The myth of 4C natural hair will not die no matter how many times we fight the air. SO many comments of “my 4c could never” and “that won’t work on 4c hair” but we have yet to get a straightforward explanation on what exactly 4C means.
What we have assumed it to mean by the inquiries we’ve received is that when a person perceives they have “4C hair” they are saying that their hair is very tightly coiled/waved and they have been following a set of care practices that have not been beneficial to the health or aesthetic of their natural hair. Here are 4 reasons why your “4C” is greek to me:
#1. You Use the Imaginary Number/Letter System In Natural Hair Conversations
Andre Walker, Oprah’s stylist, classified natural hair into a number/letter system based on the curl diameter (the circumference of a curl, kink or wave). In a book he wrote, type 4 folks were encouraged to get a relaxer for manageability.
Although the imaginary number letter system is slowly creeping its way into cosmetology circles (heavy side eye at you Aveda) as cosmetologists we know the exact things to look for when working with clients’ hair and we are sharing them with you. So, what factors do cosmetologists use to evaluate your hair? A little thing we like to call The Essential Elements of Hair. These are the generally accepted principles (GAP) in the study of hair as understood by cosmetologists, dermatologists, and lay people alike.
#2. You’ve Never Felt What Your Natural Hair Should Actually Feel Like
When you treat your hair in a “4C” manner, we believe your hair starts behaving 4C. We have to stop putting judgment on our hair, and evaluate it for what it actually is. Using raw ingredients or oils and butters to moisturize can cause the hair to become extremely dehydrated, full of product build-up. When we don’t cleanse, condition and style on a regular basis, we have no idea how our natural hair should actually feel from day-to-day, which is why we strongly encourage everyone to go through the #30DayHairDetox before partnering with a stylist. Even when some naturals do feel their hair, they don’t like it based on the fact that it doesn’t feel like or look like someone else’s hair, immediately ascribing something wrong that we have to fix, when that. aint. it.
#3. You Use Relaxed Hair As a Reference Point
We know many naturals are very familiar with our former relaxed hair appearances, where the hair hung down and looked shiny. 2-Dimensional hair is defined as hair that hangs down and lays flat aka naturally straight or wavy/relaxed or pressed hair. Natural hair is considered 3-Dimensional hair, meaning it doesn’t live down, it lives in space. We cannot compare our processed, relaxed hair to un-processed relaxed hair since they are two different things that will not look the same. It’s like comparing cooked apples to actual apples, you’re going to get a different apple! We have to get comfortable with how our natural hair looks, and form a healthy care routine where we feel confident wearing it out.
#4. You Allow Product Companies to Profit off Your Hair Insecurities
We have ascribed this incredibly negative and self loathing perspective on what 4C hair is. Then, we ascribe our hair to 4C when it is dry, dehydrated, has product build-up, when we don’t know want to do with it, don’t like the finished styling, have breakage, or don’t like how it feels. Product companies are listening to the common struggles we have with our hair, and are marketing to those insecurities to get us to purchase their products. If you believed you were “4C” you’d fall for “4C” marketing tactics and buy all the products to improve your experience with your hair.
Ready to shift your mindset and the way you 4C your experience with natural hair? Learn how with our free #30DayHairDetox Mini Guide. To receive your free copy, subscribe to our email list.