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How Can I Get Curl Definition on Type 4 Hair?


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Question: How Can I Get Curl Definition on Type 4 Hair?

"Type 4" hair is not a scientific notation, but trust me, anyone who's even begun reading about and researching natural hair knows the numbers. The vast majority of people with black hair probably fall into the 3-4 range, from wavy to kinky. Although I don't jibe with these numbers, for illustration purposes, let's just say type 3 may be jumbo marker size to pencil size curls, while type 4 may be pen spring-size to tight coils.


Curl definition. This is one phrase that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to curly/kinky hair. For some women, whether they transition to natural hair or go the quick route with a big chop, seeing their texture, which they may not have seen since childhood, can be a big surprise. Some are pleased by it, others not so much.

While acceptance should be anyone's ultimate goal when it comes to hair -- simply because, if you wear it natural, it's not always going to bend to your will -- seeing those new kinks and coils instead of ultra-wavy locks can be disconcerting for some. Even within families, hair texture can radically differ, so you can't always look to your parents, siblings, cousins, aunties or anyone else when it comes to hair.

Typically, kinky and very kinky hair, the texture that lends itself so readily and beautifully to full Afros, doesn't maintain "good" curl definition without a lot of manipulation. Some people are up for manipulating, some aren't, so keep that in mind when trying to create S-shaped curls where hair naturally falls into a Z-shaped pattern.

Two-strand twists, flat twists, bantu knots and braids can be worn for a period of time and then released; for the best results, use a good holding product, like Kinky-Curly Curling Custard, ORS Lock & Twist Gel or Oyin Shine & Define. Once set, let your hair completely dry before releasing. Fortunately, all of these setting styles are also great stand-alone protective styles, so it's like getting two styles in one.

Ultimately, whether or not your hair holds a curly shape easily should come second to your hair's health. Drowning it in high-alcohol gels or poor-quality products, all for the sake of making curls where none exist, is a recipe for frustration. Curl definition really isn't the be-all and end-all of natural hair. If you have it, fine; if not, that's okay, too, because there are still plenty of styles that work well on Afro-textured locks.

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