When Type 4 Natural Hair Doesn’t Make Sense

I saw a video the other day that had me weak. Not because the contents were at all funny; but the implications were. In fact, the video was a more or less standard “let me show you my hair texture video since y’all keep bothering me” by one of the finalists for the International Natural Hair Idol pageant/award, Naptural85. But I literally guffawed when I saw Naptural85’s curls spring and pop with no product or stretching.

Before you call me a hater, I’m not mad at Naptural85’s hair. I’m not at all jealous. I subscribe to Whitney’s channel and I have for a long time. Homegirl got me using Terressentials Mud Wash. I include these caveats because it seems that anytime I talk about the dangers of hair typing or idolizing other people’s hair, people try to say that I’m projecting because I hate my hair. I’m not going to waste time convincing anyone that I love my hair.


Mama Pope knows when nobody has time for that.

What is so thigh-slapping hilarious fascinating about this video is that it – in less than 5 minutes – shattered the hopes and dreams of many a natural haired woman. I have seen people argue about Whitney’s hair type; on her website, she says her hair is 4a and 4b, but her hair does not fit the prototypes of 4a/4b hair that many hair type charts give. Guess what doe? I believe homegirl. Why? Because anybody can decide what they want their hair type to be. There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s not a science. Not to beat a dead horse, but, I feel like the need remains for that to be said.

So what happens when you hinge your natural hair’s identity on one of the categories in a hair type chart, obsess over the hair of a natural hair vlogger who also places herself in that same category, and then discover what her hair ACTUALLY looks like?

Well, you’re either super happy:

“Oh thank god that’s my hair texture! I’m so glad you uploaded this video as it gives me hope for my hair journey :)”

“Wow your the first natural I’ve seen with my hair texture lol now I know there is light at the end of this tangly curly tunnel”

“You have been my hair crush for a long time. i am always saying i want my hair to be like hers and come to find out it is like yours i just go to learn how to treat and style it a little better and work on retaining the length.”

Or you’re pissed the f off, but masking it with some lols and smiley faces:

“We’re both type 4a, but my hair is A LOT different than yours.  It’s all good though. =)”

“Your curl pattern is gorgeous. Im jealous lol”

“Your hair is lovely even in it’s wet state… Alas mine is much less manageable 4c and then some. I have no curl definition wet or dry, but your techniques are still helpful. :-)”


All I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t clutch onto the notions of hair type harder than you do your grandma’s pearls. Likelihood is, they will shatter into a million pieces the second you find out your idol’s hair looks nothing like yours. Herein enters despair, frustration, and dissatisfaction with our own hair; next thing you know you’re adding a light texturized relaxing again. It’s not worth the stress or the head/hairache.

So, now that that’s out of the way, can I move on to other topics besides the dangers of hair typing?

Such as… Scandal comes back tomorrow and I am READY. #tellusaboutHarrison #byeQuinn #Mellieneedsanaffair #Jakepleasedon’tkillFitz #Cyrusdon’thaveaheartattack

Oh and Shonda can you please update us on the status of a few characters that you flashed on the screen briefly but never addressed? I’m specifically thinking about Lazarus Billy and Cyrus & James’ adopted African baby, but I’m sure I’m forgetting many others. And if Liv needs a love interest to prove she wasn’t with Fitz, I vote Remy Denton.

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  1. I feel so alone, hair typing didn’t throw me off at all. I got pretty lucky because my curls don’t give me any trouble (when i was in the new growth transitioning stage I could tell I wouldn’t be a type 3 and after all I read about type 4, I got worried I wouldn’t be able to do it.) I’m so in love with her hair and we have a super similar hair type, mine is a teensy bit looser. But when I saw her hair wet and it looks literally just like mine, its like looking in a crystal ball.

  2. I thought I was the only one who felt some kinda way about this video. But I agree that we have to forge our own paths when it comes to hair reaching Its full potential.

  3. First of all, I don’t think her wet hair says anything – my hair looks like that when I’m in and fresh out the shower, too, and then it dries into a tangly curly bumpin fro that looks nothing at all like that. I remember the first time I washed my natural hair thinking it was going to dry exactly the way it looked when it was wet, lmao. No chile. She also has lots of it so it’s weighed down, which she also commented on.

    But that aside – when I first started transitioning I remember trying to analyze my new growth on the sides to see how it was going to turn out, and trying to compare it with a bunch of YouTube bloggers’. I remember deciding to get my tapered cut partially on the basis of Ariel Sansaricq’s video on how she washes her hair – co-wash, gel, and blow-dry (HAHAHAHAHA!). I remember the very first day I was unhappy because MY wash and go didn’t turn out like I expected (I had a fro, of course, and not popping curls like hers). And I wasn’t prepared or willing to comb gobs of gel into my hair to try to get it to resemble something it wasn’t.

    I wasn’t ever truly happy with my natural hair until I weaned myself off the videos for a while and started trying to figure out what worked for MY OWN texture and curl pattern, irrespective of what worked for YouTube bloggers. Now that I’ve got a system down that works for me, I use YT videos as inspiration for styles I can do, but fully accept that they’re likely to look very different on my hair and embrace that. In fact, part of the fun is finding out what the heck it’s going to look like when I wake up the next day. And I LOVE my hair texture. The only time I feel a little bit insecure about it is…when I’m comparing it to YT bloggers. Difference now is that I have figured out the problem and will shut down YT if I ever start to feel bad.

    In fact, that’s why I’ve made a point of always telling women who ask me about how I achieved my style. I’ve had a couple of black girls point to my hair (in a twist-out) and say “I would go natural if my hair texture was like yours.” I be like, “Girl, this is a twist-out.”

  4. I left a mighty long comment on a previous article here on how I REALLY feel about hair typing so I’ll be brief LOL. I can’t stand any of it and what you highlighted here is one of many reasons why. Everyone just needs to take the time to love & learn their own hair, what it responds to or doesn’t, etc. Totally agree with this article.

    In other news, you are HILARIOUS! “#welp” (one of my favorite things to say!), Mama Pope, your Scandal inquiries… HA! Awesome post.

      1. You’ve always had that sense of humor. I just think it shines through more as you get more comfortable with/into your blogging 😀

    1. I’m with you about green beauty. When I made my discovery about some leading vloggers out there (re: their true hair type) I unsubscribed. It might be foolish of me, but I NEVER subscribe or follow anyone who is not a true 4c. Not that their hair isn’t beautiful or that they have nothing to offer, but I don’t want to fall into the trap of wrong expectations for my hair. Also, I really feel that if you don’t have 4c hair there are some things you just CANNOT understand. We (4a – 4c) all talk about the horrors of detangling, but all a 4a chick has to do is coat her hair generously with product and voila! her troubles cease and the comb becomes an ally. Even with my hair dripping with conditioner, I still experience the occasional OUCH! and have to start from the tips and move gradually to the roots. I was chatting with a first cousin of mine (who is mixed race and has 3c/4a hair) and she washes her hair daily, and combs through with ease once it’s wet. When I told her that I limit my wash days to once a month her response was “OMG that’s just nasty! I’d be going crazy from all the gunk by then.” Like I said – they have no clue. BTW, I love my cousin with all my heart 😀

    2. Finally got around to watching this video and I must say I’m impressed! Carol’s Daughter had a similar method, I think I’ll write about them!

  5. I totally agree with dangers of hair typing. I hit my 3 yr mark this past december, but I learned my lesson on hair typing in year 1! I was part of the “pissed the f off” group! Lol! Somewhere around the beginning of year 2, I decided to indulge in the science of hair and the aspects that effect it. That helped me understand the anatomy/physiology of my hair, what I put on it, how I use products/tools, how to prep for the climate/weather change, and how my health can be a factor. Heading to year 4, I’ve grown to love my hair and its limitations. Now, I only use YouTube and hair vlogs for DIY’s, hair recipes, and reviews on products.

    SN: Knowledge is power! So, after being informed you should feel empowered and motivated…not pissed and confused!