I get a couple messages a week asking what my curl type is, and I’ve started asking – what are people planning on doing with this information?
For many, it seems that curl type is a way to filter out people that don’t fit into a given range – it makes it easier to figure out who to take advice from. But it’s not that simple!
The Curl Type System
Developed by Andre Walker (Oprah’s hairstylist!) in the 90s, the curl typing system ranges from straight to wavy to curly to coily. The general rule of thumb is that wavier hair types like lighter styling products while curl types further down the line love more moisturizing product.
Having trouble figuring out exactly what curl type your hair falls into? Don’t worry! Most people have multiple curl types, so it’s totally okay to fall within a range rather than one type. I consider myself 2c-3b. Take a guess at what your curl type might be – you’re probably correct! Also note that curl types can’t tell you everything about a person’s hair…
“Hey, what’s ur curl type?”
As I mentioned, people CONSTANTLY slide into my Instagram DMs asking what my curl type is, many of which insinuating that this information was needed before someone could take my advice.
(Note that curl typing is a visual process, so you should be able to look at a photo and have a pretty good idea about where someone falls…without asking!)
Here’s the deal:
- Knowing my curl type will not tell you whether the products I like will work for you.
- Knowing my curl type will not tell you whether the techniques I like will work for you.
- Knowing my curl type will not provide much helpful information at all.
Curl type alone doesn’t give a full picture.
There are a variety of factors that can determine whether a technique or product will work for you. Namely:
- Hair density
- Hair width (fine, coarse)
- Water (hard, soft)
- Environment (dry, humid)
- How far along you are in your curly journey
- Whether or not your hair has chemical damage
- Your protein/moisture balance
- Your comfort with styling techniques
- And so on!
How I Found Success
Found Curlies with a Similar Curl pattern to mine (Similar – not the same!)
IN the beginning, this was Nirvana (@vannaa_) and Lulu (@curlicue_lu). Note that this is a more difficult step if you are early on in your journey – the people you consider to have a “similar” curl pattern may change!
Made Informed purchase decisions
I bought Bounce Curl Light Creme Gel on Nirvana’s recommendation. I LOVED IT and learned that my hair likes high protein gels. I then started keeping an eye out for other products containing protein, and took the time to learn about what ingredients my hair liked.
Binged styling routines
I must have tried Lulu and Domi’s (@powerdomi) styling routine videos 100 times! I tried new techniques and learned that styling upside-down gave me awesome results.
Folowed stylists + people who don’t look like me
There are tons of curly stylists on Instagram who are always offering fantastic advice from their experience working with a multitude of curls. IN addition, I followed people who had what I thought was totally different hair than mine and was surprised to find that I shared products and techniques in common with more than just my curl type. I recommend going to the Instagram feeds of products that you like and following some of the people shared by each brand.
Experimented…and made lots of mistakes
It’s all part of the process!
From what I’ve seen from many curlies, there is a hesitancy to experiment. A fear of doing things wrong or trying something that isn’t recommended by me or others prevents many ppl from testing things out – unless someone with their curl type finds success with a product/technique, they won’t try it.
I’ve even gotten comments saying things like “well I heard type 2 curlies aren’t supposed to use a leave-in.” To which my response is – are you speaking from experience? Because if not, you can’t make that assumption about your own hair!
The way we take care of our hair is based on the experiments of others before us – what we consider okay or not okay for our hair is built on a pile of anecdotal evidence. Take the way I use hairspray, for example – I spray it on wet/damp hair. One day, I just decided to try doing it that way, and it turned out I liked it! I didn’t check Instagram to see if anyone else with my hair type had done it, I didn’t message another curly to ask if that was allowed, I didn’t email the brand asking if that was okay. I just tried it.
Of course, I started my curl account by taking advice from those whose hair looked like mine. But I soon expanded my horizons and followed a variety of accounts and found that each one was providing helpful information, and started doing experiments on my own.
Take the time to learn your hair. I can give advice, but not solutions. YOU are the one who knows your hair best. Follow more than just your curl type and don’t be afraid to experiment. It definitely takes time and effort, but it is SO WORTH IT. You got this! ?