Hairdressers Journal
Hairdressers Journal


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Afro or textured hair: Which is more appropriate?

“I use the term Afro hair but also very curly and textured when it seems appropriate”

“In short, I generally use the term Afro hair but also say ‘very curly’ and ‘textured’ when it seems appropriate.

There are three distinct hair categories based on people’s heritage: Caucasian, Asian and African. Personally I feel the term ‘textured hair’ is more generic. I can put texture in my (Caucasian) hair while I’m cutting or styling it, but I wouldn’t say that means I have curly hair.

Everybody is born with a specific hair texture and it may even change over a lifetime. The amount of curls and waves we have is dependent on the number of disulfide bonds between hair proteins in the hair shaft; the greater the number of links, the curlier the hair.

Let’s get technical – hair is primarily composed of keratin, a protein which grows from the follicle. Keratin is formulated in the cells of the hair follicle. All of the proteins become part of the hair shaft and contain sulphur atoms. When two atoms bond, they form a disulfide bond. If the two atoms in the same protein are at a distance, and join to form the disulfide bond, the protein will bend. This is how curls are created.

According to the Andre Walker Hair Typing System there are four hair types and each contains subdivisions A,B and C. Types 4B &C are very curly hair, including Afro hair, but people of different ethnicities can have these hair types too. This is a very simplified explanation, of course.

The chances are you will find more than one type of curl pattern on one head. Personally, I choose to focus on the most predominant pattern. I’ll continue to use the term Afro as it is accepted and used by my clients.”

Anne Veck, director of Anne Veck Oxford

SHUTTERSTOCK

“Afro hair comes in many forms, so I prefer to use textured”

“The use of terminology is extremely important when it comes to Afro and textured hair. Ask around and you’ll receive a number of different opinions and thoughts. For me when I think about Afro hair, I see it in many different forms from curls with a defined ‘s’ shape to them, all the way to a super tight coil.

For example, if you were to look at a curl chart for curly hair types, Afro hair starts at the 3s all the way through to 4Cs, which I perceive to be completely different. The way you handle the hair and the products you apply on each different curl type will definitely vary, hence why I believe using the word textured over Afro makes sense.

In addition, as we are now seeing more and more people in interracial relationships, the texture of hair is even more apparent as different genetics are mixing and coming into play. For example, my heritage is a mixture of Jamaican, Cuban and Italian and White British. As a result of this, my hair was a much looser 3C when I was younger and actually changed into more of a 4A/4B as I got older; now my hair is definitely a variety of many textures.

When working with clients with textured hair I know that giving a thorough consultation and looking through their hair is so important. I may be working with a variety of textures and knowing that there may be many different types of hair on one head is so important. Knowing and understanding this means I can work with the client’s hair texture and ensure that I get the best outcome possible for the client – and I always find out how they like to style their hair. This is why I prefer to use the terminology textured over Afro.”

Cimone Cheveux, freelance hairdresser and bridal expert

This article appears in the August 2021 Issue of Hairdressers Journal

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This article appears in the August 2021 Issue of Hairdressers Journal