View Full Version : 4a's?

March 24th, 2014, 08:10 AM
Please a little help?

I am new, my hair is about an inch from apl although I thought it was actual apl before- I was wrong. It is natural with bleached and coloured ends which I am now growing out. There are two other textures on my head but looking at 4b photos, not that. And to be honest 3c ladies seem to have much bigger and more glossy curls than mine so not that either, a bit confused. My hair curls and defines very easily with or without product but they are small spirals (fine and smooth) apart from some coarser spirals at temple and crown. So I am going to say 4a, maybe there are different types of 4a?

Can anyone advise me on a new routine? I am a simple girl. I googled around first before posting here and saw some alternatives on two other boards I have seen mentioned here. But I don't see anything that fits my lifestyle and requirements.

My current routine is to co wash every day and then put more conditioner in and pin loosely and leave it to dry or I rinse the conditioner out and I put in some serum or coconut oil and a bit of gel. I like this routine, it is quick and easy. I am not fussed about products. Aussie stuff works for me but most things do or so I think.

On a daily basis, my day looks and feels fine but the cumulative effect is that when I re-wet it is does feel very dry. Re-wetting it and reconditioning helps but I can feel it is getting progressively drier. I really want to avoid doing deep conditioning and treatments. I like simplicity. Is there anything I can do to help my bit by bit on a daily basis?

I am willing to wash less but what do I do about keeping hair moisturised?

Here are things I am trying to avoid (though if I really do need to please let me know):

I do not want to wear false hair, to braid or twist my hair very small or in more than say two sections, I do not like greasy hair and I like my hair to be quick. I realise I may be asking for a regimen that maybe is not possible, with the things I want to avoid! I do hope not.

Please help me?! And sorry for the long rambly post. I have lots of questions and I don't want to be annoying..:flower:

March 24th, 2014, 08:18 AM
My current routine is to co wash every day and then put more conditioner in and pin loosely and leave it to dry or I rinse the conditioner out and I put in some serum or coconut oil and a bit of gel. I like this routine, it is quick and easy. I am not fussed about products. Aussie stuff works for me but most things do or so I think.

I think you've already got a great routine going (don't change stuff that works), so I have nothing to add to that. Maybe learn about protein in products and try to avoid those, if you want it more moisturized. Others can help you on recommending things for that! :)

chen bao jun
March 24th, 2014, 08:44 AM
There is a type 4 thread on here, you will probably find some good advice there. I call myself a 3c but my hair sounds a lot like what you describe. I think the difference is probably just curl size (mine are all at least pencil sized, some bigger than that). I also don't like to do lots of little braids or twists (and don't find them necessary), don't ever intend to wear false hair and don't like my hair to be greasy or 'producty' (I dislike those Miss Jessie's and gloppy products like that. At least, they are gloppy on me).
What has worked for me is discovering that my hair is low porosity and coarse (these other characteristics matter more, I think than actual curl size) and that I need to go to a certain amount of trouble to put moisture in, to avoid greasiness. I do SMTs (look them up) before every wash (I do this about once every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks) to get the moisture in there, cowash and then rinse in cool water with vinegar. Then I use a leavein, basically like the tightly curly method (tightlycurly.com), but let my hair dry while braided. Then for the rest of the time before my next wash, I just moisturize the ends each night with rosewater, put a sheabutter, cocoa butter mixture just on the ends, make two braids each night and sleep under a satin and in the morning, put in a bun of some sort. As my hair grows longer, I use different types of buns.
Hope this helps.
I did not have a perm when I came on this forum, either and did not blow dry, flat iron or color.
curl size. Most are like this, in the middle, some are bigger
http://i1280.photobucket.com/albums/a481/uloma1/hairtyping3c1_zpseb80789c.jpg (http://s1280.photobucket.com/user/uloma1/media/hairtyping3c1_zpseb80789c.jpg.html)
current braid
http://i1280.photobucket.com/albums/a481/uloma1/braidmarch2012_zps0f333fb1.jpg (http://s1280.photobucket.com/user/uloma1/media/braidmarch2012_zps0f333fb1.jpg.html)
loose hair with flaxseed gel in it, one year ago
http://i1280.photobucket.com/albums/a481/uloma1/faceless3c_zps4f07b363.jpg (http://s1280.photobucket.com/user/uloma1/media/faceless3c_zps4f07b363.jpg.html)

March 24th, 2014, 10:16 AM
Thanks Chen Bao Jun, our hair is very similar :D Thank you for the advice. I really like your routine- right up my street! Do you comb, finger comb or brush your hair into a bun or do you just mist and pull it back?

When you dry your hair in a braid is it one loose braid and then when dry you bun it? I am very keen to try your routine, perfect for me. I will be looking up SMT and Tightly Curly website in meantime. I will try rosewater. That is huge for me as I am loathe to try new products. I realise the rosewater may not be good for me but I am willing to try it. Also is coconut oil ok for the ends of my hair? Or is it too light? I will look out for shea/ cocoa butter but have a small amount of coconut oil to use up first.

March 24th, 2014, 10:18 AM
Thanks lapushka also. I will look up proteins in my gel and conditioner. That probably plays a part.

Awesome braid btw chen. I would love to have thicker hair.

March 24th, 2014, 12:29 PM
I tend to group 3c, 4a and 4b together as "super curly". I'm not good at the fine distinctions between them (not surprising given that my hair is naturally straight).

I agree that texture and porosity definitely matter. My hair is ridiculously fine, and a lot of the standard porosity tests give weird results with my hair as a result. Doesn't matter how processed or unprocessed it is, my hair floats. Both in water and in air. It didn't stop floating into giant tangles when I wore it down until I was past waist length. And thanks to the fine texture, it's *really* good at sticking to all kinds of surfaces via surface tension. I suspect from the joy of tangling and incredible velcro power that my porosity is relatively high for a straight and fine person.

I'd also say skin type matters. My skin is pretty dry. Lots of hangnails. Lots of dry patches. If I am not religious about the right kinds of moisturizers, I'll end up with cracked and bleeding spots everywhere, including my scalp. And joy of joys, it's sensitive to a lot of fragrances. So I can pretty easily wind up in a spiral of doom where my scalp itches from strong, drying detergents and the fragrance, so I need to wash, so it gets more dried out... ew. The better I am about sticking with fragrance free products that don't dry out my skin and don't make me itch, the easier life is. A lot of conditioners that are aimed at fine hair or straight hair or volumizing tend to be fairly drying even if they feel nice in the shower. I have learned through painful experience to read labels, and if in doubt go for products claiming they're for dry or color treated hair. I'll often poke around curly hair oriented threads and forums looking for fragrance free products that aren't hateful, because my odds go way up that way.

Definitely check out the type 4 thread, even if you think your hair is straighter than that. Really, most of the threads providing support for one or another extreme of type tend to be helpful. Also, I think a certain degree of fussing about ingredients is worthwhile, if not exact products. For me, behentrimonium methosulfate and other chemicals that are related to it are really good in conditioner. The higher that is on the ingredients list, the better for me. It just works well in my hair. (and I know I'm not the only one around here to love that one) For other folks, it might be a particular silicone type ingredient, or glycerin is the kiss of death, or or or. It's not just protein vs protein free, or all alcohol is evil.

And while I'm not an expert on curly hair, I do think the instinct of benign neglect is a good one. Not do nothing. Do what your particular head of hair needs, and no more.

chen bao jun
March 24th, 2014, 01:05 PM
Hi! today is a bad day for me, I have a deadline that has arrived, so I can't post all that much. glad that you think I was helpful to you, Cremetron. Your hair is going to behave differently from mine, however, just from the fact that you are fine and I am coarse. Rosewater (which you can just find in health food stores, usually in spritzers) is a good moisturizer I think for just about everybody. But my shea butter cocoa butter mix may be very heavy for and over powering for fine hair, since my hair is so coarse (thick strands) that I can literally sew buttons on with it. I am guessing you will need something lighter.
This is why Lapushka is right that looking around on the 4 thread will be helpful to you. But look on the 3 thread also and look anywhere (even if it for natural blondes) where they talk about fine hair.

Torrilin, 3c, 4a and 4b probably do look very much alike to people with the straighter hair types but do not behave alike (not even bringing into the equation the differences that there will be between fine and coarse and the different porosities and what you can do with dense (lots of strands) hair as opposed to thin (fewer strands) hair). It took me 50 years to figure out what to do with my hair partly because it does not behave well when it is treated as if it is type 4, although I have many things in common with type 4, especially 4a. When I read Cremetron's query, I suspected at once that she is in a similar situation because she wrote that the things that are usually recommended for 'natural hair care' to people with African types of hair (of which 3c is certainly one) such as lots of tiny braids and twists, and lots of the 'standard' products, (Miss Jessie's, Eco styler gel) are just disasters with type 3c hair. I know, I have been that route, in fact I did 'braidouts' for 10 years: once I started to be 'natural' I thought that was what you did. My hair got shorter and shorter and dryer and dryer and was making unwanted dreads. i will post some photos when I have time. Horror show! While the little braiding, and many of the products, really are good for my mother, who is a type 4b and have made her hair healthy and happy. So while in a way, hair is hair, and curly hair is curly hair, in other ways, it just is not so. I find I have to do a combination of things. i can no more treat my hair as if it is 4b than I can treat it as if if were 3b (I tried curly girl and while it was an improvement in a lot of ways, my hair type does need some braiding. Big braids, yes. But I cannot do that plop thing and leave my hair out, it will shrink and twist together and jsut be horrible to deal with). so its all trial and error and sometimes not what you expect.

To answer a couple of your other questions, Curltron, I only fingercomb and only fingercomb with conditioner in my wet hair to detangle. I wash it in loose braids (really cuts down on tangling and thus on the need to detangle) and then I braid it in a sort of crown braid which is a cornrow going around my head. If it dries while in a braid, it stays detangled and the leave-in conditioner stays in it, leaving it properly moisturized. My hair is very different when properly moisturized than it is when not (being low porosity, it is hard to moisturize) so I try to keep that conditioner in!
i NEVER brush my hair-- or very very little. when I make a bun, I just pull it back and smooth with my fingers and let my texture show. I really strongly feel that one thing black women in general do that is incredibly destructive to hair is the savage brushing at the edges to get a 'smooth' look, with often several kinds of 'edge control' products. (I see this on youtube all over and I just about die). I would rather have curly or frizzy edges than get that awful baldness you see on so many black women where the edges should be. And I'm not ashamed of having tightly curly hair! Actually, I love it and I sense you love yours too and are looking forward to refining your routine and growing your hair long long long.
My hair is naturally very high density (thick), I don't have any suggestions for increasing thickness. I know my mom brought back her bald spots (from tight braiding and brushing 4b hair) with castor oil on her scalp, I don't know if this will increase density beyond what you naturally have (in terms of how many hair follicles). I doubt it. I do know that my hair seems even thicker now that I wash more gently and don't yank out at the root, but as I said, the thickness is really just genetic.
Do look up tightlycurly.com. Teri LaFlesh is great. Be sure to look at her before and after photos.

March 24th, 2014, 01:20 PM
I'd look at your conditioner. If your hair is curling and is easy to manage with your current routine, my guess is the steps are right, but one or more of the products is wrong.

A. Aussie and such are high in silicones. Over time, these coat the hair and can make them drier. Have you tried a low-silicone conditioner like Suave or Burt's Bee's Gud? Good slip, helps with detangling, but little to no build-up.

B. Does your gel contain alcohol? Even if you add oil to your leave-in mix, alcohol is incredibly drying. You could try an alcohol free brand or a popular substitute like Kinky Curly or Knot Today.

I'd honestly clarify (to remove whatever buildup is there, I know clarify is awful but it may be worth it), condition (silicone free), oil soak (I prefer olive/cocoa/shea/avacado/coconut...in whatever ration strikes your fancy), co-wash again (silicone free), and check your leave-in products. Watch your hair over 2 weeks to a month and see if there's improvement.

I hope that helps!

March 24th, 2014, 03:52 PM
Also wanted to add:

Sometimes the hair dries out no matter how good you are. Especially in the winter. Despite being pretty adherent to a good hair plan, I still have to deep oil soak my hair about every 2 months and i just consider that part of having my hair.

Either way, I'm sure you'll find a routine that works for you and is easy to handle.

March 24th, 2014, 04:37 PM
Have you heard of the LOC method yet? It's a styling method. More here:

March 26th, 2014, 03:10 AM
Thank you everyone. I am working nights until Saturday and also want to research all your helpful suggestions so will reply properly in a few days.

CremeTron xox

March 29th, 2014, 05:08 PM
Thank you Torrilin. I read the type 4 thread (took me about 3 days!) a few weeks back. I also read the curly and wurly thread- I think it's called. I just found most people had product heavy regimens or they had a lot of steps and I felt overwhelmed and unsure that I could keep up! Now I have just plain decided that I will just remain simple. obviously what they do is simple for them too, no judgements.

March 29th, 2014, 05:28 PM
lapushka- thank you. I followed your link and have purchased a cream and oil to do this method. I wanted to give up gel anyway. I think my hair will do well on it and it is not complicated. I ended up watching about 20 videos! Love YouTube, really keeps one captive!

Chen bao- Thanks for taking the time to reply even with your heavy schedule. You clarifying that hair types between 3c to 4B do behave vastly differently did help. I have purchased rosewater and I do feel it will work for me. I have found most things do. During school a couple of decades ago and for many weeks even now due to living in a semi- rural area with no car I have gone for weeks just using water and vaseline or nivea and my hair is fine just greasy- yuck! I looked it up online and after reading lots of reviews I do think it will give me what I want.

When you mentioned the slicking down of edges I could see right away we have the same priorities- I actually giggled a bit!!! . I never do this and really don't see the point either. I accept my thin hair I just wish I had been born with thick. I looked up Teri LaFlesh. Gorgeous hair- All that brushing though.... I will stick to combing through in the shower.

CurlyCap- I have seen your hair and admired it a lot. What you said chimed as realise we have had a very cold winter in the UK. And after looking into the LOC method I wonder if the weather was an influence as my hair is normally ok and stood up to a lot of abuse in the past. I am not sure my hair is bothered by cones. It tends to rinse very clean with just water, though I co-wash anyway. It is an important consideration and I will pay attention to it. I am sure with research I can find a cone-free brand if I find I do need to change.

Forgot to say Torrillin that I have started reading labels!!!! And I am giving up gel- I planned to anyway but I get dry, itchy scalp on my crown and it might help.

Ladies, you are wonderfully helpful!!

chen bao jun
March 29th, 2014, 07:42 PM
Good luck to you, Cremetron.
I think we do have the same priorities. I have found that 'natural' doesn't usually mean as 'natural' as i want to be--not that I object to other people doing what they want to, but it can be a little hard to find a role model.
I love Teri Laflesh but I did throw that brush out pretty soon. I jsut use my fingers, too.

March 29th, 2014, 09:16 PM
Agreed, Chen Bao! You said it. Without realising it, I guess I am looking for a role model. You are kinda mine.... but my hair is "kinkier" than yours, with bleached ends I am growing out. I probably have to be more careful with mine as my hair is fine and seems a little brittle in comparison to yours.

There is a young lady name bootyfurl I think on Youtube. She did a protective style in 30 secs and I thought a woman after my own heart! She does not talk about what products she uses and is very young, her other hairstyles are not my cup of tea but she has the most lovely 4c hair (did not know that was a type until I watched videos) and it is waist length.

So.... I am hoping I will find another similarly fairly low maintenance lady on YouTube who might elaborate a bit more. I am happy to do Co wash, rosewater, Aussie leave- in, sweet almond oil (just ends), and a little cream from now on for as long as it works now though.

I will be doing SMT you recommended too about once monthly- still need to buy the aloe vera though.

I found a lady with my hair type finally on Youtube, she does not say what she is but I guess 4a. My hair looks exactly like hers and behaves the same but she styles a lot. Still it's good to finally find my hair type on someone else. I felt so in between!

March 29th, 2014, 09:23 PM
Forgot to say lady with my hair type is named 007newnew. When she wets her hair it looks exactly like mine. Hers seem a tad fluffier than mine, not sure how else to describe it. Oh and just realised she is a 4a/ 4b. She does twistouts so I think I must be a solid 4a but I now realise hair typing is less than half the story so I am not fixated on that any more. I need to learn about what works for my porous, fine hair more than anything else. Will get a photo posted one day.

April 1st, 2014, 02:43 AM
My hair is 3c, but I have a section of 4a hair. I handle that section more carefully. I finger detangle when it is wet and sometimes when it is dry. I don't manipulate it much. As for the dryness you feel, you can try aloe vera juice. It might help moisturize it. Glycerin can also help as it draws moisture from the air into the hair. Sealing your hair with an oil will help lock the moisture in. You could also try washing your hair with indian herbs. They cleanse the hair, but don't strip moisture. You should check out naptural85 on youtube. She has long, beautiful 4a hair and great tips on taking care of it. I hope I helped a little.

April 1st, 2014, 02:56 PM
Thanks I will look up Naptural85. I am really getting into hair videos now. Where would I get the Indian herbs? I am interested to at least try it as a one off.

April 1st, 2014, 02:58 PM
Thanks I will look up Naptural85. I am really getting hair videos now. Where would I get the Indian herbs? I am interested to at least try it as a one off.

That 4a patch must be a pain!

April 1st, 2014, 03:22 PM
Good luck to you, Cremetron.
I think we do have the same priorities. I have found that 'natural' doesn't usually mean as 'natural' as i want to be--not that I object to other people doing what they want to, but it can be a little hard to find a role model.
I love Teri Laflesh but I did throw that brush out pretty soon. I jsut use my fingers, too.

Yeah, I wind up buying a lot of "natural" products, and I don't really use silicones... but that's a side effect of my fragrance free quest more than any real desire for natural or cone-free. Since "natural" isn't FDA regulated as an advertising term, it can mean whatever the company wants it to mean. Convenient for them, less convenient for me... or at least not convenient the way they want.

I wound up helping my sister look for conditioners/styling creams/gels to boost her braid waves, and we wound up (again) reading labels in the "natural" section, looking for the fragrance free products. We found several that might work out for her, so I may have new product reviews to post in a few months :D.

I don't solely use my fingers, but fingers are very awesome, and almost everyone has them. And they're really hard to misplace.

April 1st, 2014, 03:42 PM
Torrilin, I bought a conditioner recently that turned out to be cone free. All accidental but it only 3 from my local shop and a large bottle, makes my hair very soft, so it's a win! Tressemme Naturals. Got sick of paying 5 for a small Aussie conditioner. And perhaps you guys are right about the cone thing.

I can see myself moving in the same direction as you. I do buy for convenience but I prefer more natural and fuss free to a degree stuff. I agree that "natural" is convenient for "them". I am now using rosewater which a London friend kindly sourced for me and almond oil and to be honest am now working on how to ditch conventional conditioner and gel.

I will certainly be looking out for your product reviews if you do them (!) and it is awesome that I never forget to bring my fingers into the shower, unlike my comb.. :D

April 3rd, 2014, 08:07 PM
Thanks I will look up Naptural85. I am really getting hair videos now. Where would I get the Indian herbs? I am interested to at least try it as a one off.

That 4a patch must be a pain!

You're welcome. You can get Indian herbs from a store that sells indian products. Atleast, that was where I got mine from. I think there is a thread on indian herbs on here somewhere. Yeah, that patch can be troublesome and tends to grow slower than the rest of my hair.