Tag Archives: kinksgalore

Love Your 4b Hair

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I was recently watching a YouTube video by a vlogger who decided to go back to relaxed hair. Her main reason was that it is her hair and therefore her choice. I couldn’t agree more and I am not against women relaxing their hair.   However, one point she made that I didn’t agree with was that she had the ‘real African hair’ and that therefore her hair was somehow harder to manage as a result.  Although she may have meant it as a joke, I do believe there is this misconception within the natural hair community that some hair types are harder to manage. Also, instead of saying good and bad hair we now say 3b or 4b hair.   I get the impression that some see the 4s as inferior to the 3s and out of the 4s, 4b hair is seen as the ‘bad hair’ type, by some people.  I do not necessarily subscribe to hair typing but for the purpose of this article I will say that my hair type is 4b.

Hair-Types-1709658

4b hair is kinky and tightly coiled.  It has a zigzag curl pattern instead of spirals.  Hence, 4b hair types usually have a more fluffy appearance and a less obvious curl pattern.  This is NOT to say that 4b hair doesn’t have a curl pattern.  Afro textured hair is ‘textured’ by nature and therefore has some sort of curl pattern (I’m aware that some black people may have naturally straight hair though).

Styling

I have only tried a wash and go once and I did not get the same results as women with different hair types. My wash and go did not result in loose or tight spiral curls because that isn’t my natural curl pattern. I will try it again using a different technique but I know that no product is going to make my hair do anything it doesn’t already do naturally.   This certainly doesn’t make 4b hair inferior to others.  All hair types have perceived strengths and weaknesses. Even if my hair doesn’t curl up as much as a 4a or type 3, it doesn’t mean that I cannot wear my hair in a super curly style using perm rod sets, bantu knot outs or twist outs.  4b hair is still very versatile and easy to manipulate. It holds styles well and is a lot of fun in my experience.

As for managing my hair, the more I learn, the easier it becomes to manage. As I always say; it is never our hair that is the problem, it is simply our lack of knowledge. Learning more efficient techniques of managing your hair and even learning from your mistakes, is all part of the fun of natural hair.  One of the greatest challenges with my 4b hair was shrinkage. However, after learning different techniques to stretch out my hair (without heat), shrinkage doesn’t even bother me now. In fact, if my hair didn’t shrink, this would indicate that there was something wrong with it.   So in my opinion 4b hair isn’t any harder to manage than other hair types it simply needs to be managed differently. I subscribe to YouTube channels of women with different hair types and I have seen the beauty of them all, but they all have their challenges.  For example very curly hair could be more difficult to manipulate as the natural curl pattern could interfere. If I had 4a hair I would have to learn how to deal with this, it wouldn’t make my hair harder or easier to manage, just different.

Negative comments

I have heard negative comments about natural hair looking ‘more African’ and 4b in particular being referred to in this way.  Black hair reflects African heritage. So to say someone’s hair looks more African (in a negative context) just because it’s natural or 4b, is plain ignorance. Why is something inferior simply because it looks ‘more African’ anyway? That’s implying that hair which reflects European or Asian heritage is more beautiful. That shouldn’t make it more beautiful, it should just make it beautiful in a different way. It’s a shame that these phrases are used and a lot of the negativity is coming from within the black community itself.  African hair is extremely diverse; no two hair textures are the same. Many women find that their hair is made up of more than one hair type anyway. Their hair may be 4a in the front and 3b towards the back for example. Again, this is the beauty of natural hair and these differences should be embraced, not used to create competition within the natural hair community.

Time consuming?

You learn more about your hair as time goes by. It used to take me four hours to detangle my hair, now I have learned to do it in less than one hour. This was simply by trying out different techniques. Saying that you don’t have time to be natural is again something that I do not think is a valid excuse. My profession required me to take a lot of work home with me in the evenings and it was a high pressured work environment. I simply had to learn to adapt my hair care regiment accordingly. I wore my hair in protective styles more often, which allowed me to leave my hair alone and gave me a break from dealing with it. Plus, since going natural I no longer spend my Saturdays travelling to and from the salon and waiting around for hours. I have always styled and managed my own natural hair. So  I may spend more time detangling but I spend less time and money going to the salon to get my hair relaxed, treated or weaved.

So whatever your hair type, embrace it because that’s what your hair is like naturally and no product or styling technique is going to change that. Don’t buy into the ranking of different hair types.  The hair typing system is supposed to be used as a guideline not as a ranking system of ‘good hair’ verses ‘bad hair’. Don’t go back to relaxer just because you have 4b hair, 4b hair is just as beautiful as the other hair types and has its advantages just like the others. Whatever your hair type, you are going to have to learn how to manage it and deal with challenges.   If you love your hair other people will, if you see it as inferior then that is the message you give to others. There’s enough prejudice out there, surely we can do without the kind that comes from within our own community.

.Celebrities with 4b hair?

Jill Scott

Jill Scott

Shingai Shoniwa

Shingai Shoniwa

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu

Janelle-Monae-Guide-006

Janelle Monae

My favorite 4b vloggers

Kinky Curly Coily Me

http://www.youtube.com/user/BlakIzBeautyful

African Export

http://www.youtube.com/user/africanexport

CharyJay 4b/4c hair

CharyJay 4b/4c hair

Kinksgalore

http://www.youtube.com/user/Kinksgalore/videos?flow=grid&view=0

CharyJay 

https://www.youtube.com/user/160Days2Lose2

Stayed tuned for next week where I explain how I manage my 4b hair.

Do you have 4b hair? What do you think about hair typing? Share your thoughts below:

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Step Away From the Relaxer!

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So you did the big chop or you are transitioning. It may have been a few months since you stopped relaxing your hair. Perhaps your hair is growing to an awkward stage where it’s no longer a cute TWA (teeny weenie afro), neither is it long enough for the big puffs and twist outs that frame your face. You are probably experiencing the perils of shrinkage and all of this will be new to you.  When you think about it, the last time we saw our natural hair was when we were kids. So the fact is, having natural hair will be something that you have to get use to and the longer your hair gets, the more challenges you are likely to face.

TWA

At this stage when your hair is growing out it may be difficult to make it presentable at times, especially when you have very little time. When I was at the TWA stage I would simply spray my hair with my water and glycerine mix, it would curl up nicely and I would be ready to go. At most, I would put a little flower in my hair or a scarf around my head to jazz it up. I loved this stage! People would ask me if I texturized my hair because it had a distinct curl pattern and was very soft. This was the last thing I expected before I went natural. My last memory of my natural hair was trying to pull a comb through it and it being dry and coarse. However, as I soon came to discover, it was never my hair that was the problem, it was my lack of knowledge. My lack of knowledge in caring for my natural hair caused me to use products that were not designed for my hair type, comb my hair in the wrong way and left it without being adequately moisturized.

After going natural and facing the challenge of my new length, again it was my lack of knowledge that was the problem, not my hair.  At every stage you will learn new things about caring for your hair, and it continues to be a learning process. If you are at this stage, do some research before considering going back to a relaxer. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some tips about overcoming this difficult stage. These helped me continue on my natural hair journey, I hope they will aldo help you:

1.  Don’t forget about braids, wigs or weaves.  If you are at that awkward stage and find that you don’t have the time to deal with your hair, just put it away for a few weeks. I found that a good wig helped me tremendously. This way I was able to cornrow my hair underneath and not have to deal with it. Also, this gives you the opportunity to change your style if you are stuck for ideas. Braids are great as well and still give you that natural hair look.  For instance you can get kinky twists which look like you just put your natural hair into two strand twists. The important thing to remember with braids and weaves is to not get them done too tight and to remember that your real hair still needs to be moisturized. You can spray your roots with the product of your choice or simply with a water, oil or glycerine mixture.  Also, if you are using a lace-front with glue avoid sticking the cap to your hairline or your edges will be harmed.

Be mindful of the effect such styles can have on your edges, a good hairstylist shouldn’t only be concerned about how good the style looks, they should also make it their priority to protect your real hair from damage.  Remember that hair sheds between 50  and 100 strands a day, so when you you loosen your hair you will find an accumulation of shed hair. It is nothing to worry about if you have not been neglecting your real hair. Of course weaves and wigs are not for everyone. I will also include a section about protective styles using your own hair. These also give you a break from daily styling and manipulation.

Solange usually wears afro style wigs

Brandy

Here is a vlogger that wears wigs and weaves regularly as a protective style.  Check out her channel for ideas. Her rants are also very interesting!

2. Moisturize correctly.

Dry hair becomes weak and is extremely difficult to manage. It makes life a lot more difficult when you are dealing with dry brittle hair. So keep your hair well moisturized .  I use to think that oil or Shea butter  alone moisturized my hair, and I would wonder why it would feel dry even when using a great amount.  Sometimes I would have so much oil in my hair it looked like Jheri curl! The fact is true moisture comes from water. Oil and Shea butter help to seal in the moisture, so that the water doesn’t just evaporate soon after.  If you apply oil or Shea butter alone, you are simply coating your hair and weighing it down.  So make sure your moisturizer is water based (aqua should be the first ingredient on the list) or you can simply spray your hair with water then follow it with an oil of your choice or Shea butter. I use coconut oil because it seals in moisture very well. I also use Shea butter, depending on how I feel. You could buy a leave in conditioner, these are usually water based, and then you can add oil to make sure the moisture is sealed in. I’m more of a juices and berries girl so I don’t use that many products. As long as I have Shea butter, coconut oil and water I’m fine.

I find a great time to moisturize my hair is when it is in twists. I allow them to become damp in the shower then I apply my coconut oil to seal the moisture in. I can wrap my hair (like I did when my hair was relaxed) and this usually stretches the twists to their original length or I just put them back in a bun.

I hope this has been helpful. Look out for some more helpful tips next week. What were the main challenges for you when you were transitioning or are you currently experiencing this. Share your stories here.