kinky Hair Types 4a – 4b

Kinky hair type 4a

In this Hair Typing System Type 4 hair is defined as kinky textures and like Type 3 hair there are only 2 subcategories; defined (4a) and undefined (4b) curl patterns.

This hair type features very tightly coiled curl patterns that either resemble very small “zs” or no coil pattern at all. Your clients with this hair type will experience massive shrinkage when their hair goes from wet to dry and will already be aware of how important moisture is for their hair.

Type 4a (kinky, defined) and Type 4b (kinky, undefined)

These are more susceptible to damage as this hair type has fewer cuticle layers than others. This makes the hair more vulnerable to breakage and frizz, especially when dry. And due to a very high density of the individual hair strands, in order to nourish this hair type properly your clients will need deeply conditioning products.

In addition to our Moisture Hair Wash and Conditioner we would definitely recommend for your clients to use an Intensive Hair Mask regularly! As far as styling goes we would suggest our Curl Defining Hair Cream with a few drops of an nourishing oil like the Moroccan Argan Oil.

This hair type can take the most nourishment without fear of getting greasy or being weighed down, so we would encourage you to offer your clients’ hair as much moisture and nourishing oils as possible!

What do you think?