Do you know your natural hair type? Many new and even a few experienced natural hair divas spend years trying to identify their natural hair type and what products best caters to them. Natural hair typing can be tricky, but the most commonly used system is Andre Walker’s Curl Typing System. Unfortunately, this system may prove frustrating for Naturalistas who are trying to differentiate Type 3 hair from Type 4 hair.

It’s worth noting that many Naturalistas are fully against defining their natural hair type. If you’re not careful, the process can be confusing and leave you with more questions than answers.

What many Naturals don’t know is that there is another system that can help them better understand their hair type and texture. This system is known as the L.O.I.S African American Natural Texture Typing System. And it takes a long, hard look at a lot more than just curl pattern.

What is the L.O.I.S. African American Natural Texture Typing System?

The letters L.O.I.S. are an acronym for your curl pattern and represents the pattern or letter that your hair most resembles.  This system requires you to evaluate and consciously define the shape, size, and texture of your hair strand. You’ll have to pay attention. But we’ve found this system pretty useful in finding the best way to care for your hair.

L.O.I.S System Hair Strand Shape

A single strand of hair may resemble the shape of an L or Bend easily bend into the form of a right angle. This hair folds with minimal or no curvature. If your hair fits this description, have daughter “L” type hair.  

O or Curl hair rolls into the shape of a zero or may have multiple spirals in the form of the number zero. If your hair fits this description, you are daughter “O.”

I or Straight hair lies flat in the shape of an I. This hair has no wave or curvature. If your hair aligns with this description, your hair is daughter “I.” 

S or Wavy hair resembles hills and valleys. You are daughter “S” if your hair resembles this shape.

Photo Courtesy of THEMafroSisters

*It is possible to have a combination of hair strand shapes on a single head.

L.O.I.S. System Hair Strand Size

Additional categories for this system are associated with the overall hair strand thickness.

Thin hair strands are smaller than a single line of sewing thread.

Medium hair strands are approximately the same size or diameter as sewing thread.

Thick hair strands are defined as being a bit thicker than the size of sewing thread.

L.O.I.S. System Hair Textures

Finally, after evaluating your hair strand shape and thickness, you should determine your hair texture. According to this system, hair texture falls into five categories.

Thready hair lacks vibrancy. It has a low sheen, but a high shine and has minimal frizz if any. This hair does not hold moisture for very long, and therefore, it dries quickly.

Wiry hair has a sparkly sheen but still has minimal shine. This hair also contains some frizz. This hair tends to repel water as it is rarely able to get wet. This hair often has beads of water standing on its strands.

Cottony hair is exceptionally vibrant. It has significant shine but not a lot of sheen. It is very frizzy and readily receives and absorbs water, preventing it from getting wet too fast.

Spongy hair contains a high level of sheen but low shine. This hair tends to shrink and experiences compact frizzing. It readily receives water long before you can saturate it with water.

Silky hair has a low sheen, but very high shine and may or may not experience frizz. This hair does not repel water.

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, the truth is you have choices when it comes to defining your hair texture, curl pattern, and overall strand thickness. Understanding how your hair varies in each of these ways may help you to identify which hair care products, practices, and styles best fit your unique natural hair needs.

Please remember that when you perform these tests, you’ll always need to start with clean hair to find out how your hair responds. If you already know your hair type, leave us a Facebook comment directly on this page!

What’s Your LOIS Hair Type? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking to connect with other naturals? Join The CurlClub on Facebook HERE.

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