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Kinky vs. curly: What’s the difference?

Avatar • Sep 30, 2010


Within the natural hair world there’s a school of thought that you should only follow someone’s regimen if their texture is similar to yours (curly, kinky, coily, wavy). There’s also a school of thought that you can learn good hair practices from anyone, no matter the texture. What do you believe?

Do you only follow the advice of women whose texture is similar to yours? Or do you simply follow the advice of women whose hair you admire?

Do you think that texture matters when it comes to copying/references other people’s regimens? If so, in what ways?

Also, do you think there are other factors (like density, coarseness, fineness, etc) that we don’t consider when assessing the similarity of hair types?

I’m going to use these responses in an upcoming post I’m working on, so please be detailed 🙂

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VV
VV
10 years ago

The girls in the picture above have amazing hair! Personally, I’ve noticed that curls and kinks share a lot of common traits. But what I think is interesting when it comes to texture is that a lot of natural haired women have multi-textured hair. For example, mine varies from 3a to 4c which means that finding a regime isn’t always so straightforward. Ultimately hair care does to a large extent boil down to trial and error- what works for one girl with lets say type 3 hair, won’t neccessarily work for another girl with the same texture. Every head of… Read more »

Renegade Behavior
10 years ago

At first I used to try and style my hair according to those who I felt was more knowledgeable about natural hair. However, as time went on I started to notice that my hair is muuuuch more dense than a lot of “gurus” who’s styling methods that I’d been taking an interest in. For instance, watching someone’s video when they say they section their hair into 4 parts, I’d be looking with a *side eye* like Say What, 4 sections?! Yeah, more like 8. LOL So now I try to think about how much product I may need as opposed to… Read more »

thelady
thelady
10 years ago

love the picture

I mostly focus on people with a similar hair texture but I have gotten good advice from people with other textures.

thelady
thelady
10 years ago

@ Renegade, I hear you on the 4 parts thing! My hair is too thick for that, I got about 10 inches of 4a hair and it laughs at small sections.

CurlyChronicles
10 years ago

I agree Renegade, I’ve tried to doing certain things in four sections and it’s pretty hard..my hair’s too thick lol

Since I started wearing my hair natural in 2003 I didn’t have that many resources to look to..things weren’t as big as they are on youtube and there were only a few blogs I knew of. It helped to read about what other naturals did but I didn’t truly follow anyone’s regimen..I did have to start from scratch and do a lot of trial and error.

Vonnie
10 years ago

I MAINLY follow regimen of women who have hair that looks very similar to mine (like kcurly from newlynatural.com ) because I don’t know that fine haired wavy women will use products that may be heavier for their hair or what not. If I see someone thriving with hair like mine, then I may as well test out their product suggestions first and then tweak to fit mine rather than say well hair is hair and slather on any suggested thing in trial and error only to see that I spent a lot of money for mediocre results. There ARE… Read more »

aiych
aiych
10 years ago

Within the natural hair world there’s a school of thought that you should only follow someone’s regimen if their texture is similar to yours (curly, kinky, coily, wavy). There’s also a school of thought that you can learn good hair practices from anyone, no matter the texture. What do you believe? — Some things are more texture specific than others. For example, I would probably take detangling advice from someone with similar hair texture as mine. Other things are not as texture specific. For example if someone with a different hair texture has hair-strength issues (like I do), I would… Read more »

helga crane
helga crane
10 years ago

Great photo! I only follow very basic advice (ie how to comb hair, dealing with fairy knots, etc.) and that has come from women with various hair textures. Though I am a type 4, I enjoy reading various hair type routines; I kind of take in good hair care patterns I notice, experiment and follow what my hair says it prefers/needs. LOL at @Renegade Behavior’s comment on the 4 sections! I don’t think I have a lot of hair but I can’t do the 4 sections at all either. Ultimately I agree with VV and Renegade Behavior.

Ansley
Ansley
10 years ago

Well I tend to focus on hair that is similar to mine, which is 4a/b. I hardly take any advice from women with looser curls. looser curled hair holds moisture better and it detangles easier. And most of the time it does not look the same way that kinky hair does when it is styled.
But I love the look of all types of natural hair

Libby
10 years ago

Honestly I read it all when it comes to hair care tips; however, when it comes to using certain products I tend to rely on the knowledge of those that have hair similar to mine, especially if the product is kind of costly. When I find similar hair textured folks whose hair looks fabulous, I go back and find out what they were doing up until that point because I have noticed that oftentimes what is needed changes as my hair grows.

DiCarol
DiCarol
10 years ago

I think we all need a basic regimen of moisturizing and sealing. I think the biggest difference is the product that is used. I’ve noticed that some can get away with water mixed a small amount of one or more oils. Others require more than one product. I’ve learned that my hair does best with water, a cream or lotion leave in, butter or moisturizer followed by some straight oil.

Perkisha
Perkisha
10 years ago

I think texture matters somewhat, but hair type to me definitely does not indicate texture. I am a 4a who finds that most girls with the same “type” has hair that looks and behaves very different from mine. Therefore, whenI coy regimens from other 4as, while it may be helpful it often doesn’t produce the same results. I find that incorporating products used by 4Bs helps a great deal, but also some 3s use some products that are helpful too. For me, 4a regimens served as a foundation, but I had to look to products from all textures (and some… Read more »

Renegade Behavior
10 years ago

It’s refreshing to read that I’m not the only one scratching my head at the 4 sections part…lol I also give the *side eye* to those who can pull their hair back effortlessly. Some almost do it with one hand! LOL And the whole time I’m watching them do that I’m thinking about 1.What am I going to use to hold all of my strands back 2.How I really hope I don’t snap the hair band against my face as I attempt to pull it around my hair and 3.How annoyed I get when after I try to wrap the… Read more »

Monique
10 years ago

Do you only follow the advice of women whose texture is similar to yours? Or do you simply follow the advice of women whose hair you admire? I don’t follow anyone blindly. In general, I follow HAIRCARE advice of women with hair that is 4a/b (mine is 4b). However, I always ask myself if their technique is relevant/sensible for my hair. If I think it’s worth a try I go for it! I will take style tips from ANY hair texture. With styling, it’s moreso options for me to get ideas for inspiration and it challenges me to apply the… Read more »

Ashley Machelle at UIS
Ashley Machelle at UIS
10 years ago

I really had no one to model while growing up in the natural hair world (my hair is 16 months old) I simply could not afford to get my next perm and so i follow no one’s regimen. It wasnt until my mother decided to do the BC that I got a chance to experience different products and styles. At first my mother was disappointed that products that worked on my hair didnt work as well as hers…but as soon as she start experience to see her curl pattern come through. I assumed it just a learning process and learning… Read more »

suqiit
suqiit
10 years ago

I’m not sure if I follow anyone’s regimen at all. I only use natural products that are easily accessible. Every now and then I will try a brand name product, and nothing works like my simple stash. I wash my hair with black soap, or doctor bronner’s soap, which ever I am in the mood to use. I condition with Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa or Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle — this is when I detangle. After mild blotting dry with a t‑shirt I apply a GENEROUS amount of shae butter to my hair and style either a twist out… Read more »

pinkgirlfluff
pinkgirlfluff
10 years ago

First I must state that all of the women in the pic look gorgeous! I love how natural hair looks so soft and touchable. It’s so beautiful. We are such a beautiful crew, us curlies! I don’t just follow the advice of those with similar textures because I have a variety of textures going on up there. I love it! There is nothing predictable about the curls and kinks. I usually go by whether a person has hair as thick as mine that craves moisture. I am still a baby as far as my natural journey so I’m still learning.… Read more »

b.
b.
10 years ago

Thickness and density of hair matters nearly as much as texture to me. As aiych said, it also depends on what I’m trying to take away from the advice. Detangling and other handling routines are most helpful for me when the person has similar texture and density (# hairs on the head — I have a LOT). Product advice works best when the person has similar thickness (of strands). A combo of the three traits is best when receiving advice, but I at least consider most of the logical things I see. Sometimes the advice comes from someone whose hair… Read more »

Jc
Jc
10 years ago

My advice is listen to your own hair. You can play around with product, techniques or advice but always default to how your hair feels after doing it.

I find that a lot of frustration that people experience is because they believe what they see and read. The truth is every person is an individual and every person has to find their own balance.

The only hard and fast rule I have is treat your hair gently.….I mean gently.…..really really gently.

Nikki
10 years ago

Texture is crucuial. Many times the hair you admire is nothing like yours and duplicating the regimen/products used will make no difference. Frustration can ensue when you try to copy a style and the results (you vs. the person who posted the style, for example)do not resemble the original. Kinky is not curly. For me, kinky is more Shingai Shinowa or Wanda Sykes; curly is more Lisa Nicole Carson and Tracee Ellis Ross. I don’t pretend my hair (which is more like Sykes’) is going to give me a thick, luscious fro like Shingai, or long lustrous curls like Ross,… Read more »

Keisha
Keisha
10 years ago

I focus on what my hair likes. I have taken advice and given advice to and from women of all textures. When it comes to regimens, I focus on the basics of the routine–condition, moisturize, seal, protect. Then I use products that work best on my own head of hair **said the recovering product junkie**. When it comes to styling, Lord knows I’d love to do a lot of things that people with longer, less course hair can do. But, I know that right now I am limited by length so I do variations based on what my own hair… Read more »

Sue
Sue
10 years ago

I mainly learn from those with a similar texture of hair. Other factors that come into play are length and whether the hair is fine or thick. However, I have also learned a few things from people with hair that was of a different texture. Overall, I think what’s important is how you compile the knowledge and make it work for you.

MsOverproof
MsOverproof
10 years ago

I do a little bit of both. For styling hair texture doesnt matter much to me, usually if a find a style I like modelled on a person with a different hair texture than mine, I you tube it to see I can find the same style on someone with similar hair texture to mine (4B if I had to define) and how it looks and also what modifications I would have to make regarding my length etc. @Renegade, I feel you on the 4 section business. You should have seen me in the early days trying to actually do… Read more »

Ebony
Ebony
10 years ago

Trying to follow someone else’s regimen is a common mistake. All of our hair is different. Different texture, length, thickness, color, shedding patterns, protein needs, goals, schedules, budget etc. It is so important that people learn to deal with THEIR hair and what works for them. Its great to seek out advice, information and methods and take bits and pieces to incorporate into your regimen. But at the end of the day you have to formulate your own regimen. I have pretty much mastered my own hair (well I would like to know of a product that dries the hair… Read more »

Tally
Tally
10 years ago

Well I was discussing this elsewhere just this week. Truthfully, since you cannot touch to compare anyone else’s hair to your own, all the positive reviews in the world will not tell you whether a product will work for your hair. Some people mislabel their hair types, on top of that texture, density, strand size and porosity also play a part. A girl may say she is 4a/4b or 4c or 3c like you but you have not seen her hair in the flesh and she may be a type silky with fine strands while you are a cottony with medium… Read more »

Kanisha
10 years ago

I don’t believe there’s a difference between kinky and curly hair. Kinky hair is still curly hair- it’s just a tighter curl pattern.

Also, I think when it comes to referring to others’ regimens, it is important to know what hair type they are. This still doesn’t mean that the product/method will work for you: it just increases the likelihood that it will.

Love their hair, btw!

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

I like to learn about how other people care for their hair, regardless of hair type; but that doesn’t mean I change my whole process. I’ve found great products, and I have been able to make slight helpful changes in the regimen (if you can even call it that) because of what someone else has learned.

sarah
sarah
10 years ago

i agree with b.

it’s not enough to say you have 4a hair. it helps to know how dense, porous, and thick you hair is as well. while i have 3c/4a hair, a lot of advice wouldn’t work for me becuase i also have dense, porous, and thick hair (the trinity). i believe that once you know your entire hair type, then actual curl pattern doesn’t really matter because dry hair is dry hair and thick hair is thick hair no matter how loose or tight the curl pattern is.

serenissima
10 years ago

I also agree with Renegade’s comments. My hair is super thick and I try to take that into consideration more than texture when examining regimens… for example, I like Teri LaFlesh’s methods for conditioning, even though her hair is WAY coilier than mine… on her site, one of the best advice I ever got, which said to read labels but compare the density and length of your own hair to the product. so if you have a shitload of hair, 4 sections and a quarter sized drop of conditioner just isnt going to cut it lol

antoinette
antoinette
10 years ago

I will only use advise from people with a similar curl pattern as mine. My hair is probably 4B and I dont think styling tips or even length retention tips from someone with hair of a different pattern will apply. For example, the wash-n-go style doesn’t work for me using the same methods that someone with 3B hair would use.

Lissie
Lissie
10 years ago

OMG Perkisha & Sarah, You’re spot on! And I also agree with b. I originally went natural around the same year as CurlyChronicles (2003/2004). Back then (lol, golly I sound old even though I’m only 24), we only had Nappturality and Motown Girl to go by. So yes, I took hair advice from any natural black woman I could find. IMO, I believe we put way too much emphasis on hair type. Mind you, I don’t have an issue with using hair typing classification, but even now, I still find it strange when I visit forums and a newly natural is… Read more »

nicole
nicole
10 years ago

I know I’ve written about this before on this site, but 3b/3c/4a/4b, curly vs kinky doesn’t matter as much as texture, which to me describes strand diameter. For example, my cousin and I both have below bra-strap length 3c/3b hair. Everyone in my family calls us hair twins, but we really aren’t. She has fine-textured hair and mine is coarse. The end result of our wash and goes might look the same, but the products used to achieve them are very different. I use a water-based leave-in, followed by a creamy moisturizer, followed by an oil or butter to twist… Read more »

Kiya
Kiya
10 years ago

I usually look for those who have a similar texture to mine, particularly those with a combonation of textures. This is why I decided to use mixed-chicks as it was designed for those with multi-racial hair. I find that these products work well for me , yet I would still take advice from someone with a different hair texture. Altough I mostly look for those whose hair texture is similar to mine :very curly and wavy.

MP
MP
10 years ago

It depends on what I’m seeking help with, which people I will and won’t take advice from. Hair has many characteristics, and we only need one common characteristic for some stuff to work for both of us. I’m not going to go just by looking at a photo because they can be misleading for a whole slew of reasons: shrinkage, camera flash/lighting, styling, etc. I need to engage with the person I’m taking cues from about their hair’s characteristics. For styling, I’m only listening to those who, like me, have average-low strand density and a similar length. Those with many… Read more »

farriah
farriah
10 years ago

i think good hair practice is good hair practice in terms of the need to hydrate and ensure that the hair is well moisturized and scalp is clean as well as low manipulation however; i believe that is where the generalizations end and thus i dont follow any one person’s regimen nor do i try products recommended by people whose texture/pattern is significantly different from mine. If i see a woman whose hair i admire i will ask about their products/how they achieved the style but ive also gotten into the habit of saying “what’s your hair like when its… Read more »

Queen E
Queen E
10 years ago

I don’t necessarily listen to anyone about products or regimens. First being that if its some seriously dedicated regime (like I deep condition every week) I just don’t have the time to be faithful to something like that and if that is what made your hair look fabulous… then guess I’m about to have to go about it a different way. Second in respect to products, it is true everyone’s hair because of textures, thickness, porosity, etc. responds differently. I’m always down to try a new product but if it doesn’t work immediately I normally don’t wait around for results.… Read more »

Ada
Ada
10 years ago

I pay very close attention to the hair texture and thickness of the person who’s giving hair advice. I remember one time a girl on youtube gave instructions on how to do a wash and go. I completely ignored the fact that she had 3a hair and that my hair is 3b, lol. I soon realized that not everybody can pull off a wash and go. I was expecting loose and springy spirals as a result of my wash and go but was disappointed to see what resembled a skull cap with random coils sticking out. *sigh* Natural hair is… Read more »

Electric Feel
Electric Feel
10 years ago

I agree with the others that we have to take
more than the type of hair consideration,
other factors like density, strand size, porosity levels etc
should be taken into consideration.

I follow one lady on youtube and all she ever needed was a
leave in conditioner and her hair would stay moisturized. I think we have similar hair types 4a/b.
I tried her regimen and my hair was beyond parched! I think her hair strands are more fine and my are thick and coarse. Butters do well
for moisture in my hair.

Vida Starr
10 years ago

I used to only follow the regimens of people who had hair that looked like mine… until I got advice about retaining moisture from a “3a” curly. I’m a 4a/b. I have coils and fuzzy kinks all over my head. She told me that she uses coconut oil as a moisturizer and seals with olive oil. Well Since I’ve been doing that, I’ve rarely had a problem with retaining moisture. Everyone else told me that they seal with coconut oil after using another moisturizer. That didn’t work for me. She also taught me the art of using just plain water… Read more »

Thick Nigerian Hair
Thick Nigerian Hair
8 years ago

There’s also a school of thought that you can learn good hair practices from anyone, no matter the texture. What do you believe? –I believe that you can but–in my experience–mostly when it’s about handling hair (e.g. how to comb it, heat usage, etc.). Do you only follow the advice of women whose texture is similar to yours? Or do you simply follow the advice of women whose hair you admire? –I try now to follow the advice of women whose textures are similar to mine and not just those with nice hair. Before I heard of hair typing, I… Read more »

Roni
Roni
8 years ago

I see that this discussion is probably mostly over with but I had to add my two cents, however late it may be. 1st off, the vast majority of responses were along the same wavelength: you can pick and choose whose advice to take using common sense and considering the likelihood of that advice working for your particular head of hair and lifestyle. I personally do this and also allow other folks’ success (or failure) to be an INSPIRATION for what may work for me, not Gospel. But what I HAD to comment on is the notion that different hair typing… Read more »

more
more
7 years ago

Do you only follow the advice of women whose texture is similar to yours? Or do you simply follow the advice of women whose hair you admire? I follow hair advise from women that have similar hair texture to mine. In my opinion it makes no sense to be getting hair advise from women like GWYNETH PALTROW STRAIGHT HAIR! they dont struggle with dryness like me. At the same token it wont hurt to take some tips on how manage my 4c fine hair. SOME OF the i got from from a 4a TEXTURE. it all depends on ur hair. Do… Read more »

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