Does 4C Natural Hair Mean Limited Styling?

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My freshly washed, towel-blotted hair.

By Chinwe of Hair and Health

Does 4C natural hair mean limited styling?  Or are naturals who think that way limited by their mindset?

In my opinion, natural hair – regardless of type – is versatile.  The reality that we can rock one look one day and a completely different look another day is one thing I love about being natural.  For example, one week I can wear beautiful twists that morph into what appear to be locs and another week I can wear a cute braid-out on stretched hair that morphs into a shrunken puff. I love that natural hair can transform almost magically.  I love the ability to switch up styles drastically!


So, what exactly is “limiting” about styling 4C natural hair? I really am asking.  Is it “limiting” that 4C (or even, 4B) naturals cannot rock a wash-n-go that has curls?  Is it “limiting” that our shrinkage makes midback-length tresses transform into a small afro?  Or are curls (as opposed to kinks) and long tresses (as opposed to small afros) reflections of what is within our mind as the epitome of beauty?

When I look at 4C natural hair, I see the almost endless styles that our hair can do.  From aged braid-outs to fluffy roller sets to intricate updos.  From twists to defined twist-outs to regal puffs.  From afros to fro-hawks to stretched buns.   The list goes on.

So if you are 4C and you feel that your hair type limits your styling (or even your beauty), I urge you to look within yourself.  Is it your hair that needs to change or is it your mindset?  In the meantime, check out this beautiful 4C natural, Jouelzy, eloquently discussing the versatility of our hair:

Is your styling limited by your hair type?



Empowering women of color to break barriers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin.


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107 thoughts on “Does 4C Natural Hair Mean Limited Styling?

  1. This the first time I’ve seen hair like mine on here! My hair goes past my shoulders but when wash is shrinks into an afro. I have no defined curls and my hair ALWAYS feels dry. I know people don’t like hair typing but it shouldn’t be looked at as separating us but should celebrate our differences. Anyway I wish there were more ladies shown with 4c or hair with no definite curl pattern, that would be great!

    • i also have 4c type but im still struggling with the dryness of my hair. i have fine hair and don’t even talk about volume =_=
      Whatever i do they stay dry and stiff and crunches like cereals. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve been natural for a year and half now and i still can’t see any changes. i’ve been pre-pooing, co-washing, spraying water every 2 days and sealing,wearing protective styles. Whatever hairstyle i tried its flat and doesn’t make the part. I’m just thinking more and more about going bald o.O but every time i come on bglh i find the strength to continue.

      • @Cary you know sometimes the best solutions is the old school solution. Everyone is always talking about this and that will work great for your hair but what everyone forgets is that all heads of hair are not the same. Ive been natural for 2 years now and I had issues with my hair always being dry and stiff. I used and still use the oils (almond, shea, coconut and jojoba) as sealants and spritz water but what I found works best for my hair is good old fashioned hair grease. There are many natural hair greases out there that are great for natural hair. I use it to oil my scalp lightly and rub it into my hair and it works great for me. Don’t break the bank trying every new thing. Also I dont wash my hair every week I do it every 2 weeks. I found weekly washing took out too much of my natural oils. I wish you luck in finding what works for you

      • Cary: you must hang in. I like your comment regarding finding the strength from bglh. i find the same strength when the hair situation goes nuts. It may take some time, but find Your regime—Its just around the corner.

      • my friend you stop do that please your hair is very stressed by the water so back th old school wash you hair with a good shampoo and conditioner next put some oil in your wet hair and braid or twist after 2 or 3 days or a week put some hair grease of your choise and do your favorite style stpo mousture your hair after 2 days like u do stop do that seriously cos thats why taht ur hair is very dry and if u keep doing that he will fall

  2. @Misha’s comment really hit the nail on the head for me.I find hair typing to be quite limiting sometimes,not that its useless,but like the lady mentioned…everyones got different hair on their heads.Just try different things and combinations (without damaging your hair of course) until you find a combination that works for you.Resist the urge to try new fads or miracle creams,straightening potions and techniques etc. once youve discovered what works for you.Even if you use the same hair routine forever just stick to it if it works well.Its boring,and sometimes you want different or faster results but if its working for you and your hair is looking and feeling healthy why change that?Good luck!:)x

  3. I have 4C hair and at first I thought it was limiting but now I love it, it takes some work but its honestly not that bad. I think we put too much emphasis on having hair like everyone else, embrace your hair love it! Do what works for it and you will be happy/content! For me personally shea butter (the real stuff not that amazon mess!), and flax gel work AHMAZINGLY well. My hair is soft, shiny, moist, and bouncy when I do a twist out with that. It also does really well when I shampoo it with heavily diluted shampoo 1 every 2 weeks, and deep condition 3 times a week. Don’t give up! And don’t compare yourself to anyone else!!! If you want a style thats one thing but don’t feel like your hair is horrible if it doesn’t turn out perfect, you’ll get there. Btw I dunno why everyone makes it seem like 4C can’t do wash an gos, I do it a lot it just looks different its no biggie.

  4. I have 4 type hair. But with various textures some straight,coily pattern and just there with out a pattern. It is densely packed on my head. I go into a salon and the hair dresser says I have great thick hair. And she has never seen a per son with so much.Drying time takes forever but I love it.

  5. Hi. I came across this article very interested to read its’ content because I felt it would speak to me. I have been transitioning over the past year, and while I have yet to BC there is no doubt that I am 4C. So from my experience and hair struggles, this is how I would respond to your question. What exactly is “limiting” about styling 4C natural hair?

    What I, and I imagine others, have learned about 4C hair is that it is pretty darn resistant to say the least lol. It is frustrating that styles like flat ironing, roller sets, flexi rods, curl formers, twist outs, braid outs, etc etc will not hold their form for what seems like 5 minutes after taking it down. The sleek smooth put together look that you are trying to achieve but can not attain, is in my view what makes your styling limited.

    So I can agree with you as far as changing your mindset, to the mindset that you just have to learn to accept the fluff that it will be. I’ve seen so many youtubers go as far as bashing their 4C hair, telling us it can not do this or that and it has a mind of it’s own. I can see now those exact struggles with my own hair. While I can admit that this is very disappointing at times, I know that it’s all part of my journey. I can either grow to like my fluffy hair or I can call it quits.

    For the meantime I have not given up. But I still keep that little ray of hope that some how some way I can achieve the desired styles of my choosing.

  6. I’m in graduate school and can’t handle the twisting right now, so i big chopped again after growing it out. To me it looks neat and manageable, i’ll grow out my hair when i have time to care for it and style it.

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