After my last post I thought critically about the readers on my blog and my role as an influencer. Due to the very diverse nature of my readers. I felt the need to address a few concerns of mine. The misconception of “one size fits all” is tragic. It was after this realisation that I decided to speak about the issue of all textures matter (say no to 4c self hate).
Conversely, once classification exists, it causes more harm than good to a few categories. Women with tighter curl patterns do not feel as celebrated as those with looser curl patterns in the natural hair community. When people refer to someone having “good /beautiful hair”, they are usually referring to people with looser curl patterns. Unfortunately, there are plenty of influencers spreading the “one size fits all ideology”. The idea that if one uses certain products and techniques, they will achieve those desired; defined, wavy and loose curls. It results into false expectation that someone with 4b/4c hair will achieve a 3a curl. There’s plenty of false titles such as “how to do… on 4c” and yet once viewed you realise the hair texture is far from 4c. Please be mindful of these scenarios.
I have come across web searches; How to change your hair texture naturally! And many more titles alike. The harm this has caused is that it has created a climate of opinion whereby people feel the need to manipulate their natural texture because they feel theirs is undesirable. The natural hair movement is supposed to empower people to embrace their natural curls so that one is completely confident with their natural beauty. However, it now appears to have created a stigma whereby people feel their hair is ugly, simply because it doesn’t fit the ‘norm’ they are desperately trying to achieve.
“I woke up in my studio apartment in freezing Sweden and decided to embrace all of me, kinky curls and all”. Pamela
I will mention this again, if you are looking for inspiration especially with managing your hair texture, please look out for those with your similar hair texture because it is more beneficial to you and your hair journey.
My sister and I have completely different hair textures, mine looser than hers. Growing up, I wished I had her texture and vice versa. Human nature is interesting! We always want/appreciate more what we don’t have. We have both grown to love and embrace our textures for what they are. I love the diversity in the natural hair community and all has to be embraced.
“I love how thick and full of life she is, how she stands proud like an afro despite the length and how versatile she is”. Atupele
“Even within our own supposedly safe spaces, we’re still fighting to be included” (nikki brown).
My 4c hair is unmanageable!
I will be honest, learning to deal with natural hair takes time and patience until you find what works best for your hair texture. My texture ranges from 4a to 4b, I sometimes receive comments like; “I didn’t expect your hair to feel so soft, it looked hard!”, “why don’t you comb your hair?” etc.
Having 4c texture does not at all equate to hard hair. Most 4c people will say their hair is hard and no comb can pass through. I beg to differ. If you are going to comb your hair dry and tangled, please expect no comb to pass through. I used to help out a friend of mine to style her hair which is 4c. She initially complained about the latter, but once I was done moisturizing and detangling her hair, she had a different perspective. Her hair was soft and manageable. The way you comb your hair also matters. 4c texture has tight curls and therefore, it tangles and dries out very easily. I also LEARNT that if I don’t moisturize my hair properly and consistently, the hair will definitely look crusty, dry and super coarse and I would always go to bed dreading having to style it the next day because it is ‘hard’. The problem I had was simply avoiding putting in the work and time to care for my hair. Constant manipulation isn’t good for your hair because our hair tends to be dry and brittle, therefore, prone to breakage. It is best to keep in protective styles that don’t require your hands in your hair every other day. Managing 4C hair can be difficult for beginners because of its coarse texture and extreme shrinkage during wash day. Stay tuned for tips on how to manage 4C hair.
Nonetheless, we have made so much progress. A friend recently shared how she was really impressed by how her work environment was extremely receptive with how black women chose to wear their hair. When she had just started working at that company, she always wore her hair straight because that is what she assumed was accepted as professional. Isn’t it sad to think that there’s something wrong with the way your strands naturally come out of your scalp.
Empowerment should encourage people to not have to conform to a specific narrative. I want to continue to challenge the mainstream perceptions of beauty and encourage others to “love themselves as they are”.
As usual, I prefer to share people’s personal experiences on a topic. So, here are a few friends sharing their 4c natural hair journey.
Growing up, the idea of getting my hair done was dreadful. The pain that came with all the pulling and tugging from people who didn’t know how to manage my kinky 4c hair, lead me to relax my hair at 7 years old. From 7-22, I lived with relaxed hair till one day, I woke up in my studio apartment in freezing Sweden and decided to embrace all of me, kinky curls and all. I chopped off all my relaxed hair and started one of the most satisfying self-love journey I had never imagined. Today, I have learnt to manage and love my 4c hair for all that it is and I look forward to all that it will become.
I had my big chop in November 2014 but only after I had thought about it for over 6 months. I also made sure that my close friend Pam who had big chopped in June of the same year was comfortable and confident enough to help me through the transition. I felt that would make the journey easier, and while having a curl friend does help, having a curl friend with a different hair texture doesn’t necessarily help the way I was hoping it would. Pam’s hair is combination 4a and 4b with a patch of 4c, whereas mine is full on 4c, so while her advice was great, it left me feeling like my hair would never be as easy to maintain as hers seemed to be.
Aside from her, I was also consuming and looking at lots of content from naturals online and boy, when I tell you I had information overload, that would be an understatement. I felt so blessed to find a community of sisters sharing products, tricks, styling methods and just their overall journeys but I honestly did not know whose routines to follow. I remember my first night in my teenie weenie afro (#twagang); I twisted my hair DRY (dry you guys lol) with no product whatsoever and slept in some head scarf and expected it to just magically have volume and look Instagram ready, I can assure you it did not look cute, so I combed it out the next morning.
Years later, I have heard so many negative comments towards 4c hair like “why is your hair so hard?” even after I deep conditioned and moisturized and did all the things or “you should just comb it out, it looks like you don’t care” after I did a bantu knot out or braid out or any styling and it has taken me years to discover my hair and figure out what she likes and doesn’t like. Every relationship has its ups and downs but I can say now what I know for sure is that I love my 4c hair. I love how thick and full of life she is, how she stands proud like an afro despite the length and how versatile she is i.e. she never looks the same two times in a row. With some tender, love and devotion she blossoms. I wouldn’t trade it for any other texture in the world.
Just incase you got this far and you don’t know what the various curl patterns look like, here it is.
*Remember you are marked by flawless craftsmanship*