Friday, May 11, 2012

The Versatility of Afro~Textured Hair

As a stylist I work with several different Afro hair textures.  These textures range from fine ringlets to coarse tight z shaped semi-coiled strands.  However, z shaped hair strands may also be fine and loosely curled hair may also be coarse.  The curl pattern or lack there of, has nothing to do with the feel or texture of a persons hair.  I've stated a few times before I don't subscribe to hair types because it is too subjective and leaves too much to question in regards to what each hair "type" should "look" like.  For instance, without product my hair has 3 maybe even 4 very distinctly different textures, and to me it looks (according to the hair typing systems description) like 4a/4b/4c.

Wash n' go hair styled with no product...only using my oil blend.

 However, when I used certain styling products I use and the technique in which I use them for my hair looks (according to the typing system) 3b/3c/4a.   I don't have to put any chemicals in my hair for the look and feel of my hair to change, just products applied and a specific technique used to get desired outcome I want.

This style, just  like the photos above it are of a wash n' go, this time using a combination of Shea Moisture and Kinky Curly products.
The back looks totally different from the photo without product.

I feel blessed that the Divine created me with the ability to have and appreciate the versatility of my Afro textured hair.  I choose not describe my hair in a "type" because I honestly feel it causes so many women of color to continue with the "good hair, bad hair" mindset instead of understanding when Afro hair gets wet, it shrinks and expands when it is completely dry, shrinking even more, simple as that.  If your hair does that, you have Afro hair weather you are Black, Causasian, Latina, Asian, doesn't matter which ethnicity you are.  I strongly feel that any product can be used on any hair type due to the fact is it more technique than product that determines the outcome of  a hair style.  I'm going to post some photos of my hair as an example of my technique over product belief and show you exactly why hair typing, in my opinion is irrelevant even for the new to natural women.

 No product...My hair looks like I don't have a curl in site...right?

Product...Shea Moisture Curly Souffle' has my curls poppin'.
Here are some photos ranging from 5/10 to current showing different "looks" of the texture of my afro hair and the styles that can be worn on afro textured hair. 

 Hair immediately following henna treatment
 Braid out on wet hair
 Bantu Knots on wet hair


Wash N' Go

Photo on top shows my hair stretched from hair dry without any oil and the one below shows immediately following adding extra virgin olive oil to it.

 Twist out on air dried hair
 Blown out

Cornrows on blown out hair

No matter how many styles I wear, it all boils down to one thing...Afro hair is versatile and the products used are not as important in my opinion as the techniques used to create the final look.

Another reason I feel and know it's technique over product when it comes to the look of a persons hair is because  women of color have been natural long before this "natural hair movement".  I myself haven't had a relaxer since December 1995.  In the late 60's and throughout the70's men and women of color wore Afro's often referred to as "the natural" and grew their hair quite long, or large in describing Afro hair, without the need of a typing system.  All they did was learn how to take care of what they had. By doing so, it eliminated a reason for typing and in my opinion definitely resulted in loving the texture they had without the comparison factors. Did good hair bad hair mentality exist?  Certainly, however the common goal as growing healthy, thick, long hair, regardless of the texture. That goal is met simply through caring for it consistently. The only separations in caring for Afro hair in my opinion should be determining what shampoo and conditioning treatments to use if your hair is dry, oily or if you have scalp issues, for instance, dandruff or psoriasis.  All Afro texture hair needs to be cleaned, conditioned, styled, and left alone for extended periods of time with little to no manipulation and it will flourish regardless of the texture.  Many may not agree but I have seen it time and time again.  My mother was natural all my life so growing up seeing shrinkage was the norm.  I wore my hair straightend with heat up until age 15 and my hair was bra strap length and again very familiar, yet uncomfortable, with shrinkage which led me to relaxing my hair. 

My main purpose for writing this article is because it's been almost 2 years since I started my healthy hair journey, posting pics on social sites often and of course on this blog, yet I STILL often get questioned about my ethnicity.  I honestly don't get it.  Looking at my skin color, it is OBVIOUS I am a black woman but even more importantly I am HUMAN.  As humans we are more alike then we are different yet most of us consciously or unconsciously choose to focus on the irrelevant differences which is REALLY SAD especially when it comes from those who share the same ethnic background as you...why does it matter so much to some people? I know I'll never understand so I won't even try to anymore.  One thing I do believe is when some people see a persons hair they like and feel their hair isn't capable for what ever reason of achieving the exact"look" of the person they admires hair, then they equate it to the person being of a different ethnicity.  I just want people to know that having Afro textured hair isn't exclusive to one group of people or people who only look a certain way within the group and that there are several different textures of Afro hair.  As En Vogue so eloquently put it, Free your mind...and the rest will follow. Peace n' Blessings...



  1. I love this post. It demonstrates the diversity of our hair!

    Yes afro textured hair isn't limited to just us, i've seen quite a few people of other ethnicities with very curly hair, some even kinky and they're clearly not black.

  2. Love your posts and love your styles. I am a natural hair stylist as well and I love your approach and technique. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and your kind words MsJStyles!! It's funny this is my most read post for May.

  3. You have very beautiful hair and are obviously very creative when it comes to styling. I have fine natural hair and haven't often seen any options apart from braiding, using flat iron straighteners or (lately) hair 'pudding' to straighten/hold in a ponytail/bun. Looking at your pictures has inspired me to start 'working' my hair a bit more to see how it responds to different oils/products.
    thanks for a great post.

    1. The pleasure is always mine Janet...thank you for reading.

  4. Love your post Thanks so much for putting this online.

    1. You're so very welcome...thank you for reading.

  5. How long did it take you to grow it to the length you have herr? Did you ever big chop?

  6. I have been natural for two years and I am beginning to get frustrated. However, reading this blog has stopped me from going to the hairdresser tomorrow to put relaxer back into my hair. I hope I can stay strong and use your words and your hair as inspiration next time I feel like backsliding.

  7. This is a great article. I also enjoyed reading the comments. I am looking for short very tight hair tips. Like, which products to use to loosen the tight curls for manageability?