What's the difference between 3c and 4a?

FireFlowerFireFlower Posts: 137Registered Users
Pardon my curiosity....

I'm trying to see the difference.... Is it a clear difference in texture/curl/coil/spring? Is the 3c category a way to avoid "crossing over" to the more, how do I say "more kinky" side?

Like I said: pardon my curiosity....
Classic 4a/b, fine, dense, normal to dry, low porosity
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Comments

  • *Ani**Ani* Posts: 351Registered Users
    good question. I have no idea what the answer is. I suspect your suspicion is atleast partly correct.
    On Rush Limbaugh: Rather than engage in the admittedly difficult task of justifying GOP policies rationally, the key to Limbaugh’s success is attracting an audience that actually yearns to be lied to.
  • eccentric_kurlzeccentric_kurlz Posts: 4,151Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    It can be argued both sides. There are those who may not want to be associated with 4a hair. That doesn't inculde myself. I have tighter curls all over my head, and I have no problems with it. It's very much me. :) Then there are those that want a more accurate description of their hair, which I don't see a problem with.

    Typing is pretty much determined by people's perception. But if I'm basing it off of descriptions provided on the site, 3c tends to have a larger diameter corkscrew pattern, such as pen/pencil sized corkscrews, whereas 4a types are categorized as having smaller s-waves and pen-spring sized corkscrews. Basically, 4a is tighter in curl pattern.

    I'm actually pretty indifferent to the whole typing system. It can be very confusing, and seems to divide alot of people unforunately. Ultimately, how someone types their hair is their business. I don't plan on spending time analyzing people's motives for wanting to be considered a 3c anymore than anyone wanting to identify as a 3a.
    A wonderful mix of coils, curls, corkscrews, and kinks.

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    "You see, when it comes to language competence, a true patriot must hit that sweet spot between "job-stealing immigrant" and "liberal elitist." ~Eilonwy

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  • SisaSisa Posts: 759Registered Users
    3C was made up on this site. The original system went straight from 3B to 4A. Therefore, what is called 3C here is actually 3B - just a tighter curl pattern.

    ETA: This is why you see this 3B posting on this board... While I have a looser curl pattern, most of what is posted here is applicable to my hair, whereas most of what is posted by 2's and 3A's is not.
  • NatakueNatakue Posts: 319Registered Users
    ITA with everything shyygirl said! i know there are girls who are clinging onto the 3-ness of the typing system, but i don't think any of those girls are here on this forum. i know that i say 3c/4a because my hair is smaller than salt shaker diameter, but larger than pen-spring diameter...but is still closer to 4a size. i think if either 3b or 4a's definition were expanded to include the pencil sized corkscrew, then most people would have no problem choosing the more accurate designation, no matter the number.

    although i agree that the hair typing system has unfortunately created more division among some females, it does make it easier for me to find hair that is similar to mine, in order to get more specific advice and tips. but like sisa, i check out the both the 3c and 4a boards...and i've started sneaking into 3b and 4b, hehehe! :lol: shhh! :wink:
    a crazy 4a/3c mix
    o/s; thin; thready/cottony?
    http://public.fotki.com/natakue/
  • Phenom_QTPhenom_QT Posts: 23Registered Users
    My hair is 3C/4A. I am curly, BUT I have small curls.

    If I go by what ANDRE said about it, then I don't have a catagory which is fine with me. He says 4A is zig-zag pattern. I don't have any zigs or zags in the fro.

    But, I'm just glad I can go to both sides of the board and get really good tips. Especially since my hair is so finicky with products. (for instance, it takes the hands of God to get my twists to remain fresh looking after two days, but if I go to the 4A side, I can find all kinds oa cool tricks. But to wash and go without frizz, I can come to the 3C side and learn about all kinds of products to make my curls snap!)
  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    I just go by what I was told by my hairdresser. But I'm starting to notice that there's a lot of 3b underneath the canopy.

    I would really love to see a what an actual 3b, 3c or 4a strand looks like. Is there a drawing anywhere? I can't gauge curl patterns by looking at a head full of hair.

    I also didn't know 3c was a made up category. :lol:
  • atlantisrisingatlantisrising Posts: 263Registered Users
    medussa wrote:
    I just go by what I was told by my hairdresser. But I'm starting to notice that there's a lot of 3b underneath the canopy.

    I would really love to see a what an actual 3b, 3c or 4a strand looks like. Is there a drawing anywhere? I can't gauge curl patterns by looking at a head full of hair.

    I also didn't know 3c was a made up category. :lol:

    I didn't know until a few people started mentioning it, either. Even so, you can't have a cat and call it a dog. Well, you can, but everyone is going to look and say, hey, that's a cat. Regardless of if someone doesn't want to fit into the 4 category, the hair is what it is, no matter what you call it. I believe people did create the 3c category for a better description of their hair, it does seem to be a wide gap from 3b to 4a.

    I don't even know what to call my hair, lol. I just call it unique.
  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    I believe people did create the 3c category for a better description of their hair, it does seem to be a wide gap from 3b to 4a.

    I agree. I'm not a 4a but not a 3b either, according to the pictures I've seen. I'm in between. But I'm not really caught up in categories. All I care about is finding hair similar to mine and learning how to care for it/getting styling tips.

    If they decided to scrap the number/letter system tomorrow and replaced it with picture categories, it wouldn't bother me. I am what I am.

    When all is said and done, people can call themselves what they want. The hair is what it is. And we all know it.
  • atlantisrisingatlantisrising Posts: 263Registered Users
    medussa wrote:
    I believe people did create the 3c category for a better description of their hair, it does seem to be a wide gap from 3b to 4a.


    If they decided to scrap the number/letter system tomorrow and replaced it with picture categories, it wouldn't bother me. I am what I am.

    Right? Because even within all of the different categories, there is still a lot of different types. I just need to find someone with hair like mine, which is proving to be a very hard task.
  • PortaePortae Posts: 337Registered Users
    I've said this before, but I'll go out on a limb and say it again. As far as the difference between 3c and 4a, I think that people have solidified a slight distinction now that the category has been in existence for a while. However, I still feel that the initial impetus for forming the 3c category was out of a desire to be "less nappy" than a 4a. It seems to me that the initial talk around the creation of the 3c category was very similar to the type of talk by companies such as Blended Beauty and Mixed Chicks that has been recently (and rightly) blasted.
    ~Break the Chains of Your Mind and Your Body will Follow~

    3b/3c/4a
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    http://photos.yahoo.com/Portae_99
  • CurlilocsCurlilocs Posts: 821Registered Users
    Ultimately, how someone types their hair is their business. I don't plan on spending time analyzing people's motives for wanting to be considered a 3c anymore than anyone wanting to identify as a 3a.

    I agree with you Shygirl, it's not that deep.
    Free your Mind and your Hair will Follow :)
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  • FireFlowerFireFlower Posts: 137Registered Users
    Interesting responses.... By the way, this question is getting more responses on this board than on the 4a board....

    I'm reading a couple of things here: 1) those who seek a "true" definition of hair type/texture to find those products and techniques that work for them...and so they go to a couple of places/threads and mix products and techniques to their advantage....Makes sense.

    2) those who say "....hair type/texture categories really don't matter..." yet there seems to be a happy embrace of the "made up" category MAYBE to avoid truly crossing over to the "nappy" side.... Hmmmm....

    Like I said, I was sincerely curious.... no judgement....this range of responses seem to indicate some interesting mental models about belonging and acceptable standards of beauty...even within being "naturally curly".

    Thank you for your responses....
    Classic 4a/b, fine, dense, normal to dry, low porosity
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  • FireFlowerFireFlower Posts: 137Registered Users
    Portae wrote:
    I've said this before, but I'll go out on a limb and say it again. As far as the difference between 3c and 4a, I think that people have solidified a slight distinction now that the category has been in existence for a while. However, I still feel that the initial impetus for forming the 3c category was out of a desire to be "less nappy" than a 4a. It seems to me that the initial talk around the creation of the 3c category was very similar to the type of talk by companies such as Blended Beauty and Mixed Chicks that has been recently (and rightly) blasted.

    Hmmm... Portae, looks like we're on the same wavelength....
    Classic 4a/b, fine, dense, normal to dry, low porosity
    event.png
  • *Ani**Ani* Posts: 351Registered Users
    Interesting responses.... By the way, this question is getting more responses on this board than on the 4a board....

    I'm reading a couple of things here: 1) those who seek a "true" definition of hair type/texture to find those products and techniques that work for them...and so they go to a couple of places/threads and mix products and techniques to their advantage....Makes sense.

    2) those who say "....hair type/texture categories really don't matter..." yet there seems to be a happy embrace of the "made up" category MAYBE to avoid truly crossing over to the "nappy" side.... Hmmmm....

    Like I said, I was sincerely curious.... no judgement....this range of responses seem to indicate some interesting mental models about belonging and acceptable standards of beauty...even within being "naturally curly".

    Thank you for your responses....


    I agree with you and Portae.

    The thing that really pisses me off is when people make a distinction between curly hair (I guess 3c and lower) and 4a/4b hair as if 4a/4b hair isnt curly.

    4a/4b is the curliest hair going.

    and Andre was full of crap with is z formation/no curl formation nonsense.
    On Rush Limbaugh: Rather than engage in the admittedly difficult task of justifying GOP policies rationally, the key to Limbaugh’s success is attracting an audience that actually yearns to be lied to.
  • st. louis bluest. louis blue Posts: 404Registered Users
    I wasn't privy to the discussion that led to the creation of the 3c category (which I didn't realize was made up here, either). Can someone link it?
  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,898Registered Users Curl Virtuoso
    What would you consider Gloria Reuben (nurse from ER who got HIV from ex husband)?

    According to Andre, she is a 3b...but on the thicker, tighter end of 3b.

    I really don't know how people define 3c...or 4a, as I think the 3c designation obliterates much of the need for 4a. When I communicate on this board about it, I just combine it as 3c/4a.

    But if I had to guess, I'd say, I can clearly see a 3c's corkscrew and coil pattern from across a large room. With a 4a, I'd have to get up closer to her hair to clearly see the pattern.

  • *Ani**Ani* Posts: 351Registered Users
    What would you consider Gloria Reuben (nurse from ER who got HIV from ex husband)?

    According to Andre, she is a 3b...but on the thicker, tighter end of 3b.

    I really don't know how people define 3c...or 4a, as I think the 3c designation obliterates much of the need for 4a. When I communicate on this board about it, I just combine it as 3c/4a.

    But if I had to guess, I'd say, I can clearly see a 3c's corkscrew and coil pattern from across a large room. With a 4a, I'd have to get up closer to her hair to clearly see the pattern.

    I was thinking about Gloria Ruben the other day. Based on her example, I am thinking most people who identify as 3C here would probably be 3b according to Andre.

    he also classifies Cree Summer as a 3b and her hair is exactly like mine (big and fluffy) which is definitely not a 3b.
    Type 3B, on the other hand, is hair with a medium amount of curl, ranging from bouncy ringlets – think of Shirley Temple and Nicole Kidman – to tight corkscrews – think of actress Cree Summer of television's Sweet Justice

    summer_cree.jpg
    On Rush Limbaugh: Rather than engage in the admittedly difficult task of justifying GOP policies rationally, the key to Limbaugh’s success is attracting an audience that actually yearns to be lied to.
  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    I think by this board the differences are:

    3b - Melina Kanakaredes

    3b/c - Tracee Ellis Ross

    3c- Gloria Reuben

    4a - Nadia Turner
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali


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  • *Ani**Ani* Posts: 351Registered Users
    Amneris wrote:
    I think by this board the differences are:

    3b - Melina Kanakaredes

    3b/c - Tracee Ellis Ross

    3c- Gloria Reuben

    4a - Nadia Turner

    for Andre, it seems like 3b was a catchall category for anyone without a european hair texture that was not in need of a texturizer (4a) or was hopeless (4b) according to him.
    On Rush Limbaugh: Rather than engage in the admittedly difficult task of justifying GOP policies rationally, the key to Limbaugh’s success is attracting an audience that actually yearns to be lied to.
  • eccentric_kurlzeccentric_kurlz Posts: 4,151Registered Users Curl Connoisseur

    2) those who say "....hair type/texture categories really don't matter..." yet there seems to be a happy embrace of the "made up" category MAYBE to avoid truly crossing over to the "nappy" side.... Hmmmm....

    I'm assuming this is directed towards me. If not, I apologize.

    For me, again, it's really not that deep.

    It really doesn't matter, but in the scheme of things, it can be helpful to some people. So because I post here, and respond to questions here, I "embrace" the category and the negative connotations attached? I was unaware of the drama associated until I was enlightened fairly recently(within the last 6 month or so). I choose to approach this section strictly for being able to help people who seek product/hair cair information and to receive help, as I have since joining. Nothing more, nothing less. I embrace the purpose............which ties into the mission of this site(my interpretation of the site): To help people embrace their curliness, and assist them along the way.

    And I agree with with Medussa. Having pictures that describe different degrees of curliness, rather than the "hierarchical" structure would be more helpful. But until then, I think it's important to focus on the intended purpose. Not for how the typing had its origins.

    Carry on.................
    A wonderful mix of coils, curls, corkscrews, and kinks.

    http://s211.photobucket.com/albums/bb133/shyygirl_2007/
    PW: curlyhair

    I have a blog now. Follow meeeee! :)

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    "You see, when it comes to language competence, a true patriot must hit that sweet spot between "job-stealing immigrant" and "liberal elitist." ~Eilonwy

    Wanna have access to the top names in fashion and luxury at up to 70% off retail? Sure you do. http://tinyurl.com/3yxneol

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  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    What would you consider Gloria Reuben (nurse from ER who got HIV from ex husband)?

    According to Andre, she is a 3b...but on the thicker, tighter end of 3b.

    When I first came to these boards in 2002, I thought I was a 3b. When I finally went to Devachan, I was told I was a 3c. My hairdresser even said, "girl, your hair is a 3c, just like Gloria Reubens." Is she a 3c on this board and 3b somewhere else?

    And who the hell is Andre? I have no idea who you ladies are talking about. :lol:

    This is confusing. Let's just get rid of the current system. Let's just give the different forums names. Just send me to the Gloria Reuben board.
  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,898Registered Users Curl Virtuoso
    medussa wrote:
    What would you consider Gloria Reuben (nurse from ER who got HIV from ex husband)?

    According to Andre, she is a 3b...but on the thicker, tighter end of 3b.

    When I first came to these boards in 2002, I thought I was a 3b. When I finally went to Devachan, I was told I was a 3c. My hairdresser even said, "girl, your hair is a 3c, just like Gloria Reubens." Is she a 3c on this board and 3b somewhere else?

    And who the hell is Andre? I have no idea who you ladies are talking about. :lol:

    This is confusing. Let's just get rid of the current system. Let's just give the different forums names. Just send me to the Gloria Reuben board.

    Andre Walker is a famous celebrity hairstylist, whose most notable client was Oprah. He was her exclusive hairstylist for years. And he created the letter/number hairtyping system used on this board. And he wrote a book (called Andre Talks Hair) describing that system.

    His system consisted of 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 4a and 4b. There is no 3c.

    3c was added on this board.

    Some believe it was added by people who realistically could not fit into the 3b category, but did not want to identify as 4a because of the "bad hair" stigma, which in subtle ways Andre Walker perpetuates in the book...but is not inherent to the hairtyping system he created, imo.

    Technically, going by Andre's system, you would be a 3b. (There is no 3c, and our hair is not nearly tightly curled enough to be a 4a.) But then again, I've never seen it without product...or the front of it, etc. It's beautiful, though, whatever it is. And yes, according to Andre's system, Gloria Ruben is a 3b.

  • UCurlGirlUCurlGirl Posts: 97Registered Users
    First of all, all the categories are "made up", not just 3C.

    Secondly, it's correct that 3C was a category used by people who felt the 3B category to be too broad.

    If 3C's didn't want to "cross over" into 4A territory (which is an utterly ridiculous contention, by the way, very insulting, and borders on paranoia), then why wouldn't we just have stayed with identifying our hair as 3B? 3B was broad enough as it was, and 3C was just meant to clarify things.

    The categories shouldn't be a "box"; they're supposed to be helpful, not hurtful. I actually have gotten great feedback from 4's as well as 3's, and can use some of the same advice.

    I just want my hair to look great. Jesus.
    3C, fine corkscrew. Carlos at Devachan devotee. "I don't poo, do you?" No Pooing for a year and a half. Holy grail products include: Kenra Moisturizing Treatment, Nioxin Scalp Therapy,Devacurl No-Poo Ouidad Botanical Boost alternated with Bumble and Bumble Leave-In, Ouidad Deep Treatment, and Biolage Gellee Gel. I HAVE FOUND ALL MY HOLY GRAIL PRODUCTS FOR CONSISTENT, RELIABLE GOOD HAIR DAYS!!!

    "Hon, can you make me a scotch on the rocks? And can you make the rocks be my Vicodin?"--Karen from Will and Grace

    "You're tacky and I hate you."--Fancypants to Jack Black in "School of Rock"
  • PortaePortae Posts: 337Registered Users
    I don't think that the addition of 3c was without politics. If you do, then you're just denying the fact that hair texture carries with it hundreds of years of significance that NONE of us are totally free from.

    Isn't it interesting that people will call themselves a "tight 3b" or "tight 3c" rather than a "loose 4a?"

    My comments aren't directed to those who came on board after the new category had been created. My point is that the initial "need" for a new category was, in my opinion, inspired partly by a desire to avoid being lumped with so-called "bad" hair types.
    ~Break the Chains of Your Mind and Your Body will Follow~

    3b/3c/4a
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  • *Ani**Ani* Posts: 351Registered Users
    inspired partly by a desire to avoid being lumped with so-called "bad" hair types.

    :evil: :cry:
    On Rush Limbaugh: Rather than engage in the admittedly difficult task of justifying GOP policies rationally, the key to Limbaugh’s success is attracting an audience that actually yearns to be lied to.
  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,898Registered Users Curl Virtuoso
    UCurlGirl wrote:
    If 3C's didn't want to "cross over" into 4A territory (which is an utterly ridiculous contention, by the way, very insulting, and borders on paranoia), then why wouldn't we just have stayed with identifying our hair as 3B?

    But would any of them stayed with 4a? Not that I care...I'm just making throwing it out there, having noticed that 3cs were lumped together with 3bs, but not 4as. If 3c is a midpoint between 3b and 4a, wouldn't some fall into the 4a group if the 3c group wasn't there?

  • st. louis bluest. louis blue Posts: 404Registered Users
    I also think that 4a is sometimes used as a way to denote texture rather than curl diameter. If the texture of your tight curls is more fuzzy, then people are categorized as 4a. I have observed a number of corkscrew-curled women on the 3c boards who were told they were 4a after posting pictures, and as far as I can tell the only thing about their curls that's different from the undisputed 3cs is that they're fuzzier than a lot of the women in the 3c picture thread. So I was sort of assuming that if your cuticle isn't flat and silky, but instead is fuzzy/poofy, then people will type you as at least some 4a.

    I don't think it's at all accurate -- the main problem with the number system to me is precisely that it doesn't permit texture differences, which as far as I'm concerned are even more important to figuring out how the products are going to work.

    The numbers say very little about anyone's hair that's very significant. Once you start getting into the details of understanding how your hair deals with the world of products and water and and and . . . you can't really help but see that there are more hairtypes than there are categories in any system, so they all fail to fully describe any head of hair. Appreciating how they fail is the only way for them to be useful at all.

    The problem with the pictures is that hair looks so much different with different products. Does anybody have any idea how Cree Summer's hair would look with some leave-in conditioner? That's what makes it so hard to compare. I honestly thought that Gloria Reuben's hair was typically brushed to make it so flyaway. Who knows what she'd look like of you gelled her down and sat her under a heat lamp? We need a standard regimen in order to get a real index . . . .
  • FireFlowerFireFlower Posts: 137Registered Users
    *Ani* wrote:
    Amneris wrote:
    I think by this board the differences are:

    3b - Melina Kanakaredes

    3b/c - Tracee Ellis Ross

    3c- Gloria Reuben

    4a - Nadia Turner

    for Andre, it seems like 3b was a catchall category for anyone without a european hair texture that was not in need of a texturizer (4a) or was hopeless (4b) according to him.

    Ani! Tsk! Tsk! Hahahahah! (Smirk!) :wink:
    Classic 4a/b, fine, dense, normal to dry, low porosity
    event.png
  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    Portae wrote:
    I don't think that the addition of 3c was without politics. If you do, then you're just denying the fact that hair texture carries with it hundreds of years of significance that NONE of us are totally free from.

    Isn't it interesting that people will call themselves a "tight 3b" or "tight 3c" rather than a "loose 4a?"

    My comments aren't directed to those who came on board after the new category had been created. My point is that the initial "need" for a new category was, in my opinion, inspired partly by a desire to avoid being lumped with so-called "bad" hair types.

    For me, 3c or 3b/c (who knows, I still have a texturizer) seemed to fit because, looking at the members who say they have 3b hair and the celebrities who are said to have it, I can tell that my actual curls are much smaller. The natural part of my hair grows in little curls that are much smaller than a pencil - probably closer to a coffee stirrer, which is 4a, BUT since texture seems to come with it and everyone comments on my smooth, silky texture, I know I am not a 4a - I have heavy, hanging hair and 4a hair is described as growing out (so is 3c hair for that matter - and my hair does when it's shorter, but not at this length.) For me, 3c is a category that splits the difference between 3 characteristics (silkiness, smoothness, very defined curls) and 4 characteristics (extreme dryness, hair holds braids well, tight curl pattern.)

    I don't think it is a "good" hair thing for me. If it were, I would just say I was 3b (and keep texturizing.) I wanted to emphasize that my hair is curlier, drier, denser and acts differently than typical 3b hair - ie. it is closer to the so-called "bad" hair than 3b would imply.
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali


    .png


    534Pm5.png





  • UCurlGirlUCurlGirl Posts: 97Registered Users
    UCurlGirl wrote:
    If 3C's didn't want to "cross over" into 4A territory (which is an utterly ridiculous contention, by the way, very insulting, and borders on paranoia), then why wouldn't we just have stayed with identifying our hair as 3B?

    But would any of them stayed with 4a? Not that I care...I'm just making throwing it out there, having noticed that 3cs were lumped together with 3bs, but not 4as. If 3c is a midpoint between 3b and 4a, wouldn't some fall into the 4a group if the 3c group wasn't there?

    Yes! And, in fact, many do!

    Like with anything, you'll find someone who is mistyping their hair. Most reasonable people who prescribe to the typing system just want to know what hair type they are. It's not political.
    3C, fine corkscrew. Carlos at Devachan devotee. "I don't poo, do you?" No Pooing for a year and a half. Holy grail products include: Kenra Moisturizing Treatment, Nioxin Scalp Therapy,Devacurl No-Poo Ouidad Botanical Boost alternated with Bumble and Bumble Leave-In, Ouidad Deep Treatment, and Biolage Gellee Gel. I HAVE FOUND ALL MY HOLY GRAIL PRODUCTS FOR CONSISTENT, RELIABLE GOOD HAIR DAYS!!!

    "Hon, can you make me a scotch on the rocks? And can you make the rocks be my Vicodin?"--Karen from Will and Grace

    "You're tacky and I hate you."--Fancypants to Jack Black in "School of Rock"

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