African American Hair Types

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African American Hair Types 

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Before diving headfirst into your search for the best tools, products and styles that can help you manage your hair, it is important to figure out your exact hair type. 
Knowing the exact type of hair that you have to work with will make it easier for you to address your hair concerns in the future. 
Discovering your hair type’s specific needs can also save you a considerable amount of money on unsuitable hair products and styling techniques. Each hair type is unique and different types have different needs. By learning more about the various hair types that are unique to African Americans, you will be able to find which of the tips enumerated in this guide can best work for your needs. 

Major Hair Types

 In general, African American hair can be categorized into four major types. 
Most African Americans with untreated, natural hair can be categorized under the third and fourth hair types. Only a small number of black women fall under the first and second hair types without requiring them to undergo some form of chemical treatment or styling. 

First Type: Straight Hair 

Those who fall under this category have smooth and straight hair with very little signs of frizz. This hair type is not commonly seen on those with some level of African American ancestry. In most cases, it is only achievable with the aid of constant hair relaxing treatments. Other women can also opt to undergo the lengthy and often painful hair weaving process to achieve this hair type.

 Second Type: Wavy Hair

 Unlike the popular “mermaid curls” that many women want to achieve, this type of hair has a more uniform appearance and courser texture. The waves in the hair are also much more pronounced and deeper than artificially curled hair. Women with this hair type often have problems achieving volume and body since the waves tend to stay closer to the head in “s-shaped” patterns. 

Third Type: Curly Hair 

The third type is one of the more typical African American hair types. Compared to the second hair type, hair falling under this category forms ringlets instead of “s-shaped” patterns on the scalp. Although this hair type looks curly when dry, it can achieve a deceptively straight appearance when wet. It also has a greater amount of body and a much softer and finer texture. Unfortunately, those with this hair type often have problems achieving more shine.

 Fourth Type: Kinky or Wiry Hair 

The fourth type is the most common African American hair type. Unfortunately, the tightness of the curls of kinky or wiry hair also makes this the most fragile of the four hair types. Kinky hair has an abundance of body and a course, wiry texture. While some hair strands can be more tightly wound than others, hair falling under this category often forms a zigzag shape. This “z shape” often results to dry hair that is prone to breakage. 

Discovering your Own Hair Type

 Now that you have learned about the four major hair types for African American hair, it will be much easier for you to figure out your own category. However, it is important to note that the major hair types generally cater to natural and untreated hair. Therefore, if you have recently straightened your hair, you should wait for your new hair growth to surface. This way, you can make a more precise assessment of your exact hair type. 
For a more scientific assessment, it can be helpful to note that the shape of the hair follicles can greatly influence the curl. Those with flatter follicles tend to have more textured and curled hair. Meanwhile, those with rounder follicles tend to have straighter hair. Additionally, you should not be surprised to discover that your hair might actually be a combination of two or more hair types and textures. As a rule of thumb, you should determine the dominant hair type so that you can maximize the effects of your chosen hair care products and techniques.


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