Karen, known as Glamfun on YouTube, is a vlogger who documents her 4c hair journey, product reviews, and style. Recently there was social media backlash from her followers surrounding her decision to relax her hair. Now, she is transitioning back to natural. We wanted to ask her more questions addressing the trials and triumphs of her hair journey so far.
If overmanipulation caused the trauma or breakage to your hair, are you going to continue making hair care and styling tutorials? What will change?
I will be doing videos that show how I care for my hair. For example, I will be showing my wash regimen, deep conditioning regimen, my protective styling habits, and how to keep a good mindset throughout it all by focusing on other things like fashion, makeup, and exercising. I will be doing more hair discussion videos that talk about my experience and the different phases of a hair journey through a 4c hair prospective. What I really want to shed light on is a real 4c hair journey. People, especially in the natural hair community, need to understand that 4c hair is a very different hair type; much more different than 4b and 4a hair. The upcoming hair discussions that I am going to have on my channel are going to highlight how easy and normal it is for some with 4c hair to have major ups and downs due to underrepresentation in the natural hair community with such a unique hair type.
You stated that natural hair products also caused breakage. “Natural hair products” translate differently to everyone. Natural hair products could refer to vegan products, products with no silicones, products that are specifically marketed to natural hair, etc. Can you define what you meant by natural hair products? You could also share which specific ones.In light of the breakage I was receiving, I eased up on the styling and began using organic products to nurse my hair back to health. Two products that I heard of that were very effective and healing for most natural hair types are ACV rinses and aloe vera juice. Little did I know these products would dry my 4c hair out even worse. I would create a mixture of 3-parts water 1-part ACV. A lot of people in the natural hair community said it would help to cleanse their hair, close the cuticle, and make their hair shiny. It made my 4c hair feel very brittle and dry. Same thing happened with aloe vera juice. A lot of people in the natural hair community say that it heals their scalp, closes the cuticles, and that it’s a good leave-in with water. Again, I tried it and it made my 4c hair feel very brittle. I thought I was doing something wrong so I tried different variations of these products all to no avail. With more research, I came to the conclusion that these two items probably did not work on me because I have low porosity 4c hair. By the time I started using more glycerin, castor oil, and heavy butters my hair was so upset that it didn’t like anything. Type 4c hair is the most fragile hair, so a lot of natural hair community information affects 4c hair ten times worse than it would affect someone with 4a or 4b hair because their hair isn’t as fragile. I knew I was going to have to start over. After that I was very hesitant about using natural hair products and spending hours conditioning and braiding my hair. I got sick of the process of experimenting with my 4c hair and decided to relax my hair again.
Do you think there is a place for hair vloggers who don’t have a variety of styling videos (i.e. the wash and go natural)?
Yes. Luckily, I did find some products that currently make my 4c hair feel good and I will be sharing that information on my channel in upcoming videos. To me it doesn’t have to be about styling anymore. My main goal for my channel and my hair is to show how I’m going to keep my hair healthy. A lot of the hair journey has to do with your mindset and being happy in general. What I want to showcase on my channel is my complete experience with natural hair, which most people wouldn’t want to share but I don’t mind sharing with pictures and video footage.
What I plan on doing is putting a true voice out there about natural hair that a lot of people have never heard before. I think if people can have a 4c natural hair perspective (not just a 3c, 4a, and 4b), they would know more about what it is they are getting into. They would know how things might become for them especially if they have 4c hair, which is very underrepresented.
How sustainable is natural hair vlogging?
Natural hair vlogging is as sustainable as you want it to be. Like anything, I think it is about reinventing yourself, staying true to the way you feel and how your journey is going and sharing the truth.
People follow and subscribe to YouTubers for various reasons (similar hair texture, personality, video quality, diverse content, etc.) but in reference to styling that is mostly about aesthetic. How important is it to follow YouTubers with similar textures that go beyond porosity and density? Do you think it helps for a Type 4 to watch a loose Type 3 twist out video and expect the same results?
It is very important to follow people who have a similar hair type as you for hair care. No, it is not helpful for a girl with 4c to watch a loose type 3c, 4a, or 4b hair video and expect the same results for their hair. The problem is slowly but surely you are going to start believing that your hair can do the same things as theirs when in actuality it can’t. If you like watching someone who is 3c, 4a, 4b because of their personality or you think there hair is pretty it is up to you. In the end, we are all people and it shouldn’t matter what their hair looks like. If you like the person then you should support them by watching. But I would warn people that what the other hair types are doing with their hair more than likely will not work for you.
Do you feel pressured to transition back to natural?
I do not feel pressure to transition back to natural, so much so that I am transitioning in my own way. I will not be big chopping any time soon. I will be growing my hair out under wigs. I would like people to know that if it weren’t for wigs, I would have never vlogged naturally. I wore a wig everyday for a year. I washed and conditioned every weekend and my hair grew out thick and healthy. I had thick and healthy hair once; that is when I started to want to talk about my 4c hair. I was so in love with my thick beautiful natural 4c hair that I got from wearing wigs and taking care of my hair on the weekends that I wanted to talk about it and share my success. It wasn’t until I tried to style it, follow people in the natural hair community, and used products that other vloggers were promoting when my hair started to break off and dry out.
Do you think it is ok for women to not like their natural hair? It’s one thing to prefer straight hair, but what about an inferiority complex?
It is very easy for a woman to not like their natural hair when it is underrepresented and sometimes made fun of. That is why I think a person with kinky, 4c hair would find it hard to like their hair in the beginning. I hated my hair the first time I big chopped my hair. I don’t think there is anything wrong with not liking your hair in the beginning. I actually think it is quite normal. Not only is real 4c hair not represented in a world perspective, extra kinky 4c hair is also looked down upon in the natural hair community. When most people go natural they at some point pray that their hair will not be extra kinky as they put the gel in their hair and wait for it to curl. When it doesn’t start curling like the girl on YouTube, then you start to think you’re doing something wrong. Then, you try every product under the sun and you still don’t get that curl. Not only can it be frustrating, it can get depressing and strip you of your self-confidence because you can start to feel unattractive. Nobody in the natural hair community looks like you and they promote products that don’t work for the hair type. The natural hair communities depiction of what beautiful natural hair is (3c, 4a, 4b) sets a 4c-headed girl up for failure with a constant promotion of unattainable results with a 4c hair texture. That is why I started wearing wigs. All of a sudden under a wig my hair started to grow. I used minimal products. I learned how to look cute with a wig on and my natural hair was growing big and beautiful. I was more than happy and so was my hair. The natural community started to believe that I hated my hair and that is why I wear wigs. When in actuality, wigs embraced my 4c natural hair more than information from the natural hair community.
You can follow Glamfun here: