Screwy Haired Girl

I've got really screwy hair. LOVE IT.

Type 4 Stereotyping: The LOIS System (Part III)

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–there’s a photo of hair that looks a bit like mine!–and on 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!

7 comments on “Type 4 Stereotyping: The LOIS System (Part III)

  1. chocolatelady555
    June 4, 2012

    I’ve just started the transition 5 months ago. I cut most of my relaxed hair off. Its helpful to understand my hair type since its been so long since I’ve seen it. Thanks!

    • screwyhair
      June 4, 2012

      Isn’t it funny how so many black women don’t know what their hair’s really like? And still don’t wanna know. When we all had the perm, we thought our hair was ghastly, so “unmanageable”, but then we got some length, got some knowledge, and suddenly it’s beautiful! The beginning can be tricky, but when you “learn your hair”, it’s a breeze. (Well, almost a breeze if your hair’s screwy like mine :-)

      Thanks much for stopping by, chocolatelady555! (Sorry your comment took so long to post; been a mad day.)

  2. DK
    September 30, 2011

    Yeah, so what’s the difference between shine and sheen? I can’t tell which I have, but I suspect my hair has neither.

    • screwyhair
      September 30, 2011

      Sheen, according to Merriam Webster, is “a subdued glitter approaching but short of optical reflection.” Shine is…shinier :-) I think coily hair gets more sheen than shine, actually. Glad you pointed this out; one of my posts yesterday referred to shine when I should have been talking about sheen.

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This entry was posted on May 27, 2011 by in Resources and tagged .

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