Is there a standard of beauty in the curly/natural hair community that is in favor of a particular curl type?
I have been wearing my hair in its naturally curly state for 6 years and, I have to admit that I see some biases within the media as to whose curly hair type is most represented. Through my own observation, and the portrayal of natural hair models in the media, there seems to be a certain cater to naturally curly hair textures with a looser curl pattern, than naturally curly haired women with tighter curls. Now in terms of representation, I’m speaking of models on product boxes, and on the websites of some major hair companies. However, the question still remains: how do we encourage these companies and even ourselves to showcase more women with 4c type hair? In order to understand curl types, let’s take a look at the curl type chart below.
According to hairstylist Andre Walker, founder of the curl type chart, curly hair is divided into nine categories based on their individual curl patterns and the shape of your curls. Starting with the first hair type number 1 is considered straight hair. The 2’s curly hair type (2a, 2b, and 2c) has more of a wavy pattern. The 3’s curly hair type has more of a spiral pattern and (3a, 3b, and 3c) can range from loose to tight corkscrews. Last but not least, the 4 curly hair type (4a, 4b, 4c) has been referred to as having a coily or kinky hair pattern. On the contrary, I have heard some ladies dismiss the curl type chart because they have a mixture (like myself) of for example a 3b and 3c curl pattern. For myself, I have found the curl pattern chart to be beneficial when looking for the best hair care products for my curl type. There are helpful articles and tips online for women to find the best hair products that work for their curl type, try checking out company youtube and Instagram videos to start.
As a 3c/4a and 4b woman, there are plenty of representations of women with my type of hair. I have done feature interviews of women that inspire and share tips on how to care for your natural hair. However, at times I think about ladies who do not have their type or my type of curl pattern, who may be going through the transition phase and need someone that can inspire them with the same curl type. Of course, not all hair, especially curly is created equal. Each curl hair pattern and texture is a unique work of art on its own. That’s why I no longer get disappointed or discouraged (especially when I was going through the transition phase) when I try to replicate a style seen from one of my naturalistas and it doesn’t come out as perfect as I would like.
In this instance, and I would recommend it to any woman to support someone with their curl type. Currently, when I can, I try to watch more videos of my favorite curly enthusiasts who have a similar curl type to mine. At least the style comes out very similar if not the same as I have a model to compare it too. Another important aspect of this is being able to see the definition of their hair and your hair.
The natural hair community has become a booming system in the world of hair and beauty. Just remember, that there are more than enough ladies to shine and that come from various cultural backgrounds to represent the natural hair community. There is not one type of curl pattern that represents women from this community. That’s what makes each and every one of our curls unique and beautiful, as the face of natural hair is diverse and communal. I support every beautiful woman out there (regardless of their curl pattern) who is comfortable in their own skin and are comfortable rocking their hair in its natural state. Hopefully, we will continue to have healthy conversations about representation in the natural hair community and we will begin to showcase our beauty for all curl types. In the meantime, #staynatural ladies.