What Exactly is a Good Grade of Hair?
I just might pull my hair out if I hear another black sista insist that she can’t rock natural hair styles because she does not have a “good grain of hair.” What exactly is a “good grain of hair?”
First things first: a lesson on different hair types.
There are four (4) hair types, grades, or “grains” of hair as some like to call it. And guess what? All four types can wear natural hairstyles. Yes, even yours. Keep reading.
The four types are:
- Type 1 – Straight Hair: This type of hair is naturally bone straight and not typical of black hair.
- Type 2 – Wavy Hair: Soft or deep waves with little to no curl. Coarse and stays close to the scalp in long “s” shaped curves. Doesn’t usually have a lot of body.
- Type 3 – Curly Hair: Unique texture. Fine and soft “q” shaped pattern. Doesn’t have a lot of sheen. Has lots of body. Straightens when wet and curls as it dries.
- Type 4 – Coily / Kinky Hair – Very tightly curled and wiry. Type 4 is usually broken up into 4a and 4b. 4a hair has a looser coil and strands have a spiral shape. 4b hair has a tighter kink. Strands have a zig-zag shape like the letter “z” and is the most fragile and driest of the types.
For a picture of the above four hair types, click here.
If you have Type 4 hair (Coily / Kinky) and believe that you can’t wear natural hair styles, then I propose:
- You’ve never tried it,
- You’ve tried it but with hair that has been prevously relaxed,
You’ve tried it on 100% natural hair but did not use the techniques and methods that must be followed for natural hairstyles to work with your hair type
Combing Out Natural Hair
For example, Type 4 hair, the kinkiest, can not be combed while dry. It must be combed while wet after saturating it with conditioner and using a wide tooth comb only. And even then, you just easily glide the comb through your hair… uh, that aint gonna happen! You have to take your time and patiently hold a small section of your hair at the bottom and gently comb until you can go up the hair.
It can take some sistas with kinky hair up to an hour to comb out her hair, a tedious process. So don’t get discouraged or think you just don’t have “good” hair because you can’t wet and readily rake a comb through your hair. Nobody with Type 4 hair, especially 4B, can do that. And “combing your hair while wet and saturated with conditioner with a wide tooth comb” is just one of the many “rules” or methods you must use when you have Type 4 hair.
Type 4 hair also needs lots of moisturizing products added for natural styles to work (e.g., leave-in conditioners, hair butters, etc). In fact, shampooing natural hair is often frowned upon, because the shampoo strips natural hair of its oils and dries it out. So many women who rock natural hair co-wash, which is using conditioner instead of shampoo to “wash” their hair. There are also shampoos out today that eliminate the chemicals that dry your hair out, like Miss Jessie’s Shampoos for example. I personally co-wash weekly and use Miss Jessie’s shampoo 1-2 times a month.
Videos of Proof
But don’t take my word for it! Check out the below playlist of videos created by women with Type 4 Kinky hair!
The women in these videos below have Type 4 hair and give tips on washing and styling. They even share what products to buy for Kinky hair. Plus they showcase their natural hairstyles which look great! Who says that Type 4 is NOT a “good” grain or grade of hair? Hogwash. Every hair type is beautiful in its own special way!
PRESS PLAY TO BEGIN VIDEOS.
TIP: You can pan through the videos by clicking the RIGHT arrow button if you want to skip any in the playlist.
The Big Chop
Many black women also don’t realize that if they have already relaxed their hair (most of us at some point have relaxed our hair for a number of years), then, in order to begin wearing all-natural hair styles, we must cut off any hair that has been previously relaxed. This is why many black women who decide to go natural do what’s called “the big chop” to get rid of all hair that has been relaxed at some point with chemical treatments or perms.
It’s also possible to slowly “transition” into all natural hair if the big chop is too drastic of a change for you. Transitioning is often done by no longer getting relaxers and letting your roots grow out naturally until it gets to a certain length where you don’t mind cutting off your relaxed ends. There’s actually hairstyles specifically for people who are in the transitioning season.
So Does Good Hair Exist?
I reject the idea or notion that some sort of so-called “good hair” exists, as though one person’s hair is “better” than others. As one friend said when she was recently told she has good hair and that her hair was better, “Better how? Does good hair behave? Does it listen? Is bad hair disobedient? Does it not lay flat when told? How do you know how my hair behaves? I may have had to whip it to get it to act right.” Who is to say kinky hair isn’t good hair?
During my “natural hair journey” there have been a couple of sistas who insist that I have some sort of so-called “good hair.” One said, “My hair could never do that! My texture is too kinky.” It’s offensive to hear someone claim that the reason why I can wear natural hair is because I’m “mixed,” when in fact I’m not mixed. I’m just a light-skinned black person. Blacks come in all shades of the rainbow. My brother came out dark. (If you ask my dad why I’m so light-skinned, he’ll tell you that one of our relatives were probably conjugal with a slave master way back in the day. ) (And there’s nothing wrong with being bi-racial of course; I just am not.)
Everyone can wear her hair natural. Everyone.
Yes, everyone’s hair is different, even if two people have the same hair type. We are all unique individuals. But please don’t think you can’t do natural styles if you really want to do so.
I hope you help me spread the positive word that every hair type can avoid chemicals and “go all natural” and look nice being all natural.
If you are nervous about taking this plunge, there are a lot of natural hair salons now that specialize in natural hair methods and styles.
More Information on Hair Types
For more information hair types, especially Types 4a, 4b, or 4c, check out these webpages:
- Naturally Curly Website on Hair Types
- Love to Know Hair Website on Hair Types
- Curlz.biz Website on Hair Types
- What Different Hair Types Look Like (Look at Hair Samples)
Questions: Did you find this article helpful? Did you find the information you were seeking? What has been your experiences regarding this topic? Have you heard the saying that so-and-so has “good hair.” What are your thoughts? Click here to leave your opinion.