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If you are a newbie upon joining the natural hair community, the first thing you probably did was spend hours figuring out what your hair type is. Once that ordeal was over, you promptly headed over to your appropriate forum and began to ask the basics to get on track with most of the questions revolving around moisture and dryness. If you are anywhere in the 4’s then you were probably given this advice:

“You need to moisturize in layers. Start with a slippery leave in to help with the tangles then a thick moisturizer and butter on top to seal it in. Then apply more moisturizer and oil to your ends daily to keep them happy.”

As a newbie, you then retreated from your computer and proceeded to do as instructed to get hair like the avatar picture of the women you were stalking admiring. After a few days or weeks, you began to get fed up and wondered if your hair was supposed to be this crunchy and hard, and if every natural left grease stains everywhere she went. If this story sounds familiar, then read on.

Not All 4s Are the Same

The reason I know this story is because it's mine. This is why I cannot stress enough that curl pattern is not important in the large scheme of things, because it mislead me and is probably misleading many more women now. Regardless of how tight your curls are, there are simply some type 4 ladies whose coils hate hair butters and oils.

This may seem weird considering that butters, especially shea butter, are in almost every product and loved by many naturals. But for some naturals, the oils and butters are never absorbed by the hair and simply lie on top of it weighing it down and making it hard and crunchy. If you are one of these naturals, here are a few tips for you to get moisturized hair minus all the side effects.

  • Ditch the butters and oils. They are simply too heavy for your hair. Instead, remember that liquid products are your friend. When purchasing leave-ins and moisturizers, ensure that water is the first ingredient and that it has a liquid consistency. Avoid products with a high oil content. Before purchasing, behind the store clerks back, rub some of the product onto the back of your hand and wait a while. If it absorbs into your hand easily and leaves it moisturized, then you have the go ahead, but if it leaves an oily residue, then move along.
  • If you must purchase a butter, then ensure that it is whipped and very light and fluffy. If it is thick and sticky and is hard to emulsify in your hands, then it will probably be hard for your hair to absorb it.
  • Moisturize only when needed. This is very important to avoid build up and prevent leaving grease stains everywhere. I know that many women have a moisturizing routine that involves moisturizing daily or even twice daily, but with hair like yours, it's key to listen to what it needs and not what others are doing. If your hair is still moisturized at the end of the day, then there's no need to smother it with products just because. Leave it alone, and when it begins to feel dry, then proceed with caution.

Make Your Own Routine

Now that I’ve told you what not to do, here is a simple regimen that might work for your hair. Also, please remember to tweak it to suit your hair and lifestyle.

  • After cleansing, ensure that your hair is dripping wet, then apply your products. Keep a spray bottle on hand if  your hair gets dry and needs to be to rewetted. Applying product to wet hair will help you to distribute the product and avoid using too much.
  • Once your liquid products have been applied, you may feel the need to apply something heavier to your ends to protect them. Ensure that you do this to wet hair.
  • If you feel the need to moisturize daily, try mixing a liquid moisturizer or leave-in with water in a spray bottle and spritzing it on your hair daily. Scrunching in a moisturizer may ruin the style and butters may make it too heavy, but light spritzing throughout the day will keep your hair moisturized without ruining the style. Just ensure that you do not make a lot of spritz at once as it could spoil if left for a while. Also, remember to lightly mist and not douse your hair to avoid ruining your style.

Lastly, remember that if you moisturize well on day one, you will avoid having to remoisturize and play the guessing game of ‘how much moisturizer is too much’ later. Plus, you won’t have to worry about ruining your style midweek to take care of a dry patch.

I hope this helped, and as always, I wish you love, peace and curly haired bliss.

0 Comments
I think the proverbial take-away is do what seems to work for your hair. My hair has a tendency to be dry, and water-based moisturizers and stylers seem to make the problem worse. My hair becomes crunchy, stiff and dull, and my scalp becomes tight flaky. Especially in winter. Therefore, beyond the rinse-out and leave-in conditioners, I don't use water-based products. Instead, I follow the leave-in with a non-water-based butter. So far, so good!
I have medium length, tightly coiled/Afro-textured hair. Butters do nothing for my hair **unless** they are incorporated into a water-based (or aloe vera juice-based), creamy or lotion-y leave-in conditioner/moisturizer. The only oils that work for my are coconut oil (for pre-poos) and castor oil (for sealing ends and edges).
i really like this this has helped alot my hair is 3c-4c and very thin and fragile non of the really popular hair butters work for my hair they don't absorb at all and leave a build up i was getting really upset then i realized that my hair likes thin products it doesn't like gels for twists outs but gels work on my ends still haven't found a good butter for twist outs but still looking
First of all, I agree with ajgrneyes, dryness and crunchiness could be caused by a million different things. Therefore, I don't think it's good advice to tell people to just ditch all butters and oils. First of all, most oils are not supposed to be absorbed by the hair; they are supposed to create a barrier to prevent moisture loss. So if the oil is weighing down you hair, I imagine you're either using too much or you need to use a lighter oil like coconut, grapeseed or jojoba. Also, I do think it's important to have dissenting voices in the natural hair world, voices that say "what a minute! The popular thing to do might not be right for everybody!" but when reading articles like this I can't help but feel sorry for new naturals or people whose regimen is not working because of all of the conflicting information they have to wade through. It is overwhelming and ends up making natural haircare way more complicated than it needs to be.
I really am not a great person to ask as i have not tried too many products but I did love Karen's body beautiful liquid leave ins. Also for a plethora of product reviews of everything under the sun check out denimpixie on youtube or questfortheperfectcurl.com
After trying yet another product and sadly watching it just sit on top of my hair I was just saying to myself that my hair hates oil and thick creams lol so glad I came across this article... What are some good liquid moisturizers you would recommend for3c-4a hair?
@Jadedea Jade I am by no means a chemist and won't even begin to try to break down that ingredients list but what I can tell you is to do what is best for you. Most beauty supply products are chalk full of silicones and mild proteins that help to strengthen and form a protective barrier on your hair and also increase shine. The online natural community frowns on silicones especially because it requires a sulfate shampoo to wash out or else it can build. Many women swear by them as the secret to the health of their hair and as for me I love them. So I say all this to say if you love that product and it is working for you then use it. Do what is best for your hair. AS for the protein the only way to know is to monitor the ingredients in your products and see if there is a correlation between your hair becoming dry and that particular product. Also grab a strand and gently tug on it. If it immediately snaps you have too much protein and need moisture. If it stretches and keeps on going then you have too much moisture and need protein. If it stretches some then breaks you have a good balance. Hope this helps
Wow! It's like you wrote this about me! I assumed that because my hair is dry I needed butters. They leave my hair greasy. The lighter, the better.
thank you for this article! i thought i was a freak of nature because my hair hates butter products. it just sits on my hair. and i don't use shampoos with sulfates or products with "bad stuff" in it. my hair simply won't absorb dense products like that butter. i stick with leave-in's and hair milks and they seem to work best.
you know i am still trying to figure out if i am protein sensitive or protein needing. i find that a lot of products dry my hair out. if i leave my hair out in the air it drys up on its own. the only product that i have known that never did that was the profectiv line. it has always left my hair moist but not oily with no build up or with flakes. i dont want to post the ingredients list as its too long but here is a link to list. does it say anywhere why my hair likes it more than anything? http://strengthofnature.com/store/shop/root-health-anti-dryness-strengthener/
The title is not a command but simply a catchy title to garner interest. As for the content of the article I stand by it as i have lived it. Everyone's hair will not like butters and oils and it may seem strange as the tighter the curls usually there is a greater love for heavier products but like I explained in the article what works for some may not work for all. Now that I have completely ditched butters and use oils sparingly my hair has never been better and crunchiness, greasy hair and oil stains are behind me.
I'm not trying to start an argument, but I respectfully disagree with the title of this article. Dryness and crunchiness COULD be caused by any number of factors such as; sulphate shampoos, too much protein, silicone buildup, unhealthy diet, etc. Using various butters, and there are many butters besides Shea, and oils in excess will cause buildup and the greasy head effect. If a person is using the "right". Poo, and conditioner for their specific hair's properties (porosity, elasticity), butters and oils are very beneficial.
the best thing might be for you to do a combination of both. water based products alone may not be moisturizing or heavy enough and butters and oils when used alone are no moisturizing so try using a water based products first then sealing in the moisture with an oil or butter. Also try doing a moisturizing deep conditioner every time you wash
Regarding my hair type, which is a thick mixture of 3c and 4a texture, it tends to be really dry after I put a water based product into my hair so I decided to go all butters and oils. Now my hair is left feeling really oily and greasy for days on end an have a lot of build up. What would you recommend I do to fix it?

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