Hair Texture Discrimination in the Natural Hair Community and the Loose Curl Pattern Privilege

Hair texture discrimination in the natural hair community is a real thing.

It involves preference for hair with looser curl patterns categorized as 3b – 4a while hair that has less defined curl pattern, shrink when dry, and are kinkier, coarser and categorized as 4c are deemed less desirable.

Oprah Winfrey’s old hair stylist Andre Walker came up with the category range from bone straight 1a to kinky springy 4c, which is now widely used. Read more about Type Hair HERE

Type 2 hair textures tend to be more on the wavy or big loose curls side. Type 3 tend to be tighter than type 2 curls but more on the medium range like Shakira, Zendaya, and Halle Berry. 

HipLatina took it on last year and quoted a hair blogger who defined it:

Texture discrimination is the belief that a certain type of hair texture is more desirable than others. For instance, a loose bigger curl is better than a smaller spring-like curl. In most cases, curls that have less definition and more shrinkage are considered to be unattractive. With all things that the majority doesn’t find palatable, the textures that are disliked are not represented. That is, unless someone makes a conscious decision to do so.”

Ebony magazine also took it on and noted that brand campaigns and sponsorship dollars are dumped into looser pattern curly hair bloggers compared to 4c ones:

Curly and wavy girls dominate the branding in products mass marketed to natural hair. So while the recent rebirth and modern day celebration of natural hair has provided some balance for Black women looking to escape the media induced pressure to yearn for European imitated straight, long hair, now there is a new pressure for natural women to yearn for a specific type of natural hair.

Propagated across Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and the beauty industry at large, the new standard being touted in the natural hair community and amongst beauty brands largely caters to looser hair textures. Tight, coily and kinky hair naturals are underrepresented and by far under-celebrated, given their hair does not conform to the hair images being glamorized and glorified by many popular natural hair brands.

This article quoted Joulzey who broke it down on her blog in 2014:

The notion of “all curl everything” is so widely propagated throughout this natural hair movement—often leaves out our kinkier, and dare-I-say more common hair textures.

There’s a meme floating around that perfectly illustrates this phenomenon: “Tell people hair is natural still gets asked…but how do you make it curly?” How many natural sisters are attempting to get a look that is as foreign to their scalp as bone straight hair? And what does our fixation with curls say about us as a people?

Hair YouTuber Jacqueline Nwabueze hypothesized in a 2017 video that hair tutorials featuring racially ambiguous young women or those with softer and looser curl pattern perform way better and get more views. She says that women (and men) who do not have that desirable hair pattern but wish they do are a large part of the audience. Damn!

And if that is true, then the newer market of hair vloggers that shared 4c tips were able to dominate the market of people looking for solutions for their specific hair when they wised and realized that the technique a 3b hair texture girl shared on her video would NOT work!

And so like Beautyr Vloggers like 4c Hair Chick, Kinky ChicksNaturalMe4cJemy1415Klassy KinksNappyFuDiscovering NaturalMsTanish1Jouelzy and Black Napscreated communities.

Blogger Tamara at Kinks Galore also blames the Natural hair community and do not promote them and she says the blame is on them not the brands. Thus even though these bloggers are here, they have to work twice as hard to get half the views. She talks about a bi-racial girl doing Bantu knots and getting 2M views for a style that kinkier hair girls been doing to virtually no views and definitely not as quickly.

And with the advent of crochet braids, those who do want to experience the looser hair pattern can get the hair if they want it and they’ll likely see what I experience each time  I wear my hair with big loose curls installed in my crochet braids. I figured out that I do indeed get more compliments than with the kinky twists, traditional individuals, yaky and coarser texture extensions.

But I do not wear that hair style for the compliments. I love playing around with different styles and have rocked the loose curl look once in a while using crochet braids.

For example, for these four looks above, I used Free Tress deep wave crochet braid hair at 20″ length and  the second style can be found HERE and the third can be found here and the fourth here.

I do not know how we solve this problem.

I am not certain that anything can be done other than continuing to feature and celebrating all hair types in media, music videos, TV and movies and so much so that we all start to appreciate all texture of natural hair. ‘