Afro-textured hair is a term used to refer to the natural texture of Black African hair that has not been altered by hot combs, flat irons, or chemicals (through perming, relaxing, or straightening).
Each strand of this hair type grows in a tiny spring-like, helix shape. The overall effect is such that, despite relatively fewer actual hair shafts compared to straight hair, this texture appears (and feels) denser than its straight counterparts. For several reasons, possibly including its relatively flat cross section (among other factors), this hair type also conveys a dry or matte appearance. Its unique shape also renders it very prone to breakage when combed or brushed. The members of many post-Columbian Western societies have typically used adjectives such as “kinky”, “nappy”, or “spiralled” to describe natural afro-textured hair. More recently, however, it has become common (in some circles) to apply numerical grading systems to human hair types.
One particularly popular version of these systems describes afro-hair as being ‘type 4′ (as opposed to the straight type 1, wavy type 2 and curly type 3); with the subcategory of type 4C being the most exemplary of the afro texture. But, it should also be said that afro-textured hair is difficult to categorize because of the many different variations it has from person to person. Those variations include pattern (coils, springs, zig zags, s-curves), pattern size (watch spring to chalk), density (sparse to dense), strand diameter (fine, medium, wide) and feel (cottony, wooly, spongy).
Afro-textured hair is sometimes referred to as “kinky hair” or “nappy hair”, as well as “coarse”, “woolly” or “thick” though these may be considered by some to be pejorative terms.It is also sometimes described as “coily”, “kinky-coily”, or “kinky-curly”.In some English-speaking countries, because this hair-type is often straightened with chemical relaxers, unaltered Afro-textured hair is referred to as “natural hair”.
Afro-textured hair may have initially evolved because of an adaptive need (amongst humanity’s hominid ancestors) for protection against the intense UV radiation of Africa. Subsequently (and/or additionally), because the relatively sparse density of Afro-hair, combined with its elastic helix shape, results in an airy effect, the resulting increased circulation of cool air onto the scalp may have served to facilitate our hominid ancestors’ body-temperature-regulation while they lived in the open savannah.Further, Afro-hair does not respond as easily to moisture/sweat as straight hair. Thus, instead of sticking to the neck and scalp when wet (as do straighter textures), unless totally drenched, it tends to retain its basic springy puffiness, if it is combed. In this sense, in addition to the above-listed causes, the trait may have also been retained/preferred among many equatorial human groups because of its contribution to enhanced comfort levels under warm conditions. Finally, sexual selection based on visual and/or tactile socio-aesthetics may have also and/or further contributed to this trait’s ubiquity in certain regions