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Curly hair is so fun. It bounces, it has volume and it can turn a regular ol' hairdo into a glamorous statement. Knowing what kind of natural curls you’re rocking is important when it comes to keeping your tresses moisturized and healthy. Using the right moisturizer with the right ingredients is uber-important for your curls.
The Hair Chart
We can all thank Andre Walker, better know as Oprah’s hairstylist, for creating a fabulous alphanumeric hair chart. Level 1A hair is very straight. As the designations climb, the amount of straightness decreases. Level 2 hair is wavy, level 3 is curly but not as tightly curled as level 4. Mya Passmore, part-owner of Gwen’s Blends -- a Natural Beauty Company, says hair can have more than one level. For example, your tresses may include 3C in some sections and 4A in others.
To know what moisturizer is best for 4A hair, you must first know what in the world 4A means in the first place. The 4 in 4A represents the curliest hair category in the chart. The 4 represents curly hair and the A represents the first level of curly hair. The letters go up to C, for incredibly tight curls usually found on African-American women. Level 3C is close to 4A but is more commonly seen on women of mixed heritages. Passmore says that 4A hair, when wet and defined, has a noticeable curl pattern that can be even more defined with hair products and has S-shaped or corkscrew-patterned curls.
To keep 4A hair looking fabulous and healthy, you must remember to keep moisture in the curls. Passmore says some of the ingredients you should look for include aloe vera and shea butter. These two ingredients are known to put a lot of moisture in your skin, and they’re also great for your tresses, too. Passmore says other ingredients to look for when choosing hair moisturizing products are vegetable glycerin, water and types of natural oils like olive oil. She says level 4 hair is the most fragile and brittle of all hair types and can even break at any point where it twists and turns.
While there are fabulous substances that can make dry 4A-level locks soft and fresh, there are also substances that will leave you with even harsher hair. Harsh ingredients can do a number to your tresses, so stay as far away from them as possible. Passmore says synthetic oils and chemicals often only coat the hair rather than really moisturize it. She says these types of ingredients suffocate dry tresses, leaving them dehydrated and brittle.