If you have a multi-racial child, you probably have read about or heard about hair typing and are familiar with the terminology- 4a, 3c, etc. What you may not know is how to determine the texture of your child's hair. Honestly, I don't think many multi-racial children have a full head of just one type of hair. That being said, it is a good idea to determine your child's primary texture so that you can buy the right products and care for it appropriately. Here is what the website Naturally Curly.com has to say about 3C hair:
• Type 3c hair has tight curls in corkscrews
• Circumference: Pencil or straw
• The curls can be either kinky, or very tightly curled, with lots and lots of strands densely packed together
• Getting this type of hair to blow dry straight is more challenging than for 3a or 3b, but it usually can be done
• The very tight curls are usually fine in texture
And what they say about type 4 hair
• Type 4 is kinky, or very tightly curled, with a clearly visible curl pattern
• Circumference: Crochet needle or even smaller
• The hair is very wiry, very tightly coiled and very, very fragile
• Type 4 hair can range from fine/thin to wiry/coarse with lots and lots of strands densely packed together
• Type 4 hair has fewer cuticle layers than any other hair type, which means that it has less natural protection from the damage you inflict by combing, brushing, curling, blow-drying and straightening it
• Type 4 hair is known to shrink up to 75% of the actual hair length
• There are two Type 4 subtypes:
•4a: Tightly coiled hair that, when stretched, has an "S" pattern, much like curly hair. It tends to have more moisture than 4b; has a definite curl pattern
•4b: Has a "Z" pattern, less of a defined curl pattern. Instead of curling or coiling, the hair bends in sharp angles like the letter "Z"; has a cotton-like feel
Now, NeNe's hair has some of the attributes of 3C hair, but she also has some 4A attributes, specifically the wiry textures and the fact that it is super fragile. Overall, her hair is more curly then kinky which is why I classify her hair as 3C. Keep in mind that your child's hair texture can change over time. One thing I have noticed is that the healthier her hair is the more it resembles 3C hair and the more damaged it is (I didn't always know what I know now) the more it resembles 4A hair. If you are still unsure of what type of hair your child has, try using products made for 4a hair and take note of how they affect your child's hair. If they are too heavy and leave the hair too oily or greasy, most likely your child does not have 4a hair. If you have used traditional Caucasian hair products on your child and they seem to vanish and have no effect on the hair at all, you are probably not dealing with type 3a or 3b either. In my experience the mothers who are most confused about hair type usually have children with 3c hair. Check out these pictures of NeNe's hair and see if they resemble your child's hair.
Curls? What curls? This is what newborn 3C hair may look like, but don't be fooled, it won't stay this way..
I think she was around a year old in this picture. Her curls came in, her hair was getting longer and styling involved just wetting her hair and coaxing it into little ponytails. Her hair was almost never down when we were not at home.
This is a good example of what 3C hair looks like in its natural state. (She did have some product in her hair but after all the wind on the boat.....)
This is a recent picture of her hairline. Her hair was barely damp and it had a leave in conditioner in and was detangled.
Here is a picture with clean, dry hair that had no product other then a leave-in conditioner and slept on in big braids.