Curl patterns are what form the basis of how hair types are determined. When hair is in its natural state it has a natural curl pattern to it.
the definition: Curl Pattern is Shape
the test: Look at It!
By looking at your hair strands when your hair is clean, untreated, with no product applied, you will be able to easily see the curl pattern that it naturally will form. From varying degrees of waves, differing depths of curls and an array of compaction of coils. Your particular curl pattern can be found on a hair typing chart or it can be as unique as you.
the meaning: Curls Are Elasticity
As you will learn in our article on elasticity, curls are also a measure of how elastic or flexible your hair is, due to their ability to shrink and stretch.
the reasoning: Spiritual Antenna
In some African cultures it is believed that our hairs are the antenna through which we can sense energies that we cannot see. This reminds me of the book by Edward P. Jones, The Known World, where two twins, one of which had been having nightmares were told to sleep head-to-head, so that their hairs can connect and pass energies from one twin to the other. And behold, from then onwards the twin stopped having nightmares.
If this is true, as I certainly believe it to be, then, imagine how we compromise our hair’s ability to ‘sense’ when we damage it with heat and chemicals. Instead, keeping it healthy, nourished and natural can certainly open avenues towards a heightened spiritual connectedness we have yet to experience.
the breakdown: Straight | Wavy | Curly | Coily |
As with elasticity, hair with coily curls will be the most elastic. Followed by curly hair and wavy and straight hair will be the least elastic.
People can have different curl patterns in different sections of their hair for example the sections of your hair that you detangle with a comb might look wavy while the sections you finger detangle might look curly or coily.
There is not much you can do to change your hair’s curl pattern especially if it is the one you have by creation. If your curl pattern has been distorted by damage, halting the damage and attempting to repair your hair’s health can help, depending too, on the extent of damage it has suffered.
Stretching, which is something I do quite often, is a temporary (and of course, natural) way of changing your hair’s curl pattern to achieve a certain desired look. The great thing about stretching is that it only gives the appearance of an altered curl pattern without actually changing it. Those of you who have densely compacted coils might benefit from regular stretching.
the conclusion: Observe
Curl pattern is really one of those properties that do not mean much on its own. It is better comprehended when considered with other properties, in particular elasticity. It is worthwhile to note though that the more of a definitive curl pattern you have, the easier it will be for you to create hair styles that require curling your hair as you will effectively be enhancing the curl pattern that you already have.
What pattern do your strands make? Do you have different curl patterns in different sections of your hair? Let us know in the comment section below and let’s explore this topic together!
Next article: Elasticity