The first time I tried to commit to the natural hair life was in 2015. It had been three years since my last relaxer and I had been rocking sew-ins faithfully. Once I saw how much hang-time my hair had, I wanted to go full throttle in embracing its curls. I watched more than enough YouTube videos and stocked up on all things natural haircare, from twisting creams to co-washing shampoos. I knew nothing about how to find my hair type, let alone how much it mattered.
To me, as long as I was using products for natural hair, they were one and the same… until I was faced with the reality of shrinkage and failed with every twist-out I tried. After doing a little research (and learning that flourishing curls weren't built in a day), I learned that the golden ticket was knowing my hair type.
What Is My Hair Type? A Guide To Your Natural Hair Curl Pattern
First Things First, What Are The Curly Hair Types?
When it comes to hair, there are nine different types, according to Naturally Curly. Bone straight hair is Type 1. Wavy hair, a.k.a. Type 2 is broken into three categories 2A, 2B, 2C, with 2A being the loosest and 2C the tightest. Type 3 is curly hair and also divided into three categories: 3A, 3B, and 3C, going from loosest to tightest. The final part, Type 4, is for coily/kinky/afro hair -- 4A, 4B, and 4C. And you guessed it, that also goes from loosest coil pattern to tightest.
Knowing your hair type opens the floodgates of truly caring for your natural hair, whether you wear it out after a wash-and-go or wear protective styles like braids and wigs. Below is everything you need to know about each hair type and how to properly nurture yours.
Type 2A Hair
If your hair has very little volume at the root, is fine, and easy to straighten, you could have Type 2A hair. The good thing about 2A hair is that you can use products like styling foam to add a little extra something at your roots for fuller-looking locks. But you have to be careful using a ton of products. Too much can weigh down your tresses.
Type 2B Hair
Raise your hand if your hair is flatter at the top with S-shaped waves toward the middle. If so, you most likely have Type 2B hair. The strands are typically a little thicker than 2A, making it tougher to straighten. For those who want their loose waves a little more defined, you can use a sea salt hairspray. Be sure to opt for one that doesn't make your hair stiff or crunchy.
Type 2C Hair
Is this you? Your waves are thick and you typically have to navigate through frizzy strands. Unlike Type 2B, 2C hair's waves don't start in the middle. Instead, they're going strong from the root. Experts recommend using a leave-in conditioner to show off your natural pattern.
Type 3A Hair
Your hair has bypassed wavy and is instead a texture complete with large and loose curls. While there are tons of curl creams to use before letting your hair air dry, you want to steer clear of using your hands, a brush, or a comb from loosening your hair. It will definitely have a frizzier outcome than you want. To keep your curls, you can find hair milk or spray to freshen up your curls when needed.
Type 3B Hair
If you have ringlets that spring, 3B is all you. The tricky thing about 3B hair is that it can get a bit drier than other types. So when looking for products, look for humectants so the hair and moisture can mesh properly. Use any product when your hair is wet to avoid any undesired frizziness.
Type 3C Hair
These are curls that are similar to tight corkscrews. With 3C hair, you don't lack volume thanks to your strands being super-close together. Still, frizziness is a problem for you, so be sure to use a co-wash product that's creamier and has no sulfate. It's also best to use a layering mousse (like curling mousse) instead of a defining styling cream when your hair is still wet. This cuts down on drying time.
Type 4A Hair
If you have 4A hair, chances are your hair is full of volume and has springy S-patterned coils. Wash-and-gos are your friend, and a curling cream is a necessity to keep your coils defined.
Type 4B Hair
4B hair is typically defined as a dense pattern featuring zig-zag strands. Because of the thicker strands, it's typically best to use multiple products (one that stretches your strands and another that defines them) for easier styling.
Type 4C Hair
There's a special place in everyone's heart for those with 4C hair. It's said to be one of the most difficult patterns to work with as it's prone to shrinkage, drying out, and has more fragile strands. But unlike some folks out here would like you to believe, 4C hair is not unmanageable, nor is it impossible to style. Using a leave-in moisturizer helps fight the dryness. A stretching product is often used against shrinkage.
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Featured image by Shutterstock
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Charmaine Patterson is a journalist, lifestyle blogger, and a lover of all things pop culture. While she has much experience in covering top entertainment news stories, she aims to share her everyday life experiences, old and new, with other women who can relate, laugh, and love along with her. Follow Char on Twitter @charjpatterson, Instagram @charpatterson, and keep up with her journey at CharJPatterson.com .
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood