I've got really screwy hair. LOVE IT.
Comparing the Walker and LOIS systems, to me, is like comparing a world atlas to a street map guide when you’re trying to go from your house to a new movie theater. The Walker system categorizes by race, while the LOIS system categorizes by black hair types. You can read all about the LOIS system on nappturality.com–there’s a photo of hair that looks a bit like mine!–and on longhairdontcare.net. Nappturality.com was one of the first online communities I found about natural hair and it’s a great place for a newbie (or renewed newbie like me) to start. Here’s a LOIS summary:
L = L-shaped strands
(If the hair has all bends, right angles and folds with little to no curve then you are daughter L)
O = Round circular coils
(If the strand is rolled up into the shape of one or several zeros like a spiral, then you are daughter O)
I = Straight with angular or sharp bends
(If the hair lies mostly flat with no distinctive curve or bend you are daughter I)
S = S-curls
(If the strand looks like a wavy line with hills and valleys then you are daughter S)
Texture’s also a consideration in the LOIS system, though it’s not used to categorize hair:
Thready – low sheen, high shine, low frizz
Wiry – sparkly sheen, low shine, low frizz
Cottony – low sheen, low shine, high frizz
Spongy – high sheen, low shine, high frizz
Silky – low sheen, high shine, low frizz
One thing the validity of which I’m yet to decide on in Nappturality’s assessment:
“Boar or natural bristle brushes are good for [4b-LI] hairtype to achieve a sleek look and distribute natural oils while still being gentle on the hair.” I’m going off boar-hair bristle brushes to see if they’re responsible for my chops (hairline breakage), so I’ll have to get back to you on that in a few months.
Overall, though, I believe the LOIS system is much better suited to those of us with natural black hair than the Walker system. LOIS still has its limitations, but it’s closer. I think I’m a 4b-LO.
The most important thing, though, when trying to figure out how to care for your hair is to develop your own regimen. Not all hair advice from a person with type 3a hair may be well-suited to our hair, but I’ve found somereally good advice from people with all kinds of hair textures. Just don’t do a wash and go once you’re past one inch in length LOL!
Hope that helps!