2b, 3c, 4b….Why I DISLIKE Natural Hair Classification!!!!

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:

  1. Type 1– Straight hair with no curl pattern whatsoever.
  2. Type 2– Wavy hair
  3. Type 3– Corkscrew curl pattern
  4. 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…

If you’re still a little confused, you can go to this article on on NaturallyCurly.com.

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.



9 thoughts on “2b, 3c, 4b….Why I DISLIKE Natural Hair Classification!!!!

  1. i disagree. i think there are some flaws in the system, but it does more good than bad. before i found out about the system i couldn’t figure out what worked for my hair. i think being natural is about trying to work with what god gave you but not necessarily being liberated. and even without the hair typing system there’s still the good hair bad hair thing. confidence starts within, and some ppl who expect non realisic results (not saying you) may be disappointed. and those who have “good hair” need to realize it doesn’t make them a good person.

    1. Enzod I agree with u there are different products for different hair types. And its
      the people that feel that are the problem not the system

  2. I agree with you…I have seen some sisters allude to the idea that 3a hair or 3b hair is better than 3c or 4a, and so forth. It’s like the Spike Lee movie “School Daze” when they were singing about good and bad hair! Can we get out of slavery times with that Willie Lynch madness?

  3. Just to throw my little two cents in there, I appreciate the hair classification for the very reasons already mentioned. Helps me find out how to better take care of my hair type because despite the fact that I am African American, I am not like EVERY other African American. Also the whole “it fuels the debate on good hair and bad hair and further divides” isn’t something that can be blamed on the Hair Classification itself. That can only be blamed on how people think and how people perceive information they are given. If people would just stop being ignorant and learn to embrace one another this would not be a problem. At least I don’t think it would. Just my little two cents.

  4. I totally disagree with this position and will go further and state you are the one dredging up the “good hair/bad hair” issue, which I happen to think is ridiculous. The fact is there are different textures of hair and they require different products for results. It seems you didn’t see yourself where you wanted to be and were insulted. For me it helps to know for real what products respond well to my texture and thus has given me the best look for my hair and not someone else’s hair.

  5. I must say that I agree and disagree. Classification has helped me to learn and understand the type of texture my hair is and keep it healthy but on the other hand society has this ‘image’ of what is beautiful and many people try to fit the image and fail. Like the comment before confidence and self acceptance starts with you not ur hair.

  6. I kinda agree and don’t. It does make people with certain curl pattern feel like they have better hair than others which really does suck.. however, the system does help. If I’m trying to go natural and I don’t know what would work more on my hair, I look for information from people with the same hair type as mine.

  7. I think using Andre’s hair typing system is outdated and needs to be discarded. A much better system is the LOIS hair typing system that takes into effect the classification of the curl size, cotton, silky, spongy, or smooth texture, and low porosity, high porosity, and normal porosity, in addition to the individual curl patterns. Andre’s hair typing system is extremely flawed, and us natural women need to do away with his system . Remember he is the same person that stated on national Tv that Kinky hair has limited styling options; wherein the reverse is true, kinky hair has the most styling options in its natural state and texture than any other hair type out there.

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