Geniece’s 4A/4B Styling Regimen

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By Geniece of Beautifully Made

It’s the first of the month.  Your hair is dry and ready for a wash. Your next few weeks will be jam packed and the last thing you need is to spend a lot of time doing your hair. Still, you want to stick to your goals for healthy hair and length retention. What, oh what is a girl to do? Here, is how I care and protect my hair over the course of a month. For those of you with coily kinks like me I hope this regimen will assist you in some area of your hair care journey. I tweak this regimen from month to month depending on the weather, my schedule or mood but in general this is how I care for my type 4 kinks and coils.

When it comes to styling I make the decision based upon how much time I have for maintenance during the week. In colder months I will style my hair in protective styles for at least 4 consecutive weeks. Now that the weather is warmer and my hair can stand to be a bit more exposed I may follow a styling regimen as follows:

I currently wash my hair every 2 weeks but I think for most of us once a week is the norm. Most of my time is spent detangling. This is one part of my monthly regimen I don’t want to overlook or rush through. Dividing the hair in about 10 large twisted sections, I coat each section with oil and conditioner then detangle. First I detangle with a wide tooth seamless comb,  then with a wide tooth detangling comb with interlocking teeth. I retwist each section after detangling. Leaving the hair in the twisted sections I wash the hair using diluted non-sulfate shampoo. I find using a bottle with a nozzle (like a color applicator bottle) to be really helpful in getting shampoo on the roots. After each section is cleansed I will apply my Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa conditioner only to the length of the large twists.  I’ll rinse most of the conditioner out but intentionally leave a bit in to assist in styling later on.

Week 1

After washing, divide each of the 10 twisted sections I used to wash the hair in half and re-twist. I will have 20 twists when all done. This size is large enough so that it won’t take all night to twist (only about an hour including adding a leave in and light butter) but small enough that it’ll allow me to create a cute twisted up do.

Week 2

After washing I’m super tired and need to be up early. I decide to gently separate each of the 10 twisted sections and re-twist (separating and re-twisting helps to limit tangles…trust me). So I still have the 10 twists which took 20 or so minutes to undo and re-twist. In the morning my hair will be slightly damp. I untwist all the large twists and style into a chignon, bun, banded  ponytail or other updo. This is a protective style with loose hair (untwisted) so for those with finer hair who feel their twists are “scalpy” this is a good alternative.  I will spritz the hair the following night and immediately tie it down with a satin scarf so that it will be fresh the next morning.

Examples of Protective Styles with Loose Hair


Pinned Up Bun


Banded Ponytail

Week 3

I will likely return to my Week 1 hair regimen. I usually don’t wear protective styles with loose hair two weeks in a row.

Week 4

I’m in the mood to see my hair “out”. After washing I will braid my hair into approximately 15 braids. I will go under my soft bonnet dryer for about 40 minutes otherwise my hair will not be fully dry in the morning. In the morning I will unbraid and separate and fluff until desired fullness is achieved. To maintain this style I will place the hair in about eight banded ponytails at night. Prior to banding I will lightly apply a moisturizing butter to tame any frizz accumulated over the day and keep my ends moisturized.  I find banding preferable over re-braiding because it’s a lot quicker and it involves less manipulation than re-braiding.

That’s it ladies. That’s a month with me and my hair. I only comb the hair on wash day and moisturize at least every 2 days. I was natural for 5 years when I started this kind of regimen in November of 2009 and had hair 6-9 inches long. Now my hair is 14.5-18 inches long. No potions or tricks just low manipulation, gentle handling and protective hair styling.

Ladies, what does your month-long 4b/4c regimen look like? 

For more of Geniece’s thoughts on 4b/4c haircare, check out her YouTube channel: Beautifully Made.

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Geniece

Geniece

Island girl raised in the most royal of NYC's boroughs. Proud nerd, social scientist, educator and recovering awkward black girl. When not listening to NPR, trying to grow spiritually, or detangling my fro, I'm searching for the best shrimp and grits in the Queen City.

 
  • Bobby

    Thats 4b/4c hair??????!!?!

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    • zyaran

      Yeah I don’t think that is 4b/c nope. I saw a video of hers when she did a protective style on freshly washed hair in march. The hair has alot of curl texture, and looks to be a mixture of 4a/b to me with more 4b. But to each their own, if she states that she is 4b/c and it works for her ok. But for other people who have true 4c hair mixed with 4b you can tell the difference for those folks that I’ve seen on youtube.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIxqH1d0Sxw&feature=plcp&context=C458382eVDvjVQa1PpcFO7cGIEsjhAn7KmgkzHsEg9IH_a6le-xgA%3D

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      • Bobby

        Agreed, I havent seen her on youtube but she definitely dont have 4c hair which has no curl or wave pattern.

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        • anastasia

          I too characterize my texture as 4b/c and my hair looks nearly identical to Geniece’s except it’s not as thick. It’s funny you guys say that b/c I was in Rite Aid discussing this very issue with a young lady who told me that I did not know the texture of my own hair, LOL!

          Having multiple textures on a well-moisturized 4b/c head of hair can often confuse people, at least that’s been my experience. My 4b has fine and coarse strands w/ shine and curl pattern but my 4c varies too =)

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          • anastasia

            GAME CHANGER FOR ME: pH: NO JOKE- Kimmaytube Leave-In!

            If I don’t use that mixture, I ALWAYS pH balance my products and that has changed the feel and “look” of my hair which is probably significant.

            My hair is too fine for butters, so I stick with Cipriana’s Love potion #9 or some variant.

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          • Zenith

            Hi Anastasia,
            If you don’t mind me asking, what specific changes have you seen in your hair since using a pH balanced regimen? I’m thinking of trying this process.

            Thanks!

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          • anastasia

            Hey Zenith and Abs=) I would love to share what I’ve seen since pH balancing:
            a. Greater and longer retention of moisture which has meant much less breakage.
            1. More effective preservation of hair fibers owing to less split ends, mid-shaft or otherwise,fewer SSKs-still get ‘em though..ugh
            2. Noticeable gains in retaining hair fibers: For real y’all, before pH balancing, broken hair were often everywhere…shirt, sink, floor, ceiling, wherever a strand could land. There is still a small amount of breakage nevertheless. Honestly though, I believe it comes with the territory of highly textured tresses. Still when I realized I was breaking way less and it was just shed hair- when I saw that little white bulb, you would’ve thought I picked a black diamond out of the sink! LOL!)
            3. Softer hair: My type 4b texture varies but it is never rough, but my 4c while it can be made softer, in its’ buck naked state varies from rough to brillo rough, to ouch, do you have a razor blade in your afro? Today, thanks to pH I am no longer sustaining wounds from doing my hair =)
            4. Shine (4b), Sheen (4c)-
            5. Less product and defined twist/out braidouts at least w/ kimmaytube leave-in (I’ve only tried these loose styles with her mixture)

            Hope that helps=)

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          • anastasia

            oops, messing around trying to cook dinner and surf the web too! forgot to add: hair is smoother. Feels and looks smoother, if that makes any sense..hope it helped=)

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          • At_Ease

            Yeah pH is very important, good point. :)

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        • At_Ease

          actually that’s 4b with no discernable pattern. Coils tight as pen springs is 4c…

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          • At_Ease

            Actually forget it, the whole conversation about the alpha numeric system just proves why LOIS is a better system and why hair typing can be unhelpful

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          • anastasia

            At ease your right regarding the alpha numeric system=)

            I think Andre’s system fails to capture the inherent complexity and diversity of textured tresses. Some people will fit his schematic perfectly and others, like myself, will not be an exact fit but a close fit. I’m certainly not a 4a (use to think so, but nope) and there are no 3’s at this scalp’s party, only 4b/c.

            last thing about pH: provides reliability/predictability

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          • At_Ease

            Agree!

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    • Abs

      I wondered the same thing!

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    • http://www.youtube.com/user/sunshower143?feature=mhee Geniece

      Hey Bobby. If I had to pick the “type” that best captures my hair it would in fact be 4a/4b. I have curl definition in the front but most of my hair is cottony with tiny coils so mostly 4b. I’m curious to know if those with 4b/4c hair follow a similar regimen. From those that I follow on youtube like Sera2544 I think protective styling and low manipulation is central to the hair regimen as well. In general I find that type 4s benefit from protective styling even if the products they use differ (i.e. butters vs. cremes)

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      • anastasia

        Type 4 here: protective styling all the way–out styles are a special treat for me; b/c if it was a daily or even a semi-regular way of wearing my hair, I’d be left with the charles barkley.

        Sera2544 is an excellent recommendation Geniece!!! To those who have not stumbled across Sera’s YT channel, check it out her hair journey vid, she will blow your mind with her gorgeous 4c hair!

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        • hair_exstraordinaire

          What ph balanced products would you recommend?

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    • ko

      If this is 4C hair than I must be a 5!

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    • At_Ease

      It’s STRETCHED out lol! If she left it to shrink up after washing…

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  • http://luxurytravelbeat.com Cyn

    This is my hair crush. We have the same exact type of hair and I can’t wait for mine to get to that length. She’s a pleasure to watch on Youtube too.

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  • http://www.missjennamarie.com jenna marie christian

    love it

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  • http://beatoftravel.com Jasmine

    the banding instead of braiding makes so much sense! i wish i would have known about it sooner. i have so much hair and re-braiding takes a lot of time. thank you for sharing.

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    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003453230955 Marie

      You’re such a motivator and intasrpiion Brenda!I started a gym membership over the summer and I’ve been going every single day.But since school started around Sept I just felt so tired and unmotivated that I would only go once a? week to every other week. I stopped being consistent and left working out behind.I tried motivating myself once again but it didn’t work. Then,I stumbled across this channel now my motivation to going gym just boosted up regardless if Im tired at the end of the day.

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  • df

    and another reason why hair typing is a bust (referring to the conversation at the beginning of the post). Great tips though!

    I’ll just say my hair sort of looks like hers and I’ll try her tips. i’ll also try the tips JC put in the other post for 4c’s and will decide which works better for my hair!

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    • http://dearauset.tumblr.com AusetAbena

      Exactly. I just laughed when I saw that whole discussion. I gave up on classifying my hair a while ago.

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  • EG

    Beautiful hair, thanks for repping for type 4 ladies

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  • http://www.beyondblackwhite.com Christelyn

    Low manipulation is really key. I remember people I knew who would scoff at me for not combing my hair for three weeks at time. Meanwhile, I was mid-back and they were wearing weaves! But the time since then, I have started doing my own hair and am now a complete and hopeless product junkie and know I have lost length because of high manipulation. Lucky I have three girls so I can use some of the stuff in my bloated cabinet on them! I’m back to bunning, but I wash my hair with sulfate-free shampoo because my scalp get super itchy. I’m wondering–is there any way around this?

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    • http://www.youtube.com/user/sunshower143?feature=mhee Geniece

      Hey. When going for extended times of protective styling I use Bee Mine’s growth oil. Not so much for growth but b/c i find that that oil soothes itchiness. Anything w/ peppermint or tea tree oil is usually soothing.

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      • http://www.beyondblackwhite.com Christelyn

        Thanks! I’ll try it. Better than scalping myself between washes!

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  • Grey Poupon

    Week 1. Wash my hair on Saturday. Style Sunday in two strand twists and formed into a bun.
    Week 2. No manipulation. (aside from spritz and sealing and oiling my scalp)
    Week 3. No manipulation. (aside from spritz and sealing and oiling my scalp)
    Week 4. Take my twists down, detangle and wash.

    My hair type is 4 b/c. It’s more like mwedzi but not as thickliciously thick.

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  • LBell

    Week 1. Co-wash, apply leave-in and styler, and twist or braid. Wear the out style for the week, spritzing with water and retwisting or rebraiding about halfway through. Normal (non-retwist) night routine consists of banding or making several pineapples (loose puffs) and covering with a satin scarf. Normal morning routine consists of taking everything down and fluffing with oil on my hands.

    Weeks 2 and 3. Same as Week 1.

    Week 4. Same as Week 1 except instead of co-washing I shampoo and then follow up with a protein treatment and a moisture treatment.

    I don’t use a comb. I finger-detangle throughout the process.

    I have mostly-4b hair…tight coils ranging from penspring to coffee-stirrer size (and maybe 2 or 3 bigger ones). Shrinkage ranges from 50% to well over 80%. Length is somewhere between lip and collarbone when stretched.

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  • kai

    in this video she says shes a 4a/4b
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyzcIcSyOD4&feature=relmfu

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  • Camille

    LOVE her and her channel! Simple, no fuss, and effective hair care.

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  • mangomadness

    I love Geniece’s hair and her YouTube Channel. She has great hair care techniques and hair styling tutorials.

    Geniece’s regimen and mine have a lot in common. We both detangle in ~10 sections before washing, wash in twisted sections and cleanse our scalp via an applicator bottle using diluted sulfate-free shampoo.

    ///

    My hair is !11-12 inches long and is Afro-textured and tightly coiled.

    My weekly wash-n-style regimen is as follows: (finger-)detangle/condition, shampoo, moisturize, make 16 braids, seal (edges and ends), air-dry (for ~1 day) and style.

    I wear braid-outs and buns (sock buns and cinnabuns) done on stretched hair. I try to alternate one week “-out” and another week “up” but I don’t always adhere to that.

    I usually avoid re-braiding my braid-outs and then toss them in a bun one they get “old”. Thanks to Geniece’s recent video, I’m gonna try banding to preserve braid-outs.

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  • Tiredofbeinglabeled

    This post isn’t about debabting which texture is which.

    I have kinkycurly hair and it loves low handling and protective styles.Patience and sacrifice is hard but worth it when i hit my goals. :D BY the way Geniece is one of my hair inspirations. :)

    I must say i get really fustrated because we always look to what divides as oppose to what unites! :(

    How about talking about how we love our hair no matter what texture and what routines work?

    As far as a know the Typing system was invented by a MAN who doesn’t have our texture LOL.
    So why so much debates about the alphabet and numbers? As humans we love to categorize and label it’s getting so boring now. LOL

    I love my hair and will describe it as kinkycurly.

    This article really helped me undertand my hair:

    http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/2011/05/curly-vs-kinky-what-is-difference.html

    All hair apart from straight has a kink/curl whether we acknowledge it or view it as beautiful.
    Sera has a fotki and shows her pattern.

    http://public.fotki.com/Sera252/all_about_hair/beyond-5-years-natu/5-years–beyond/

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  • Clara

    I love your hair, it’s beautiful and healthy. I’ve noticed that I’ve been trying to find a person with hair like mine but I’ve had no luck. Maybe this is because my hair is not well moisturised (IDK). If I were to type my hair I guess it would be 4g. I don’t detangle my hair with anything other than water and conditioner, my hair stretches when I put water in it, basically it straitens as much as it can and I find at that point I have no need to detangle it because it has already detangled itself :)

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