Let’s Talk Hair Texture Training and Inclusivity

Despite the (continued) lack of education on hair types and textures across cosmetology schools, all students should be prepared to style various hair types, textures, and densities throughout their careers and feel confident doing so. Understanding hair composition and how to cut, style, and chemically treat textured hair should be a vital part of the modern curriculum.

The state of New York recognized this demand and enacted Senate Bill 6528 in late 2023, which requires cosmetology and natural hairstylist students to learn about all hair types and textures, including various curl or wave patterns, hair strand thickness, and hair volumes. California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Ohio recently introduced similar bills this legislative session. When we think about education in the cosmetology industry, we must recognize the influence that hair type and texture can have on a client’s desired cut or style. But there is often a lack of instruction in the education system, and crucial techniques and knowledge are not provided to future hair professionals.

Knowing different hair textures is essential in this profession as it provides the foundation for understanding functionality, growth patterns, the operation of certain tools, and variations of cutting styles. Each of these aspects are imperative for a successful career, and though they can be learned over time through trial-and-error or continued education classes, implementing this knowledge in the classroom is the ideal path forward.

Textures can be defined in groups that are lettered and numbered. Types 1A through 1C are straight hair. Types 2A through 2C are wavy; 3A through 3C are curly; and 4A through 4C are coily. Texture education would emphasize the importance of understanding all types of 2, 3, and 4 hair.

Type 2A hair is usually characterized by fine strands and is easily manipulated by heat tools. It typically lacks volume at the root while slightly curling towards the ends, and is considered a light wave or loose curl. 2B hair has a more defined S shape with waves starting from the mid-length to the ends. At 2C, we start to see a thicker texture and a higher likelihood of frizz.

The 3A curl pattern tends to have larger, looser curls while strands remain fragile. Type 3B tends to have springy, coarse ringlets, and 3C curls can be defined as having a corkscrew shape with strands that are densely packed together. This curl type is easily impacted by humidity and can frizz up quickly.   

Type four curl patterns appear as small, coily curls with strands that range in texture from fine to coarse. The 4A curls have a visible curl pattern with springy, S-shaped coils and strands that are densely packed. This curl type requires frequent maintenance to keep coils manageable. The 4B strands are also densely packed, but have sharp, Z-shaped angles rather than S-shaped coils. This type is prone to dryness, so leave-in and gentle-cleansing conditioners are needed to keep hair hydrated. Finally, 4C curl types are considered more fragile than other curl types due to their tight, springy, zigzag pattern.

It is important to note that not every client has just one hair texture. When determining the style of cut you’ll be performing or the right products to recommend, it is essential to know which category or categories your client’s hair may fall under. This is why receiving proper and comprehensive education in hair texture can positively impact and further your career.

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