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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hair Typing: FIA

Disclaimer: I am not promoting one hair typing system over the other. Nor am I alleging that one hair type is superior to another. It is my belief that all hair types are beautiful and can grow to great lengths with the proper care.

FIA's hair typing system goes a step further by incorporating density into the the equation.

FIRST CLASSIFIER:  Your curliness (or lack thereof)
The straight ones
  • 1a – stick straight
  • 1b – straight but with a slight body wave, just enough to add some volume, doesn’t look wavy
  • 1c – straight with body wave and one or two visible S-waves (e.g. nape of neck or temples)
The wavy ones
  • 2a – loose, stretched out S-waves throughout the hair
  • 2b – shorter, more distinct S-waves (similar to waves from braiding damp hair)
  • 2c – distinct S-waves and the odd spiral curl forming here and there
The curly ones
  • 3a – big, loose spiral curls
  • 3b – bouncy ringlets
  • 3c – tight corkscrews
The really curly ones
  • 4a – tightly coiled S-curls
  • 4b – tightly coiled hair bending in sharp angles (Z-pattern)
SECOND CLASSIFIER:  What (most of) your individual strands look like
F – Fine
Thin strands that sometimes are almost translucent when held up to the light. Shed strands can be hard to see even against a contrasting background. Similar to hair found on many people of Scandinavian descent.
N – Normal
Strands are neither fine nor coarse. Similar to hair found on many Caucasians.
C – Coarse
Thick strands that where shed strands usually are easily identified against most backgrounds. Similar to hair found on many people of Asian or native American descent.

THIRD CLASSIFIER:  Your overall volume of hair
Put your hair in a ponytail with as much hair as possible in it. Don’t bother with the way it looks – the goal is to have most/all of your hair in there. If it means it sits smack dab on top of your head, put it there.
Measure the circumference of the ponytail. If you have bangs and/or you can’t get all of your hair in there adjust according to how much of your hair you have measured.
i – thin (less than 2 inches/5 centimeters)
ii – normal (between 2-4 inches or 5-10 centimeters)
iii – thick (more than 4 inches/10 centimeters)

If you are having difficulty determining the thickness of individual hairs, this might help:
Take a strand of hair from the back of your head. Roll the strand between your thumb and index finger.
Fine Hair — Your hair is difficult to feel or it feels like an ultra-fine strand of silk
Coarse Hair — Your hair feels hard and wiry. As you roll it back and forth, you may actually hear it!
Medium Hair — Your hair feels like a cotton thread. You can feel it, but it isn’t stiff or rough. It is neither fine or coarse.


According to FIA's system my hair is 3C/4A, F, ii. This means that I fine strands that are a mixture of tight corkscrews and tightly coiled s curls with normal density. When my hair is in its natural state it can appear to be rather thick. However, once straighten it becomes obvious that it is not.

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