Is the Hair Type Chart Driving Natural Hair ‘Texturism’?

In Hair News, Natural Hair, YOUR HAIR by Valley Fontaine0 Comments

The Hair Type chart has put your natural hair texture in a place. From 1A for bone straight hair to 3c for curly hair and 4c for tightly coiled afro hair, this system puts your hair in a category, a grouping that for many has a hierarchy. My question is, is this grouping driving texture discrimination?

Below is my interpretation of one of the many Hair Type lists that exist and is by no means accurate, as I don’t think this system is useful or accurate and as far as I know was not created by anyone with scientific reasoning. The chart does not take into consideration product use, density and multiple textures etc..

  1. 1 A-C : Straight Hair. This is first or at the top of the list. This type of hair is typically the kind of hair that white Europeans have.
  2. 2A-C  : Wavy Hair. 
  3. 3A-C  : Curly hair. Type B hair tends to be mainly women of colour, in particular women who are mixed with a black parent. And C tends to be a equal combination of mixed and black women.
  4. 4A-C  : Most black women fall into this category, with A being a looser coil, to  C which sometimes does not appear to have much of a coil pattern.

You can’t have missed the language that is used by many to describe 4C hair: tough, hard, dry, difficult. Whereas 3C is described as: Good hair, soft, curly, pretty, nice hair, I could go on.

Texturism/Curlism

The chart has lead to many women with ‘4C’ hair feeling like they are lacking. Some have even complained that big brands are using mainly women with 3C hair as their poster girls and thus their hair texture is fast becoming the most mainstream representation of the Natural Hair movement, much to their frustration. This has lead to the the phrase Texurism or Curlism; describing hair discrimination based on the belief as like colorism/shadism that the more your hair looks like that of a white European the more desirable you are.

So how do we fix this? If we didn’t have the chart would texture discrimination be so pronounced?

Another Problem

There is not one definitive chart. All the charts that exist vary which can lead to confusion for many people who want to use the chart in the hope that it will help determine which products will best suit their needs. In my world this is a marketing ploy, a tool to make us buy products that are apparently best for a certain hair type. I don’t think there is a right or wrong product for our hair, it all depends on what you want to achieve, and even if you were to purchase what you think is a product that someone else in this category uses it does not mean that it will work the same for you as we all have a mixture of textures and thus get different results.

Here is a video I did back in 2012 about the Hair Type Chart, and my views 5 years on have not changed:

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