If 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.
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.