Z-shaped strands?

It is mentioned in the hair types description that 4b hair is composed of z-shaped strands. Does anybody actually have these? IF so, could you post a pic? I just want to know if it actually exists. If not, perhaps we should petition NC to change the definition of the 4b hair type?

Maybe change it to something dealing with how the hair does not clump and is composed of tiny spirals and s-shaped strands?

Any z-stranded ladies out there?
I don't think z-strands exist. I think it's just a way of trying to other certain hair textures and make them seem like they aren't fundamentaly curly. Your description is more accurate. With that said, I would dwell on it.
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Last edited by Fronomenal; 01-21-2011 at 09:47 AM.
Thanks for the reply. Love your screen name by the way!

I didn't think it existed, but hopefully someone will prove me wrong with pics lol.
I've been thinking the SAME thing for so long. I have NEVER EVER seen someone with "z shaped" hair strands! If your hair is "z shaped" or has "sharp angles", it must be split ends because that is the only time I've seen "sharp angles." Like in this picture, there's the offshoot, the right angle, and the crinkle.
http://pad1.whstatic.com/images/thum...ndChart_13.gif

And that definition irks me to no end! It's like having a word in the dictionary with the wrong definition!I vote that it be changed. I really like how you described it.
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I agree that the description of 4b curls should be changed because describing the curl pattern as 'z shaped' causes confusion.

Your description is great but I do not think that the description should say that 4b curls do not clump because 4b curls do clump when a thick cream or gel is used (see attached pic).

In my experience I have found that 4b hair tends to have less weight than other hair types so it shrinks up into its curl pattern which is why it can be difficult to see the curl definition. When the hair is braided it is easy to see the pattern of the curls at the end because the braid gives weight to the individual strands.

Last edited by AlikaIssa; 08-23-2011 at 04:45 AM. Reason: to remove pic
Thanks ladies!

Alikalssa, your hair in the picture looks 4a to me, but I really am starting to think that I have no idea what any of these hair types mean lol. 4a has pen-spring sized coils I think? And your little curls seems at least that size.

I think of 4b as more of the c-napp type hair. This kind of hair doesn't clump EVER. I have 4a on my head that clumps like your picture when I do twists. But I also have a small 4b section that doesn't really clump no matter how much gel I put on it.

What we can both agree on is that 4b does not equal z-shaped strands lol.
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I definitely agree that 4b should not be described as 'z shaped' .... hopefully that description can be changed to include your one '......composed of tiny spirals'


ps, I checked out the link to nappyme's site and my hair looks like that when it is washed and allowed to shrink and dry without products (like a cloud of cotton candy), so I still think that I am majority 4b
I agree, 4b hair seem to look more like tightly curled spirals that spiral into a circle, and unwound(stretched out) then they become more like s-shapes

Maybe that is where the "z-shape" idea came from
maybe the people they were referring too had "z-shaped" strands because they were stretching out a strand of hair,
when you don't pull on 4b hair the strands spiral back like a slinky into a circle or tight spirals trying to form a circle
THANKYOU! Finally, i get what you are saying and think the definition for 4b hair should be changed. When dry my hair looks like "cNapp" and/or 4b/4a hair, but some of those people say they dont have a visibile curl pattern etc, but when wet, and if i let it dry without disturbance, my hair has pen spring coils-i was confused before, but now this makes soo much more sense!
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I agree, 4b hair seem to look more like tightly curled spirals that spiral into a circle, and unwound(stretched out) then they become more like s-shapes

Maybe that is where the "z-shape" idea came from
maybe the people they were referring too had "z-shaped" strands because they were stretching out a strand of hair,
when you don't pull on 4b hair the strands spiral back like a slinky into a circle or tight spirals trying to form a circle
Originally Posted by MIA1487
Absolutely! The definition should be changed because I have never seen anyone with "4b" hair with z-strands. If this was true, then they couldn't wear an afro. Instead, their hair would like lightning bolts and not look like an afro at all, which is round.
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I agree, 4b hair seem to look more like tightly curled spirals that spiral into a circle, and unwound(stretched out) then they become more like s-shapes

Maybe that is where the "z-shape" idea came from
maybe the people they were referring too had "z-shaped" strands because they were stretching out a strand of hair,
when you don't pull on 4b hair the strands spiral back like a slinky into a circle or tight spirals trying to form a circle
Originally Posted by MIA1487
Absolutely! The definition should be changed because I have never seen anyone with "4b" hair with z-strands. If this was true, then they couldn't wear an afro. Instead, their hair would like lightning bolts and not look like an afro at all, which is round.
Originally Posted by Greatcurls

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I agree! They had an older definition that did not mention the z pattern that I agreed to. The z pattern thing had me thinking I was 4a since I have tiny spirals/coils not z's. But a more experienced curly helped me figure out that the coils on my head are 4b.
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Instead, their hair would like lightning bolts and not look like an afro at all, which is round.
Originally Posted by Greatcurls
Rofl!!! I think they just put z-shaped b/c they needed something extreme to put on the other end of the hair spectrum hahahah
I have a small section on the crown of my head with z pattern , and when picked out it does look like lightning hit that section . I have to pat it down a lot cuz it shrinks less than the rest of my hair
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I hate hair typing mostly because I seem to have everything from 2a to 4c.
With that here is a site that helped me understand z-shaped.

what is the difference between 4a hair and 4b hair? | KisforKinky
Hair Type: 3c/4a/4b, fine, normal porosity

http://public.fotki.com/Ajnamhuja/
I registered just to answer this question. Yes, I have Z shaped strands. My hair zig zags down the entire shaft and curls on the end. You can somewhat see it on my pictures but in my YouTube videos I point it out clearly.
You can see the vids on my channel thelmarrie.
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I registered just to answer this question. Yes, I have Z shaped strands. My hair zig zags down the entire shaft and curls on the end. You can somewhat see it on my pictures but in my YouTube videos I point it out clearly.
You can see the vids on my channel thelmarrie.
Originally Posted by lmarrie
Welcome lmarrie!

I checked out a couple of your YouTube videos and they were great

I can see why you would describe your hair as having z shaped strands because it grows in a zig zag pattern. However, I personally would refer to your hair as being spiralled. The word 'Z shaped' indicates that your hair has very sharp bends, but in the YouTube photos your hair seems to have curved bends.
I have a mixture of spirals, s-shaped and z-shaped strands. Unfortunately, I do not have a close up picture to show it. I know it's difficult to believe without proof, so hopefully you'll take my word for it, I have found that the z-shaped strands knot very easily.

I think the following description that was previously on Afroveda's website( they have revamped the site and took this info down) describes my hair:

"Type 4: Kinky hair

If your hair falls into the Type 4 category, then it is kinky, or very tightly curled. Generally, Type 4 hair is very wiry, very
tightly coiled and very, very fragile. Like Type 3 hair, Type 4 hair appears to be coarse, but it is actually quite fine, with lots
and lots of this strands densely packed together. Healthy Type 4 hair won't shine, but it will have sheen. It will be soft to the
touch and will pass the strand test with ease. It will feel more silky than it will look shiny. Oprah, Whoopi Goldberg and the
actress Angela Bassett are all Type 4s.

Type 4 hairs looks tough and durable, but looks can be deceiving. If you have Type 4 hair, you already know that it is the
most fragile hair around. Why? Type 4 hair has fewer cuticle layers than any other hair type, which means that it has less
natural protection from the damage you inflict by combing, brushing, curling, blow-drying and straightening it. The more
cuticle layers in a single strand of hair, the more protection it has from damage. Each time you damage your hair – fire up
the curling iron, fry it with chemicals – you break down a cuticle layer, robbing your hair of much-needed moisture. I cannot
emphasize this enough. It's like taking a wire and bending it again and again. Eventually, it's going to snap and break.

Many women with Type 4 hair rely on chemical relaxers to make hair easier to control. In its natural states, sometimes Type
4 hair doesn't grow very long because every time you comb it, it breaks. (Of course, if you have dreadlocks and never
comb them or keep them braided, your hair can and does grow quite long.)

There are two subtypes of Type 4 hair: Type 4A, tightly coiled hair that, when stretched, has an "S" pattern, much like curly
hair; and Type 4B, which has a "Z" pattern, less of a defined curl pattern (instead of curling or coiling, the hair bends in
sharp angles like the letter "Z"). Type 4A tends to have more moisture than Type 4B, which will have a wiry texture. But
what if your hair has been chemically straightened? How can you tell which subtype you belong to if your hair is relaxed?
You'll need at least one inch of new growth to tell. Pull at the roots. If you can see a definite curl pattern, then it's an A, if
not, then it's a B.

Addendum:
Type 4 hair can range from fine/thin to wiry/coarse strand texture. Generally, this hair is densely packed to give the
appearance of very thick but fragile hair. 4A hair has a clearly visible curl and wave pattern that ranges from pen size curls
to pen spring size coils. 4B hair has a tighter wave pattern and kinks of various size. This texture does not exhibit the
shine or silkiness of looser type curls, but instead has sheen, and a soft, almost cotton-like feel. As with other types of curly
hair, showing the true length can be an extra challenge, as the hair may grow “up” or “out” before starting to hang down. In
its unlocked/unbraided state, type 4 hair is known to shrink up to 75% of the actual hair length. With the proper care and
technique, type 4 hair is indeed resilient, manageable, durable, growable and easy to control.
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To me the difference is how fine and small it koils up. This typing system doesn't point out how our hair can be a loose spiral down to pen barrel cork screws that curl up into tight or loose Os. I prefer the LOIS system bc you can id more properties of your hair. I think Andre's hair typing system doesn't id the 4 hair type well bc he prob didn't want to deal with it, since he says to use a texturizer to manage it. I quote this typing system just bc it's more easy to say I have 4b hair than to say my hair is SO, highly porious, spongy and cottony, and fine. I really don't see the point anyway bc most of us don't have the same texture or "type" all over our heads anyway. I guess it's just good to id our hair properties and share with others, hoping we might have something in common or loving the diversity of seeing other hair "types" and learning more about them.
I registered just to answer this question. Yes, I have Z shaped strands. My hair zig zags down the entire shaft and curls on the end. You can somewhat see it on my pictures but in my YouTube videos I point it out clearly.
You can see the vids on my channel thelmarrie.
Originally Posted by lmarrie
Ok, I'm going off on a slight tangent here, but lmarrie, I just checked out your videos. They are great, however I actually don't think you are a 4b, and I definitely don't think you have z-shaped strands.

I totally see what you say about moisture, etc, bringing out a curl pattern, and hair looking completely different when you sort out your moisture levels, however, I think what you were referring to from your earlier days as 4b hair (in this video: YouTube - My 4b Hair Story (1)) was actually just under-moisturised 4a hair. I have both "4a" and "4b" patches on my head, and I believe my strands are pretty much equally moisturised, however, no matter what I do to my 4b patches, there is nothing that will make them curl in the same way as my 4a patches do. Its just not their nature. Some hair just doesn't clump ever, and I think that's the hair that can more accurately be classed as 4b?

I also agree with everyone who says they don't think the z-shaped strand exists, and viomalva, I think your description is the best I've ever heard to describe 4b hair.

This is why I hate curl typing. Aside from the divisiveness that can sometimes arise, it is just too confusing.
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Last edited by NoodleNaps; 03-18-2011 at 04:38 AM.

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