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An Exquisite Mess

natural 4c hair

Of all the challenges that come with natural hair, managing tangles was the most dreadful element in my mind. As a novice natural head I went to profound extremes to detangle my hair every fortnight in a bid to elude a tangled mess. As I gained length, it became increasingly obvious that my 4C texture was prone to tangles and the options were either to embrace that nature or invest a lot of time combating a natural occurrence that cannot be altered (short of relaxing my hair, which was not an option).

The irrefutable bottom line remains that my hair is very prone to tangling owing to the structure of the curls and the extreme angles from which they pop out of my hair follicles (I should mention that I am a very curious being and I have a folder with high res magnified photos of my scalp). Inevitably there are moments when life gets in the way (May was filled with heavy finals and the very nervy decision of declaring my major, shifting from Liberal Arts) so hair care takes a back seat. After overzealous moisturizing and chunky braids I leave my hair to its own devices. In May I didn’t even have time to re-moisturize and re-braid once a week, which I highly recommend by the way.

natural 4c hair

Once the finals month chaos was behind it was time for hair care. Armed with a plethora of detangling aids and a lot of time, I gingerly unraveled the chunky braids and as expected there were quite a bit of tangles. Yet something was different this time. As if they had communicated by some invisible device, the tangles, although random (and extremely tangled) created this grand chaotic mess of exquisite texture definition. No fancy products (quick mist of herbal water-based leave-in) or time consuming styling methods just plain tangles that somehow spawned an elaborate hairstyle. I swiftly put away all my detangling aids, dressed up and went about my day showcasing my beautiful, beautiful chaotic mess.

natural 4c hair

The idea that natural heads are supposed to avoid tangles like a plague is a fallacy because tangles are the very nature of our hair. I’m no longer hell bent on hair that 100% tangle free (it will never be that way for my hair any way). For my hair structure tangles are part of the package and I am okay with that. From personal experience, the connotation of tangles being inherently evil no longer applies. Of course I do my best to manage tangles but complete elimination is irrelevant for my curls. Plus I can make them work into a cute style!

Here’s a detailed post of how I detangle my hair, in case you are curious.

How do you feel about tangles? Would you style your tangled hair like I did or is that a no-go zone for you? Please share your thoughts, I would love to read them.

  • Odiri Obiakpani

    Hi. I really love your styles, especially as we have the same type of hair (and you are gorgeous).

    I would like to try the twisted pin up #17, but you don’t have a video. Would it be possible to put one up?
    Thanks
    Odiri
    London, UK

    • Gabrielle

      Hi Odiri! Nice to meet a texture twin. I had a second big chop last year so my hair is too short at the moment to pull off style 17. I’m sorry I didn’t shoot a video back when I style it.
      I’m working on a few roll, tuck and pin styles for my current length and I will definitely film those. As it gets longer, I will replicate all the styles I did before.

      • Odiri Obiakpani

        Thanks for responding Gabrielle. I look forward to seeing the videos of the styles.

        My hair is 4ins long so I’m not sure that I’ll be able to do style 17 yet.
        Odiri