Lately I’ve been needing to define my super tight 4C/4B curls.
I’ve always loved my undefined fro but the problem is single strand knots. As my fro has gotten longer my ends have had more opportunities to tangle. I knew I had to start defining my curls — basically clump the strands together in a pattern — to reduce the instances of knotting and tangling.
I’ve used my products as a gel before. Back in 2017, a few years before my big chop, I was shingling my curls with Orange Creamsicle Whipped Shea Butter. When it dried, I got hold that was akin to a light gel. Like this…
But would the results hold up 5 years later?
I knew I wanted my curls to be as heavy as possible, so I went for the heaviest butters in our line — the whipped sheas. Shea is heavier on the strands than mango or cocoa butter.
I got in the shower, washed my hair with a black soap bar, conditioned it with Shea Moisture, and detangled it with a wide tooth comb.
When I got out of the shower, with my hair still soaking wet, I clipped it up with alligator clips and started shingling the Peppermint Whipped Shea in. Shingling is the process of applying a generous amount of product to a small section of hair from root to tip, to smooth the strands and define the curl pattern.
I worked small section by small section. It took about 35 minutes and my arms were definitely tired. I only used about one third of a 0.9 oz, which is our smallest/sample size! (Our products go a looooong way!)
When I was done my hair looked like this.
A few hours later as I was running errands my hair was still a little damp and looked like this.
And when it was bone dry and shrunken down it looked like this.
That night I wrapped it in a satin scarf, woke up and fluffed the roots a bit and was good to go.
I kept it in for about 5 days before my roots started tangling up and I knew I would have to start the wetting/shingling process all over again.
So can whipped shea butter replace gel for 4C hair?
My thought is… absolutely yes.
But with one caveat. The Peppermint Whipped Shea butter did exactly what a gel should do — it defined the curl, kept frizz-based humidity at bay, all while locking in some serious moisture. Plus — absolutely no flaking! My hair was so soft and my little spiral curls so neatly defined that I couldn’t stop touching my fro.
But the whipped shea definitely didn’t really weigh my hair down. My hair is super fine to begin with, so when it dries it’s like cotton candy. Despite being one of the heaviest butters in our line the Peppermint Whipped Shea didn’t really add much weight to my curls. Which I guess is a testament to how light and absorbent our products are, lol!
If you want weightier wash and go curls, then I would layer a heavy gel on top of the whipped shea. But if you don’t mind the shrinkage that comes with using a lighter weight product, then our whipped butters can be a gel substitute!
A quick P.S. — The second time I did my defined fro I used Grapefruit Whipped Shea Butter and got quite a few compliments on how amazing my hair smelled! Any whipped shea butter will do!