Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Curl Class 7: The LOIS Hair Typing System

The LOIS system is simpler than the Andre Walker system. I personally prefer this system just because it causes fewer arguments (yes, people actually argue about hair types! Who cares that much?!) as it is based on the individual strand which is pretty much set and easily visible.

It uses several properties to work out your hair type (or whose hair ‘daughter’ you are):
  • The pattern of your strands 
  • The thickness of your strands 
  • Hair texture 
  • Sheen or shine.
Hair Pattern
The LOIS system R-L: L-type (the L is in purple), O type is coily, I is straight, S is wavy
Take a couple of shed hairs (rather than just pulling a hair out of your head) after washing and place them on a surface where they’re visible and just compare it to the chart. Your hair can be a mixture of any of these shapes - my hair is mainly O with some L and a teeny bit of S in the front. So I am daughter LOS.

Hair Thickness
The best way to determine your hair thickness is to compare the strands of hair of your head to other parts of your body that have coarse, medullated hair. Unfortunately the main places include down… there (I’m talking about your fanny, just in case you don’t get hints!) or your armpits. If it’s as thick as the strands down there, you have coarse hair. You can also compare it to your arm hair, as they’re very thin, if the strand is about the same size you have thin hair. If it’s in between both of these it’s normal. Once again you can have a mixture of various thicknesses on your head.

The difference between shine (L) and sheen (R)
There are other properties that also may be helpful in your hair journey:
  • Hair should be shiny when it is pulled straight (or straightened with heat or a relaxer) as it reflects light along the length of the strand. This is what all those hair adverts show when they have the models swishing around their locks. All healthy hair should have a shine, whether low or high; if it doesn’t your hair is dry.
  • Sheen is the sparkly effect hair produces in the light.
  • Thready hair has low sheen but high shine when straight and doesn’t really frizz. Thready hair quickly gets wet and dry.
  • Wiry hair has high sheen, low shine and low frizz. Wiry hair reflects water so never seems to be fully wet when washing.
  • Cottony hair has low sheen but high shine when straight and easily gets frizzy. It absorbs water quickly but because the water goes into the strand it doesn’t seem to get wet quickly.
  • Spongy hair has a high sheen but low shine and frizzes in parts (so when you twist it over the week it will frizz but stay in sections). The strands absorb water before becoming thoroughly wet.
  • Silky hair has low sheen and very high shine. The frizz varies from high to low and it easily gets wet.
Next time, I’ll be talking about porosity and density and then the Curl Classes will be finished. Wahey!

Maz xx


  1. This is the most useful article on this system I could find... Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for reading the article. I'm glad I was able to help!

    2. Definitely! Your curl classes have me finally feeling like I can find some products that might work for me. Not knowing anything about my curls had me feeling like I was taking a shot in the dark every time I bought something new. Thank you!

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