Natural Hair//Self Consultation

20140131-080321Maintaining natural hair can be a difficult challenge, especially when you don’t take the time to learn and understand your natural tresses. Conducting a self consultation  and examining your hair is a great starting point. There are tons of different options (products, hair styles, care routines, etc.) for healthy natural hair care and majority of the time all these options only cause confusion and frustration. Having knowledge of your curl pattern, porosity, and face shape among other things will set you up for success when searching for products or hairstyles.

Follow the steps below and document your results as you go.

 Step 1: What is your Curl Pattern? When your hair is in its natural state (no product; no manipulation) how would you describe it? 20140129-232604

  • Wavy: Loose, subtle close to straight “s” curl; Uniformed “s” shape throughout; thicker defined “s” shaped pattern with some curls.

20140131-014246

  • Curly: Well defined, big, springy curl; Spiral, corkscrew, ringlet curl; Voluminous, tight, kinky corkscrew curl. 20140131-014238

  • Coiled: Wiry “z” pattern, less defined curl, cotton-like feel, often has more that 75% shrinkage. 20140131-013032

Step 2: Is your Hair Porous? Hair porosity is your hair’s natural ability to absorb and hold moisture. Mostly porosity is genetic although it can also be affected by external things, like chemeical processing and heat styling. Knowing your hair porosity is very important when choosing the right products. 20140129-232545

  • Test: Take a strand of hair and slide your fingers up toward the scalp. If the ride up feels bumpy then your cuticle is lifted and you have high porosity. If your fingers glide up smoothly then you have low porosity.

  • Highly Porous Hair has a raised cuticle layer(which gives it that bumpy feel). It absorbs liquid and moisture very quickly, but also releases it quickly. Hair with high porosity is more prone to breakage and split ends.

  • Low Porosity has a tightly closed cuticle layer. It absorbs moisture slowly and holds it much longer. This can quickly cause a build up effect on hair, like weighing it down and making it less bouncy.

Step 3: What is your hair Texture? Texture refers to how wide or thick your individual hair strands are. This does not refer to the density of your hair or how much hair is on your head. Your texture is a huge contributor to your hairs ability to produce and maintain length.

  • Test: Take strand of your hair and hold it up to the light. If the hair is wide and easily visible, then you have coarse hair. If it is visible but not too wide, then you have medium hair. If you can hardly see it up against the light, you have fine hair.

  • Coarse hair has a wide circumference and is the strongest of all three textures. It is very durable and resistant to damage thus allowing it to retain length very well.

  • Medium hair is neither thick nor thin. It is strong and flexible making it similar in comparison to coarse hair. Medium hair also retains length well.

  • Fine hair has a small circumference making it very delicate and susceptible to damage. People with fine hair have a hard time maintaining the length of their hair. Try to avoid over manipulating fine hair to minimize breakage. My hair is very thin and I’ve found that doing protective styles work best to preserve my hairs length and health. Mainly because I am able to avoid constantly having to restyle my hair.

Step 4: What is you hair Density? Density, as I mentioned before, is how close together your hair strands are on your head. Knowing your density can help you to choose the right styles and cuts to maintain and produce volume in you hair.

  • Test: Do this test on dry hair, reason being when hair is wet it may appear to look thinner than it really is. Allow your hair to hang naturally and observe it closely from all different angles. If you can see your scalp easily, you have low hair density. If you can see a little of your scalp, then you have medium hair density. If your scalp is difficult or impossible to see, then you have high hair density.

  • For low density: try not to weigh down your hair with heavy products. Use volumizing shampoos and conditioners and products with thickening agents. Try choosing cuts and styles that create a more voluminous appearance.

  • For medium density: Wash ‘n’ go’s just might be your best friend, because they allow your texture to really shine through. Twist and braids help to give your hair more structure. Using creams and butters may help to give your hair more weight and the appearance of length.

  • For high density: Heavier products, like gels, creams, and butters may help to weigh down your hair and minimize the volume. Layered hairstyles tend to look amazing on highly dense hair.

Step 5: How long is your hair? Knowing the length of your hair is great when deciding on a hair style. I personally like my twist outs better when my hair is shorter and my braid outs and bantu knots when my hair is longer.

On straight hair:

  • Short Length Hair: ranges anywhere from brushing the top of your shoulders and up.

  • Medium Length Hair: measures anywhere from your shoulders to your bra strap.

  • Long Length Hair: from the bra strap down.  Step 6: What is your Face Shape? Face shape is extremely important to take into consideration when choosing a hairstyle. You want to choose cuts and styles that compliment your face shape to give you a lovely, attractive, and well balanced style20140130-230045

  • Test: With hair pulled back and secured visually divide your face into three zones. Forehead to eyebrow, eyebrow to end of nose, and end of nose to bottom of chin.

  • Oval Face/The Ideal Face Shape: this face shape is ideal, because its contour and proportions form the basis for modifying all other facial types. If you have an oval face shape you can wear any hair style unless there are other conflicts, such as eyeglasses or your profile.

  • Round Face: has a round hairline and chin line with a wide face. You should aim to create illusion of length to the face. Try choosing a hairstyle that has height or volume on top and closeness to the sides.

  • Square Face: wide at the temples, narrow middle, and squared jaw line. Aim to offset or round out the square features. Soften the hair around the temples and jaw by creating volume in those areas.

  • Triangular (Pear) Face: has a narrow forehead, and wide jaw and chin line.  Choose a hairstyle that has volume at the temples and some height at the top to create the illusion of width in the forehead.

  • Oblong Face: very long, narrow face with hollow cheeks. Your aim should be to make the face appear shorter and wider. Try choosing styles that add volume on the sides to create width. Keep the hair fairly close to the top of the head. Chin length hair is usually most appealing.

  • Triangle (Inverted) Face: has a wide forehead and narrow chin line. Decrease the width of the forehead and increase the width in the lower part of the face. Styles should be close to the head with no volume.  A fringe (bangs) is highly recommended.

  • Diamond Face: narrow forehead, extreme width through the cheekbones, and has a narrow chin. Aim to reduce the width across the cheekbone line. Increase the fullness across the jaw line and forehead while keeping the hair close to the head at the cheekbone line.

Keep in mind that these are just a few of the basic face types. Very few people match their face shape desciption perfectly. The recommended styles are just starting point there are many other factors to take into consideration when customizing a style to a face.

How well do you know your hair now? I hope this information was helpful. If it was, let me know how it helped you. If it wasn’t, let me know why and how I can help you some more.20140129-232509

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Written by: Cecily Wheeler

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