Texture typing has had its share of controversy: does it bring curlies together, or divide them?
Written by NaturallyCurly Co-Founder Michelle Breyer for her blog, The Curly Connection.
Last week, we were thrilled to see that the NaturallyCurly Texture Typing℠ System ranked first on BuzzFeed’s list of essential tools for the curly girl! Stylists and curlies chimed in about how helpful the chart has been for them as they learn to work with their own and other’s texture – a daunting task for many curlies, coilies and wavies.
“I use this all the time for helping others to get a sense of their ‘Curl Identity’” said curl expert Scott Musgrave, who heads up an international group curl stylists called Curly Hair Artistry.
From the first days of NaturallyCurly – when it was still a hobby we did in our spare time – we talked in terms of texture. Not skin color. Not ethnic background. TEXTURE. All the nuances of curls, coils and waves, and how that effected our product selections, hair style options, and general haircare regimen.
NaturallyCurly’s Texture Typing℠ System evolved out of Andre Walker’s 1-2-3-4 system of typing hair. Our community demanded more detail – there were big differences between 2cs and 3as, and what worked for a 4a might not work for a 4b, etc. So, our Texture Typing℠ System became a way for people to relate to one another and understand the more granular aspects of their hair.
Texture typing has had its share of controversy:
“You see, the thing about hair typing is that it forces us to sort, segregate and file in relation to the differences. As human history can attest, the minute individuals or characteristics are classified, feelings of ‘the other’ come into play.” - Kurly Kichana
Imani Dawson, founder of TribeCalledCurl notes:
“Hair typing as it exists today is divisive and ultimately destructive because it emphasizes one “type” of curl texture over another. It also provides limited information; just because your hair looks like someone else’s doesn’t mean it’ll respond to products similarly. Here are some important factors that the current hair system doesn’t take into account: porosity, strand size, and density. Curl pattern is the LEAST helpful in terms of caring for your natural hair, and figuring out which products work best.”
The Texture Typing℠ System was never meant to be divisive. It was designed to be a tool to empower and educate women about how to work with their natural hair. We’ve seen few examples of how the Texture Typing℠ System has segregated our readers, and in fact we offer more comprehensive information about porosity, density, width and length. If anything, it has enabled women to bond over their common interest in their curls, coils and waves. Friendships have been forged between women of all different background, ages and ethnicities, and yes, textures.
But when it comes to choosing products, styles or a stylist, they may need a little more help to narrow down the myriad of options. That’s where the NaturallyCurly Texture Typing℠ System can be most valuable – to educate and open up the conversation, not divide.
For more curly hair industry insights, check out Michelle's blog.