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Lilnicka4u2nv View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: What is your REAL hair type? (pic heavy)
    Posted: Nov 07 2011 at 9:16am

  We come in all shapes, sizes and colors... and our hair comes in all shapes, widths and textures. It is difficult to categorize hair based on curl pattern alone because of all the variation that occurs. However, attempts have been made to categorize in an effort to help people better know their hair.

Black/afro-type hair is difficult to categorize for a few reasons:

1) our hair differs in pattern - coils, springs. zig zags, s-curves

2) our hair differs in pattern size - watch spring to chalk size

3) our hair differs in density - sparse, dense

4) our hair differs in strand diameter - fine, medium, coarse

5) our hair differs in feel - cottony, spongy,silky,thready,wiry




Strand Size/Diameter:

To get the hair strand size, take a piece of sewing thread and unravel it into two pieces. Compare this to your hair.  If the strand of hair is the same thickness as the thread then you have medium/normal size.  If it’s thicker than the thread, you have a thick strand.  If it’s thinner than the thread, you have a fine strand.

Texture:

Thready-  hair has a low sheen, with a high shine while the hair is being held taught with low frizz.  Wets easily but dries quickly.

Wiry – has a sparkly sheen with low shine and low frizz. Water bounces or beads up on the hair strand.  Hair never seems to get fully wet.

Cottony – has a low sheen, a high shine if hair is held taut and has high frizz.  Absorbs water quickly but does not get thoroughly wet very fast.

Spongy – high sheen, with low shine with a compacted looking frizz.  Absorbs water before it gets thoroughly wet.

Silky – low sheen and very high shine with a lot or low frizz.  Easily wets in water.

The trick is to hold your hair taut when determining spongy vs cottony.  So what does “sheen” & “shiny” mean?   Sheen is a dull reflection of light like a luster, the hair sparkles as light bounces off of it.  Shine has a sharp reflection of light (like the shine of straight hair or a shine of jewelry as an exaggeration).  Here are two pictures of examples of sheen vs shine:

This is hair w/ a SHEEN when held taut.

This is hair w/ SHINE when held taut.

Pattern:

The letters LOIS describes the curl pattern if it in those shapes of the letters.

L = I shaped strands (Hair has bends, right angles and folds with little to no curve)

O = round circular coils (Strands looks like a slinky, spirals or zeros)

I = straight with angular sharp bends (Hair lies mostly flat with no distinctive curve or bend)

S = s curls (Hair shaped like the letter S, wavy looking)

 


Porosity & Dew Point

Porosity

There is a great article which I found article written by Tonya McKay.  She explains porosity and what it means in great detail.  I’ll repost it in its entirety.

Porosity is the term used in the science of hair care to describe how easily water and other matter can diffuse back and forth through the cuticle layer and into or out of the cortex. Hair is much like a sponge, capable of absorbing water and other substances from the environment, and also susceptible to losing precious moisture and lipids to the environment. Maintaining an optimal balance of moisture in your hair preserves its suppleness, strength, and shine. This is especially important for those of us with curly hair, as it greatly influences the health and beauty of our tresses.


Porosity Classifications

The individual scales of the cuticle overlap one another like the feathers of a bird or scales on a fish. This amazing system of flexible and responsive scales allows diffusion of oils and moisture into and out of the hair as needed. Porosity is determined by how tightly the cuticle scales adhere to the surface of the hair shaft and also by how thoroughly adjacent scales overlap one another.

Low Porosity: Hair described as having low porosity is characterized by a very tightly bound cuticle layer, where the individual cuticle scales lie flat and overlap one another. Low porosity hair is often quite shiny, especially if it is a darker color. Overall this type of hair is considered to be quite healthy. If your hair repels water when you attempt to wet it, that is a good indication that it has low porosity. It can be quite difficult to process, because it resists penetration of the chemicals being used.

Low porosity hair is more prone to an excessive accumulation of protein if deep conditioning products are used and will feel very stiff and straw-like. It requires products rich in moisture and emollients and also benefits most from products that contain humectants, which attract moisture to the hair and hold it there. If hair with very few or very small openings becomes dry for some reason, it can be more difficult to restore proper moisture balance to it. In this case, a deep conditioning treatment with moderate heat would be a good way to ensure the cuticle is sufficiently opened up to allow moisture to enter into the cortex.

Normal Porosity: Hair possessing average porosity will generally require the least amount of maintenance. It allows moisture to pass into the cortex as needed, but resists permitting too much water to penetrate. Repeated works by various research groups have found that healthy hair of average porosity can absorb water up to a maximum of 31.1% by weight. Normal porosity hair has a tendency to hold styles well. Perming or coloring can be done in a predictable manner, following the usual guidelines of the product. However, one must note that these processes will damage the hair and increase its porosity over time. An occasional deep conditioning treatment with a protein-containing product will be of benefit, but proteins should not be included in the daily regimen.

Opened highly porous cuticle

High Porosity: High porosity is an unfortunate result of damage to the hair. Chemical processes, harsh treatment, and environmental exposure are all responsible for causing cumulative, irreversible damage to the cuticle layer. This damage creates gaps and holes in the surface of the hair shaft—essentially chinks in its armor. Hair with this type of uneven, pitted and rough surface is prone to damage from more and more sources, resulting in a cascade of effects that culminate in unmanageable and unlovely locks.

Hair with a great deal of porosity has been found to be capable of absorbing significantly higher amounts of water than hair or normal or low porosity (up to 55%, in contrast with 31.1% for healthy hair). Excessive absorption of water from the atmosphere causes frizz and tangling on humid days. Total immersion of high porosity hair during bathing, swimming, or shampooing can lead to significant breakage due to loss of elasticity from the sheer weight of the water absorbed. It also takes on color much more quickly and in higher concentrations than normal porosity hair when undergoing a chemical color process.

People with high porosity hair should use products with lots of moisturizers and emollients and also use anti-humectants in high heat and humidity climates in order to seal their cuticle against excessive absorption of moisture from the air. Protein treatments can also be very helpful for patching some of the holes in the hair, but one must follow up with moisturizing products in order to avoid a stiff texture. Rinsing with a slightly acidic rinse will help flatten and seal the cuticle. Some clear color applications have proteins in them than can patch the gaps in your hair also. Consult your professional hair stylist for more information about such products.


TEST YOUR POROSITY

SO FINE: Porosity and Why it Matters
by Cassidy of Natural Selection Blog


"Great, I've got fine hair too!! So. Whatproductsdoyouusewhatshouldiusehowshouldistylewhereshouldibuyhowmuchshouldiusecanyoupleasetellmeeverythingineedtoknowaboutfinehairnowwwwww???" 

This has been an extremely popular question I've been getting in comments and emails since jumping into the So Fine Series to which I can only respond with one thing:

HOLD YOUR HORSES, YOU FINE THANGS YOU! We've gotta talk about porosity first.

To all of you whose eyes just glazed over because you get confused about all of this science-y hair stuff, keep reading (and stop pulling at your coils!! Remember: fine hair is fragile!!!). I promise I'm going to make this easy.

What is porosity? Porosity in hair-speak is a way of saying " a strand's ability to soak up and let go of moisture."

While I would love to keep that pantyhose analogy alive, I can't and we're going to talk about porosity in terms of SPONGES.

This is a normal sponge. It absorbs and lets go of water at a normal rate.


This is a sponge in a plastic bag. If you submerge the bag beneath water, the water will eventually get inside the bag, but it will take longer and more effort to fully soak the sponge. It is also more difficult to get the water out.


This is a sponge that I took a pair of scissors to. The larger holes in this one mean that water seeps into and squishes out more easily than the above sponges with normal and low porosity.


Now take these same concepts and apply them to your hair.
  • Normal sponge = hair with normal porosity. Moisture goes in and out of hair with relative ease at a neither breakneck nor snails pace.
  • Sponge in plastic bag = hair with low porosity. It takes a lot more work to moisturize this kind of hair because its harder for moisture to get in. But once you get that moisture in, its harder for it to get out.
  • Holey Sponge = hair with high porosity. This kind of hair absorbs - and loses - moisture much more easily. Normal porosity falls somewhere in the middle of these two.
Think of it this way: High porosity = easy in/easy out. Low porosity = difficult to get in/difficult to get out.

How do you figure out what level of porosity you have?

I've heard of three methods for figuring out your porosity.

1. The Slip'n'Slide Test: Take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up the shaft (toward the scalp). If you feel little bumps along the way, this means that your cuticle is lifted and that you have high porosity. If it slips smoothly down, then you're on the lower end of the scale. The

2. The Sink-or-Float Test: Take a strand of hair and place it in a glass of water. If it sinks quickly, its high porosity. If it takes some time to sink, then its normal porosity. If it just stays floating near the top, then its low porosity.


Edited by Lilnicka4u2nv - Nov 07 2011 at 9:26am
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 07 2011 at 9:17am

Thready-  hair has a low sheen, with a high shine while the hair is being held taught with low frizz.  Wets easily but dries quickly.

 Typically, thready hair may have a slightly larger diameter and feels uneven but still smooth along the hair strand. 

   Sometimes, it even has a halo-y appearance, much like a strand of thread. This type of hair generally has a lower porosity and can "feel" coarse even though the strands may be fine.


       Naturals with thready hair

Kblc06- 3b,3c  thready w/fine-medium strands  http://public.fotki.com/kblc06-02/



Kutenkurly, 4a, thready w/coarse strands http://public.fotki.com/kutenkurly/



More thready heads











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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 07 2011 at 9:18am
Wiry – has a sparkly sheen with low shine and low frizz. Water bounces or beads up on the hair strand.  Hair never seems to get fully wet.

They seem to get easier "hang"...

  I've read people say wiry hair straightens itself out as it dries...Like if you were to pull it  back into a ponytail it may stay straight...sounds familiar Natalee? LOL

Naturals with Coarse and Wirey hair...


clean hair

"i look lost in this picture, lol. this is my "soaking" wet hair after stepping out of the shower; even while i'm in the shower, standing under the water, it looks about the same as this. water forms beads/droplets on my hair, and then just seems to sit there; the droplets will also run down my scalp and drip off of my hair, which makes my ends dry out kind of quickly. so, while my hair holds water, it's not really wet...more like damp, kind of. my roots stay damp for a while."





Close ups 







Wirey/thready hair





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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 07 2011 at 9:19am
Cottony – has a low sheen, a high shine if hair is held taut and has high frizz.  Absorbs water quickly but does not get thoroughly wet very fast.

   Product free cottony hair tends to have a puffy appearance regardless of curl type but they can get shine when hair is pulled up or curls are defined...

NATURALS WITH COTTONY HAIR

  Mooks!! 4a/b cottony, she's known for having that Rudy Huxtable hair, and banging styles http://public.fotki.com/Mooks-hair/


ShidaNatural


More cottony heads

Looser patterned cottonheads


More looser pattern cottonheads






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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 07 2011 at 9:20am
Spongy – high sheen, with low shine with a compacted looking frizz.  Absorbs water before it gets thoroughly wet.

Spongy types tend to need to  squeeze their hair like you squeeze a sponge when you're trying to get it soaked or else it takes forever for the inside to get wet


Now, what is the difference between spongy and cottony Confused?

The trick is to hold your hair taut when determining spongy vs cottony.  So what does “sheen” & “shiny” mean?   Sheen is a dull reflection of light like a luster, the hair sparkles as light bounces off of it.  Shine has a sharp reflection of light (like the shine of straight hair or a shine of jewelry as an exaggeration).


So remember ,cottony hair has shine, only when pulled taut...

Spongy hair has a high sheen regardless, and can probably  achieve some shine when slicked up, and with certain products, or if they manage their high porosity  with cuticle sealing  products like apple cider vinegar , or Roux Porosity Control...

Spongy hair benefits from protein since, protein attracts moisture

Spongy hair also loves butters on wet hair

NATURALS WITH SPONGY HAIR


Other spongy heads
Spongey w/ product






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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 07 2011 at 9:21am
Silky – low sheen and very high shine with a lot or low frizz.  Easily wets in water.

There are alot of misconception's about silky textured hair

Silky textures comes in 3a to 4b patterns, it's just that the angles and bends of curly to kinkier patterns alter the shine factor.

A 4a silky may appear 3c'ish because of the downward way it grows.

Silky hair can come in coarse or fine strand sizes.


Silky textures have high molding ability, rollersets aren't super challenging.

Silky hair has a tendency to straighten out from ponytails such and stretch out as it gets old...





NATURALS WITH SILKY HAIR

Nikstar, 3c/4a ,coarse, full density and silky, click on link to view http://public.fotki.com/nik-star/all-natural-year-4/jan-june-2011/

Yekinae, another coarse and silky http://whatsnew.fotki.com/Miane/


ClarkiesMommy ;  3c/4a, fine, thin density, silky http://public.fotki.com/ClarkiesMommy/2009/septemberoctober-2009/
Cheleigh ; 4a and silky


BHM's very own Wink Me! 3c/4a, fine-medium, full density, silky http://public.fotki.com/lilnicka4u2nv/


More Silky Heads



Silky 4a-4bs!












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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 07 2011 at 9:32am
Thanks for making this post Thumbs Up
I've actually never been too sure about what my hair type actually was but from the information above, I wanna say my hair type is 3c/4a.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 07 2011 at 9:34am
Originally posted by meki89 meki89 wrote:

Thanks for making this post Thumbs Up
I've actually never been too sure about what my hair type actually was but from the information above, I wanna say my hair type is 3c/4a.



Honey this thread isnt about curl types LOL

   That's becomes pretty irrelevant in finding what products work for you...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 07 2011 at 10:08am
I guess I should post an example of what you should get from this breakdown...


I am a 3c/4a 

OS= O ,round circular coils strands looks like a slinky, spirals or zeros, and S, hair shaped like the letter S, wavy looking


Fine to medium sized strands


Thick density, I have alot of hair on my head


Low Porosity, while it gets wet easily, my hair takes a while to actually absorb moisture.


Silky texture 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 07 2011 at 10:23am
Originally posted by Lilnicka4u2nv Lilnicka4u2nv wrote:

I guess I should post an example of what you should get from this breakdown...


I am a 3c/4a 

OS= O ,round circular coils strands looks like a slinky, spirals or zeros, and S, hair shaped like the letter S, wavy looking


Fine to medium sized strands


Thick density, I have alot of hair on my head


Low Porosity, while it gets wet easily, my hair takes a while to actually absorb moisture.


Silky texture 
 
your hair sounds like mine, however I do not have thick density hair and my hair isn't silky :)
 
good thread. I finally understand porosity, however I am still working on determing the texture of my hair.


Edited by Alex Urameshi - Nov 07 2011 at 10:25am
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