What Is Biracial Hair?

Biracial woman with curly hair
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The world of black hair can be confusing enough with all of its unique terminology, but then you come across a phrase like "biracial hair." This term is typically used to describe a curly texture as a result of a mixed-race union, especially between parents of European and African descent. This texture is usually curlier than the straight hair of one parent, while being less kinky or curly than the other parent.

But is this an actual hair "type"?

Why the Term Biracial or Mixed People Hair Is Misleading

Take a group of 10 biracial people and you're likely to find 10 different hair textures, which is why the term "biracial/mixed people" hair is so misleading. You can also take a group of 10 people whose parents are all of African descent and find hair that's just as varied. When it comes to black hair, particularly in places around the globe where the slave trade figured prominently, there is no one texture.

Saying that someone has biracial hair or mixed hair is often a catchall way of saying that her texture is neither straight nor coily but somewhere in between. However, due to the way genetics work, children of interracial unions may also have hair that's entirely straight or very kinky -- not all biracial people have hair that falls into perfectly glossy ringlets. The term biracial hair can, therefore, be a misnomer.

Different Types of Curls

You may find it more descriptive to talk about hair in terms of strand thickness and curl size instead. Some hair contains fine strands, others are coarse and still, others are thick or thin. Curls range from pen-spring size to fat marker size. Just saying "biracial hair" may conjure up specific images in some people's minds, but it's often a too-simplistic way of defining loose curls, particularly when biracial people aren't the only ones with this texture.

In addition, due to some lingering intraracial issues within the black community, this term may also serve as a covert way of describing "good hair," a phrase that still creates a bit of animosity. Unfortunately, even with the wave of natural hair information and increased exposure of curly/kinky tresses in the media, there still seems to be a preference for a certain look, and that look is often closer to the European standard of beauty that's still so prevalent around the world.

Biracial hair is really no more a specific texture than curly hair. Curls are so varied, even among members of the same family, that using this phrase isn't as descriptive as it could be. Biracial people have their own unique textures. Labeling hair or hair typing, just like labeling skin color, will probably never go away, but choosing to describe the hair of people from such diverse backgrounds can never be done with just one phrase.