Is there such a thing as a Hairarchy in the Natural Hair Community?

I say YES! Yes there is! And if you don't believe it doesn't exist and/or aren't willing to talk about it, then you need a reality check! I came across the YT link to NaturallyFashionable's channel on the Facebook page, 4C Natural hair Chicks where they reposted the link to the video to get people talking about the video. I was quite surprised at the number of people who DIDN'T want to talk about this topic, and more surprised at the number of people who believed there isn't a heirarchy. SMH!

The fact of the matter is, WE created this heirarchy and we have no one to blame for it. The alphanumeric hair texture system even helped us group ourselves nicely, whereby the higher the number of your hair texture is, the lower you fall in the heirarchy. This means that women with type 1 hair would be in the highest heirarchy while those with type 4, particularly type 4c hair would be at the very bottom. At least I believe this is the case. Also, when people say negative things about nappy hair, they are really referring to Type 4 hair.

I mean why do type 4c naturals waste their time watching Naptural 85's tutorial on how to achieve the best wash n go or the best twist out when you've already tried all the "best" practces out there with the same "failed" results? To make matters worse, some of us even go as far as praising women with "desired" hairtextures and bash our own. You won't believe how many rude comments I come across of women "hating" on an undefined 4c twist out or "unkempt" type 4c hair, even if it's on an innocent picture of a child!
still think there isn't an hierarchy?
Until a majority of us Black women start to wear our hair OUT, without any extensions in it, then the heirarchy will still be there. I think the reason behind this is that a majority of Black women aren't used to seeing their own hair out, and so they are quick to judge what they're not used to and knowledgeable about.

So, while I might not be able the experience Black people getting along irrespective of their skin shade or hair texture in my lifetime, I do have a dream that one day, a dark skinned little girl with tightly coiled hair will love her hair for all it's uniqueness. I also have a dream that one day, this same girl would have other Black girls and Black hairstylists complimenting her on her hair.

So, what's your take on this, do you believe there's a heirarchy? and do you think it can be eliminated, so that everyone is equal?

The Mane Captain


  1. I believe the 'hairachy' is there for a reason. It helps us understand our hair type and what to or not to expect and how best to manage our texture. But it shouldn't be a 'my-hair-type-is-better-than-yours' thingy or a pedestal for comaprisions. I also believe people shouldn't be 'forced' to define their texture. If they decide not to categorize their hair, it's their choice. It becomes an ISSUE when someone saus their hair is a particular type and then others think they know better and tell them they got it all wrong. Lol

  2. I don’t think when Andre Walker created the hair typing system, he was rating it i.e 1 being the highest and 4 being the lowest. He just used those numbers to classify them and not rate them.
    As for loving our hair, curls are very beautiful, and I think some people just get disappointed when their hair doesn’t form curls easily like those of others, not necessarily because their hair texture is not beautiful.

  3. you are both right, the hair typing system isn't meant to be discriminatory but many of us have misinterpreted its meaning. I hear so many 4c naturals say all sorts of things about their hair its ridiculous. Since when did 4c=ugly and unruly but 3a is beautiful? While some of us might not have these negative misinterpretation of the hair typing system, the truth is, the majority of us Black women does, hence, the hairarchy.

  4. i am not into hair typing, it is just confusing and hair is not that serious... i just know that my hair is very coily, very dense, mix of thin and medium strands,non-porous and veyr prone to dryness, that works for me.

  5. Regarding the hair type system, i agree with the comments above; its there to help us manage and care for our hair texture not for 'hierarchy'.
    I am not sure i have ever really bothered with the hair type thing because i've always found it confusing but i can tell when i see a video on hair thats similar to mine, then i can follow their tips if i find it informative :-)

    I think what's important is focusing on having really healthy hair because a good percentage of people decided to go natural in the first place because they had issues with their relaxed hair. From poor hair care to wrong styling to having wrong hair stylists etc. Thats why i commend what the lady behind Naija hair can grow is doing. Luckily, the natural hair community is blessed with loads of information on proper hair care which is fantastic.

    About extensions, i think people should be free to wear extensions and express themselves however they want to for protective styling or just because. When they start feeling that certain naturals see them as 'breaking a natural hair law', that in itself is another form of hierarchy which should then be addressed.

    As i've always said, hair is never that serious, if one has taken a decision to go natural, it doesn't matter what anybody thinks. Love your hair, care for it and enjoy it.

    xoxo (Sorry for the long epistle) :-D

    1. Hi style fash, I love reading long comments as much as i like to write them. I too follow YT videos of women with hair similar to mine. I use the hair typing system, but I understand why many don't subscribe to it.

      Our hair is actually very serious, if its not, then we won't have white people and Asian capitalizing on it. I don't see anything wrong with wearing extensions as a PS, but I see it a problem when it's used as a crutch and a way to please the masses, such as the case with celebrities.

  6. I don't know if hairachy exists really- first time I've heard/read the word used even. I just know that I would not easily take advice from someone whose hair texture looks nothing like mine. I've read and dismissed several insightful articles cos of that. I do not however believe that this is a display of hairachy. It's just common sense. Sometimes I think "naturalistas" make too much of an issue over the small stuff. The main issue is hair care that suits your type of hair. Of course I envy ladies who look like they have softer easy to manage hair like those grouped in the 3 to 4a/b hair types but I also envy ladies with really dense 4c and onwards hair types who have mastered their hair and know how to keep it healthy, long and stylish. Personally I think if there's a category 4z, that's where I fit in cos my hair isn't even particularly full yet it's so dense, dry, with seemingly no curl pattern whatsoever and having only committed to this hair journey a year ago, I am still seriously struggling. There are too many rules and some conflicting info. For instance this post suggests that more naturals should wear their own hair out and proud to put a stop to "hairachy". Me I don't subscribe to that notion cos my keeping my hair in protective styles is cos I'm all thumbs when it comes to styling my own natural hair. Even with relaxed hair, I constantly wore my hair in weaves, plaits, braids etc. My decision to go natural wasn't to make a statement but to take better care of my hair which I had mismanaged. I can barely do single plaits on my own head. It's the only thing I dread when wash days come around- what to do with the hair after that beautiful treatment it got so as not to destroy all my hardwork. I respect people like nhcg who is relaxed cos she shows where I got it all wrong in my relaxed days. For me, it's not that serious. I can decide to go back to relaxed hair tomorrow - I've seen examples like nhcg and wura's secret hair who actually make it work. For me, all I want is healthy hair. Fullstop. Sidebar: Interesting thing happened recently. I was telling christie, my favourite wuse market hair stylist, how I was getting frustrated with the natural hair journey and toying with the idea of relaxers again. She actually encouraged me not to, saying I should keep at it. I was stunned! First time ever by a "local" nigerian hair stylist! There is indeed hope for the natural hair community getting good natural hair sylists you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for.


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