The Underrepresentation of 4C Hair

Natural hair texture varies from naturalista to naturalista. In order to accurately identify and properly take care of your hair, each hair texture has been categorized based on how tight or loose the curls appear. Below I’ve attached one of many hair-typing charts.

natural hair chart

As you can see, natural hair can take on various curl patterns, each beautiful in its own way!

Although the beauty of natural hair has been gaining more and more acceptance, 4C hair, the kinkiest, coarsest texture, has been left out of the spotlight. Have you ever noticed when you are searching for new hair inspiration on Tumblr, YouTube or Instagram that there’s a lack of images of 4c hair? Have you ever wondered why there’s very few blogs, vlogs, and hair care lines dedicated to the tighter, kinkier hair textures? Have you ever wondered why the face of natural hair doesn’t represent the majority of natural women?

The fact that 4C hair isn’t as visible as the other hair textures is problematic; from not being able to find YouTube videos that carter to your hair type to being marginalized and placed in a hierarchy where your hair texture isn’t seen as beauty, 4C curlies have a hard time learning about and enjoying their natural hair journeys.

Before we start discussing the marginalization of women with 4C hair and all that, let’s start with the basics!

Identifying your hair type and learning where to find help is the first step.

4c hair has very unique traits, which helps natural women (and men) easily identify their hair type.

  1. Shrinkage is SO real!

Yes, all natural hair experiences shrinkages, however, 4C hair can appear significantly short in its natural state compared to its stretched or straighten state.

  1. It doesn’t have a high natural luster or appear to be highly textured.

Although you have a curl pattern, your curls are so tightly formed that it looks like they’re not there at all. And for luster, well … there isn’t much of that either despite the fact that your hair is moisturized and soft.

  1. Your hair tends to grow “up and out” rather than growing “down”.

This is personally my biggest problem with 4c hair. Because 4c hair doesn’t show its true length, often girls with this hair type believe their hair isn’t growing. It is. Trust me.

  1. Locks and tangles are a daily struggle!

4c hair is prone to tangling and locking up because of its tight curls and high density. Relying on finger detangling more than combs and brushes can reduces the stress and breakage that accompanies the detangling process.

Another problem us 4c beauties have is finding YouTube videos and Natural inspiration to drool over like our finer textured sisters. Here are a few YouTube channels you should check out!

  1. Tiffany Malone
  2. VeePeeJay
  3. NaturalMe4C
  4. JourneyTo WaistLength
  5. 4c Hair Chick
  6. WestAfricanBaby

Want to join the conversation? This Sunday we will be hosting a tweetchat at 8pmEST/7pm CST on the underrepresentation of 4C hair. All you have to do is chime in via twitter using the hashtag #CurlyInCollege so we can find and keep up with all the tweets. Can’t wait to chat about this with you!

 

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Chyna Jones

Chyna Jones

Chyna Jones is a sophomore at the University of Alabama double majoring in Psychology and African American Studies. She has been natural for two years after transitioning for 5 months. Her hobbies include yoga, doing hair and make up, and working with her community. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

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