When looking at hair care products, each person has to know their hair type, because that will help them through the process of choosing the ideal products to maintain their hair.
The first point to understand is that hair type is permanent. People can’t change their type, because it’s coded into their DNA, and that can’t be altered.
There are four main types of hair:
- Type 1 = straight.
- Type 2 = wavy.
- Type 3 = curly.
- Type 4 = coily.
Type 1 – straight hair
This type of hair is completely straight; it isn’t common in those with African ancestry. This type of hair can be achieved by using a relaxer and pressing the hair until it is straight, or by wearing a straight hair weave.
Type 2 – wavy hair
This hair has deep waves and either no curls, or just a few. It is coarse and usually stays close to the scalp in curves, with an “S” shape and minimal body. It may appear easy to manage, but many wavy-haired women will disagree. Main issues include: frizzy, puffy and flyaway hair.
Hydrating each strand whilst minimizing hair manipulation is the ideal solution. Moisturizing shampoos and deep conditioners are needed as well. The hair should also be moisturized regularly, using an infusion of leave-in products. Finally, a serum or moisturizing gel can be used to properly define a woman’s hair.
Hair shouldn’t be brushed or combed too often, because that can cause frizziness. Instead it should be scrunched with products that will cause the waves to form as it dries. If hair must be dried quickly, it’s best to use a hair dryer. Regular trims are essential, as split ends can prevent the waves from forming properly.
Type 3 – curly hair
Curly hair has a “Q” shaped pattern. It has a lot of body, but not much sheen. When it’s wet it may look straight, but it curls again when it is dry. It naturally grows up and out, so it needs proper treatment.
Moisturizing products are the best solution for curly hair. They keep the hair hydrated, smooth, soft and shiny. These products also weigh the hair down, so it stretches and hangs instead of puffing up. A deep conditioner, a moisturizing shampoo and weighty leave-in products should be applied each time the hair is washed.
Hair should be allowed to drip dry, instead of using a towel, because that action can cause the hair to frizz.
Type 4 – coily hair
This hair type has the most texture of all African American hair types. The curls are usually very tight in a zig-zag style. Some people may have looser coils that spiral. The curls make this hair the most fragile and driest of all.
It’s essential for women with coily hair to use deep conditioners, moisturizing shampoos and leave-in products to keep the hair as moist as possible. Moisturizing gels, hair butters and natural oils can play an important part when it comes to coily hair maintenance.
Hair should be washed and conditioned deeply every 1-2 weeks. It should also be moisturized daily using hydrating products. If the hair isn’t going to be manipulated or combed for a week or more, women should wear protective styles.
As you now know, African Americans must care for their hair according to its type. While it may seem complicated, it’s all a matter of choice. Some women love spending hours on their hair, while others keep it short and simple.
What works for some may not work as well as others. But since hair is for life, spending time to learn how to care for it should be a goal for everyone.