Many African American women love experimenting with their hair and rocking the latest styles. I am one of those women. I have adorned my crown with short haircuts, relaxed hair, Natural hair, braids, weave, dyed hair, two-strands, cornrows?you name it and I have rocked it.
However, as I get older, I am constantly learning what my hair likes and doesn?t like. Here is a list of things my fine, thick 4b hair hates:
1) ?bad? types of alcohol
3) braid extensions
4) home dye jobs
5) too many weeks without being washed
If you turn on YouTube, you?ll see hundreds of Black women talking about ?protective styling?. Oftentimes, those protective styles include wearing some form of synthetic hair or hair that isn?t ours.
First, as a hair style enthusiast, I will like to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing extensions to have fun with different styles and to protect your tresses from unnecessary damage.
But, wearing extensions only works IF your hair can handle it and IF you aren?t doing it because you have self-hate for the hair God gave you.
A great deal of Black women have a head full of beautiful hair that they never show because they low-key think non-Black texture hair is better.
?I love myself so I love the way I look without adding anything to me, such as, makeup, extensions, etc. I?ll wear extra things for fun but not because they define me.?
Recently, I have learned that 4b fine hair does not thrive in extensions and hair dye jobs done wrong. At first, I thought it was just me. I thought I was doing the right thing when I wore weave and braids to protect my hair while I attempted to grow it waist-length.
But, whenever I took my braids or weave out, I?d not only seem to lose a lot of hair; but, I also found my poor edges disappearing.
Eventually, I had to cut ties with my extensions and just wear my own Natural hair.
But, then, this proved an issue because I didn?t want to necessarily deal with my hair every day. I love my hair but I have never been a ?hair? person. I don?t find enjoyment in doing my hair. My fingers and hands often hurt when I am trying to braid or twist my hair. My arms would hurt if they are held up for a prolonged period of time as I try to style my hair.
I started to braid my hair to get away from my usual two-strand twists because I wanted to do something that could be completed faster.
As I braided my hair more, I began trying different styles. My new favorite is an updo created with cornrows and two-strand twists in the front for ?bangs?. I talked to my fianc after doing my last braided style and I told him that I just realized that cornrows aren?t just for fashion but they are, also, extremely functional for Black people?s hair.
My 4b hair type is considered ?fine? strands and a ?thick? head of hair. Some people?s strands are thicker while having less strands on their head so their hair overall would be considered ?thin?. Or these same thick strands could have many strands on one?s head and that would mean the hair is thick overall and each strand on that same head of hair is thick too.
For example, my beautiful sister has thicker strands and thick hair. Her hair doesn?t break off as easily.
My hair, however, breaks off over the simplest thing and I always have split ends, no matter how well I take care of my hair.
Below are examples of strands that are considered ?fine? which is the strand that is thinner in diameter and the ?thicker? strand that is visibly thicker in width.
Usually, when people hear ?fine? hair, they automatically think ?good? hair. But, that isn?t what ?Fine? type hair is. ?Fine hair? is just that, ?fine?, which means the hair strands are thin so they aren?t as strong and they cannot handle as much tension and manipulation as ?coarse? or ?thicker? strands.
A head full of ?fine? hair strands might also appear to be softer than a head full of ?thick? hair strands, Some people will say someone with ?fine? hair has ?soft? hair and someone with ?thick? strands has ?coarse? hair. I?m not sure if that is necessarily true either. My hair isn?t always soft. When it?s dry, my hair can feel quite coarse too. I believe the right products and the right regime for each hair type will yield soft hair for any hair type.
All African American hair types are beautiful and each type has its pros and cons. It?s simply important to love yourself enough to get to know your hair and what is best for it.
I, personally, prefer thicker strands or ?coarse? hair like my sister?s. But, I trust God?s decisions for me. And, maybe, it?s my calling to help other 4b Naturals grow their hair healthy and long through discussing my own experiences with my hair type.
My hair does best when worn in protective styles that only consists of my own natural hair. I love wearing two-strands, cornrows and loose braided styles. My hair (specifically, my edges) fair better in these styles.
I color my greys with henna if I want to add color to my hair. I have found that hair dye is too harsh for my hair.
I regularly wash my hair only with conditioner. Then, I use shampoo once a month or if my hair is especially oily or dirty.
I?m still trying to understand the moisturizers that my hair loves. I, currently, use a Shea butter water hair moisturizer that I make myself. I love the StaSofro Extra Dry Hair Moisturizer and the Oyin Whipped Creme hair moisturizer. If my hair is sopping wet, I might just use olive oil for moisturizing by sealing the water with the oil. My hair is still very thick so creamy-based moisturizers are excellent for my hair when my hair is dry and I?m moisturizing in big sections.
These are some tips I have learned as I fearlessly go through my hair journey on a daily basis.
Do you have any tips of how to take care of 4b fine, thick hair? What have you found doesn?t work for your 4b fine, thick hair? I would love to hear your experiences. Please post in comments below.
Samantha El is an activist, business owner, Web Designer, Graphics Designer, Freelance Writer, CEO of LocStar Revolution, NoVA 24/7 Notary Services and Web Designers and Scribes. In her free time, you can find Samantha reading biographies, watching documentaries on Netflix or spending quality time with her family. Samantha lives in Fairfax, VA with her fianc and 3 sons.