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Is All Hair Versatile Except Fine, 4C Hair?

Avatar • Nov 22, 2014

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I remember smiling when I read this witty comment by BGLH blog reader A Simple Thing on the article about the types of naturals who should avoid heat:

’ It’s like having fine and kinky hair is the universe’s way of saying “Everyone’s hair is versatile – except yours.” It’s like Oprah giving everyone a car, except you. ’

All jokes aside, it is a thorn in the side of some naturals that fine kinky 4c hair seems to always come with a warning label. Is it really less versatile?

1. For the Motion
There are so many reasons why it can be argued that fine 4c hair lacks versatility . These reasons are mostly hinged on what fine, kinky 4c hair either cannot do well or does to an extreme including:
‑Heat straightening without getting damaged /split ends. Needing a trim after a heat styling session.
‑Hair cannot be detangled easily within 15 — 20 mins.
‑Necessity to handle strands very gently to avoid breakage.
‑Susceptibility to mid-shaft splits and single strand as well as complex knots.
‑Very high shrinkage even with minor wetting.
‑General necessity to protectively style hair most of the time to gain length.

2. Against the Motion
While all the reasons listed previously are above, it is possible to issue a rebuttal against each one:
— Fine kinky 4c hair can be heat straightened but it just has to be kept to a minimum and it has to accepted that some damage will be accrued.
— You can reduce detangling time by maintaining styles that reduce knotting and tangling which are the two main factors that increase detangling time.
— Handling hair gently enough to avoid breakage is necessary for anyone who wants to grow longer hair. Some of us just have to be more gentle than others.
‑Mid shaft splits and knotting can be exacerbated by styling and therefore can also be reduced by modifying how you style your hair.
— Stretched styles are great if you do not want to embrace shrinkage. Slipping your free hair into a bun when it starts drizzling is also an easy way to control minor wetting shrinkage.
— Most long haired 4c naturals will sing the praises of protective styling and there are so many beautiful styles within that genre that it is redundant to suggest it as a limiting factor.

Summary
Your hair is as versatile as you deem it to be.  There are things that those of us with fine 4c kinky hair will know without doubt will break or damage our hair. However, some of us will do them anyway because we accept that we will sacrifice a little bit of progress and enjoy, for example, a straight hair day. There are others in the bunch who do not accept this as they want to make a steady march towards length. Accept it for what it can do, work with its properties to get into the style you desire or just work with styles that you know it can do well. Ultimately, it is your hair and you should enjoy it rather than let it shackle you.

4C ladies, chime in! What are your thoughts on this?

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Kris
Kris
5 years ago

it’s hard to do much with my hair…i have to be very careful and i dont style it at all

after a year of no heat, i blew dry my hair and had to get it cut from all the splits…i do everything to protect my hair and it still seems to split

sounds terrible but wigs are my friend

Indigo
Indigo
5 years ago
Reply to  Kris

agree with you, wigs and 80% protective staying for me…2strand twists is all that do..

Runy
Runy
5 years ago
Reply to  Kris

Wigs are my best Friend too

AmyL
AmyL
5 years ago

I have fine 4C hair which I love. It’s true what the article says in the summary. At times we may want to do something different like use heat but generally my top tip is to know your own hair and find what works best. After a year fully natural and a year transitioning before that, I have learned that heat & I don’t have to be friends, that protein is my friend and that Protective Styles are important to me. I have blow dried my hair twice and straightened just once the other week since starting my journey and… Read more »

Vonnie
Vonnie
5 years ago

This s**t right here. …

Thank you, BGLH, for continuing to perpetuate the “hair type division” within the natural community. I knew there was a reason I started to fall back from this site, and lo and behold this article proves me right. I’m done ..

Carlee
Carlee
5 years ago
Reply to  Vonnie

This particular author though… She always talks about how 4c hair can’t do anything but be put in a protective style 24/7 and be finger detangled.

Elle
Elle
5 years ago

The ONLY hair you know, is your own. Natural hair gurus/scientists/stylists and other know-it-alls can claim they know the dos and don’ts of ‘4C’ hair — but they don’t!

Let’s stop presenting information as ‘academic lecture’ by self-appointed leaders and start sharing experiences as individuals. 4C hair that ‘doesn’t act’ like 4C hair isn’t unicorn hair, it’s reality. By strictly assigning behavior to certain hair types, we lose the freedom that the natural hair journey is all about.

Carlee
Carlee
5 years ago
Reply to  Elle

Let’s stop presenting information as ‘academic lecture’ by self-appointed leaders and start sharing experiences as individuals.”

Thank you! I’m so tired of hearing anecdotes from a very small, non-SRS sample being used as scientific evidence for any claim. JC/ Natural Hair Haven has a bad habit of doing this.

Deedeemaha
Deedeemaha
5 years ago
Reply to  Carlee

Instead of written by The Natural Haven

Should say, by The Natural Hater

Fine 4 C will find no shelter in her laboratory.

Victoria Owl.
Victoria Owl.
5 years ago
Reply to  Elle

: STANDING OVATION for this comment!!! I couldn’t have said it better!

Happy
Happy
5 years ago

Hmmm…well i have 4c hair. My individual strands are thin but my hair is dense overall. Ive actually always considered type 4 hair to be the most versatile. As for my 4c hair i think anything can be done to it as long as you follow proper precautions. I use heat periodically (once every 3–4 months) and do various styles. However i will admit that daily manipulation does more harm than good. Ill do a style that lasts for 1–2 weeks (an updo) and i do alot of longterm protective styles (braids and sew-ins) as well. Everyonce inawhile ill wear… Read more »

Joana
Joana
5 years ago

This hair type requires a certain type of skill and mastery with regards to styling. The more you have in your repertoire, the easier it is to handle and the more versatile it becomes. The frustration comes in when people have few styling skills and little patience with it. I suggest learning basic styling skills, finding compatible products and really learning how to master and not fear 4c. It also makes a big difference when you do everything on stretched hair and keep it well moisturised.

Miss T
Miss T
5 years ago

I have very fine 4c hair with a little 4b, and I must say it is very fragile. It breaks, splits and knots very easily, it does require extreme gentle care but, I have found that 4c hair is actually very versatile when it comes to styling. I can wear a full kinky fro or stretched version, my hair can be straight, wavy, curly, kinky or blown out, I can literally make it look like anything. And even though my hair is extremely fine, on the plus side because its also very kinky, I can make it look fuller and… Read more »

Krissy
Krissy
5 years ago

I have to disagree about all hair being versatile except 4c kinky hair./ I mean with straight hair what can you do??? curl it? braid it? With 4c hair, although you have to be careful you can curl it, straighten it, two strand twist it, twist out braid out, and my afev, the puff. You can do a lot more than you can with straight wavy or even loose curly hair.

good luck
good luck
5 years ago
Reply to  Krissy

The article says Fine 4c hair not all 4c hair

Jasmine
Jasmine
5 years ago

I’m 4c and very low porosity and I never knew that before march when I big chopped. No transition, I just chopped off all my bleached blonde heat damaged hair because I was tired of not knowing how to take care of it! Now I’m early in my hair journey and I’ve been scared of heat because of my old hair life haha but not protective styling either just twist outs and refreshing every 3 days ever since I could actually twist it, my hair is about 4in long.

BionicWoman
BionicWoman
5 years ago

I find this is the same with ALL Fine haired type 4’s. I’m a Fine haired 4A and I have to be sooo careful with my hair. The majority of type 4’s have coarse or medium strands. People often forget about us kinky girls with fine strands. I stopped relaxing a year and a half ago because it was making my hair thinner and stunting my growth. But I have to be careful with heat styling because fine hair suffers heat damage the easiest. It’s a catch 22.

Debria Johnson
Debria Johnson
5 years ago

I’m sorry but this is division is crazy. Writing about the “natural hair division” and why kinkier hair is so “terrible” only keeps this division alive. Move on for the love of lil wayne! I have 4c hair and I do anything I want with my hair. If you’re struggling, be patient and start doing what you want with your hair and it’ll respond accordingly.

Debria Johnson
Debria Johnson
5 years ago

Let me take something back. I do not have 4c hair. I will not continue to use those labels. I have Debria Tykeisha Johnson type hair.

Darlyn
Darlyn
5 years ago

I have 4C hair and I’ve been staying away from heat as much as possible. No matter which heat protectent I’ve used, my ends get extremely damaged.

The One
The One
5 years ago

These two are not true for my fine, low porosity, 4c hair: -Hair cannot be detangled easily within 15 – 20 mins –As long as I’m not sleeping on loose hair for more than a week, I can detangle my hair — while wet and/or with conditioner in it — in 15–20 minutes every time. The only time it takes longer is when I’ve let my hair completely shrink and matte up. -General necessity to protectively style hair most of the time to gain length –I only protective style in the winter. My hair has no problem growing the rest… Read more »

A Simple Thing
5 years ago

Awww, I was going through a bit of a rubbish patch with my hair and was saddened by another option seemingly being snatched from my grasp, haha! I think rules can be helpful, but it’s useful as well to experiment, to find what works well for your hair. Also, versatility can be subjective — I have to put in a lot of effort regularly and can do lots of things with my hair (sometimes, the choice is overwhelming!). Whereas my friend from China can get away with doing next to nothing with her hair on a regular basis, but when… Read more »

Saffron247
Saffron247
5 years ago

While I don’t have 4c hair , I don’t understand that bad rap that 4c hair keeps getting. It seems like alot articles I tend to read about 4c hair is always knocking the texture down. How can u encourage naturals to love their hair when there’s always a comparison with textures. Some articles make naturals feel like if they don’t have hair like Tracey Ellis Ross or the singer, Elle that it’s over when really it’s not.

merry
merry
5 years ago

why does hair have to be versatile?

Runy
Runy
5 years ago
Reply to  merry

So that it doesn’t become boring

LBell
LBell
5 years ago

Versatile according to whose standards? Put another way: Is all hair versatile except fine type 1 hair? — Because it’s so slippery, it needs product in order to hold many styles. — Contrary to popular belief, it requires extra care when it’s long otherwise it can get scraggly. (I have known many women with this hair type who can’t grow it past APL because the ends thin out and break off. I’ve actually pointed a few to the Long Hair Community site to learn about the joys of protective styling.) — And let’s not talk about how hard it is… Read more »

HairAnomaly
HairAnomaly
5 years ago

*sigh*
Do any other hair textures get as many things you can’t/ shouldn’t/ wouldn’t/ better not ever so with your hair? I understand that our hair is unique and presents some challenges that people with other textures don’t have to deal with, but I’m tired of constantly hearing about difficult 4c hair is from such negative perspectives.

Can we stick to things that are actually constructive, educational, and useful, which extend our knowledge of hair textures in general? Merci!

Sephora
Sephora
5 years ago

I have fine 4C hair and I must say, I also did not really like this article BGLH. I rarely comment but I had to chime in. I would much rather you had posted links to styles that the fine 4C haired ladies such as myself can do with our hair rather than lamenting the fact that we can’t heat the curls out of it. Honestly, I don’t even see why the label on this article even singles out us fine haired 4C ladies. Each of your arguments speaks to everyone in the natural hair community. If you weren’t specifically… Read more »

Deb Lynn
Deb Lynn
2 years ago
Reply to  Sephora

thank you. the article was pretty close to worthless

Mary in Md
Mary in Md
5 years ago

My sister has hair that is 4c. Her hair is gorgeous natural. She would keep curl with its texture. Just absolutely gorgeous! She has to be careful with heat though. But when you have hair that looks that good naturally, why bother?

Riro
Riro
5 years ago

As someone with fine and thin natural hair it is a struggle. When I was relaxed my hair was thin, I thought it was just due to the relaxing. I thought going natural would make my hair thick and coarse just like what I’d seen in all the YouTube videos. Well my hair is thicker than when I was relaxed but not as thick as I want it. My twistout/braidouts/bantu knots look way too scalpy , any hairstyle I try looks like that! I can’t help but envy thicker haired naturals. Modifying styles and techniques have helped my hairstyles look… Read more »

Quintessa Jones
Quintessa Jones
4 years ago
Reply to  Riro

If you don’t mind me asking what is your hair type

Andrea
Andrea
5 years ago

I have fine hair although not 4c. I have tried blowouts a few times and mu hair was not happy. hooded dyers better for me.

My Big Fat Afro
5 years ago

Funny, I just wrote something related to this last night: http://mybigfatafro.blogspot.com/2014/11/are-4c-hair-bloggers-boring.html

I think if you have fine 4C strands you have to accept that there are limitations to what your hair can do. It’s when people interpret this as a negative thing that it becomes a problem. I’m a fine 4Cer and im perfectly happy with not wearing my fro out every day, not trying high manipulation methods like MHM, not wearing wash and gos…it’s just not that serious.

Sandi
Sandi
5 years ago

Some people will never feel their hair is versatile, regardless of what it looks like because they don’t know how to take care of it and they don’t know how to make it look how they want. It isn’t about hair type, its about learning what your particular hair can do. If it can’t do it, find something it can do that you like. There are so many styles. Straight smooth hair can’t do dreadlocks either, someone with that type of hair might feel its not versatile if that’s what they want but if they look at the options they… Read more »

Brown Girl
Brown Girl
5 years ago

hmmm dont think I agree with 4c hair lacking versatility..if anything it is the most versatile because of its thickness ..just more time consuming to maintain because of its coarsness. I myself in addition to deep conditioning, protective styles etc,take vitamins, drink plenty of water, and eat foods high in antioxidants, this helps in maintaining healthy hair and hair growth,thus preventing breakage. 🙂

Naturalnomore
Naturalnomore
5 years ago
Reply to  Brown Girl

I agree with you on 4c thick hair. But the issue is with 4c thin fun hair.

ACE
ACE
5 years ago

My hair type is fine 4c, this was my story. I was natural for 7 years. I tried EVERYTHING!!! My hair simply was difficult to style, PERIOD! There is nothing to get offended over, it’s just the truth. In order for my hair to have “definition” I would have to leave it twisted, FOR DAYS!!! Then I would have awesome hair FOR 2 DAYS. And then my hair would slowly revert, shrink, lose texture, etc due to unavoidable things, humidity. THE LAST STRAW FOR ME WAS WHEN I SPENT 6 HOURS WASHING, BLOW OUT, TWISTING MY HAIR FOR AN EVENT.… Read more »

Valentine Kirkpatrick
Valentine Kirkpatrick
3 years ago
Reply to  ACE

Thank you!!!! All I have to say

4c4life
4c4life
2 years ago
Reply to  ACE

i completely agree. i’ve been natural my entire life. the overrall shape of my hair/afro , does not fit my face. no matter how long it gets, it will shrink as much as it can to my scalp. my hair will look like a big chop and be past my damn shoulders stretched out. my head of hair is very dense, with very VERY fine hairs. so fine i think most products don’t work because theres just no surface area. so i will be rocking my lace frontal wigs with no shame. especially since i been living the natural hair… Read more »

TangledMess
TangledMess
5 years ago

This describes mine and my daughters hair to a tee. I have always hated it. Currently trying to learn to embrace it. Even braid outs look terrible on me. My hair loves sew-ins and grows amazingly with them. That being said who wants to spend their whole life hiding their hair. I’m at a loss. Have t permed yet but every time I try to style my natural hair I think about it.

CoCoKinks
CoCoKinks
5 years ago

I have fine 4c hair and honestly my biggest concerns are retaining length and the knots that often form out of no place. I never had an issue with growth, but the breakage.. smh. I’m still trying to learn how to wear my hair freely without breakage. I can only gain length if I keep my hair put away in protective styles.

Ebony Thompson
3 years ago

I am old to the comments here, but personally I think my fine 4c hair does best in dreadlocks.

Deb Lynn
Deb Lynn
2 years ago

A lot of people on this post can’t read. She said FINE hair that is 4C… That’s a different kettle of fish from regular 4C hair. I’ve seen youtube videos where women with obvious 4C hair were handling their hair 10x more roughly than I can afford to handle mine— if I want to keep it on my head. And I’ve seen some 4C naturals get curls to stay in their heads with a little pink oil and some perm rods after their hair was stretched out. Yeah.…okay.…lasting 5 minutes in zero humidity. My FINE hair, dang near zero-porosity hair,… Read more »

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