I spoke to a friend of mine a few weeks ago, and she asked about this “new” curl pattern phenomenon. I explained that patterns are the types of curls, coils, waves and lack there of that we get in our hair. The chart ranges from bone straight hair to coily, kinky hair. And she said something very interesting to me. She’s been natural for well over 25 years, uses only natural products on her hair, embraces every coil, curl and buckshot, and said “why does that even matter?” That made me think…does it really matter?
While perusing a few hair videos on Youtube, I noticed how many of the hosts identified their curl pattern. The terms “3c” and “4a” seemed to be as relevant as the only adjectives we had to rely on like back in the day, like “course”, “fine”, and “silky”. Why do (some of us) feel dependent of identifying our hair type? Does this mean that different types of curls need a completely different set of products or techniques? If you have wavy hair, can you not use products that someone with no curl pattern has?
Let’s flip it a different way. I’ve noticed that many of us, even while relaxed, swear by our curl pattern. The purpose of a relaxer is to straighten the new growth (and curls, coils, etc.), but people still alter regimens based on what others of their “curl pattern” recommend. A texturizer will loosen the curl pattern, giving you some benefits of being both relaxed and natural.
When I had a relaxer, my new growth had no curl pattern. (I later realized that the new growth was affected by the relaxer well before it surfaced my scalp.) I assumed that I would be a “4b” (having no pattern at all), and I was completely content with that. After MANY months as a loose natural, my curl pattern finally showed itself. I was a proud “4a”! I had coils that I never knew about! It was fun to throw product in my hair and twirl around a few strands to get a baby ringlet. It took effort (and lots of time) to make each curl stand alone and not stick to its sister. When I would wash and go, they were still a mush of coils that had to be individually separated for maximum definition. So, in the end, I didn’t even deal with my curl pattern. I stuck to twist outs to get a similar effect, or combed the out for a luscious, thick afro.
My question to you, Scandalous Beauties of mine, “Do you know your curl pattern, do you care, and has it made you change the way you take care of your hair?” If you’d like to understand more about curl patterns, check out this article at NaturallyCurly.