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A Brief Conversation on Hair Typing - Where The Urbanbella Tribe Stands

April 03, 2021 1 Comment

A Brief Conversation on Hair Typing - Where The Urbanbella Tribe Stands

On a recent Facebook Live Session we spent some time reviewing the Hair Type Matrix.  Our goal was to see if we all agree on the labels we apply to different hair types and to lay some ground work and information about hair types.  Below you will find the take-aways from that Live Session as well as our take on the whole Hair Typing Conversation.

The Background

Hair Types refer to what you hair looks like after Wash and Condition and let it dry naturally or under a hood-dryer.  No blow-drys. No diffusing.  Nothing.

The Hair Typing Matrix as we understand it originated from Andre Walker, hair stylist to Oprah Winfrey.

We believe the matrix to be flawed.  By looking at a Hair Type and assume it encompasses all variations of a hair texture is very limiting.  Just a take a look here at a Type 4 C Grid as an example. 


The Pros and The Cons

The Pros The Cons
1. Allows you to quickly relate to other naturals and identify potential members of your hair tribe 1. It only shows the hair of the model in 1 state.  Dry.
2. Gives some guidance on product selection 2. It leaves out the 10 other characteristics
3. Makes it easy for marketers to sell you stuff that's not really for you. 3. It seems just a little racists if I am allowed to say
4. Many images are pictures of manipulated curls  - not natural curls
5. You can fit more than one type. You may be Type 4B and Type 4C
6. One type has many variations to it.  Take a look at the photo grid above to see an example.


 The Types

I propose that curl type is a very limited topic.  If you look at type 4 Hair alone, I say it's just referring to the fact that the hair is afro textured.  You can have wavy afro textured hair and zig-zag afro textured hair.   Perhaps a better approach would be to expand the other curl shapes to include afro textured hair in those.  That would be a more inclusive (insert less racist) looking diagram.  But in the meantime here is what each category represent to me as the founder of Urbanbella.  Let it be said...I welcome challenging dialogue about this. These are not hard and fast rules. Just a guide to help eliminate confusion. We will move into what Urbanbella thinks is more important in another post...Your Natural Hair Characteristics.

  • Type 1 - Straight
  • Type 2 - Wavy - Non Afro
  • Type 3 - Curly Non-Afro
  • Type 4 - Afro - includes curly, wavy, coily, and z-pattern


Some Basics

  • Race and ethnic group don't determine if you will have a specific hair type.  While generally this is marker for hair types we have met many women and men whose texture is different from many people that look like them
  • Type 3 Natural typically find it difficult to achieve an afro
  • Type 4 Naturals tend to have higher porosity and therefore fuller looking hair


What's Next

I would love to hear what you think on this whole Hair Typing conversation.  Is it helpful to you?  How do you use it to help you make decisions about your natural hair? 

Please join us as we continue this discussion

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1 Response

Gwyndolyn Adams
Gwyndolyn Adams

April 10, 2021

Hi Keneesha! This is Ms. Adams from Henderson HS. I will be in ATL sometime in the beginning to middle of May. I would love to come by and get some tips for my hair. If you can, please email or give me a call so I can set up a time to come. I am so very proud of you!

Gwyn Adams

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