Mischo Beauty School: Hair Texture 101

So let's discuss hair texture. Hair texture is often a point of confusion, but simply refers to the diameter of each individual hair. The texture of hair generally falls into one of the following five categories:

A. Very Coarse
B. Coarse
C. Average
D. Fine
E. Very Fine

The coarser the hair, the thicker the cuticle (outermost layer of the hair) and larger the cortex (the middle layer of the hair). Stronger, coarser hair textures will be able to withstand stronger chemicals and rougher treatments than fine hair. For example, I have coarse to very coarse hair and I'm surprised that I have hair today after allowing stylist after stylist to overprocess my hair (unknowingly!) during my college years. But due to my hair's strength it's been able to withstand the damage!

Hair textures have nothing to do with the quantity of individual hairs on the head, so it is possible to have a thick head of fine hair and on the other hand, a thin distribution of coarse hair. Questions? Love your hair.

What's your hair texture?



MakeupByRenRen said...

interesting! i think i'm a coarse girl...but like you, i'm suprised it's lasted with all my processing!

September 23, 2008 at 10:36 AM
PBW said...

Informative post!

I thought I had fine hair, but after reading this I think I have a thin distribution of coarse hair????

September 23, 2008 at 1:26 PM
Johnica said...

Thick distribution of fine hair!

September 23, 2008 at 2:09 PM
curly gurl said...

Average distribution of coarse hair!

September 23, 2008 at 4:04 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "MakeupByRenRen": Right! Well now that you know- you'll know what products/treatments work best for your hair type! ;)

September 23, 2008 at 6:20 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "PBW": Thanks! And that is quite possible! Though your hair is course, please be gentle with it since you have a "thin distribution" of it. Be careful w/ chemicals! :)

September 23, 2008 at 6:21 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "Johnica": So you have a lot of hair, but your individuals stands are fragile. I'd advise you to be very careful w/ chemicals and don't take for granted that just because you have a lot of hair that your individuals stands will hold up to harsh chemicals! :)

September 23, 2008 at 6:24 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "curly gurl": So your hair type is average/normal, so you can withstand chemicals as long as they are applied correctly and followed by deep conditioning treatments and regular maintenance! :)

September 23, 2008 at 6:25 PM
Kim (Blog Writer, A Life of Style) said...

My hair is coarse but it seems very coarse in the top and on the sides. I relax, deep condition, and lately have been thinking about a color but I don't want to press my luck. Great and informative post.

September 23, 2008 at 10:59 PM
The Anti Hair Slave said...

I must have super coarse hair because during college I was self relaxing every 4-6 weeks and swimming on a daily basis. I should be bald today! haha

September 24, 2008 at 11:34 AM
Anonymous said...

People always assume that my hair is "course" because that's the idea put out about black people. My hair is fine and fragile. I have dense hair with a lot of strands, but I have compared my strands to a lot of ladies around and my individual strands are like babies by comparison.

September 24, 2008 at 12:00 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "Kim (Blog Writer, A Life of Style)": You can both relax and color- just be careful and go to a licensed professional! If you use permanent haircolor, the application should be at least two weeks after relaxing or you will experience thinning/breakage. You should only use a mild relaxer.

I hope this helps! :)

September 25, 2008 at 7:14 AM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "The Anti Hair Slave": LOL! Well we can definitely say that your hair is strong! And like you, during college I put my hair through EVERYTHING! Thank God I have hair today! ;)

September 25, 2008 at 7:15 AM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "juvenescent": Exactly! So you have a lot of hair, but your individual hair strands are thin and probably fragile! I'm glad we're dispelling myths! :)

September 25, 2008 at 7:19 AM
yummy411 said...

i hear a lot of black women referring to their hair types like 4c 4b etc. i don't understand it... when i asked a 'beautician, stylist' whatever.. about it, she just said what you said. can you explain about those hair types or curl patterns...??

September 25, 2008 at 10:27 AM
Dominican Enigma said...

ted gibson recommends the phyto vitamins too

September 26, 2008 at 4:16 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "Dominican Enigma": Oh goodie! I guess we're on the right track then... Thanks for that! :)

September 28, 2008 at 11:27 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "yummy411": I haven't forgotten about you! So I went home and scoured my Milady cosmetology book- because I'd never heard of the "1, 2, 3" hair type classifications while in cosmetology school. I first learned of the classification after reading hair forums on the web. From what I was able to find on the web, Andre Walker (Oprah's hairstylist) is credited with coming up w/ the hair classification system.

According to Andre- it's as follows:

Andre's classification system ranks from 1-4 and is described further below.

Type 4
According to Andre Walker, if your hair falls into the Type 4 category, then it is kinky, or very tightly curled. Generally, Type 4 hair is very wiry, very tightly coiled and very fragile. Similar to Type 3 hair, Type 4 hair appears to be coarse, but it is actually quite fine, with lots and lots of these strands densely packed together. Type 4 hair that is healthy won't shine, but it will have sheen. It will be soft to the touch and will pass the strand test with ease. It will feel silkier than it will look shiny.

Type 4 hairs looks tough and durable, but looks can be deceiving. If you have Type 4 hair, you already know that it is the most fragile hair around. There are two subtypes of Type 4 hair: Type 4A, tightly coiled hair that, when stretched, has an S pattern, much like curly hair; and Type 4B, which has a Z pattern, less of a defined curl pattern (instead of curling or coiling, the hair bends in sharp angles like the letter Z). Type 4A tends to have more moisture than Type 4B, which will have a wiry texture

Type 3
When this type of hair is wet, it appears to be pretty straight. As it dries, the hair goes back to its curly state. When curly hair is wet it usually straightens out. As it dries, it absorbs the water and contracts to its curliest state. Humidity tends to make this type of curly hair even curlier, or even frizzier. Type 3 hair has a lot of body and is easily styled in its natural state, or it can be easily straightened with a blow-dryer into a smoother style. Healthy Type 3 hair is shiny, with soft, smooth curls and strong elasticity. The curls are well-defined and springy.

Andre defines two subtypes of curly hair. First, there is type 3A hair which is very loosely curled and usually very shiny with big curls. The shorter the hair is, the straighter it gets. The longer the hair is the more defined the curl. Then, there is type 3B hair which has a medium amount of curl to tight corkscrews. It's not unusual to see a mixture of these types existing on the same head. Curly hair usually consists of a combination of textures, with the crown being the curliest part. Lastly there is a type 3C, is hair type that is not in Andre Walker’s book, but many people suggest that it should be. This type of hair can be described as tight curls in corkscrews. The curls can be either kinky, or very tightly curled, with lots and lots of strands densely packed together.

Type 2
A relatively unusual type, wavy hair tends to be coarse, with a definite S pattern to it. There are three Type 2 subtypes: A- Fine /thin, B -medium-textured, and C - thick and coarse. Type 2A is very easy to handle, blowing out into a straighter style or taking on curlier looks with relative ease. Types 2B and 2C are a little more resistant to styling and have a tendency to frizz.

Type 1
Type 1 is straight hair.

I hope this helps! :)

September 30, 2008 at 12:05 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "yummy411": BTW, my hair type is 4a/4b!

September 30, 2008 at 12:06 PM
yummy411 said...

wow! thank you sooo much! that information has taken on a life of it's own in forums and such! i think i'm 4a/4b as well.. 4c doesn't have a distinct description and sounds like 4b to me. soooo informative! it deserves a post of it's own! thanks again for that! so these descriptions are only used in forums? most professionals don't categorize curly/kinky hair like this?

October 1, 2008 at 9:36 AM
Mischo Beauty said...

To "yummy411": You're right! I just ordered Andre Walker's book, so once I read it I'll definitely do a post.

And quite honestly, I'd never heard a stylist refer to my hair type by a number! I only learned of this number system after reading hair forums on the web....

October 1, 2008 at 1:04 PM
Amber said...

my hair is type 4 but def does not make an "S" but nor does it make a "Z"...it actually makes tiny curls. So what is that classified as? hmmm

June 5, 2009 at 8:32 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To Amber: Your hair is probably an exception to Andre's definitions...:)

June 10, 2009 at 1:30 AM
BlacBlouse said...

So glad you tweeted this blog entry. You tweeted me earlier asking my hair type...at the time I wasn't sure how to answer that question. I wanted to reply coarse but wasn't sure - I was actually ashamed to even mention I think my hair type is coarse. After reading this entry I now know & must accept my hair type: coarse to very coarse/Type 4.

March 9, 2010 at 11:14 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To BlacBlouse: So glad you benefited from this post! Course hair is BEAUTIFUL hair- don't ever be ashamed of your hair type! :)

March 11, 2010 at 10:59 AM

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