Reader's Mail: LOIS hair typing system!

So many of us have heard of the Andre Walker hair typing system which pretty much classes the shape and size of curls. However there is an alternative system known as LOIS. You can see the details here on youtube or see Alice's explanation. Kadiane, one of my regular readers sent me a similar video, and I thought this system probably does deserve a post too, just so that we all know what is out there.

The LOIS system is aimed at defining your hair away from a number and more into a description of the strand shape, size and sheen.

I honestly do not really care for hair typing systems. This would explain why the video on youtube was only able to hold my attention for the LOIS part but sheen and strand size.......I was skipping through!

However, my review is that the LOIS system does take the good hair bad hair debate and flush it down the toilet. Many times people get hung up on numbers and I have seen some really silly people get annoyed because someone who they thought was a type 3 claimed to be a 4 or vice versa. Ultimately, with the LOIS system, there are no numbers and it is probably more useful in description in terms of being able to identify people whose hair is actually similar to your own (and therefore whose products may be useful). It is also pretty easy to follow.....I just have a limited attention span for hair typing.

My issue with hair typing I guess stems from the fact that I am a firm believer that hair is individual. I don't even use or recommend my styling products to my own sister, our hair is similar but different. We use the same conditioner but after that, the gloves are off!

Do you know of or use the LOIS system? Do you care for hair typing?


  1. i don't care. i hate that people get hung up on this. i feel like it does more damage than good - i don't need to be defined. my hair is beautiful!

  2. i don't care much for hair typing because i cannot for the life of me actually understand them. i've tried the LOIS system several times and i still cannot remember my hair type (i think it is OS or something similar). i am yet to discover how hair typing will lead to better hair care. when i do perhaps, i'll start caring ^_^

  3. I have heard of the LOIS system but I knew nothing specific about it. I will check out that video solely out of curiosity but for me I really don't care much for hair typing. Like you said *with my added words lol* no two hairs especially from different people will respond the same to a conditioner. I feel I can describe my hair without a number or letter. I also do feel that a lot of people*not everyone of course* would randomly get all choked up about someone saying they were a supposed 3 and should be a 4.
    Almost like a how dare you..WTF? Its not that serious I did fine without the system when I first went natural and I will be fine without it. I can look at ones texture and see it maybe similar but still that doesn't mean it will "act" the same.

    Got me all worked up for no reason,let me go get a cup of tea LOL

  4. I'm not fussed on hair types, I feel the can be very misleading. And lead to some real wierd superiority / insecurity issues. I haven't tried LOIS but will now out of interest. I guess it could help a bit to point people in the right direction of certain products for their ''hair type'', but nothing will replace good old trial and error.

    You need to get to know your own hair to do the best for it and numbers and letters can't replace the in-depth knowledge you get from exprience.

  5. Ladies if you do go and check out the LOIS system, please come back and let me know what you think about it!

  6. I am familiar with the hair typing system, but, like you, I don't care for it. It is just another way to put people in boxes and label our unique characteristics. The girl's video was well informed and I appreciated her view. I guess it's okay to generalize hair textures when finding products, but we don't need to attach pride and prejudice to silly numbers and letters.

  7. I don't like hair typing. Period. It doesn't seem beneficial to anyone and just reinforces standards that new naturals don't need. Seriously, most 4a products are too heavy for my hair (as much as I love shea butter, I've discovered it was a root of my greasiness last winter).

    However, of all the hair typing methods I've come across the LOIS system is probably the most beneficial since it breaks down hair by traits that are more useful when it comes to products. Here's a post I made on it some time ago:

  8. Thanks Miss A- I'm going to put up your link too which was quite easy to follow

  9. Wow, I totally missed that you posted my link initially! >.<

    Opps @_@

  10. No, I just put it up after you mentioned it! I liked your explanation too, it was nice, short and simple

  11. I do care about hair typing because i'm tired of trial and error :). It is very frustrating specially when it comes to hair styling. For me, hair typing is just a way to save time REDUCE ( not remove ) frustration. It just makes me loose less time. I think the LOIS hair typing can be partly useful for the choice of products. Unfortunaly it does not give us any advice on witch product works best for cottony or silky hair :( . LOIS does not help for hair styling and styling products thought because the size of the curls make all the difference for hair styling. If you have a O curl as big as a coin, I certainly will not listen to your advices for hair styling when my coils are 1 mm. Nope! I also find it strange when people classify hair by saying ''tightly coiled'' 'loose coils' and so on. First of all, the notion of loose coil changes from a person to another. It is about perception. Some of them say they do not like hair typing (witch mention the size of the coil) but then what do they do by saying ''medium coil'' etc. If it is useless, let'us all join the white curly girl blogs, we will probably learn as much from them....

  12. I think this is the point though Kadiane, hair typing begins and ends at defining the way the curl is shaped or behaves. I agree that the LOIS system is more definitive but then again it depends on people being able to place their hair into a category.

    I just wonder, has hair typing ever helped anyone beyond defining your hair?

    I also think on your last statement that you could do with a visit to a curly blog like no poo jillipoo. Her blog is informative, critical and very well thought through. I'm going to add her blog on my link list right now.

  13. Hair typing is all about perception, how you perceive your strands and how someone else does is totally subjective an leads to as much confusion as to which proucts to use and as much trial an error. That one of the huge reasons that I don't subscribe to them. I would be stoned by either system by how much I don't follow "the rules" lol.

  14. @ JC
    I agree that it depends on your ability to place the hair in a category. I feel like that it is because few people have the actual right information like wetting the hair with cold water before looking at the strand.
    I 'm already subscribed to poo jillipoo for other reasons than her ability to help me style my hair. She will never be able to do that. Hair typing has always helped me. For me, the choice of going to a black natural hair blog is already based on hair typing. I ,mean if you are not type 3 or 4, i really wonder what once do on such a blog if it not for scientific infos. When i say hair typing I also include the subtitle ones that everybody else does witch is looking at a picture to evaluate the size of the curls or asking if the person has tight coils or curls. When you look at a picture the other thing you can evaluate is if the person has a lot of hair or not. You will never be able to know the other characteristic of that person's hair. People say that hair typing is too limiting. Looking at a picture is even more limiting but everybody agrees on doing it.

    I recently made search on Youtube for 4C hair type and i found a lot of people witch have the same hair everybody had when i was in Africa. Yey! I also found the CnappymeNow forum years ago and that is were i saw Medzi for the first time. The majority of the girls on that forum had styles that i could trust and copy. That is were i learned that i could give up on the wash and go, that my version of it was the twist out etc. IT HELPED ME A LOT. On Youtube, the 4C girls seem a bit lost and they are starting to find each other and get the support the hardly get from others. They are also the ones less likely to go natural becuz it is harder to reproduce what the others are doing with their hair doing twist outs every week or keeping mini braids in forever without locing or using KCCC. If you can not do half of what they do and nobody gives you ideas about what you can do that they can not do you can feel limited to few styling options witch is far from true. Hair typing helps build a network for more effective support and broader styling ideas that are unique to your hair type. That is all it is about for me.

    @ Mrs LilRaven
    Hair typing might be confusing but it is not subjective they are meant to put objectivity in it all and they do not pretend to describe the hair in all it's characteristics nor help find the exact hair twin.

  15. Then again '4c' and actually even '3c' hair types were not in the original hair typing system.

    I think youtube and fotkis are great sources not because of hair typing but rather you can see photographs of the hair in different stages (wet, dry,unstretched etc).

    Mwedzi's hair is so gorgeous!!

  16. don't care for it

    "curly", "coily", "kinky", "tight" and "loose" are far better descriptors as far as i'm concerned.

    plus, many black women have 3 or 4 different textures on their head.

    this typing thing is the same old 'good hair/bad hair' BS

  17. I've been natural my whole life and never even heard of the curl "typing." My hair was always described with words like "dense" When I actually started paying attention to my hair, I found little use for the curl "typing" because like others mention, some say "3C" and then its really "4A" and then no one can agree with a uniform "3C" look. Too much variety to put in a single catergory and that doesn't bother me one bit. I have heard about the LOIS system but never read up on it, so I guess I will go do that now...

  18. pointing out a difference doesn't necessarily mean you are saying one texture is superior or inferior over another. besides, i notice that people are more into thickness and length than texture.

  19. @ sewdope
    You are right! why is it that the type 2 white woman do not feel that the classification make it sound like they are inferior to the straight hair women. Maybe...they are confident...

    @ JC
    ''Then again '4c' and actually even '3c' hair types were not in the original hair typing system.''
    You are right. The guy has 1abc, 2abc, but he does not like our hairs very much lol. He even adviced to relaxe the hair for manageability. No wonder why he never noticed the complexity of type 3 and 4 . According to kimmaytube at the 6th minute of her Nov 10th part 1 video, people have requested to add the C at a forum. Even though i did not find the 3C and 4C on that forum now, it might have started from there.

    ''I think youtube and fotkis are great sources not because of hair typing but rather you can see photographs of the hair in different stages (wet, dry,unstretched etc).''
    That's true even though. I just think it would have been faster and easier to find them by a search if they did identify according to the typing. You click on a button and you have them all in front of your screen (hihi). When you don't have as much pictures as on youtube or fotki it is even more complicated specially on forums. I was very frustrated on nappturality when i was learning the basics. when i did my first twist my hair almost locked after 3 weeks and 3 washes ouch! That is how i realized that i shouldn't have listened to the advices unless i see a picture or i know the persons hair type lol.

    @ BGLH

    It is not that i particularly like the numbers over the descriptions. As long as the descriptions are not too subjective and mean something more precise i'm fine with them. We all know that tightly and medium do not mean the same for everybody. What i don't like is when we fail to realize that both methods are meant to do the same think: describe the size of the coils/curls.
    Now i think that your blog is so popular, you can actually give a more precise and official definition to all the categories you have used recently ( "medium curl" etc) and make them popular on the web. I will be thankful to you for ever lol.
    It is the same as people complaining about the word "nappy" but not using any word to replace it even thought we need a word to describe our texture like kinky or coily. If we don't like 3 and 4 abc why not replace it?

    Hopefully this will be my last comment lol.

    1. Everyone wants to be a 1 or a 3. 2's feel this way too. It's like our culture tells us we need to have STRAIGHT hair, or well-defined (read: manufactured) curls. Everything else is "messy".

      This is not caused by any typing system, the typing systems are simply the newest language to complain in. lol

  20. I don't care about these hair typing systems at all. I always find it extremely difficult to judge my own hair.

  21. Hi JC,
    I have been reading your blog for months now, but it's only now that I post a comment.
    To me, hair typing has no point, because as you say, each hair is individual. Nevertheless, I think it is important for beginners to have some kind of a system to refer too. For example, in the french natural community, every one thinks that the only way to moisturize hair is with a spray bottle filled with water and glycerin. To me, it does a great job for certain hair types, no for everyone. Opening my own online boutique, I had to classify products regarding hair types for customers to have a "guideline". But at the end of the day it's only theorical

  22. The main problem I have with hair typing is that you can't *measure* it. People type themselves by looking at pictures and reading descriptions, not by actually measuring a property of their hair. Therefore it's prone to mistakes.

    The hair typing system I hate most is in the Curly Girl Handbook. Massey combines all kinds of hair characteristics in each hair type, making it pretty impossible to accurately type yourself. I'm sure I'm not alone in having characteristics from several of her hair types. Therefore it gives me no insight into my hair.

    I dislike Andre's method too, because he combines curl type and hair texture for 1's and 2's and then changes his definitions for 3's and 4's, which are solely based on curl type. It's not consistent and it doesn't allow for the great variety of curl sizes that are actually out there. Naturallycurly's version is better, because they focus more on just curl type than confusing the matter with texture, but it's still vague.

    Fia's system seems to be an "improvement" on Andre's system. She separated curl type from texture and density. But still, her descriptions are vague. She offers no guidelines for actually measuring curl type.

    The LOIS system is interesting, but it doesn't address curl size at all, just curl shape. The texture part of it is confusing and has the same problems of other systems: no actual measuring involved, and mixing up properties. Is it trying to measure hair porosity?

    The system at wildsunshinebliss is the best I've seen actually. Each part of the system describes ONE property: curl pattern, curl size, and hair texture.

    Personally, if we want to type ourselves, I think it would be better to simply make some measurements of curl diameter, curl wavelength, etc, and put those numbers up, rather than trying to fit into categories.

    In the end, some hair typing is useful in choosing products, like porosity and texture. Your curl type makes no difference in that, but it does help describe yourself to other people on the internet without posting a picture of yourself. :)


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