Black Hair Types

Black hair has many advantages, such as versatility. You can do whatever you want with it and it will go along, as opposed to thin, long hair which rarely stay set, black hair almost never moves. It’s in permanent inertia.

Sadly, black hair has many disadvantages, too.

It doesn’t move. It’s easily tangled. It’s harder to comb through. It’s drier than other hair types. It defies gravity (grows up and not down). And also, it rarely grows.

There are three types of black hair, essentially:

1. Kinky hair (my type). Kinky hair looks exactly what it sounds like. It has the look of kinks, and is shaped like the letter  Z.  It’s springy (as in bed springs), and it’s crinkled, and is often hard to the touch. It’s not dry, however, and it’s pretty to look at.

2. Nappy Hair (my niece’s type). Nappy hair gets its name from the fact that it’s often appears to be asleep. It’s hair that is generally soft and dry-looking. It’s not as tightly coiled as kinky hair, but it’s often difficult to comb out because it’s matted and spongy. It can also become tangled quite easily and water shrinks it.

Remember that scene in the Austin Powers: Goldmember when Beyonce’s character Foxxy Cleopatra goes on a mission with Austin and she gets soaked with water, causing her Afro to shrink? Foxxy shakes the water out of her head and her Afro returned. That’s what nappy hair is like.

3. Loose Curls or Wavy hair. This is often called “good hair” by some blacks. It’s common among East Africans and some racially mixed or biracial individuals. It’s defined by loose, thin or wavy curls. The curls are shaped like the letter S. It’s easy flowing and it’s more manageable, even if it can grow to resemble an Afro. It’s common in black women you see in TV commercials.

Another look at curly hair (right). This type of hair can also be described as nappy due to the fact that it can grow puffy or upward. But, in reality, it’s really curly and soft. The looser the curls, the less trouble it is to maintain. It also grows faster than kinky and nappy hair.

* A bonus type of black hair is straight hair. A handful on blacks may have straight hair, but this is very, very rare, and straight hair in blacks is usually the result of admixture.


About TCDH

Blogger with an opinion.
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14 Responses to Black Hair Types

  1. Y says:

    I have to disagree with you saying kinky/nappy hair “rarely grows”. When cared for correctly it does. There's a plethora of natural hair care videos on youtube that bare witness to this. Because our hair grown up and out THEN down, is tightly coiled, and experiences shrinkage people have a tendency to say it doesnt grow. Which isnt true, its just harder to show length with very coily/nappy hair. Also locs are a testament to how black hair can grown when left in a protective style

    My last relaxer was in May of 09 and my hair is already at my collarbone(I do length checks in the shower, it easier to eye ball how much the hair has grown when its wet).

    You should check out kimmaytube, RusticBeauty, Longhairdontcare2011, and al00fone on Youtube…

    I RusticBeauty's cousin is a friend of mine and I know she is a first generation Nigerian-American with no admixture. al00fone is also a Nigerian-American

  2. Mel says:

    @Y, I guess I was generalizing with the “rarely grows” thing. My mother notices that when she leaves her hair unrelaxed, it grows, but as soon as she perms it, it starts to fall apart, again. I am trying to convince her to stop relaxing, really.

  3. ErzulieRedEyes says:

    I use Jojoba oil in my hair and I use Tressemme flawless curls shampoo/condtioner daily.
    I have the so-called “good hair” but i'm not mixed, i get it from my dad.

    There's a product called “Professional Silk Works” hair serum that is great as a leave-in treatment.

  4. Y says:

    Yeah I had pretty think hair when it was relaxed but it went through rough periods where it would fail apart due to the chemicals.

    Since going natural I haven had any rough periods. My mom also used to relax her hair, however she started taking a medication that mad her hair think out. The medication in addition to the relaxer/breakage started to make her hair scanty on the top. I convinced her to stop relaxing and her hair is returning a little bit.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Black hair can grow.I have notice that most people with 4a and 4b hair treat it badly but expect it to grow fast like if white girl did all the abuse we did to our hair she would be bald headed by now.We fry and puts all types of chemicals and use small tooth combs to rip out the knots in our hair losing some of our hair.We don't even try to find oils but use grease that has no value or benefit other than to lay on hair.

  6. Hazel says:

    Hey thanks for sharing best info about black hair types. i think these tips are very helpful for me. good job keep it up!!!!

    Hair Extensions

  7. R says:

    I stopped using relaxer since Oct 2010 and am letting my hair grow a certain length before I chop it. How do I take care of it while in the waiting process? I am currently using Shea Butter products

  8. Anonymous says:

    dis blog so racist

  9. Anonymous says:

    A big part of me wants to believe a black person did not even write this, there is so much misinformation it is unreal. Almost sounds like something a racist person would write.


  10. Anonymous says:

    there are too many things that are terribly wrong with this article to mention. please,please,please do your research and be factually correct when you put articles for the public on the internet.this is so very saddening… absolutely shameful.

  11. Mel says:

    check out haircrush ,shimahair21 and kimmaytube on youtube if you believe that “it rarely grows” and you will be amazed! kimmaytube and shimahair21 are very informative. haircrush is informative as well but less that the other 2 ladies. @anonymous said,

    I really don't care about your opinion (or suggestions) for the very fact that I don't know who you are, and quite frankly, don't care.

    However, I will say: don't promote your “videos” on my blog.

    Whatever your self-esteem issues, deal with them on your own Afrocentric sites or wherever you hang out.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Good to know I have always been very interested and curious but have been unable to find resources and pictures with explanations. Thanks!!! 🙂

  13. krazyhairgro says:

    You can most certainly grow hair longer. Especially if you take the Nzuri Liquid hair vitamins. Grew my natural hair so long in 2 years that everyone who knew me thought I was wearing a weave. No kidding sherlock. Found it on Amazon by accident. Best accidental purchase ever. Not only you drink it but makes a great daily hair mist when mixed with distilled water and the Nzuri Follicle food 61 growth oil. No joke. So I agree with most of what you say but our hair can certainly grow if taken care of.

  14. j says:

    this is by far the wort natural hair blog I have ever seen. I have 4b/4c hair and its nearly half way down my back in just three years. U wanna grow that hair type all you need is a good leave in conditioner (cream of nature hair butter or dark and lovely slip leave in) a decent co wash and a coconut oil/shea butter mixture. Its allI use and even keeps certain stress spots in my hair strong as ever. Don’t forget to deep condition!!!

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