Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sound Off: The Delicate Dance Between Categorizing & Segregation


What on earth is good hair and why are we still using that term in the 21rst century?! I was in the Beauty Supply recently and a woman approached me, struck up a conversation, and we began to talk hair. I don't remember much after; "have you always had good hair, or was it your regimen".  

While this may very well be an innocent question, the motives behind the question leads me to believe there is more that can be done in the natural hair community to make ALL women feel beautiful about their crown and glory. My biggest issue stems not from the question, but from the attitude in which the question was cultivated. One of the main reasons I despise hair typing is because I feel in certain ways it contributes to the growing disconnect amongst African American women. Women with more of a kinkier hair type have been made to feel inferior about their hair since slavery; here we are another hundred years later and we are still using titles like good and bad hair; this time out of our own mouths, and in our own communities. 

Why is it that some of us feel the need to neatly categorize "our people"? If you happen to see a dark-skinned girl and she has long, silky, curly hair; do you immediately try to figure out her nationality? Or do you just admire her tresses? - There are some that will not rest until they know "to whom you belong", and will go as far as to ask the person their nationality. Is it sheer coincidence that some of us still apply the same methods of classification that were used to enslave us?

While I understand the need to help people understand and take better care of their hair, hair typing excludes so many others [like myself] who don't fit neatly into the system. It is that feeling of disconnect that can lead to discouragement, and a yearning for something other than what you have. I remember being afraid to go natural because I felt my hair wasn't silky enough to wear it in it's natural state, I hardly ever saw people raving about hair that was my texture. Quite the contrary; Tracee Ellis Ross was the poster child for the "perfect curls". What did that mean for me? Did that mean I was less desirable? For a moment I felt I was. I had to go off the grid to find myself, and I did it free of class systems, charts and graphs. 


Do any of you have issues with the phrase "Good Hair"? - What is considered "good hair" to you? - Is there anyone out that has issues with the hair typing system? - Do you feel it has helped you at all with your hair journey? I am curious to hear your thoughts on this...

52 comments:

  1. Good hair is healthy hair to me! No one texture is better than another and individuals should learn to embrace their own texture. I dont feel hair typing is necessary either and it has not helped with my journey. There is no product that says, "works for 3c or 4a only." Just because a product works for someone that you think has a similar texture does NOT mean that it will work for you.

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  2. I grew up around the term "good hair". I don't think I realized it a negative reflection until I got older. Now, my definition of "good hair" is the hair on anything breathing. That's good hair. If you are alive and breathing...you have good hair.

    When I hear the term "good hair", sometimes I ask "so what's bad hair?" The only bad hair I know of is that on a dead body.

    I try not to take it too seriously depending on whom it is coming from. If the term is coming from the mouth of a consistent idiot, I charge it to the game. I don't waste my time bantering with idiots.

    I will say that I have "enlightened" my bf on that term over the years though. His daughter has that "enjin hair" (you know people always claim they are Chickasaw Indian or some ish). Anyway, she is long hair and he used to use that term till I schooled him and he totally got the concept of it. He had never realized the origin of the term comes from years of us being "classed".

    Rant over:)

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  3. I also agree with the idea "good hair" is "healthy hair"...that's the pc version to "Fool, Ain't no such thang as good hurr!"

    LOL! Much less confrontational to explain it that way:)

    I have so many stories about "good hair" that I could share!

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  4. I am so glad you posted this. I recently met a women in the store who approached me about going natural. I was excited and happy to give her advice and then she said,almost defeated, but my hair won't do that you got "good" hair. I was shocked that she would say that, no one has ever told me that, and I all could get out was, "No Maam, it's just hair". It's just hair people. Why do we have to define it, just love it and embrace what God has given you. That's what I do.

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  5. Good hair is a term that was often used in my household, my grandmother is mixed and in her mind finer textured hair is always better and kinky hair is not attractive, so of course growing up with a family who have this mind set is hard. I went natural in 06 and when i came home from college to my grandma's house she noticed my hair and she was like oh hun it would be better if you straighten it and that i looked too ethnic. But even if it hurt my feelings now I am alot happier with myself and how my kinky curly hair looks. The term "good hair" is just another way to categorize ourselves and I just dont see a reason to,we are all beautiful, just think we are the other ethnic group where we come in all sort of colors and textures and we should celebrate that instead of putting ourselves down.

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  6. The term irks me, but at this point I realize this is a phrase that will never die and I shouldn't get riled up by it.

    I feel like it's a similar complex within our race when it comes to differing skin tone.

    I had a Jewish co-worker ask me the other day did I like dark or light black men. It's our own fault for seperating ourselves within our race when it comes to hair texture and skin tone. Something we should have dropped long ago.

    With more girls going natural, I do feel like there just may be a time when the number/letter of your natural hair won't matter. We'll just celebrate who we are.

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  7. I do take issue with the term good hair, but its really difficult to explain to a person with this mindset that its not important. This hair hierarchy is stupid. I personally embrace what grows out of my head and commend any other woman who can do the same.

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  8. I can say that I truly hate the term "good hair". I have two daughters with completely different hair. People will come up to me and comment that my oldest daughter has good hair. It makes me so upset. If you have any hair at all, it is good hair. At my job, women ask me if I have a straw set in my hair. When I say no, they will say: O, you got good hair then. It almost seem as if there is attitude in their voice.

    I teach my girls to love their hair. We dont use terms like nappy at my house.

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  9. THANK YOU!!!!! I hate the term "good hair" but when I say that people just roll their eyes and say "That's easy for you to say...you have good hair. ugh! My hair is no easier to manage than anybody else's hair...it's just hair. I hope we get over that one day...

    xoxo,
    Eboni Ife'
    The Fashionista Next door

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  10. I do have issues with the term good hair. I had a man tell me that he likes naturally curly (good) hair, but hair like mine (kinky) looks like Celie from the Color Purple when worn in it's natural state. He also suggested that I straighten or wear a weave. I could only shake my head at those comments.

    Good hair is healthy hair whether it be straight, kinky or curly.

    I don't mind hair typing as a means to educate yourself about the hair that grows out of your head. I do think some people feel a sense of inferiority or superiority based on their hair type and that is the part I don't like. But even if no hair typing system existed, hair is a visible trait, just like color. People can and will look at your hair and make their own judgments. Feeling good about yourself is what's most important.

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  11. Yes, yes, and yes. I HATE the term good hair. When I was in cosmetology school, we learned all hair is good if it's healthy. For the last 18 years, I've been repeating the phrase "good hair is healthy hair." I too have been insulted with the surprise that a dark'skinned woman could possibly have long hair. Too much. People should get off the plantation already.

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  12. This question never gets old because we ALL relate to it so deeply. I love it when people say, "My hair can't do what yours does."

    Um, do you have afro-textured hair? Are you willing to educate yourself about the versatility of your hair?

    Then, like magic, yours can "do what mine does" and then some.

    We forgot how thick and long our hair can grow if we kept doing our hair the way we always did since the beginning of time. Now, it is so shocking to see a Black girl with hair even to her shoulders.

    Geez, look what ya'll done started

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  13. This is certainly one of the most inconvenient truths in our community. I despise the term as well and often get this expression of so called endearment from both men and women alike. The ideal of inequality is still very much ingrained in our psyches that I believe the beauty industry placates this by supplying us with shelves of cremes, custards and chemicals to make our hair 'good.' This is the reason, I believe, that so many women are some what addicted to relaxers and weaves because they were not taught or encouraged to embrace themselves as they are. I also cringe at the sound of women say their natural hair is 'unmanageable.' smh Also please tell me what does complexion and hair length have to do with one another????
    If you ask me, there is certainly an ever growing gap between the 'haves' and the 'have not's' when it comes to the slightest bit of intelligence and common sense.

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  14. I have nothing against hair typing unless it is used for the wrong reasons. There are some women that desperately want to have 3c hair when they dont. They use product after product to get that type of hair and its just not going to happen

    hair typing has helped me. I know that I cant use the same products as some one with a looser hair texture.

    I hate the whole good hair thing. I think that the term should be kicked to the curb

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  15. Didn't read the whole blog post or the comments before mine BUT I will say I saw the question so Im going to answer. I never really had an issue with the term "good hair" until I grew up. Growing up my stepsisters had what people would describe as "good hair" the type 3 curly hair, that waved when you wet it. Everyone envied their hair but little did people know they envied, straight permed hair because their hair could never keep a style. They eventually went on to relax their hair when they became teenagers and people always wonder why.So I grew up with that being the definition of "good hair". It wasn't until I was knowledgeable and less ignorant about hair typing that my definition changed. I consider "good hair" any hair type that is healthy, that's good hair. Maybe thats the same thing the person who told you that you had good hair meant by that comment as well.

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  16. You know...ive never looked at the hair type chart. I mean, mainly because Im too lazy to read it...lol Seriously though my hair changes so much that I could never categorize it. When I was younger I got into the "good hair" "bad hair" thing. I didnt know any different. These days Im just focusing on being happy & healthy. My hair, though short is a reflection of my healthy insides & I dont let it define me.

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  17. Good hair means healthy hair to me. Hair typing is not a bad thing. Like anything else, knowledge can be used to build up and bring together or tear down and segregate. It's the people of extremes that blow it out of proportions and ruin the experience for everyone. For many, knowing their hair type has helped them to better understand their hair so they in turn can go on to take better care of it. Sadly, for many, they still haven't come to terms with their natural hair and use the system either as a way to segregate themselves or keep them in denial about wht kind of hair they really have.

    I prefer the LOIS system better. It goes way more into detail about your hair's texture and learning its properties. I feel when armed with this knowledge, you are better able to understand your hair, what products will most likely benefit it and how to take care of it. It also doesn't use numbers and subcategories so you don't get that heirarchical feel like Andre Walkers system when discovering your hair's texture.

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  18. I have recently moved to the Caribbean from the UK and I am dealing with the same problem. I have never understood the word "good hair". Like Milan, it has always meant healthy hair. It changed me for a bit as I did not feel I had "Good hair", so last year after 8 years of going natural, I relaxed my hair..... Big mistake, as I hated it, and I looked like everyone else. I am now going back natural, as that is what I feel comfortable with.

    To me, good hair means hair that is healthy and what you are happy with. My hair relaxed was healthy, but I was not happy with it, so to me that was not good hair, now that I am going back to my kinky curls, I am falling in love again with my good hair!!! That's just my thought.

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  19. I am not a fan of hair typing. It just seems like another way to create divisiveness and bad feelings. To me, good hair is that which grows out of our head. It's hair that is celebrated and is well taken care of & healthy. So yeah, I think everyone has good hair!

    I dont type my hair personally. its taking me this long to get used to it, figure it out. Why should I now put more parameters on it?

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  20. This was very interesting to bring up. I have been thinking about going natural for a while off and on. I have have a perm since I was 7 and don't remember my natural hair texture at all. I do take care of my permed hair and its pretty long and full so I get asked if i have "indian" in me at times. But because of this hair typing, I find it a little hard now to make a decision to go natural. Or so I found it hard. I am gradually feeling more comfortable in trying to go natural and not be bothered or intimidated about what other people think is good hair. My last perm was 3 months ago so my new growth is not much, but I feeling not just not getting that perm again. so we'll see :)

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  21. i don't think hair typing is a problem, and more of the misuse of hair typing that is the issue.

    hair typing is a simple way to describe our hair and i believe that is ALL it should be used for. however, people do not use it that way. It should be used as plainly as describing the color of your hair. it simply describes the coil/curl/wave/etc pattern.

    thats all it should be. but people sometimes use it in a different way.

    now the good hair vs bad hair has a very inherent divisive purpose. it says one hair is better than the next. i dont want anyone to call my hair bad. THERE IS NO BAD HAIR. There is well taken care of hair and there is DAMAGED hair. Using terms like "good" or "bad" makes people feel bad about themselves, regardless of the personal definition you attribute to it. If my hair is damaged, it is not bad hair. It was just poorly taken care of.

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  22. This post came right on time. I was talking to a male coworker about my hairs progress and how much its grown in a short time and he made the comment that my hair is just like his was when he wore his long. He then proceeded to say how nappy it was, how he couldn't even get a come through it. I immediately took offense and almost corrected him to say that my hair is actually manageable and having natural hair doesn't mean I can't play in my curls, then checked myself and wondered why I was offended. Was it because he didn't say I had "soft" curls and instead acknowledge my hair is a tighter curl pattern that is often seen as nappy (which of course in society is seen as "bad" hair) or was it because I had a problem with my own hair type. I realized that its just that view that "good" hair is better, and any reference to anything but is not desirable. I had to realize that 26 years of hearing about what good hair looked like was the reason that I had that thought, the 2 years that I've embraced my curls isn't enough to totally wipe away the years of being told in order for my hair to be presentable it must be either pressed, or relaxed, or flat ironed. I have to work on myself and my own views on what not only hair, but stereotypes that I feed into in general.

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  23. I embrace when people say I have good hair and downgrade their own by saying that my hair can't do that. knowing that if I do nothing to hair like banding, moisture, dantangling and washing of course. Not that this order, my hair will be a mess. I love my hair and everything about myself and love other sista in respective of color. My friends are like the color or rainbow and hair texture that you can not describe but we are beautiful and goddess with beautiful and good hair. I take the time to reeducated these good ladies your hair is beautiful. It is through educated and learning. I even volunteer to help see their hair can do the same thing. When I visited Africa, the norm was girls will do each other hair. I know we value our precious. Pause and make friend and reeducate other about thir own good hair. We are goodness so it takes time to do our hair of course.
    Namaste

    www.bestlifeyoga.blogspot.com

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  24. I agree on the hair typing system, I especially hate it when everyone strives to fall in the "3" area when nothing is wrong with the "4". I know that I was not born with any slick hair on this body lol and am proud of my "kinkier" hair. I only use the hair typing system when trying to describe hair over the internet especially when dealing with other people who type hair, is that wrong? Idk, but hair typing didn't help me on my journey I read like 20 articles all on "How to type your hair to know which products work for you" and needless to say I was just as lost if not more than before I began this healthy hair journey.

    As far as the "good hair" term...my family never used that term because so many variants of hair types are including in my family because we are so multicultural (yes I said cultural and not racial, bc I don't believe in race) and my grandma NEVER made us with "kinkier" hair feel less valuable then my straighter haired cousins.

    Hair is hair, its about appearance and shouldn't be the judge of one's character because I know many women with hair that would be classified as "good" who are ugly and "bad" on the inside.

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  25. *sigh*. You know sometimes this good hair mentality comes in implicit forms.. Like "How did you get your hair to wave like that"... "How did you get your hair to curl?" or "I wanna go natural but my hair is so fuzzy and wouldnt curl like yours". and then the helpless feeling comes on me. because I see we still have a very very long way to go. Its like we are jumping from one set of problems(relaxing) to another (curl obssesion and natural hair dissatisfaction).

    A very very pale skinned african friend of mine, is natural. She is lighter than most white people. She said to me, "I am not supposed to have hair like I do. it should be curly "(her hair is beautifully wooly and kinky). So because she is light skinned she is only allowed to have cury hair, and anything else is a mistake on her head. she is also implying that because I am dark skinned, I am not supposed to have curly hair?
    Who are making these rules and why are we following them?

    You know the whole thing gets so tiring and exhausting. I just want to distance myself from all forms of ignorance but its hard when it keeps following me.

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  26. Today I looked in the mirror and looked at my hair and felt annoyed. It did not turn out the way I wanted was it the humidity? what it the products? I just wanted to pull a beenie over my head and keep it moving. I have VERY kinky hair and I feel as though I can not do anything with it...most of the tutorials that I have come across on youtube and on blogs represent my looser curl counterparts and often I feel misrepresented.

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  27. I don't get bogged down with trying to classify my hair. It's just my hair.

    Some people live and die by this 2b, 3a, 4d etc... type of hair system. It's pretty annoying and cumbersome to me. I feel like we all have numerous textures on our head and should learn to properly care for them all.

    I've also noticed that everyone wants to claim 3-whatever as their hair type.... another way of making themselves feel like they have the "better" curl type. It's just hair people...

    On a side note, I have an issue with saying to folks that I'm "natural" because I feel like this should be the standard, seeing as how this is how I came out of the womb. Relaxing, coloring, etc... should be what you have to clarify because it's doing extra stuff. I know it's probably just a little quirk I have... but it gets old telling folks that I'm natural. I just wanna say this is just my hair lol

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  28. I've gotten the good hair term a couple of times especially my sister. I am one of those dark skinned girls that people have seen and asked what I was mixed with a couple of times also along with the regular "you have good hair" incidents. It does not bother me though, maybe because it is something I am just used to being surrounded by as a community. I do think that these terms keep us down in a way. Hair is such a HUGE issue within our community & a lot of us do not like to face that fact but hair causes a lot of problems.

    I think there are people that say "good hair" in terms of healthiness and most of all how FINE the hair may look and then there are others that think "good hair" is anything other than typical african-american hair these people imply that AA hair is "bad hair". When I do hear it I take it as a compliment because they don't know any better although I wish they did. I've also gotten the comment from non-blacks. I just chop it up to a little bit of ignorance depending on what the person is implying.

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  29. The hair typing system did not confuse me at all when I went natural. It was very clear to me that I was a 4a/4b with thick wiry strands. I was blessed to grow up with a mother who repeatedly stated that "good hair is healthy hair". I truly admired other 4a/4b chicks and thought their hair was gorgeous. However, even though I would always check people who repeated that "good hair" nonsense, in my heart I secretly wanted silky 3C hair for myself. I never admitted that to anyone until I went natural 2 years ago. So, my point is that it is not as simple as stating that "good hair is healthy hair". These beliefs are sooooo deep and go back so many generations that you really have to do some internal work to move past it.

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  30. Yes there is a problem with that catch phrase. being a product of the 50's, growing up in the 60' and 70's that phrase was the norm. Boys, young men and then men tend to gravitate to that. The standard for beauty among the African American woman with lead to believe this crazy thought pattern. With that in turn girls, young women and women believed that the "Good Hair" syndrome was a way to define their valuedation in the world. In my opinion. Good Hair is hair that is appreciated and well kept.

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  31. I believe that all hair is good hair. The hair typing system is just another way to seperate us and make some of us feel better than or lesser than others. This typing has not helped me in my natural journey at all. When I shook off the idea that I was not pretty with short nappy hair, and decided that my looks and hair texture was GOD'S work and that he makes all things perfect! Thats when I saw myself as I am. I love,love,love my hair (obsessed with it actually). I do take issue with the fact that any negative feedback that I have gotten Has been from other AA females. Why cant we see the value and beauty in ourselves and each other?

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  32. My hair is very curly and when I was transitioning to natural there were times no one could tell that I didn't have a perm. As I did my big chop, and I realized that the straight hair growing in was no longer perm but just how my hair grew in, I was frustrated because I imagined going natural with a big fro, not curls! Now don't get me wrong, I love my hair (now! lol) but everyone would comment on how I got that "good hair" and it must be because I'm Caribbean because I'm so dark but my hair is so "good". The phrase, is outdated but entrenched in black language so taking out the phrase is as hard as taking out the N word. So I say, take the compliment, understand their curiosity, but explain yourself. Don't just get mad. Everytime you explain that no, its just your hair, thats one more person who has had their notions checked.

    Also understand the idea of hair envy. Because even now that I'm natural I see other hair and say look at that great hair, I want that. As naturalistas we're told to love our hair, but we can still envy others. I think thats the same with the good hair concept.

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  33. I agree with you in that I'm mot particularly fond of the hair typing system as I think it's a bit arbitrary in itself. At the end of the day, when describing my hair texture, I don't necessarily need a number to classify it especially since this numbering system is not a standard system. Try explaning a 4b hair type to someone that is not familiar with the concept. The term "good hair" is so vague. I prefer to use the terms healthy or well conditioned or just plain well maintained. We've all had good hair days when our strands feel and look nice as well as bad hair days when our strands are not cooperating. I think in the black community we put too much emphasis on our hair texture being a certain way and honestly should just be happy that we have hair growing from our scalp as there are many who don't due to illness. Let's not take these things for granted and just be happy with what we've got and make the best of it.

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  34. I remember I used to have friends who were conditioned to believe in the term "good hair" and "bad hair." I would always ensure them that there was no such thing, but it was one day that they just told me I quote; "since[I am] not biracial [I] don't understand anything about good hair." I think that that was the straw that broke the camels back for me. I was unable to comprehend how ignorant and brainwashed these girls (we were in middle school at the time) could be. After that day I concluded that the best thing for my life would be to distance myself from negative people such as them, because at the young age of fourteen I didn't want negative opinions about coily/kinky hair (my hair texture) to affect myself esteem so I stopped talking to them.

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  35. I find it wont truly go away because eventually everything we attempt to do remove the term will go main stream which then become divided into good and bad categories. For example a growing number of media companies will show case a natural girl but it will only be in the 3A–C category and I am noticing this with natural blogs as well which means that anything tighter is just made fun of or considered frizz.

    With blacks becoming more prominent media even they themselves get categorize, for example if you don't act ghetto or from the dirty south your not acting black (I didn't think that acting badly should categorize a race and all the ethnic groups that fall into it). Another example when your not as light as "paper bag" (which has also become an issue with college men) your not pretty enough. That has some history to it to that just didn't quite get removed from current affairs.

    Sadly it is the name of game people try so hard to find a "good" and a "bad" everything but really most things don't have a good or bad unless it goes to one extreme or other.

    Honestly I like using the numbering system myself because it gives me a realistic outlook when I am attempting a style from a blog, youtube or a magazine. But even that system is flawed because when you look at it 1 is straight, 2a-2c (wavy) is thin to course(thick) hair texture respectively,3a-3b (curly) is the size of the curl and 4a-4b (kinky) is the curl pattern ("s" to "z" pattern) the system is not consistent. If they are going to specify it they should be more accurate by defining Curl flow (size if applicable), Curl pattern("s", "z" or none), and thickness or coarseness(I don't like the word course it has the bad connotation) (thin, medium, and thick).

    But "good" hair will always be an issue it will probably become more subtle. For example as an act of accept but with a bit of ignorance people always suggest for me to go dread or where a big afro just because my hair texture is kinky just cause I am specific hair texture and natural doesn't mean I will automatically like that style on me or will be willing to where it that way going out or to work.

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  36. I have no idea why we decide to have hair classifications!!! Good hair is hair which is healthy and well looked after.It can be any texture and any length, and has nothing to do with race. Iam one of those people constantly refered to as having 'good hair' , with people always approaching me asking about my nationality and racial background. one girl even came up to me and asked me "do you feel blessed?" regarding my hair.

    There should be no such thing as hair classifications, they only ingrain the stupid 'good hair, bad hair' debate into our heads.

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  37. When I think of "good hair" what first comes into my mind is:

    - alive
    - soft
    - strong
    - I don't think about one particular texture
    - taken care of

    When I think of "best hair ever" I think:

    - long (I think of big afros as long hair)
    - shiny (natural shine or shine given by natural oils)

    Sometimes I wonder if this is my mindset because length and shine are 2 socially approved features, or if it's just my idea of beauty.

    V

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  38. Hair Typing: I mean I see it as helping. I see a lot of people ask that question a lot “what does typing mean to you” kind of stuff, I always wonder don’t we naturals have the right to know how to take care our hair too? I mean we know Latinas come in different shades and have different hair type which means they would use different hair products and skin foundation how come we natural can’t categorize ourselves to take care our hair the right way, since we all don’t have the same hair type?

    I see 2a no different than someone saying they have acne-prone skin and 3c saying they have combination skin.

    Hair typing = helping the lost

    The “Good Hair” topic will always happen; it’s like the “light skin” topic…its always going happen.

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  39. It is only when I became an adult that I realized just how brainwashed I had been when it came to hair. My mother began relaxing my hair at age 10 so I never really grew to know, embrace and celebrate my natural hair. I grew up ashamed of my "bad hair" and it became normal to "hide" it using various chemicals. I have determined not to perpetuate the idea that there is "good" or "bad" when it comes to my children.

    http://www.chillien.etsy.com

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  40. I think hair typing can be useful for some people to help them with figuring out a regimen, etc. but that's about it. There's no need to "floss" or even lie about your "hair type."

    Fortunately, I was blessed to have a very intelligent, afro-centric father who only let me play with black barbies, didn't let me straighten my hair as a child and told me there was no such thing as good hair. When I first heard the term "good hair" I was so confused.

    Our people have a long ways to go when it comes to self acceptance. Blogs like yours get a discussion going and can help enlighten people. Thanks for writing about this issue.

    www.astrofashionista.blogspot.com

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  41. Hair Typing: It helped to see pictures of super healthy hair of my type so that I had a general idea of what I was working towards. I think it helps a lot of women avoid the frustration of trying to get their hair to do something that it won't do.

    Lots of Japanese women with thick, straight hair want bouncy curls. But because of the TYPE of hair that they have, it just isn't going to happen with a Caruso Curls set. They'll need some serious chemicals.

    The hair typing system (to me) is innocuous. The problem is the prejudices, secretest desires and world views of the people who use it.

    Good Hair: In general, I don't think that the term is at all positive. It is intended to make a distinction between nappy 'slave' hair and silky 'white folks' hair. The only way to have 'good' hair in this respect is to straighten it to get rid of the naps.

    Now, having said that, I don't think that the woman in the store was making a 'white folks' vs 'slave' hair comment. Especially because of what she said about your regimen.

    Sounds to me like she was saying that you have beautiful healthy looking hair and she wanted to know if you were just born with it or if you made a conscious choice to get it (most likely because her hair may not be in top condition and she needed some hairspiration at that moment).

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  42. I don't have much to say apart from I dislike that term. It's so annoying how a culture can segregate itself like that. And I love the so called 'kinky' hair. It looks good to me *sigh

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  43. So this is a sore subject to me. I won't get into detail, but I am multi racial and being that I am of a fair complexion, it was assumed that I should have "good hair," i.e. not nappy and did not need to be pressed or relaxed. I was always trying to make myself have "good hair" and has resulted in me losing most of my hair. Last June I cut it off to the roots and have been wearing wigs ever since. Seeing how utterly beautiful my hair could be is inspiring me to take care of it and be brave & go natural. But this issue goes so much deeper than just hair! Thank you for being you and so inspirational!

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  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  45. www.ceceunedited.com


    ya know, good hair to other people is not the same for everyone For me it really is thicker hair, only because mine is so thin. I actually partially went natural hoping that my strands wouldn't be so thin, but my hair just is that way naturally. I love my texture as is I do like other textures, but I love mine because its me. I only prefer thicker hair strands or the presence of more hair strands on my hair so that twists actually fill out my head more and puffs look fuller :/.

    on the note of categorizing and labeling. I never really got into typing. I never truly understood how to type and I started to not see the point of it when I saw how many people had varying textures on one head. I do prefer the LOIS system because its not quite an order system where as Andre's 1-4 & a-c system gives a hierarchy. I like LOIS onl ybecause it helps you understand the personality of the persons hair a bit more so as to find similar types. Spongy, cottony, wiry you cannot really see in photos but can see from touch.

    Anyway, other then that I see no real need for it- but I will say my use of it is to have a more educated take on my hair. Because perhaps if I never learned a curl typing system I might just say my kinky hair or my nappy afro hair- which people may never take as good and they also might feel i sound ignorant. I describe it as a system we use to help determine which type of care and styling our hair may need to make the transition process a bit easier in getting accustomed to the new hair texture- similar to an orientation that faux introduces you to some people and shows you campus a bit.

    I am always surprised to see anyone's texture on any head with any skin color. The reason behind this is because every ones hair is a different personality and an extension of who they are. I might go as far as to say having the privilege of doing or styling their hair is a way to see you their hair is and by nature who they are. Every kink, curl, coil and wave has a different story to sing and every song is beautiful in its own key.

    however, since many naturals still find it hard to let go of years an decades of being trained to actually just hate ourselves as we naturally are- it may be a system only good for use by natural veterans if anyone at all.

    you're an inspiration Ms. Nikole! Stay fabulous!!

    cece <3


    www.ceceunedited.com

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  46. i don't feel hair typing has helped me in my natural journey. but looking at other people's hair has. i don't have to know someone on youtube's hair type to see that a style they did or a product they tried with their texture hair might work for me. now i will stay that some people in the 3 range can make their hair look for afro like and some in the 4 range can make their hair look more curly, and perhaps if you didn't know their hair type, you'd assume their unmanipulated hair produced those results. however, in the end, it seems to bring about more prejudices and frustration. sadly, i don't see an end to the typing debate or an end to the seperation. so i try to steer clear of those who choose typing as a means to definte who's hair is "nicer" and just stick with others who are concerned with their hair's overall health.

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  47. I dont have a problem with that phrase, I use it I believe I have good hair...and no my hair is not the kind of hair that curls when wet or grows down my back, but I love it. My hair is really think, soft, jet black (naturally), shiny and fluffy. Its both easy and difficult but I wouldnt trade it for a head of thin stringy hair. Its fun, I don't have a perm and it took me a long time to learn that I didnt need one. I enjoy my hair and we all have good hair, if your good to it, it will be good to you.

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  48. stephany (diesel_girl35@yahoo.com)July 26, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    hey there--not on topic to your question i have a question! do you know of any popular chain stores--or online stores--where i can find those parachut pants?? i cant find them anywhere--i live in indiana. any suggestions on where to look? thanks so much and i love your blog =) but miss your youtube videos =(

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  49. Hair typing when used objectively is a means to an end. It's only when people place value on certain hair types that the problem occurs...and really it's just a new version of the same old good/bad hair B.S.

    The reality is that some of us have loose curls, some have tight curls, some have no curls, many have a mix...so to expect a product to give the same results on all of us is stupid, frankly. When starting out on this journey it helps to find people who have the same hair type as you to see what works for them. Again, it's meant as a START...experimentation is unavoidable.

    Oh yeah...I too grew up with Afrocentric parents who forbade the use of "good" or "bad" to describe hair...

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  50. "If you happen to see a dark-skinned girl and she has long, silky, curly hair; do you immediately try to figure out her nationality?"

    Oh, my god! Just this week, three people asked me if I was mixed!I have brown skin and long curly hair, so I can't just be black?

    When I tell people I'm just black , they keep pressing. Well, if I go back to my great-great grandparents, yes, there's some mixture, but in that case, we're all mixed! My father is from Sierra Leone, and there is definitely no mixture from his side of the family!

    Also, random people come up to me speaking Spanish and luckily, I can speak back!
    It's weird, no one ever thought I was mixed or Latina when my hair was relaxed!

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  51. I agree that hair typing is for the worst.

    My confusion still lies in the fact that while there are so many beautiful textures of hair ranging from kinky to very losely curled, it seems as though a lot of "new naturals" make the transition from relaxed to natural, in the hopes that their hair would be more of a "3" texture and when it doesn't happen that way, they seek advice on "how to get their hair to curl up". Which is crazy to me because nobody with naturally curly hair does things to "make it curl up" That's a part of being natural, wearing YOUR natural hair texture.

    Personally, my curl pattern is somewhat lose, and I admire women with "kinky" hair because they can do so much with it in terms of natural hairstyles. All this to say, I don't understand why women strive to have this one type of hair.

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  52. my gramma always says "good hair is hair that grows in the right places" the term good hair used to hair-type is just another way we divide ourselves when what we desperately need is unity~~

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