Can You Loosen Your Natural 4a Hair Texture To 3c?

4a hair and 3c hair celebritiesIf you’ve ever watched a car salesman and a customer trying to come to a mutual agreement on a price then you will be well aware of the art of negotiation. It is an elegant dance with ridiculous prices thrown in the ring at the beginning, slowly and sometimes painfully the price becomes a reasonable number that both parties can agree on.

I get asked different versions of this question so often in my email and occasionally on our Facebook page that I thought it is worth answering properly here. How do I loosen my natural 4a hair to 3c texture?

Now putting aside the frankly uncomfortable thoughts that a question like that brings to mind, it would be wise to approach this question fairly by looking at the structure of natural hair.

The structure of 4a hair differs from 3c or in fact any other curl type primarily in the size of the curl. I have heard 4a hair described as coffee stirrer curls or pen spring curls. Either way, the message is that the curls, although visible, are generally quite small. 3c curls on the other hand are generally bigger coils or curls, clearly visible and clump quite well.

When loosening natural 4a hair regardless of methodology chosen (texturizer, BKT etc) you have to remember that the diameter of your natural curl will remain true even when loosened. What that means is that you will essentially be loosening your coils to waves of the same diameter rather than increasing their diameter to another curl type.

Loosening 4a hair further at this stage would result very slightly wavy to kinky straight texture which is essentially the texture of texlaxed hair. In the same vein, if natural 3c hair was loosened, it would simply result in 3c diameter waves with a further loosening resulting in straight hair.

Refer to the graphic below to see my interpretation of loosened 4a and 3c hair. Both curls are loosened to waves but each remain true to the original diameter of their curl/coil.
Can You Loosen Your 4a Hair Texture To 3c

I should also mention that sometimes as hair gets longer, the weight of the hair causes a natural change of curl pattern that appears looser. This is nothing to worry about of course but if you have seen women with long 4a hair you will notice that while their curls may seem somewhat larger than shorter 4a hair, they are nevertheless quite different from 3c hair.

Instead of wasting your time going down the endless rabbit hole that is changing your hair’s texture, it may be a better idea to concentrate on the health of your hair. Like the salesman analogy above some of us instead of accepting how our natural hair grows, we want to negotiate a middle ground with our hair to attain looser curls aka ‘good hair’. But in the search of hair that you consider acceptable you may end up causing more harm than good.

All textures of natural hair are beautiful, from loose curls to tight kinky coils. Really seeing the beauty in your own hair without wanting to change it will go a long way towards getting you to your goal of long hair faster.

Short answer: Loosening 4a hair results in loose 4a waves which are not the same size as 3c coils nor are they similar to loosened 3c hair.

Happy hair growing ladies!

Originally posted 2013-07-23 15:45:19.

About Alma Ruddock

I’m Alma Ruddock, the founder and editor-in-chief of I stumbled on a hair care forum back in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair, and quite possibly my life, forever! I immediately started to transition to natural hair and started as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to help others achieve their dreams too. My three passions are hair, art and entrepreneurship and I love to be able to bring my unique view on hair growth and successful hair journeys to our readers. I am an eternal optimist and workaholic. In addition to BHI I have founded quite a few other websites and businesses including Elongtress Hair Vitamins and Urban Gyal which all fall under the umbrella of my company Coils Media Ltd.

About Alma Ruddock

I’m Alma Ruddock, the founder and editor-in-chief of I stumbled on a hair care forum back in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair, and quite possibly my life, forever! I immediately started to transition to natural hair and started as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to help others achieve their dreams too. My three passions are hair, art and entrepreneurship and I love to be able to bring my unique view on hair growth and successful hair journeys to our readers. I am an eternal optimist and workaholic. In addition to BHI I have founded quite a few other websites and businesses including Elongtress Hair Vitamins and Urban Gyal which all fall under the umbrella of my company Coils Media Ltd.


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Liz Marie Maysonet Sostre

I don’t want or need to. My curls are unique and beautiful.

Whitney Sad'e

I dnt really know all the texture types but mines is prob a 3c (Like Chilli)but i cut a little less than medium lenght and dnt no wht to do with it!!!??LoL when i try to wear it out my curls curlup sooo short seem like! Smh

Whitney Sad'e

How can u keep ur hair stretched PERIOD! LoL

Angie Mulisa

Maama Adam here is the magic

Candia Pavy

Why cant we accept our 4a hair? and why not an article about making 3c hair like 4a?….how about enjoying it for what it is?!

Nobody ever emails us asking to turn their 3c hair to 4a but we get plenty of emails about the opposite. A good ole post is the best way to respond. You are right of course, we should all just enjoy our hair exactly as it grows but until then some ladies still require a definitive answer 🙂

Kenya Suiter

Yeah, get a texturizer….

Lesley Williams

Nothing wrong with wanting to change the texture of your hair to make it more manageable. Being natural isnt for everyone. Different strokes, for different folks….

Tyeast Pettit

I don’t really understand the purpose of classifying hair texture…just one more thing to divide us.

Blair W.

The reason for classifying hair types is so that we can properly care for our hair bases upon our hair type, because what some one with a 2a pattern which is a wavy texture may do for their hair might not work for my 4a hair type. It’s when people take the classifications and try to determine which is more desirable in their eyes is what causes division. No hair type is superior to any other, all hair is beautiful! (:
I hope that helped!

Shavon Robinson

That is true. My hair is 4c but every since I’ve been using JBCO, mixing it w/ water, then twist my hair, then seal my ends just w/ the JBCO, my curls are looser….making my hair look thick & healthy.

Andrea Hill

Does anyone know all hair types 3c…4a

Marla Booker

What is JBCO @ Shavon Robinson

Charlene Jeffers

JBCO – Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Marla Booker


Ronnie Natasha Renee

What is BKT that is mentioned in the article?

Tee La'Cara

Brazilian keratin treatment = BKT

Candia Pavy

Well ppl go natural for different reasons so can’t be mad….i just wanna accept the way God made me and well, thats not for everyone. I could accept that.

Blessedfrom Above

I accept hair types however we r all different and want to try new things… I use different natural products in my hair because I want to try something new…this will not divide us it just let everyone know there is variety…I use different types of oils..jbco, olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil Shea butter, etc…

Cleopatra Jones Best

I think it’s possible especially if your using different products in your hair it can make your curl pattern a little more loose.

Gigi McDaniel

Only if its damaged

Theresa Marie Bryant

I’m starting to learn to accept my hair and stop fretting about what it can’t do

Marilyn Rmsb

Like for real these ladies obviously had professionals do there hair. Content with mine just as it is


What would happen if I put a texturizer on 4a hair with flexi rods or perm rods? Here’s how the process would go. I’d wash my hair three days to a week before (what ever texturizer recommends) then on stretched hair put flexi rods overnight and then while also leaving the flexi rods in while applying the texturizer and washing out with the flexi rods in until hair dries? This would be for a strand test could this work?


I have a mixture of bòth 3c and 4a I don’t care

Rikki Jaye

But why would anyone with 4a hair think that any process taken will make their hair look like 3c (aka mixed raced hair) smh just deal with what you have. Tut.

Destiny J Dansby

And her dad is African American as well… #notmixedraced

Rikki Jaye

Theres a throwback in your bloodline somewhere babes you probably just arent aware of it x

Shawnetta Jones-Mochabella Nursery

There’s a throwback in all bloodlines. I have family where one sibling is quite dark 4 type and other 3ab same parents. So that doesn’t explain our people with 4 type hair.

Chevy Red

I get what you’re saying Rikki. Most Black women that’s not mixed have type 4 hair. But of course some can have 3c or 3b hair.

Nyala Nan

I want my 4 hair to grow long that’s it! No texture change.

Nyala Nan

I’m sorry but I had to comment on the 3c debate. This hair texture is not
Exclusive to mixed people there are pure black West Africans with 3c hair! When I have asked them if they had any mixture they said not that they know of from their previous 2 to 3 generations back!

Rikki Jaye

Not really a debate…i just stated my opinion and others want to argue. Maybe because I am british caribbean and as most know, many black people from the islands have a mixup somewhere along the line (hence why many africans dont like Jamaicans for example – i have been called “diluted” by Nigerian women) so this is why u will get many black women from the Caribbean who look full black but will have looser hair because of their mixed heritage along the line.

Nyala Nan

Sorry Rikki I have to say that logic or theory is flawed! I am Trinidadian I have countless “races” in my genes. Including a half white (British) grandfather and half Indian/Spanish grandfather and my hair is as coarse as they come!! 4c hair!!! My features don’t “match” my hair as I’ve been told many times. And I try to explain this misunderstanding to people all the time!!! Your hair texture is just a random selection!!! You are not guaranteed “mixed soft” hair just because you’re mixed or from the Caribbean or because you’re “light skin”.

Nyala Nan

Lol ok I won’t argue but I’m saying you can’t jump to that conclusion because saying “many” or not, does not take away from the assumption that you’re making..which is that mixture in the blood line gives way to softer hair…by extension of that logic you are basically attributing softer hair exclusively to other races. Hence your throw back comment. You cannot say many because you don’t know everyone in the Caribbean nor do you know everyone in Nigeria/Ghana and other African nations that have typically been known to have coarse hair right? The logic is flawed.

Rikki Jaye

My comments were based on my own experiences and people in my family, along with other friends and people i have met throughout my life.

Nyala Nan

Ok so “many” will be arguing semantics. That is in your experience, does not apply. Thus my comment hair is random selection and my conclusion that your claim is incorrect. Or shall I say not conclusive. I am adding another experience that disproves that blood line theory.

Iyasha Love

They can. It’s called heat damage but it defeats the purpose of having healthy natural hair

Leatha Scott

Why even go natural? Hell you should keep your relaxed hair if you are going to be trying to alter what you naturally have going on.

Zulu Upshur

Ha ha. Is that natural then

Ciani Nicole

That was a good read. I like the articles better than the pics and videos. I’m glad the writer nvr tries to shame other Black women for struggling to accept their hair. She always approaches the subject with empathy and encouragement. Koodos!

Joanne Charles

Here’s what I don’t like about this: If what you want is a certain look and you don’t hate yourself/your hair, why can’t you change it? My natural hair color is brown… brown like the crayola crayon. I have dyed it for years because I love what blackest black hair looks like. I don’t hate myself or my hair, I just like something else and I will make a change to have it. Why would you judge me or anyone else for that? I don’t like the judgment in the tone of this piece.

Shawnte Blyss Barr

Is it possible for your hair to be different curl textures in different places in your hair? I don’t get my hair in some parts it’s loose and others it’s tight curls. What can I do about this? Is this normal. It doesn’t bother me though I just rock with it

Brittany Richardson

Its very normal. The front of my hair is looser curls while the back is very tight coils.

Ricketta Savage

Its normal the front of my hair is very loose the back is curly.

Brittney Latoy Cruz

Mine is like that and it’s hell to comb! Or brush parts are so pretty with tight define curls some are like a fro. I’ve had some that was even straight. I went thru 4 chops bc the beautician thought she didn’t cut all the perm out. I’m no longer natural anymore now though. Good luck:)

Shayla Hicks

Yes, you can have three or more different hair textures on one head. It is very common!

Briana Rhèun Johnson

can someone tell me about the letters and numbers bc im unaware of what they
mean. like idk what mine is?

Ro Terese

I had to YouTube it kind of gives you a good explanation

Brittany Richardson

Why would anyone want to loosen their curls??? Oh i forgot, because 4 hair is ugly hair…my bad…smh. Be grateful with what you are given!

Ladye Eden

I wouldn’t want to. Changing your hair texture don’t change your hair. Now you can choose to keep it healthy or not. Plain and simple

Laquayva Anthony

Glad to see an article that shows the distinct difference between 4A and 3C hair. So many people think they’re one in the same and they’re not. I’m a true 4A (no other texture) all over my head. 4A’s look kinky and can be shaped into an Afro where 3C’s do not. 3C has a truly curly look to it.

Tianedra Bea Little

Keratin treatments can and they are not like relaxers and such e way healthier for tyne Hastie too it can also repair damage

Ro Terese

My question is how do I get all my hair 1 texture? I have curly, wavy, and straight sections it’s so annoying.

Shajuan Walker

You can’t get your hair to be one texture…unless you’re gonna chemically process it. Your hair is normal. Most of us have different textures throughout our hair.

Pamela Smith

You won’t be able to get your hair all one pattern so forget about it. It is possible to loosen up your curl pattern by using Ayurvedic natural hair products from India. Henna and it’s other products can loosen the curl while others hold and keep your curl. Bentonite clay even gives you curls you didn’t think you had. The judgement that we sometimes feel from some naturals that believe ANYTHING not natural on your hair makes you unnatural is THEIR problem not yours. Ladies, please remember one thing: This is YOUR HAIR JOURNEY. You do your hair the way it likes it and screw what anyone else says. How long have you been doing your own hair before your journey without anyone’s help or permission?? Stop letting articles, that seem biased to one type of hair over another, sway you from doing what’s good for your hair. If your hair won’t stay, hold, blend, braid, twist or whatever like a bloggers does, maybe it’s because it’s not the style your hair likes. Try something else but be you.

Shaqwell T. Mitchell

I don’t think people should be judgmental about what other people do to their hair. It’s not your hair! Mind yours. All that “you don’t love yourself blah blah blah” is bulls**t because people alter their looks everyday. Different hair styles, different colors, straightening it. If you want to change something about yourself to be happier, then go for it! It’s their happiness no one else’s. Not gonna be unhappy because a stranger has an opinion ✋✋

LaShaye Sykes

I actually have looser curls and I wish I had tighter curls, and thicker hair. I am not mixed and my hair is natural.. it’s just looser curls. I hate it.. I would love a tighter curl

Cheryl Williams

That’s crazy

Kare Bare

Ok I hate to take this another route but is adding a texturizer to “loosen”‘your curl taking you out of a natural state? I’m curious and I’m not trying to start anything.

Chevy Red

You will no longer be natural if you got a texturizer.

Kare Bare

That’s what I thought Chevy Red. Thanks

Exquisite Diamond

Who would want to I love my 4 hair

Esther Appiah

Is that possible

Tracy McCoy

Someone earlier in the comments mentioned that west Africans have 3c hair. I’m black, with black parents and I have hair like the picture on the right so hair like that is not a mixed thing.

Nastavia Berry

But why do (some)natural girls act like their way is the only way? If I straighten my hair, i hate myself? Wtf? I do not use relaxers because my hair is stronger without them, however, i do like my hair straight so i get a blow out every 2 weeks. People go natural for different reasons -don’t assume your reason is also my reason. My way is not “wrong”;your way is not “wrong”. Quit being so judgey

Merri Beth Rich

What’s the point of going natural? The movement is about loving and excepting ourselves exactly the way we are.. And now they’re labeling curls? Smh

Maui London

Yes. The more you apply comb, brush, flat iron, and or putting hair under stress.
It can happen. Finger coil the hair is nice.


This lady doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Hair type 3c and 4a is the same thing. 4a hair
is just a little smaller. Google it, it’s even on youtube. I’ve seen girls loosening their 3c hair to 3b.
If you loosen type 4a hair with a textuizerizer you’ll have a type 3c or 3b.




Sure, its possible… With a texturizer