Okay, so I believe I mentioned in my last post that I have type 4C hair. For those who don’t know, this means I have the kinkiest, coiliest, curls of them all. And to top it off, my hair is very thick and coarse. Every time I even think about having to touch my hair, I have to mentally prepare myself for the amount of patience that it’s going to take to finish it before bed!
In my journey, I learned what hair types were and how to take care of mine. Unfortunately, I was coming in contact with a slew of naturals who had hair that was finer, wavier, looser and so on. It seemed like I was the only 4C woman (outside of family) that I knew! So before I discovered the hidden 4C women on YouTube, I began to research natural hair like crazy, and here are a few things that I learned about my 4C hair:
Number 1: My hair was going to be kinky, regardless of thickness.
I had often heard that some women experience a change in thickness after using things like Jamaican Black Castor Oil or high potency hair pills. I started using those products at the end of my transitioning journey and I noticed that my hair started to thicken as well. However, my kinky texture remained. For some reason, I believed that if I used just enough oil or enough of whatever product to weigh my hair down that my hair would loosen.
Ha! Yeah, that’s not how it works…
Number 2: My hair was almost always dry.
I used to believe that this was just me and my routine until I heard that more women who had similar hair textures admitted that they had the same problem: their hair stayed dry. I even came across a YouTuber who tried to pass that if your hair feels dry and brittle even after you moisturized it, then that was just due to your hair type and it was fine. I’m sorry, but I disagree completely. Yes, my hair was usually very dry and brittle, but thanks to a specific treatment (i.e. deep conditioning, hot oil treatment, protein treatment, etc.) my hair would feel much more soft and become manageable. Your dry hair is the same as your cracked lips and your alligator skin: your body is crying out for something. Don’t ignore it.
Number 3: I have curls too.
I heard many women who don’t have 4C hair bash a woman who does have 4C hair simply because they can see some curl definition. Let me tell you a thing: We have curls, too. Many believe that because our curls aren’t spiraling in one direction or because they shrink up a ton, that 4C hair is supposed to look like some frizzy mess. The picture of me above is my hair after a blow out (about 1 year into my journey). This is NOT 4C hair curl. 4C hair will show curl definition if it is properly hydrated. I went into my journey trying to embrace my frizz because it was what I thought I was supposed to have. I plucked a hair and could tell by the way it curled and zig-zagged that I had 4C hair without a doubt. But once I came across the Max Hydration Method, I had curls popping all over my head! We have curls too; they just need to be taken care of if we want to see them.
Number 4: My hair is much easier to maintain when it’s stretched.
I have heard this from women of all different hair types, but let me just say that having stretched hair is about as good as having a looser hair type. Don’t get me wrong; shrinkage isn’t a bad thing. Shrinkage is a sign that your hair is being properly moisturized. But when your curls are stretched out, it’s much easier to manage, maintain, style, and so on. Messing with 4C hair in it’s fresh, curly state makes it easier to cause tangles and breakage. Nobody wants that.
Number 5: My hair grows too.
I don’t know why there’s some rumor going around that 4C hair doesn’t grow or it can’t grow very fast or long. Umm… no. This isn’t the case. All hair will grow if it is properly taken care of! My overall goal in my journey is to reach waist length hair. First in the sense of someone like Joi Wade, then in the sense of someone like the Quann sisters. After 2 1/2 years of growth, my hair is now at bra strap length and still going strong. Take care of your hair and worry about it’s health. The length will come with it.
Number 6: I can never get enough moisture.
I know this sounds like Number 2, but let me explain: what I mean by this is that all moisture is good moisture for me. Water, aloe vera juice, leave in conditioner, rain… All of it. My hair soaks up moisture like a sponge; so there’s no need for me to shy away from it. (I’ll admit that there is such a thing as too much, but it’s only happened to me once. Too much deep conditioning resulted in mushy hair. Yuck!)
Number 7: Growth is much easier to see with pictures.
Maybe this is why so many people think that our hair doesn’t grow. For those of us who embrace the shrinkage head on and don’t worry about stretching our natural hair, growth can seem like a pretty slow process. After my 11 month transition and big chop, I was extremely impatient and expected to see inches of growth within the first 2-3 months. Poor me, that’s not how it works… However, taking length check pictures every few months or so keeps me motivated. That and I started to focus more on the health of my hair rather than it’s length. Now sometimes I have to actually remind myself that I’ll want to take a picture for later!
Number 8: Shrinkage is a good thing!
Just like I mentioned in Number 4, shrinkage is nothing to be ashamed about. I believe that a lot of the time we see women who try to reach this ultimate stretched hair do without actually using a flat iron because they’re still conditioned to believe that you need to see all your length at once like a Caucasian or Asian woman. That’s not so. We aren’t them. We have our hair, and it shrinks when it’s healthy. It’s nothing to try to hide for the sake of showing off your length.
Number 9: If I think I have enough conditioner, I don’t.
I’m sure many of you have already heard of wash-and-go’s. I’m sure many of you have also heard that 4C hair can’t get a proper wash-and-go to work. Don’t be so sure! After coming across the Dickey Method, I learned that the reason I wasn’t getting the same result was simply because I wasn’t using enough conditioner. Anthony Dickey explains in his method for wash-and-go’s for those of us who have curlier hair that when we apply conditioner, there should be so much that it looks like a relaxer. That’s a TON more than what I had been using! To try to save money, I started buying V05 $.97 conditioner specifically for wash-and-go’s. I would wait until it was on sale or clearance or I had coupons and buy tons of bottles at a time. (I think the most I bought at one time was around 15 bottles.) Whenever I wanted to have a wash-and-go, I would use an entire bottle at a time. Believe it or not, it actually works…
Number 10: 4C hair is NOT bad hair!
I can’t stand the phrase “good hair”. That phrase basically means that your hair can’t be good enough for you to just be black. You have to have some other race in your blood for your hair to be considered “good”. And I notice that this term is used mainly on women than men. So what I hear when I hear the term good hair is: “Wow. Your beauty comes from whatever other color you are and because you have some black in you it curls ever so slightly! How amazing and gorgeous and GOOD!”
ALL HAIR IS GOOD HAIR! You must take care of your hair if you want it to be “good”! After I learned how to properly take care of my hair, I found that I was getting many compliments on it from black and white people alike. My 4C hair is good hair if I take care of it’s health. Yours is too.
4C hair can be a difficult texture to deal with at times, but it’s worth it in the long run. It can be easy if it is well taken care of from the beginning instead of learning after the damage comes like I did. I’m curious: is there anything else that anyone has heard about 4C hair in general? I’d love to know and answer any questions about my texture!