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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hair Typing: LOIS

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.

The LOIS system is more descriptive than Walker's. It incorporates strand size, amount of sheen/shine and the general curl/wave patten of one's hair. A healthy, undamaged, virgin hair strand, meaning one that is not processed, relaxed or colored, is needed. Examine Your Hair Strand: Select a single strand of the most common type of hair on your head. Aim for 70%, so if you have different textures, use the most common texture on your head. The hair should be freshly washed without products applied to it and rinsed in cold water. Or, gently rinse a single hair with a little dish detergent and rinse in cold water. Allow the hair to dry on a bit of paper towel so that you can look at the pattern without touching it.

Step 1: Find Your Pattern:

L - If the hair has all bends, right angles and folds with little to no curve then you are daughter L.

O - If the strand is rolled up into the shape of one or several zeros like a spiral, then you are daughter O.

I - If the hair lies mostly flat with no distinctive curve or bend you are daughter I.

S - If the strand looks like a wavy line with hills and valleys then you are daughter S.

You may have a combination of the LOIS letters, possibly with one dominant. If you cannot see one letter over the others, then combine the letters. Example: LO or IL or OS..

Step 2: Find Your Strand size:
A strand of frayed thread is about the thickness of a medium sized strand of human hair. If your strand is larger than this, then your hair is thick. If your strand is smaller than this, hair is thin, or fine..

Step 3: Find Your Texture:
Shine is a sharp reflection of light while Sheen is a dull reflection of light.

Thready - Hair as a low sheen, with high shine if the hair is held taut (as in a braid), with low frizz. Wets easily but water dries out quickly.

Wiry - Hair has a sparkly sheen, with low shine and low frizz. Water beads up or bounces off the hair strands. Hair never seems to get fully wet.

Cottony - Hair has a low sheen, a high shine if the hair is held taunt and has high frizz. Absorbs water quickly but does not get thoroughly wet very fast.

Spongy - Hair has a high sheen with low shine with a compacted looking frizz. Absorbs water before it gets thoroughly wet.

Silky - Hair has low sheen, a very high shine, with a lot or low frizz. Easily wets in water.


Since the ends of my hair are dyed, I cannot accurately use the LOIS system. However my best guess at my hair type for this system is OS, thin/fine, spongy. Since my hair tends to make O and S shapes, it is easily knotted. Thin/fine hair is very fragile and prone to breakage and split ends. This lets me know that my hair will most likely fair better in stretched out styles ie. twist outs, braid out, and etc. Now that I know my hair tends to be spongy, I know that it's important to seal in any moisture my hair retains from water before my hair loses it all.

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