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Saturday, 1 April 2017

All About Hair

One of my worst childhood memories is my mum brushing my hair. Anyone with thick, curly hair knows about the horrors of brushing. Mum pulling and tugging and making you cry as she rips through your skull.  It was a major relief when I got to my teens and began to brush my hair myself. (Plus my mum, bless her, is Asian, so she doesn't REALLY know how to manage hair like mine).

Last time I was at the hair salon to get my hair trimmed it was a pain in the arse. Whether the hair dresser is black or white (and I have enough sense now to go to Afro-Hair unisex salons) they always look at my hair and sigh. Oh, they crow about how beautiful it is and how lovely and thick and gorgeous and all the rest of it, but then they go on about how tangly it is and they condition it and yank my hair with the brush whilst I grit my teeth and grip the sides of the chair. (I have had it dyed many colours; red, green, pink, and bleached it too - the pic up top is roughly my natural hair colour.) Needless to say, I should really brush and condition my hair first before going to get it trimmed, but sometimes we forget these necessities.

Hair types vary, in terms of texture and length. There are 4 different hair types, each requiring different upkeep.

Type 1: Straight, fine, usually belonging to Caucasian people. Very low maintenance and easy to take care of. Tends to get greasy faster so requires regular washing. Shiny and more oily due to lack of curls.

Type 2: Wavy, slightly thicker but still pretty fine, again belonging to Caucasian people. Tends to get frizzy, hair can puff up. Less greasy than type 1.

Type 3: Curly, thicker, usually mixed raced people will have this hair type. Forms natural ringlets.
Requires more upkeep, more conditioning as dries out faster and doesn’t produce its owns oils. Do not brush dry unless you want to cry. There are plenty of nice creams and butters to use to keep hair moist and stop from drying out, and of course coconut oil is wonderful.

Type 4: Kinky, otherwise known as ‘afro’ hair; curls so tight that they’re difficult to make out. Typically keeps the same shape when wet and dry, whereas type 3 hair tends to change shape when wet or dry. Tends to get extremely dry due to tightness of curls.

Within each of these hair types there’s also ‘a, b, c’ determining to what extent the hair is most like its hair type. For example, type 1a hair is dead straight, whilst type 1c hair is closer to getting wavy. I have type 3c hair. Knowing what type of hair you have can be useful in working out how to look after it, what kinds of products to use, how often to wash it and etc.

I've been dying my hair for five years. You’d expect it to be super damaged, but it’s difficult to tell. This is due to the heavy amount of conditioning I do, the hair products and coconut oil I use, and the low frequency to which I do re-dyes and touch ups. I wait a minimum of two months before I consider doing any kind of touch up. I also didn’t dye it for about a year and a half and left it brown so it could get healthy again (it faded to a nice ombre colour).

The main thing is knowing what type of hair you have, and being able to understand that not all types of hair require the same upkeep. So don’t freak out when your black friends say they only shampoo their hair once a fortnight (I shampoo mine probably every two or three weeks) but that they condition it every other day. When a person with thick curly hair says they have to wet and condition their hair first before brushing it, understand why. We can’t all manage our hair in the same way because we have different hair types. I do have pretty high maintenance hair because of the type and because it’s dyed, but it’s also hot as fuck (people notice my hair before they notice me) and if that requires a little extra attention then I have no problem with it. And remember: COCONOUT OIL IS BAE. When in doubt, oil out. Wishing you happy hair!

Check out this cool article about hair types and textures:

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  1. I have to say, thick hair can really be a pain. My hair doesn't really fit the 4 types because it's more of a Native American & Asian type that is really thick and mostly straight. And I mean really thick. I've even had my hair "thinned" quite a few times when I was younger because it was so heavy, it was hurting my neck and giving me headaches. I have a hard time finding hair clips that are strong enough to hold up my hair. :/ I also brush my hair in the shower after I condition it, so it's not so tangled when I get out, otherwise it can be a real pain to get through. I know you said you use coconut oil and it works for you but I was just wondering, have you ever tried jojoba oil? I use that when I straighten or curl my hair to protect it and it works pretty great. :)

    1. Your hair is probably type 2, but type 2c so it's straight but very thick. I think type 1 is more thin whilst type 2 is thicker but not curly. Wow yeah I've straightened my hair before and it's felt really heavy and a pain, that must suck having that all the time! Nope I haven't use jojoba oil but thanks for the tip :)

    2. Hmm, you're probably right on the type 2c thing. (Or 1d haha) The one good thing about thick hair, is that everyone's hair naturally thins as they get older, so it was the worst while I was growing up but better in my adult life. If you try out the jojoba oil sometime, I'd love to hear how it works for you. :)


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