I have Type 4 Hair. I used to think 4C but now I’m not so sure. What I would say is that I have the 4 and maybe a little 3, I don’t know. I’m not sure. I don’t really care.
Perhaps it’s being part of Curly groups with a lot of underrepresentation of my hair type or just being in a world where afro hair is not treated with as much respect as other types but I’m completely over some of the trends, definitions, rules that try to put my hair or any hair in a box. Such as (and be prepared, I’m abut to ramble!):
Frizz is the enemy
Type 4 hair is hard to look after
Products can make your hair grow
Hair typing is important.
None of that is wholly true. There are some truths in it but none of it’s completely true.
I see so many people “battling” their frizz when to my eye, their hair looks incredible. Now I can’t overrule how someone sees themselves but perhaps if we didn’t put so much pressure on perfection, they’d be able to see the beauty in it themselves. And I think this fear of frizz is even to the point where it’s not even always frizz that people are trying to tame or hide. Most of us have more than one type of curl on our heads. And if you don’t like “frizz” okay, let’s do something about it but try to not let it ruin your day. Even “perfect” curly hair is unpredictable and it will almost never turn out how you expect! Perhaps my lack of interest in managing frizz comes from not having a super defined curl pattern but still, I think we may need to chill out a bit.
Don’t get me wrong, when mine or my kids hair are in protective styles and that halo starts to appear, I notice it. I wish those little hairs creeping out stayed in their place a little longer. But then I think, my hair is in a protective style, is the majority of my hair still protected? Yes. Then let’s move on. And with the kids, they’re kids. They spend half their lives on their heads. Think of all those memes about beautiful hairstyles in the morning and then looking like they’ve been through a hedge by home time, some things you just have to try and accept, live with or deal with without the histrionics.
I’d personally prefer volume over definition anyway!
Length is important, no doubt. But this chasing of length can lead to you not enjoying your journey. The first few years of this after I shaved my head, I would constantly length check. How many centimetres has my hair grown? Is it past my eyebrows, past my ears, nose, lips? I did say things like “health over length” but did I really truly mean it? Nope but I faked it until I made it, which is where I am now having put the measuring tape away. I see other people who cut their hair super short or even shaved it all off like me and 18 months later their at shoulder length. It’s hard to see.
But my hair is my hair. It grows at it’s own rate. It’s doing it’s thing…slowly, but doing it. I’m getting good length retention because it’s healthy. I’m not scared anymore to trim it and lose a little length each time because it all adds to the overall goal. Don’t get me wrong, I still want hair to my bum but I’ve taken away time pressure and looked at other mini goals that are in reach. Like making sure I’m consistent, keeping a protective style in for as long as I said I was going to, trimming regularly, the next length goal rather than the ultimate length goal (i.e. shoulder length rather than tailbone length).
Type 4 Hair Is Hard
Type 4 hair is fragile, often dry and hard to moisturise, therefore prone to breakage. And a routine to care for it is likely to take longer to complete than someone with straight hair. But what I’ve found from the curly groups I’m in is that all non-straight hair is complicated to deal with. We all have to find routines that work for us – some as simple as wash with shampoo and use a leave-in to a 30 step, 2 day wash day routine. But once you are in the rhythm of your routine, it’s not hard, it’s just…well routine! Like washing yourself, getting up in the morning. I promise you, you can make it work. And if you want to keep it super simple:
- Define/ Style
Products Do The Work
They really don’t. You do the work. I was the kind of person buying new products literally every month trying to find perfection. All it did was waste a lot of money I could have used for more important things. That’s not to say I won’t carry on buying stuff, I will but not in the fruitless pursuit of finding products that will make my hair grow or make it curlier. After all the products I’ve bought I’ve come to the conclusion that while products will aid in this (and there are a few things to consider in terms of ingredients) it is more about technique and consistency.
Hair Typing Is Amazing (When It Actually Sucks Balls)
Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Type 4.
How about Type Healthy? I very much prefer to use the terms Wavy, Curly, Coily and Kinky because I think people know where they stand with this better, although I still use Typing language because it’s more prevalent. There’s a lot of ambiguity in the typing system, partly because there is no standardised format. And what I’ve found from having 5 distinct hair patterns at home is that no product or technique should be completely discounted in your search for hair help. But hair typing is needlessly restrictive and it creates pressure, hierarchy and confusion. But whatever you do or you use, don’t use the word “chonky.” Ew. Plus you’ve got a lot more to worry about than Hair Type as you should also be considering, density, porosity and a good protein moisture balance!
Ramble over, I think there is some sense in there somewhere. Anhyhoo…
Let’s keep growing together!
xx Lee xx