If you’ve been natural, transitioning or thinking transitioning, you’ve come across the Natural Hair Classification System.
Andre Walker, who has been on Oprah, perfected this system by putting different types of hair in certain categories and within those categories, putting them in others.
Confusing? Let me break it down.
What is the Natural Hair Classification System?
Walker places certain types of natural hair in different categories.
You have the:
- Type 1– Straight hair with no curl pattern whatsoever.
- Type 2– Wavy hair
- Type 3– Corkscrew curl pattern
- Type 4–Kinkier and coarser hair. More of a zig-zag curl pattern
Within those categories you have the a’s, b’s and c’s–basically the different levels of of curliness within that category. For example, a 3c has a more defined curl pattern than a 4a. A 4a have a more defined curl pattern and is less coarser than a 4b and so on…
For the sake of argument, and since this is a blog geared towards women of color, African American hair tends to be in the 2cs down to 4cs…
Why I DISLIKE this System!!!!
I can’t stand this category system!!! (can’t you tell? LOL).
I believe it’s just another way for African American division in our community. This classification system is another way to bring division within the black community by adding to the good hair vs. bad hair debate.
I have seen in natural hair forums, which is one of the reasons why I have STOPPED look at them, this “good hair club.” The “good hair club,” is a group with the mindset that if their hair is curlier than another person, they have the right to look down at them.
The “good hair club,” is IDOLIZED by Black women who are naturally kinky. Go on a natural hair forum website and you will see there are more pictures of women with corkscrew curls than women with coarse hair.
I have literally heard women who are natural say they dislike their hair because of it’s kinkiness. These are the same women who put gel in their hair everyday to get a more pronounced curl. (I’m not saying that putting gel in your hair is bad, but if it’s to make yourself feel better about your hair type, then you should find other ways to handle your kinks.)
How I classify Black Hair
Walker’s classification did more bad then good. All it did was bring to the forefront good vs. bad hair, a debate that has been plaguing our community just as much as the light vs. dark skin debate…they actually go hand and hand.
Instead of classifying it such as Walker, I would define Black hair as kinky and fine…fine being a looser curl pattern and kinky being hair that is thicker and more curly.
Both hair patterns have to be taken care of specific to it’s type.
For example, finer hair may be weighed down by a thicker conditioner…kinky hair needs a thick consistency to really penetrate the hair shaft.
Another example is that kinkier hair really holds a two-strand twist without very much product. Finer hair will probably need a product and some styling gel.
If you are newly natural, I caution you to stay away from this type of classification.
Being natural means you have to have a new lifestyle change and a new mind. Having this age-old way of bringing division within our community will NOT help.