One of the most confusing natural hair topics for me was hair typing. According to some of the info out there, it seems like knowing your hair type is an absolute must. Yet, to others, it's a system that miscategorizes - or doesn't at all capture - the characteristics of afro-textured hair. Early on, while attempting to discern my hair type, I found myself falling into the latter group simply because I couldn't figure out where my hair - especially with all its different textures - "fit" into this system. Yes, the hair type chart did show me that there are different types of curls, but that didn't help me learn how to properly care for my hair. Finally, I let hair typing fall to the wayside and turned my focus to getting to know my hair, not what "type" of hair I may have.
The result? Absolute freedom! Choosing to let go of hair typing became a totally liberating experience. Instead I've found that knowing certain characteristics of my hair is much more useful. For instance, by comparing how my thick hair acts to how someone else's fine hair acts, I've learned that my thick hair has different needs than fine hair. My daughter's hair, as I've recently discovered, is fine, which is why I need to moisturize it daily with water, coconut oil and a water-based cream moisturizer. My thick hair, however, can be washed and twisted with an oil-loaded leave-in and moisturizer and go for days without needing to be re-moisturized. Then there's porosity. I have a sneaking suspicion that there are varying levels of porosity on my head, which plays a role in how my hair acts when it comes to absorbing and retaining moisture. Finally, my hair is rather dense or, in other words, I have a lot of hair!
These three characteristics - thickness, porosity and density - have all become instrumental in helping me get to know my hair - much more, I believe, than hair typing ever could. I have no qualms with hair typing; I'm sure it has helped many. It simply was not helpful when it came to me getting to know my hair.