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!



15 Ways To Get Longer Healthier Hair


About Alma

Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!. I 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 bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.

  • 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

  • Jessica

    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?

    • Alma

      A texturizer straightens hair so even if you did the whole process with perm rods, eventually when you wash your hair it would look like normal texturized hair. Traditional perms on the other hand use two chemicals. One which straightens your hair ie removes your natural curl pattern then followed up with a perm lotion/neutralizer which re-establishes the bonds in the new position thereby changing the curl pattern of the hair.

  • Aliyah Morrison

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

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