10 Things You Didn’t Know About Afro Hair
Afro hair is beautiful. It’s full, curly, kinky, thick and everyone’s is different. For people without this hair type it always seems fascinating, but do you know everything there is to know about your own hair? The amazing thing about afro hair is there is so much to learn not just in terms of hair care but the history and industry too. As more people begin their journey to healthy natural hair, getting to know your locks is a great way of growing your knowledge and feeling empowered. Luckily, we’ve got it covered. Here are 10 things that you didn’t know about afro hair!
1. There are different types of afro hair
When it comes to afro hair you have curls, spirals, afros and everything in between. You may have heard of 3B hair or 4C hair – this typification derides from the Andre Walker Hair Typing System. It was originally created in 1990 to market his new hairline, categorising hair from 1 to 4, A to C starting with straight hair and ending with tight coils. Today, this is still used by many people as a guide to finding the right products.
2. Natural hair has its own terminology
Since the growth of the natural hair movement, there are a whole new set of words and phrases that goes with it! From pre-poo and plopping to dusting and breaking the cast, afro hair care comes with its own language. But don’t worry, the more you learn about caring for your natural hair the more terms you’ll learn.
3. Curly cuts can transform your hair
Most people with afro hair have experienced a bad cut by a hairdresser who isn’t experienced in natural hair. But, one of the best things that have come out of the afro hair industry is curly cuts. The original Deva cut is a technique developed by Lorrain Massey which involves carefully cutting curls when dry so you can see how the hair will fall and create the perfect shape. Compared to cutting afro hair when wet or straightened, this technique is bespoke for each client so your afro hair is transformed to suit your face shape and your hair can flourish.
4. Afro hair has different porosities
Hair porosity refers to how much moisture your hair can absorb. People with afro hair often have low porosity so water sits on the hair instead of absorbing into the shaft, it may also be harder to saturate the hair when in the shower and drying time can be a lot longer. If this applies to you, hair masks should be your best friend. Work the product in to ensure the product is penetrating through the hair and rinse with cold water to seal the hair cuticles.
5. The original dreadlocks
Do you know how dreadlocks got their name? Although dreadlocks are thought to be created through Rastafarianism, the hairstyle was first adopted by the movement of guerrilla warriors in Ethiopia. They vowed not to cut their hair until Haile Selassie, former Emperor of Ethiopia was released from exile after leading the resistance against the Italian invasion. The warriors’ hair became matted and began to lock over time and because the warriors with locks in their head were “dreaded” the term “dreadlocks” came to fruition.
6. The natural hair industry is thriving more than ever
Remember a time when you’d visit your local beauty store and wouldn’t be able to find any afro hair products? Well, today it’s doing bigger and better than ever! Despite natural hair companies being ignored for far too long, it’s now estimated that the industry generates billions. As more people choose to go natural and more brands recognise the diversity of their customers, there’s never been a better time to go natural!
7. Afro hair is fragile
Despite being thicker and denser than caucasian hair, afro hair is actually the most fragile. It is easy to assume that curls require less care but if you don’t look after them properly they can become damaged and unmanageable. Afro hair tends to be more prone to damage especially when it comes to using heat and chemicals. Moisture is also key as the coiled structure of afro hair makes it harder for oils to spread evening through the hair and keep it hydrated.
8. Curly hair can grow!
Many people believe that afro hair cannot grow past a certain length but that’s not true. If your afro hair has stunted growth then you probably need to switch up your routine and give it some TLC. Everyone’s hair grows differently and those with thicker hair or smaller curls patterns may experience hair growth outwards and upwards instead of downwards. Treatments, protective styling and consistently good hair care can help your hair grow, it may take some time but it’s definitely not impossible!
9. Natural hair can shrink by 75%
Shrinkage is a natural part of having afro hair. As the hair dries the curl pattern becomes tighter and shrinks up with some people experiencing around 20-30% shrinkage or as much as 75%. However, with shrinkage comes definition and often the longer your hair grows the looser your curl pattern becomes as your hair gets heavier. Shrinkage is different for everyone and may change depending on your styling technique and products used.
10. Most people have more than one curl pattern
Afro hair is so diverse that one person is likely to have more than one curl pattern running through their hair. At the nape of the neck is where you’ll probably find the tightest curls but throughout your hair, you may fix a mixture of different patterns and maybe even some waves. Multiple textures are what gives afro hair some life!
Want to learn more about afro hair? Keep up to date with our blog page for all the latest news, tips and tricks!