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What You Should Know About Your Textured Hair
Let’s began by stating that all hair is the same……but it’s not. What I mean is all human hair is comprised of the same ingredients no matter the race or background of a person, lending it the same molecular make up for all, but it's different because there are many variations of Texture, Density and Porosity of the hair.
For as long as I can remember, we have naively assigned hair types to people based on race, culture and geographical location. Contrary to popular belief , a caucasian person can have wavy and curly hair, while a person of color can have nearly bone straight or very little texture in their hair. Each person is different , and we can easily be misled by race or skin color.
For example, every person of color does not have the same texture of hair. We have been brainwashed into thinking the darker the complexion of the person, the kinkier the hair texture, contrastly, the lighter the complexion, the wavier the hair texture.
Do yourself a favor and toss that thinking in the garbage right now so we can get some real education about your hair! The next few pages will take you to school regarding your hair, so that you can properly style and choose products, that are more suitable for your hair! Excited? Let's begin! Lets start with the word “Texture” and consider it's dual meaning.
WHAT DOES "HAIR TEXTURE" MEAN?
The term “Texture” has two separate meanings. It can refer to the Curl Shape or Pattern of a strand of hair as well as the Diameter of a single strand of hair. You need to get familiar with both as it relates to your hair.
Definition 1: The actual shape or pattern of a single strand of hair.
1. Straight Texture ( think of a straight line)
Definition 2: The diameter or structure of each strand of hair. Compare one single strand of hair to a piece of thread.
In determining your texture you will need to consider both (types) of textures. This is what everyone is talking about when they say “I have 4C hair, or 4A hair” etc!
I never really put much stock into these references because I actually have at least 2 textures myself! In the front top of my head I have 3B, in the crown area I have 4B and 4C and the rest of my hair is between 3B and 4B, but studying your hair in this way can help you determine which products to use and how much.
What do the terms “Porosity and Density” mean, and why do I need to know my porosity and density?
Density refers to the amount of hair per square inch of scalp
Again don't let texture fool you into determining the density of your hair! Fine hair can be dense, and coarse hair can be less dense, either type of texture has little to do with density!
Try a Density test. For example, you can part your hair in order to see the scalp. If your "Part" is wide and you see a lot of scalp, your hair may not be considered dense, even though it may be coarse in texture. If the "Part" is narrow and you have to press the hair down on both sides to see the scalp, then its quite likely you have "Dense" hair. Understanding your density will help you choose styles wisely. Less density likes bigger sections and dense hair likes slightly smaller sections when styling. Another test is part out 1 square inch of hair and notice the amount of hair in that area, if it’s scarce, then it’s not dense and if it’s a lot of hair, it”s likely dense.
What is “Porosity”, what determines my porosity, and why should I understand the porosity of my hair?
The term “Porosity” is the measuring stick of of your hair’s ability to absorb water or moisture. The condition of the outer cuticle layer usually affects porosity.
If the cuticle layer is stressed or damaged from the over processing of any chemical like color, relaxers or heat, the porosity can be negatively affected.
Why do I need to know all of this information?
All of this is important because when you understand the meanings of the terms Texture, Density and Porosity as it relates to your hair, you can effectively shampoo, treat, and style your hair. You will also understand what products your hair responds to best! This knowledge will help you determine if you should apply more or less product to a certain part of your hair, and what ingredients your hair and scalp likes best. If your hair is less dense, more porous (high porosity), but not as kinky in a particular area, it may be a better idea to use lighter and less product in that particular area.
Remember the less kinky, dense, and porous an area of your hair is, the easier it is for that area to get weighed down with heavy product application. Conversely, the more dense, kinky and less porous ( low porosity) the hair usually means it loves slightly heavier, more nurturing products and ingredients.
Here are some styling suggestions for different textures, density and porosity of hair.
Fine hair usually loves lighter products like water based liquids, light oils, mousse and light creams.
2. Curly textures that are fine can apply the suggestions mentioned in the previous description. When it comes to Twisting and such styles as that , medium and kinky, curly textures can fall in between suggestions 2 and 3.
Remember there are no hard and fast rules, just get a feel for your own textured strands. Medium hair usually respond best to medium sections with a few small sections in the kinkier spots. Try water based liquids, light to heavier oils, creams and lighter butters. Medium hair can flip flop back and forth in needing lighter products one minute and heavier products the next! Sorry, but its quite temperamental! My hair is Medium Curly and a trick I use is this…..if I use a heavier oil, I will use a lighter styling aid and vise versa. Generally speaking my hair responds best of course to liquids, lighter oils, and creams. It likes larger to medium sections. Medium hair usually likes balance when it comes to styling. Remember this texture can flip back and forth between needing light products one minute, and heavier the next so just pay attention to what it is asking for. Medium hair craves water and you should give it plenty.
3. Kinky textures that are Fine can follow the previous suggestion. Kinky Coily hair, wether Medium or Coarse usually, but not always, likes heavier products that don’t clog or smother the hair. It loves to be nourished with rich emollient creams and light butters. Kinky hair especially loves water, in fact all of these textures need water to effectively accept all of the goodness of Grow and Glow, but kinky hair will transform itself into the most manageable textures of all with regular application of water and brushing , detangling and manipulation. Kinky hair can sometimes be confused with Coarse hair but its not the same, it can be Fine, Medium or Coarse. remember that water, oils, creams and butters along with plaiting and twisting can bring out the best in your texture.
A short word of advise about the importance of “Watering” your hair.
I like to use the term “Water your hair” because that is the beginning of feeding and managing it. Ever wondered why your hair is just beautiful when its wet, but when it dries its a hot mess! It’s because water is a moisturizer from God! It is in fact the worlds most perfect and best moisturizer, and it should be the first one used when we apply inferior moisturizers.