Fundamentals of Natural African American Hair

What are the fundamentals of Natural African American Hair? What is it specifically that makes our hair unique and different from all the other types?

Lets start by learning the basics:

What is Natural African America Hair?

–  As many of us already know natural African american hair or Afro-textured  hair is simply defined as hair which doesn’t contain any chemicals in or on the hair that could alter its natural curl pattern. African American natural hair comes in all shapes, sizes, color and textures which range from loose curls to kinky coils.

Natural refers to texture not color. Even though dyes successfully change the natural color of the hair, they do not alter the texture of the hair significantly. Even if you wear wigs, weaves, and extensions and the hair growing from your scalp does not contain any chemicals in it at all, you are natural.Natural Red Hair

Natural hair can typically  be broken down into   four  unique categories:

Type 3C,  Type 4A, Type 4B, and Type 4C

Familiarizing yourself with these will be a resourceful way in the future  to better assist you in identifying the type of hair you have , so hopefully moving forward you can achieve greater hair results so you rock your natural hair with confidence and style.


The diameter of your hair refers to the width of an individual hair strand. This method has been successfully used as the most accurate way to determine hair types. Knowing your particular hair type is going to be essential when it comes to choosing which natural hair products will work the best for you.Natural African American Hair Types

Natural  Hair Types



This type refers to a curly-coily with a combination of different textures. Curls finer in texture though packed tightly together on the head, It is going to consist of a big, springy, free flowing curls with an “S” shaped when stretched. A definite curl pattern is guaranteed with or without products.This type is higher in density, and more coarse giving it the most volume of all the others, but with this comes more shrinkage. This type is full of body, making it more prone to frizz and damage. Lack of care will result in dull curls. Clean, condition, and moisturize but be sure not to over apply styling products, it will give curls a greasy, weighed down appearance. Proper styling product application is strongly encouraged.


This hair is going be a well-defined, looser, coil with strands being more spiral shaped. Often defined as being fine or wiry. This curl type is high in density but can be identified as being one of the driest hair types causing it to be more fragile. Sulfate free shampoos containing jojoba oil and tea tree oil are highly encouraged.

This hair is going be a well-defined, looser, coil with strands being more spiral shaped. Often defined as being fine or wiry. This curl type is high in density but can be identified as being one of the driest hair types causing it to be more fragile. Sulfate free shampoos containing jojoba oil and tea tree oil are highly encouraged.



This hair can be identified as having a fluffy, cotton-like appearance, with a “z” shaped pattern that has no defined curl pattern (wiry and tightly coiled). This type is diverse and can be a fine texture and scarce density or it can be a more coarse texture and densely packed hair strands causing shrinkage up to 70%, which makes the hair appear much shorter than it actually is. Due to excessive dryness hair requires regular moisturizing, frequent deep conditioning and use of gentle cleansers. Protective styles (buns, twists, and braids) are encouraged to protect hair from damage. Strongly encouraged to avoid manipulation styles (ponytail puffs, roller sets, and twist outs) which require a high amount of pulling and combing of the hair style to be achieved.


This hair is referred to as a more tightly coiled that can be soft, fine, or thin to coarse with densely packed hair strands with no defined curl pattern. To obtain a define pattern one should focus on braiding, twisting, or shingle hair strands. This requires a type of styling technique to clump hair together as it does not easily do on its own. When hair not stretched shrinkage is more than 70%, making the hair look much shorter. This hair requires more maintenance as it is the most fragile and breaks more easy. Protective hairstyles are strongly encouraged to avoid breakage. Also, due to high breakage satin and silk caps should be worn while sleeping.

 Natural Hair Textures

Now let’s be sure to perform the strand test to determine the texture of your hair…by holding a single strand of hair between both your index finger and middle finger.

Fine, Thick/Coarse, or Medium will define the results of the strand test.

If you can barely see the hair or feel it between your fingertips, then you have fine hair. If the hair strand looks thick and appear to be textured, then the hair is coarse. If your hair falls somewhere in-between, then you likely have a medium to moderate texture.

  • Fine Natural Hair:This texture is going to be the most fragile and easily damaged. The hair is light and may tend to fall flat to the head. Volume is highly desired, but is often not attained. This texture typically does not hold styles well, can easily become weighed down with heavy products giving hair a stringy appearance, looks thin and breaks easily.
  • Medium Natural Hair: This texture is the most “common” type as it is not as fragile and not as prone to breakage and can be manipulated into styles and holds them fairly well. Looks thick and full and covers the scalp well.
  • Thick/Coarse Natural Hair: This texture is structurally strong as it contains the three layers (cuticle, cortex, medulla). It is normally resistant of chemical treatments and hair coloring. Tolerates higher amounts of heat but takes longer to dry. Thick hair normally appears very full and can hold styles well, and tend to resist breakage better than other two textures.

Importance of  Maintaining Healthy Natural Hair

There is nothing more beautiful than a “mane full” of black natural healthy hair. Natural hair will have a texture of its own and can be highly influenced by conditioning. The key to healthy is moisture and gentle treatment of your hair.  Without proper care and treatment techniques hair is prone to be dry and brittle causing excessive breakage. Curly textures tend to be the most vulnerable to drying out and breaking because of the bends in the kinky hair, making it difficult for natural oils to work its way down the hair shaft That is why it is always important to make sure we are maintaining soft, silky, healthy hair. Extra effort is needed in the care of our natural hair but when cared for correctly the results are endless. Foundation, products, styling and maintenance will be the “Necessary layout” needed to obtain successful results while moving forward in your natural hair journey.

A few other healthy hair tips to highly consider can include: drinking plenty of water, reducing stress, and living a healthier lifestyle.

Natural Healthy Hair Tips : Do’s and Dont’s


  1. Try gentle cleansing ingredients
  2. Look for protein-rich formulas (keratin, wheat, soy)
  3. Use products containing humectants to reduce moisture loss
  4. Look for moisturizing ingredients (aloe vera, amino acids, glycerin)
  5. Use natural emollients to draw moisture into the hair (olive oil, shea butter, nut oils)


  1. Avoid silicones (Dimethicone, Amodimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol) Anything that ends in “cone” or “xane”
  2. Avoid sulfates (Sodium laureth, ammonium laureth, sodium coco sulfate)
  3. Avoid products using alcohol, or artificial fragrances (they will dry out the hair)
  4. Avoid waxes and other ( bees wax, candelilla wax, mineral oil, petroleum, parrafffinum liquidum)
  5. Avoid using heat styling tools (as often as possible)


In the end, As you can see here identifying  and becoming familiar with your hair type as well as maintaining your  hair is going to play an important role in and along the natural hair journey. It is also important to remember no none head of hair is the same as another. So be sure to focus on the uniqueness of your hair, so you will know exactly which products and tips will better serve you. Just because it worked for them does not mean you will obtain the same results. The first steps of your process is going to be focused around learning your hair and training it so that you can become as familiar with your hair as possible. Knowing your hair and the uniqueness of its type and texture is going to provide you with some of the best results for obtaining the length and the type of styles you are hoping to achieve. Natural African american hair is one of the most difficult types of hair to maintain and a lot of work and effort goes into helping it reach its full potential, but with the right research, education, and products we can continue to make the natural black hair community blacknificent!

Sincerely yours,

-Natural By Popular Demand

Please be sure to follow me on my hair journey on IG: @geekedtobenatural

One thought on “Fundamentals of Natural African American Hair

  1. Ariyana M Holt

    You have a lot of great detailed information. Love it!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.