HIT PLAY TO SEE 4C HAIR

There are so many misconceptions about 4c hair in the natural hair community. It seems that 4c hair is only identified as being real if it is in its dry state with no true curl or coil definition. The truth is, 4c hair does have a curl/coil pattern! It’s just a smaller diameter to 4a. I believe because 4c is last on the Hair Typing Chart,  people mistake it for having 4b characteristics. 4b hair is described as having no curl/coil. 

Hair porosity, density, environment, length, genetics and so many other factors play into what a person sees and experiences. Just some food for thought. In today’s video we’ll be exploring the many states of 4c hair including shrinkage, what it looks like dry and wet – as well as misconceptions about the hair type.

I hope this videos sheds light on how diverse hair can be – even with the same hair strand pattern.

DISCLAIMER

I didn’t make this blog post to obsess about hair type, pattern, or numbers. To be perfectly honest, I believe hair typing is simply a tool. It’s used to guide people in the right direction when searching for products, techniques, inspiration, and  information. The original hair chart was created by a man that didn’t include 4c as a hair type and has stated in an interview with Elle magazine, “I always recommend embracing your natural texture. Kinky hair can have limited styling options. That’s the only hair type I suggest altering with professional relaxing.” 

Yikes! He has since adjusted his statement but I personally don’t believe in obsessing or fighting over a system that quite frankly didn’t have me in mind.

I label my videos type 4 or 4c simply to help viewers find the content I create in order to help them reach their hair goals. This video is to illustrate the beauty and versatility 4c hair can have in many different states. 

FAVORITE HAIR PRODUCTS FOR TYPE 4 HAIR

DRY 4C HAIR

This is what most people identify as 4c hair. My hair here has no product, it’s dry, it’s in its shrunken state, and lacks a clear strand pattern. Here my hair is stretched, but again, it’s dry and needs a wash. When I show my hair in this state, I don’t tend to get comments that question whether my hair is 4c or not.

dry 4c hair spongy texture

WET 4C HAIR

This is my hair wet (bottom right). The excess water hydrates and pulls down long 4c hair allow its natural pattern to be seen. Water is also the element that begins the process of shrinkage. 

A have multiple strand patterns on my head. I have a thin line of this pattern on my edges around the perimeter of my head (see video), so when I wear my hair down on my face or put my hair up, it most visible. 4a hair has way more hang time than the 4c hair that covers the rest of my head. I’m pretty sure I probably have some 4b strands in there too.

On the bottom left is what 4c hair looks like moisturized. Also keep in mind I have low porosity hair. This means my hair is slow to absorb water. This fact affects the way my hair responds to products as well. I’ll show you a little later what I mean.

When 4c hair is moisturized it looks and feels different. Suddenly hair that felt dry and brittle feels soft and looks coily. In order to keep my hair soft and malleable I have to apply water, moisturizing creams, and layer oils so the water doesn’t evaporate and leave my hair dry. The more natural hair is fluffed, combed, and manipulated the less curl definition it usually has.

easy 4c wash routine

4C HAIR WITH GEL (LOTS OF IT)

This is usually where people freak out in disbelief. When type 4 hair is saturated with water and a ton of moisturizer and gel is added — and I mean LOTS of gel– coils pop. The picture below shows  the “revered” wash and go. The gel is weighing my hair down keeping the strands stretched, so it dries with a ton more definition. That’s a big difference from this clip in which I allowed my hair to dry with no product at all. This process takes a long time to do, so you need a lot of patience, but the results can last comfortably up to a week.

4c hair wash and go
dry 4c hair

Okay. Remember when I said I have low porosity hair and that could affect how it reacts to products? I’ve got proof. A few weeks ago I did a fun hair experiment and tried something called the max hydration method. This opened up my hair cuticle, allowing more water into the hair shaft. Then I tried the same exact technique of the wash and go seen in the bottom left image. Check out how much more frizz and less clumping of coils I got in the bottom right photo.

You all, this is the same head of hair, but it reacted to a hair type closer to high porosity. This is one of the many factors that can determine the results of a hairstyle. This is why I love doing in-depth experiments on camera. I have a set routine that works for my hair type, but I learn so much conducting trials.

comparison 4c wash and go low porosity and high porosity

LIGHTING AND OIL

The bottom top image (left) shows my 4c hair dry and stretched with added oil. The bottom image (right) is my hair the next day dried with no product at all. The main difference between each image is lighting, plain and simple. Also, keep in mind closeups on camera. A camera lens by design is made to see things from a perspective that the human eye can’t. If someone were to this close to my hair in person, their vision would be blurry. It’s just not humanly possible to see curls and coils this close up and clear in real life. I try to keep that in mind as well when watching my favorite video content creators…there’s also no way I’d want to do that to someone, you know?

4c hair with oil and without oil
4c hair in good and poor lighting

Not one head of 4c hair is the same. Texture, porosity, density, environmental elements, genetics, care, and health of an individual can make a huge difference on how hair can look. 

Perhaps with this video and others we can come to a new and more inclusive depiction of our hair. I could go deeper, but I’ll end with this; the vast physical characteristics of the African diaspora are unique and beautiful. Not one strand of hair is the same from person to person and so many factors can determine what we see and experience on our own heads. I’m just here to share the knowledge I learn along the way in hopes that you can take what you can and confidently care for your hair while you conquer the world. 💪🏾

SHARE IT

If this helped you, don’t keep it to yourself, share it with your friends. Comment below and tell me what YOUR hair type is.

Check my Youtube natural hairstyles playlist for hair tutorials. I’ve also got a youtube tab here on the navigation bar at the top of this page where you can see all of my videos that upload every Monday and Thursday. Subscribe to my newsletter, so you don’t miss any of my content. See ya in your inbox soon!

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