Friday, March 29, 2013

When Your Daughter's Hair Isn't Your "Type"

When you're a mom that has straight hair with a tiny bit of natural wave in it, like mine, and you have a daughter with seriously thick, spiral curls, like my daughter's, you realize quickly that you cannot do the same things to your daughter's hair as you do to your own. Quite often, you cannot even use the same types of products on the different types of hair.

While it's obvious to anyone that there are many different hair types, there was a point in my life when I didn't realize that there was a hair typing "chart". Have you ever heard of Type 3c hair? Or, Type 1 hair?

What does it all mean and how can you make it work for you and your daughter's hair? 

I'm not going to explain each "type" of hair, because it can't be said much better than the explanation here. If you are not familiar with the different hair types, to put it simply, straight hair is categorized as Type 1, while the thickest, coarsest, curliest hair is categorized as a Type 4. Then, a's, b's and c's are used under each number to differentiate between the types of curls or waves in the hair.

My Daughter's Hair is NOT My Type

I would say that my hair is a mixture of Type 1 and 2. That's because I have long, straight hair, but it does have a bit of a natural wave in it, which will make my hair a bit frizzy if I don't use some oil in the back of it (never in the roots, though! That would make my hair look greasy!).

My Type 1/2 Hair

My daughter, on the other hand, has enviously thick, spiral curly hair. I would say that she falls into the 3c group, which at one time did not exist as a category, but needed to be added, because poor 3c-haired girls didn't fit into the 3b or 4 category descriptions exactly. In the picture below, I used a popular LOC method for curly hair, but doubled up on the oils, rather than using a cream. L=water, O=argon oil and coconut oil. Then, I separated the curls apart to give it body and style.

My Daughter's Gorgeous Hair

The characteristics 3c hair has that others don't? 

Corkscrew-like kinky or very tight curls with a straw or pencil sized circumference (in other words, you could insert a straw or a pencil and it would fit perfectly inside one of the spiral curls). This type of hair usually has tons of strands of hair that are dense and packed together.

My daughter is just like every other curly haired chick that despises their hair. She has straightened it for something different (and it actually came out beautiful!) Of course, straightening 3c hair is more difficult than straightening 3a or 3b hair because it is thicker and curlier. Surprisingly, though, even though there are lots and lots of strands of hair that makes the head of hair of a 3c girl or woman appear to have thick hair, the thickness is usually due to the amount of strands, rather than the strands itself, because 3c curls are usually, contrary to what we would think, fine-textured strands. 

Using Hair Typing to Understand Our Daughter's Hair

I read reviews on myriads of different products, regardless of which hair type it is for, for two reasons:

1) I have to look for products for both my daughter's hair and my hair.
2) Even though someone with super curly, thick hair gives a product a bad review doesn't mean that it's bad for every hair type. What works for my hair may give bad results to my daughter's hair.

By knowing about the categories of hair types, you will better understand which products to use for your daughter's hair (and even your hair!) and which types of styles, which types of tools, etc. While scanning around the Internet, I realized that these hair categories are mentioned a lot, and if someone doesn't know about them, they aren't going to completely understand why certain utensils or products work and don't work.

For example, let's say I read a review about a specific brush and a styling gel that someone swears by. If I don't know anything about the hair categories, I might run out and purchase the products and be totally let down with the results on my hair. However, if I know that the reviewer has Type 4 hair, though, I might think twice about purchasing the products for my hair, because what works for a Type 4 won't necessarily work for a Type 1/2.

To further explain, some of the products that Type 4 hair gals use that wouldn't work well on mine are the oils. Coconut oils, argon oils, etc. help to define the curls and provide much-needed moisture to the Type 4 hair (even Type 3 hair), but these oils can weigh down my hair and make it look greasy. I do, because of the waviness and potential frizziness, use a lightweight oil called BioSilk to keep my hair smooth and shiny.

Hair Types and Styling

It's a similar concept for different types of hair styles. While it would be extremely easy for me to straighten my hair (and it takes no time) and I don't require any styling products while I straighten it, I would have to set aside several hours to straighten my daughter's hair and know which products to add while I'm straightening it, too.

Just like products, some styles will work for some hair types and some will work for others, but not all hair styles are going to work for all hair types.

The same goes for styling utensils. A brush that works wonders for my hair will probably wreak havoc on my daughter's hair and vice versa.  

This is why learning about the different hair types and how each one works with different products and styling utensils will help you not only understand and work with your own hair better, it will also help you when you are working on your daughter's hair.

How is your daughter's hair the same or different from yours? What helps you?

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