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Curly Nikki

Help Out a Fellow Natural!

By January 27th, 202123 Comments

Velvet writes:
Help Out a Fellow Natural!
Hi Nikki!

First off, I LOOOOVE your blog. Really a great resource for those of us who have no idea what we are doing when it comes to our hair. ๐Ÿ™‚
I was hoping that the CurlyNikki community could help me out! I’ve been completely natural (no heat) for about 4 months now. I haven’t permed for 5 years (since I graduated college in ’05), but have flip flopped from press and curl to braids during the transition phase.
I have figured that my hair is generally 4b, but there are random patches of 3c and 4a here and there, which is SUPER annoying when it comes to styling. Not to mention, since I got a bad weave 2 years ago, the hair in the middle of my head is 4″-6″ shorter than the rest of my head. Talk about frustrating.
I had a few questions for my 4b sistas:
1) what products do you use for an efficient twist/braidout?
2) what gel do you use (if any) to lay your edges down?
3) what is a great signature style for a 4b with shoulder length hair and excessive frizz?
Please help me! I want length, but I’m really close to cutting it all off and starting over.
p.s. I attached a few pictures of Badu (my hair). ๐Ÿ™‚

Help Out a Fellow Natural!Help Out a Fellow Natural!


  • Nappygirlsrock says:

    Hey Velvet!

    It seems like you may have gotten an answer to most of your questions, but I did want to add something. I don't have the same texture as you do, I'm more of a 4c with one patch of 4b in the back, but I use a homemade flaxseed gel. Just take about a half cup of flaxseeds (I got a cup for 68 cents at whole foods) and add it to about 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Just boil til it looks like gel, while continually stiring and then strain. It takes about 15 mins. I add oils my hair loves, like vitamin E and jojoba. There is no flaking, no build up, it is not heavy at all. You can youtube it too, if you want to see it done. I really hope that helps cause it definitely helped me.

  • Dannielle says:

    Although it looks like your hair is looser than mine, I thought I'd share my favorite mix anyway. I use a mixture of 3-4 Tbsp. herbal essences conditioner(long term relationship is my favorite), 2-3 Tbsp.Fruit of the Earth Aloe vera gel, and about 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil. I apply this to damp hair and wear it in twists for 4-7 days. 3 days before I wash ,with sulfate free shampoo, I wear it in a twist out. By the way my hair was MBL when I straightened it in late January.

  • Victoria says:

    I believe I'm 4b too and I had the same questions. These responses are very helpful. Also what's a good idea for hair growth?

  • LBell says:

    It is not possible for your roots to be one texture and the rest of the strands to be a different texture. Your two comments confirm that what you have is not natural 3c/4a hair, but natural 4b hair that's severely heat-damaged. The longer your hair gets, and the more your healthy roots "take over," so to speak, the more you will see this. You are right when you compare pressing to the perm…and transitioning from heat damage that severe is exactly like transitioning from a perm.

    I'll repeat what I said before: Ideally health should be the first priority. I know, though, that for a lot of women, "the look" takes first place. I don't agree with it, but that's me…

  • afrique68 says:

    Fine 4b hair needs only oil and leave in conditioner. I use Infusium mixed with eucalyptus and twists outs with shea butter. My ends are similar to yours because they are thermally conditioned as I have never permed my hair but I wore a press n curl my entire life until 2008. Slowly keep trimming the ends and stop pressing regualarly…it will begin to get easier to style I promise.

    The only styles I am able to maintain regualarly are a blow out fro, a twist out (ends only ) fro and a fro hawk.

    I dont use gel, never does anything but add buildup. frizz is a part of life with 4b, embrace it. smile

  • modest-goddess says:

    I forgot to mention, I don't try to smooth my ends down with anything but my hands because I don't want to cause breakage.

  • modest-goddess says:

    I'm a 4a, the only way to get the front of my hair to lay down without stressing my hair is to wrap a satin scarf from the beauty supply around my head like a head band, and leave it on until my hair is dry. I only do this when I am wearing a puff.

  • Anonymous says:


    Actually, my roots are THICK 4b hair, and the rest is maybe a mix of 4a/b and 3c. I'm not exactly sure. But I know that the press and curls I was getting while in transition messed up my natural curl pattern. Therefore, different textures = difficult to style. Grr! lol


  • QuietButterfly says:

    Hi Velvet!! I'm in the type 4 category.

    I use Miss Jessies Curly and Baby Buttercreme for my twist-outs/braid outs. I've also used Cantu Leave In mixed with jojoba oil. They all work well for me.

    I go back and forth between Eco Styler gel and Jane Carter Nourish and Shine to lay down my edges.

    Keeping your hair in protective styles like twists or braids for a week or so, then twisting or braiding out for a few days would probably be the best option for you, especially if you want length.

  • Keyz says:


    1) what products do you use for an efficient twist/braidout?
    2) what gel do you use (if any) to lay your edges down?
    3) what is a great signature style for a 4b with shoulder length hair and excessive frizz?


  • CollegeGirl says:

    Well, I'm still transitioning, but I just started using Elasta QP Glaze to slick my edges down. That, combined with a really soft brush, gives me waves in the front (never had waves before!).

    To do a braid-out, I like to use Qhemet Biologics Amla Olive Heavy Cream or just plain old castor oil and a water and glycerin mix to wet it. Also, you may want to try a braid and curl with a headband. That way, you can slick the front back and just slap a headband over it to keep it in place. Or start bunning! I've been bunning it for the past week and it's really convenient, especially in all of this heat! Just do a braid out and pull it back into a very textured, sloppy bun.

    Oh, and I've heard some really good things about safflower oil, but I have yet to try it (just got some today!).

    Your texture is so beautiful and I wish you the best of luck with your hair. Someday, I hope to have length like yours.

  • Anonymous says:

    Velvet, your hair doesn't look like 4b in the last two pics, if that's heat damage it's pretty severe. Even with heat damage I still doubt you are 4b, only the roots in your first picture suggest you might be 4b. To me you look texlaxed in all three pictures with kinky roots that are a different text to the length.

  • ANGELINA says:

    Hey Velvet! I understand where you're coming from and my suggestion is to do either braidouts or twistouts. I use a shea butter and coconut oil mix on top of Giovanni Direct Leave-in Conditioner on my wet hair, then twist or braid and take them out when they're completely dry. You'll have better results (and retain length) if you leave your braids or twists in for a few days before taking them out. This really worked for me and helped me adjust to the length and frizziness (now I don't care about it anymore…it's just how my hair is). Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

  • lisa says:

    I am a 3c/4a mix but I think my four fave products are good on any texture and that you'll like them. Qhemet biologics – amla and olive heavy cream and the burdock root butter cream and Karen's body beautiful hair milk and hair butter. My hair tends towards dryness so wash and go's never come out as good for me as twistouts, braidouts, etc. protective styles help seal the moisture into your hair. Qhemet and Karen's products are really moisturizing. The amla and olive is heavy, it can actually feel a little sticky in your hands if you use a lot. Don't worry it won't make your hair sticky. The burdock root cream is lighter and won't have that effect but is still very moisturizing and makes your hair silky. I usually do twists on air dried detangled hair. I use the qhemet at the roots and as I'm twisting and add some hair butter as I get to the ends to seal. It works beautifully together.

    Since your hair is shoulder length I think twists are a great option because they show off your length, you can style them in lots of pretty, sophisticated ways and they seal in your moisture and protect your hair from the elements and manipulation. For a gel I use the kinky curly to slick my edges but I just wet the edges and apply the kinky curly and a clip or bobby pins to anchor that piece of hair down. I never brush my edges and I still get them pretty slick but never straight, it's more of a wave. I think having a little texture to your edges is nice. But if you really want it to lay straight I'd put some gel and then a scarf for 30 mins or so.

    I know this was a call for 4B beauties but I think sometimes the same products work for different textures. The creator of kbb has 4a/4b curls and her products work beautifully for me. I think conditioners and stylers don't always work for all textures but a really good moisturizer crosses genres.

  • twirlygirly01 says:

    For my 4b hair, I find that AfroVeda's totally twisted ginger almond butter works great for a twist and curl. To acheive my twist and curl, I lightly blow dry my hair on low/cool, add some totally twisted and get to twistin' ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel that this (twist and curl) and a braid out are great styles for our hair type. My preference is to do this on stretched hair though. For my edges I use eco styler olive oil OR Afro Veda's pur whipped jelly, I just recently tried the jelly. It smells yummy. And if you love Oyin's whipped pudding, I strongly suggest trying AV's coco latte moisture mask! This stuff is great. It's cheaper and does/smells/feels the same. Hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    Just lovely! Thaaaaank you ladies SO MUCH for these awesome tips.

    I've got a lot of research to do on hennas and different oils. I figure, my hair is still sort of in transition, but it has come such a long way. The back used to not curl at all. So I cut it off and it's blending in well with the rest. I haven't permed for almost 5 years now and in 2006, my hair stylist cut most of the relaxed ends off and I was left with half a head of hair. From there, I got more of the relaxed ends cut off every month until they were gone, but I was still pressing it. Honestly, I feel like the pressing had the same effect on my curls as the perming did. Still working on getting my hair back to normal through deep conditioning and protective styles tho.

    I'll send a progress report in a few months after I try out a few of these techniques on my Badu. Thanks again y'all!!!

    And thanks Nikki for posting my story. ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Ms. Cee C says:

    1. The products I use for a braid/twist out would be Hollywood Beaty Olive Oil Creme (this is great for a dry braid/twist out and it is so moisturising for type 4 hair) Also, I love to use my Cantu Shea Leave in on wet hair. And Tui hair oil by Carol's daughter gives it great sheen and scent.

    2. To lay my edges down I sometimes use JAM extra hold on dry hair but, I don't use this often b/c it has mineral oil. Also, I use shea butter mixed with olive oil and soybean oil. And on my wet hair I use Fantasia IC gel the Olive oil formula. I alway tie a satin scarf around my edges after applying one of these and it works wonderfully!!

    3. A great signature style for 4B hair is to do a braid out and then pin the ends under for an elegant updo. This style is so simple yet, it protects the ends. Also, I receive numerous compliments whenever I wear this style.

    I really hope this helps.

  • Yvette says:

    I've actually been having the same problem as Velvet, so this is really helpful to me. I, too, have been doing updos mostly. Still working on how to part my twists small enough so there aren't any holes when I try to put it up. But glad to know I'm on the right path.

  • Tiga says:

    I do almost the same as Loo.
    I use shea butter mixed with castor oil, rosemary oil and argan oil. I don't use gel though and if I do it would be either eco styler or kinky curling custard ( a bit pricey though)

    To lay my edges down I used to use gel but now I use shea butter and put on a scarf it works as well.

    For the signature style,

    I like twists updos, braid out, twist out, curly fro.

    On another note I find using henna (jamila brand is the best) every 4 to 6 weeks great for reducing friziness, now my hair hold a style better without frizzing for days.

  • Loo says:

    Hey fellow 4b! I cosign with LBell on the possible heat damage to your ends … unless those are relaxed ends.

    As for your questions, here a couple of things I use/do:

    1) what products do you use for an efficient twist/braidout?
    I use a combination of shea butter, coconut oil, and gel on freshly washed wet/damp hair. I leave the twists in for a few days (or minimum of one day) and then unleash the twistout. After that, I refrain from over manipulating the twistout; this helps it to last.

    2) what gel do you use (if any) to lay your edges down?
    Eco Styler all the way baby. I apply it to my edges, comb through, and tie with a scarf until dry. Afterwards, I remove the scarf and I'm good to go!

    3) what is a great signature style for a 4b with shoulder length hair and excessive frizz?
    For me it's all about the updos. They can be rocked on shoulder length hair as well. Use bobby pins or pretty clips. Be creative and experiment with pompadours or a twisted bang. The good thing about updos is they emit elegance while protecting your ends and taming the frizz.

    Hope this helps!

  • Loo says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • LBell says:

    If that second picture is your completely natural hair (no permed ends), then you're either not mostly 4b or you've sustained significant heat damage that's not going to go away without a haircut. If you are trying to transition out of heat-damaged hair, I don't know if my advice will help. However, since you say you have a patch that's significantly shorter, you might as well cut it off and start over because it'll make things a lot easier in terms of styling. Hair grows back…and if you get your routine right you should be able to regain all the length you've lost and have a healthier head of hair to boot.

    Moisturizing doesn't need to be expensive. For my fine 4b strands I find I only need water and oil — basically, water or a water-based leave-in followed by oil or an oil-based leave-in. One thing that sort of does both is a spritz made of 1 part castor oil and 4 parts water. That worked for me when my hair was your length; now that it's short again I've added more water and am thinking about replacing the castor oil with olive oil, which is lighter. My hair sees some form of water every single day and that has really made a difference in its health.

    As for laying edges down…you can try rubbing an alcohol-free gel in your palms, smoothing it over your damp hair in a backwards motion (like you're taking off a hood), then tie the edges down flat with a scarf, leave the scarf on for about 10-15 minutes, then remove it.

    The sooner you accept that 4b hair is naturally frizzy and has a tendency to not lay down, the better. More edges have been lost because women can't let go of the need for "baby hair." More damage has occurred because women can't get past the fact that their natural hair may not curl or hang or move like other women's natural hair. Health should be your first concern. Good luck…

  • beadgyrl says:

    Velvet you seem like you have a pretty good length going, and from what you said, you haven't done too much damaging practices such as too much heat, etc…I am not sure I would cut it off just yet to start over. Just do more protective styling, such as twists and updos, like in you first picture. Moisturization is key, and you have to invest in those types of products. I would go to butters-n-bars and afroveda, they have some really great products, and hair butters you can try. My sister is having the same problem as you. She has relied on doing the ayurvedic treatments, and henna. Please do some research on ayurvedic treatments. Basically my sister mixes amla, shikaikai, and braimi powders with hair conditioner, virgin coconut oil, coconut milk, vatika oil, and maybe another oil of your choice, such as Virgin olive oil, and you make a paste and sleep in it overnight. She does this 1-2 times a month. Plus you may need to up your vitamins, I myself take 5000mg of biotin, one tab) a day, and cod liver oil. Just keep researching, and remember moisturization and protective styling.

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