The Quintessential Hair Typing System


 

What's my hair type? What curl pattern do I have? Why do my coils look different on other parts of my head? Why does my hair like certain products and not others?

 There are so many questions when it comes to hair and how to handle the hair on YOUR head. Most of us have been through trials of trying different ingredients and styles and it seems like it works for others but not us! It may seem like you have the same texture as the next person, but results are just not the same. There are many characteristics of hair types that are not always noticeable. Hair type is more than just texture. It's more than just appearance and pattern.  It's all of that but more importantly, it's about behavior and feel. Whether your hair is straight or kinky, no two heads were created equal and really getting to know it, is a MAJOR key to having the best hair on YOUR head.

Your favorite Chemist is here to help as I enlighten you to curl pattern, porosity, hair density, and thickness. 

 

Curl Pattern

A curl pattern consist of up of polypeptide chains that are made up of disulfide, hydrogen and salt bonds in the cortex of the hair strand. I know that's A LOT, but bear with me lol!  The most complex patterns are those that kink and curl and require the most maintenance. "Curly/kinky" hair bonds vary in strength. The tighter the curl, the stronger the bond. Bonds become weak and temporarily detach when it comes in contact with water and heat, and "stretches". Shrinkage (in curl patterns) normally happens when letting hair air dry. It occurs because the bonds, that were temporarily broken, reattach themselves, but to other random bonds (locations), which then leads to a lot of tangles and breakage when trying to detangle. Therefore, styling your hair (twists, braids, stretching tools) is better when letting hair dry. Finger detangling is a less stressful method for your hair when styling because your'e helping those bonds loosen with your water based (bond breaking) product.

 

                                                                                                                   Fig. 1

 

There are 4 main Hair types (fig. 1); Type 1 or "I", Type 2 or "S", Type 3 or "O", Type 4 or "L". Each type can be fine, medium or thick and Curl types 2 -4 vary in coil pattern. Most of us have multiple curl patterns throughout and knowing your curl pattern (or lack of) allows you to know what type of products are needed. If your hair more curly/kinky, analyze the most predominate curl type to determine your curl pattern.

 

  Type 1 or "I"                   

 

Type 1 or "I"- least delicate, minimal maintenance (less breakage), not a lot of products needed, natural sebum able to slide down hair strands to coat hair. Relaxed and heat damaged hair fall into this type.

  • Washing tips- at least 1-3 times weekly depending on level of oiliness
  • Moisturizing tips- use small amount of conditioner after shampoo
  • Styling tips- Use a non drying gel to add definition like LaJAshley's Styling Gel.
    • Using heat is ok but excess use can lead to damage and breakage.

Type 2 or "S"

 

Type 2 or "S"- "Stretched curves", not as delicate, minimal to moderate maintenance and product use, natural sebum able to slide down hair strands to coat hair but ends may need a little more TLC by using oils and butters. 

  • Styling tips- Use a non drying gel to add definition like LaJAshley's Styling Gel, which can be mix with a little oil or lotion depending on the type of definition you wish to achieve.
    • Use moderate heat if necessary.

 

Type 3 or "O"

 

Type 3 or "O"-  "slinky type" loops, delicate, higher maintenance, moderate product use, more likely to tangle, tighter curls needs more oil. 

  • Washing tips- at least once a week, if hair tends to be greasy in between, co-wash 
    • any one of LaJAshley's shampoo's. Clarify if you use a lot of product and/or once or every two weeks
  • Styling tips- Use a non drying gel to add definition like LaJAshley's Styling Gel, which can be mix with a little oil or cream depending on the type of definition you wish to achieve.
    • Use minimum heat if necessary.

 

Type 4 or "L" 

 

Type 4 or "L"- Sharp jagged bends, strongest but most delicate, highest maintenance, needs more products, handle with care, bends and curls need more oils and butter because sebum can't easily get down strands. Keep in stretched state as is dries. 

  • Styling tips: Use a non drying gel to add definition like LaJAshley's Styling Gel, which can be mix with a little oil or cream depending on the type of definition you wish to achieve.
    • Use very minimum heat if necessary.

 

How to analyze curl pattern

Take samples of strands (in stretched and shrunken state) from the five different parts of your hair (front right, front left, middle, back right, back left). You may notice that you may have various patterns throughout. 

Curl patterns can be changed either permanently or temporarily. When permanently changed through over-manipulation, heat or relaxing, you are weakening your hair which makes it prone to more damage. So be careful when using hair dyes, relaxers, baking soda and heat. Temporary changes occur when stretching hair without heat, like twist, braids, rollers, curlformers, etc. These are safer ways to alter your curl pattern, when done correctly, because they stabilize your structure and lead to less tangles and breakage. 

All hair but, especially curl patterns need to be handled with care. A proper washing and styling method are very important and key to keeping hair healthy and to retain length. And of course the products you use are very important as well. LaJAshley has an array of products that will detoxify and clean your scalp and hair while keeping strands hydrated and ends lubricated. 

You also want to avoid too much tension to hair. Yes, you need some tension with "stretching" hair but too much tension can cause breakage and hair loss. Take care when detangling and last but not least, eat healthy. Consistency is key so it's important  to adopt these principles into your lifestyle. The results are amazing!

 

Hope this helps! But we're just getting started with truly understanding your hair. In the next episode we'll dive into understanding Hair Density and Thickness.


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