99% Invisible: The Hair Chart | KALW

99% Invisible: The Hair Chart

Aug 3, 2018

Oprah Winfrey’s hair is an amazing and ever-changing object of design. She’s worn dozens of styles over the years, including weaves and braids. She’s also a natural, meaning she doesn’t use chemical relaxers to straighten her hair.

Oprah gives most of the credit for her great hair to her longtime stylist, Andre Walker.  But beyond Oprah’s hair, Walker is known for something else: a system that he created back in the 1990s to market his line of hair care products. The system categorizes natural hair types, and it’s often referred to simply as “the hair chart.” The chart identifies four hair types and within each of those categories there are different sub-types. The chart spans straight, wavy, curly, and kinky hair. [...]