Trichology Corner: Curl Pattern

We have all heard of curl pattern, and have seen several types of curl pattern on people’s head. But what determines curl pattern? Why do different races have different curl pattern?

What determines curl pattern?

Curl pattern is determined by the shape of the hair follicle.

A round follicle produces a straight or wavy hair strand.

An oval follicle produces a wavy or curly hair strand.

A flat follicle produces a curly or coily hair strand.

Most people have more than one curl pattern

Tightly coiled hair is often described as coarse. This is a misunderstanding, because of the bends and turns in the hair strand, it gives the hair a rough feel thus leading to the assumption of the hair strand being coarse, but the diameter of the hair strand can vary with different curl patterns.

This means that someone with tightly curled hair can have very fine hair, which can lead to damage if over-processed due ti the belief that it is more coarse than it really is.

Coiled hair strands tend to be dry, with open cuticles that make it porous. Coiled strands have open cuticles because of the way it grows from the hair follicles in its coiled curvy pattern. It doesn’t allow for those cuticles or scales to be flat against the strands, instead they tend to be lifted.

The coarseness or the fineness of the strands increases the vulnerability of the strands, because coarser strands tend to manufacture more protein and are stronger, and finer strands manufacture more protein and are weaker.

N.B: Remember that when it comes to hair care, there's a lot of fact, fiction, myth and reality on the internet. In the event of any confusion, it is advised you see a professional hair care expert.

Atilola Moronfolu (HPT) is a certfied hair care expert and a holistic practitioner of trichology certified and accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and Mahogany Hair Revolution, Los Angeles, California. To book a hair clinical appointment with Atilola in Lagos Nigeria, send a mail to or call 07061141501.

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  1. So it all falls down to our follicles,Nice.Thanks for the information! Atilola

  2. I had no idea about all this.
    Thanks for the info.

  3. Follicles, Follicles. Yes, I have seen so many curl patterns from Nigerians its intriguing.


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