I've been handling my natural African hair for about a year now but I only just decided to investigate what my hair type is. Sounds a bit ridiculous but I didn't really think it was relevant so although I heard people discussing the issue in YouTube videos, I did not investigate my own hair type. Over time, however, I am learning that, the more I know about my own hair the better able I am to take care of it.
Hair types were officially defined by Oprah's hair stylist, Andre Walker, according to curls.biz.
Type 1 hair is straight, definitely not me.
Type 2 hair is wavy, again, not me.
Type 3 hair is curly, getting warmer but still not me.
Type 4 hair is kinky or coily, okay, I fall into this category.
Within each category (except 1) there are three more subdivisions: A, B and C, with A being the least wavy/curly/coily.
Going by the descriptions I have been reading, my hair is 4C: the type that is most vulnerable to dryness, brittleness and breakage. 4C hair needs to be treated with reverence to prevent damage and breakage. I know people with hair way kinkier than mine so I will classify myself a 4B plus / 4C minus (4B+/4C-) and hair more kinky as 4C plus.
Straight hair is the most naturally oily and least vulnerable to breakage.
Caucasian folk never have kinky hair and people with African blood don't have naturally straight hair. Because it is not uncommon for African Americans to have European ancestors they will very frequently fall into the 4A category or even 3C. As for Africans, we are mostly going to lie in 4B and 4C.
What does being a 4B+/4C- mean for me? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
I need to moisturize my hair daily. Spritzing my hair with water makes it much more manageable so I keep a little water spray bottle to hand. My hair routine has constantly evolved over the last year to adopt those strategies that keep it the most soft and supple. When my hair is soft it is actually really bouncy and very manageable.
Natural African hair does not like certain chemicals so whenever I buy hair products I go for those that are 100% made from natural materials because a lot of mainstream hair chemicals and oils have a drying impact on hair and/or make it more brittle. I avoid anything with:
I am hoping my hair blog will help fellow Africans that want to "go natural" and anyone that has adopted African kids and wants to learn how best to manage Afro hair.
Follow me @NenoNatural and check out Neno Natural's Haircare Store.
27/11/2012 08:20:08 pm
I am transitioning, 4 months now and need to know what to do with my hair during this period and also what products you recommend. My hair is VERY tough, and i dont want to be tempted to use a texturiser.
Heather @ Neno Natural
30/3/2013 07:55:45 pm
Heather @ Neno Natural
30/3/2013 08:02:03 pm
I meant *easy - sometimes the iPad has a mind of its own.
16/7/2013 11:55:26 am
I'm about 6 months into my natural hair and I'm bracing myself for the big cut. What's a good way to manage my natural roots while my ends still have relaxer in it?
7/12/2013 01:48:05 am
I am curly coily. Don't know which type, but doesnt matter. I use light products since heavy products reduce my curls more and weigh it down. I am totally natural. I BC six months ago and current my TWA is at the "in between stage"
10/12/2013 08:42:13 am
How can you tell your hair type... I can't tell what mine is =( Its kinda of soft (Kind of ilke baby hair without the curl) and wavy when it starts to grow but then it gets super frizzy when I let it out, there used to be curls when I first started transitioning ( 1 year now) but now they have seemingly disappeared now I (Sometimes) can't tell whats my perm and whats not the perm, i don't put any heat to it and I haven't since I've started (I do blow dry If I'm getting braids but I never have it heated I use the cold blow even though its takes awhile).... also do you have any shampoo suggestions i was using Aunt Jackie at first, but now it seems to be drying my hair out which is weird ( Carols daughters leaves my hair too heavy and greasy.. Miss Jessie really dried my hair out, Mixed Chicks left it goopy like Carols daughter, and Cantu has Sulfate any other suggestions??) I really need a shampoo but i can't seem to find any good ones...
27/12/2013 01:03:24 am
Try the shea moisture products.You can find them at Wal-Mart, Walgreen, and Target.
17/12/2013 11:23:36 am
My hair is crimpy..
15/1/2014 01:14:15 am
My hair texture has changed because the color is nearly white in front. I normally have 3b most sections, 4a hair. The whiter my hair becomes, the curls become straighter. I don't have coarse hair, but mildly thick, soft curly hair. Is that normal?
7/8/2014 05:58:55 pm
Mine should be 4E if there is such LOL. I moisturize it everyday but hey I love my hair.
13/10/2014 03:56:13 pm
lol! Try twisting after your washes to manage shrinkage and make management easier.
13/11/2014 07:41:24 am
So not true. Im African American with 4c natural hair. I am friends with many African women and most of their hair falls under 4a/4b. many Africans that ive come into contact with have very nice grades of hair
28/8/2015 02:49:01 pm
"Many African that I've come into contact with have very nice grades of hair" I'm African & have lived here forever and I've never met an African with non-4c hair. Not saying they don't exist but the overwhelming majority are 4c. 4c is a ''nice' grade of hair too, and saying it like 4a/4b are the only nice ones slaps the face & heritage of the majority with 4c hair. You may not have meant it that way but undertones in your comment are what make people prefer chemically-treated, damaged hair to their natural hair.
tons o' fluff
10/9/2015 02:01:38 pm
Um, maybe it just depends on the country you live in? I'm Nigerian (currently living in America) and most natural Nigerians I know fall in the 4a-4b category (One of my friends is even a in the 3c-4a range, her curls are biiiiig, I'm primarily 4a, with bits of 3c and 4b,). If it's a TWA, it'll probably look more undefined until you've gotten the hang of things and straightened out your routine. That's what happened to me, I wasn't moisturizing enough. Once a routine falls into place, if it's still pretty undefined then it's probably just a 4c. (Although I do agree, 4c is nowhere near bad hair, it's glorious!) ^v^
20/11/2014 01:20:48 am
For a long time I did not know what my hair type was. I recently found out that I have 2 types. Most of my hair (front to mid-back) of my head is 4c. The very bottom is 4a.
26/2/2015 04:45:43 pm
My hair is very dry, very porous, sensitive 4c. It shrinks when water touches it. It shrinks in humidity. It shrinks with products with water as the first ingredient. I want looser curls and less shrinkage. I have been natural for a year and a half. I am very frustrated. HELP ME!
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I now blog about wealth creation - so if you have any money questions meet me there, you can do all sorts of cool things like leave me a voicemail.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I was a natural hair blogger and mixtress living between London & Chicago from 2012 to 2017. I always thought I was 4C but some say 4B; images below - you decide! Heather xx