7 Tips on How to Feel Beautiful with Short Natural 4C Hair
Going short and natural with 4C hair can be difficult for some women. The switch from weaves, braids, or long hair to a short Afro hairstyle can trigger feelings of unattractiveness and insecurity. In this article, I share seven tips on how to feel beautiful with short hair.
If Instagram feeds, hair communities, and hair events are anything to go by – the natural hair movement continues to thrive. However, decades of mainstream media force-feeding us a particular kind of ‘black beauty’ often means that if you aren’t sporting a lustrous weave like ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’, blessed with ‘exotic’ Solange-type curls, or have a halo of Afro hair like Black Panther Queens – Kathleen Cleaver or Fredricka Newton, one can feel ‘less than’ beauty-wise.
There used to be a time when if you had 4C-type hair and it was short – you kinda felt like you were at the bottom of the food chain. The good news is that social media has taken positive strides in dispelling that myth. Instagram feeds like Short Natural Hairstyle and Rockin’ It Natural post fabulous pictures of black women that inspire and help to change the short and natural hair narrative.
I’m fascinated with short natural hair psychology and with this article, I’d like to inspire women who are either on the fence about getting the big chop, want to get a TWA but are unsure as to what style to get, or have short natural hair and are not feeling confident or attractive.
7 Tips on How to Feel Beautiful with Short Natural Hair
1. Research Short Natural Hairstyles for Inspiration
There are many resources that give short hairstyle inspiration – online, friends etc. For me, Instagram is mos def my go-to resource. Following Instagram Feeds like Short Natural Hairstyle and Rockin’ It Natural really made an impact on me. From these feeds, I’ve got so many hairstyle and hair colouring ideas.
2. Get You An Experienced Hairstylist You Can Trust
This may seem obvious but can go overlooked due to a lack of options. For example, if you’re living in an area where it’s not easy to find hairstylists who understand what an Afro is all about.
This has been my experience for most of my life – I’ve struggled to find hairstylists who have the knowledge and experience to consult on Afro hair. That means I’ve found it difficult to find hairstylists that know the methods of analysing natural hair, so they can advise on the best hair care regime and treatment. In my experience, hairstylists have been mainly focused on bundling my hair in a weave or braids (regardless of whether the style was actually good for my current hair condition) and collecting my cash.
My previous bleached hairstyle (blonde) and haircut was done in a hair salon where the black hairstylist gave me little to no hair consultation. This led to a bleach job that made my hair fall out and I looked like Woodstock. But luckily, I didn’t care because I had planned to pretty much cut all my hair off, and grow my hair from scratch so I just trimmed my bleached, frazzled strands to the bone and it ended up looking great.
But I was lucky here because I had wanted to cut my hair super short anyway – if I had wanted to bleach my hair blonde but still retain the length, it would have been a different, sadder story.
So after that experience, needless to say, I’m really on the lookout for hairstylists who understand the science of 4C hair.
My latest cut was done by a white hairstylist (Christian) at the fabulous, Viktor Leske hair salon, Mitte. I mentioned the fact he’s white on purpose. I understand that a lot of black women feel safer or more trusting towards black or brown hairstylists and some gravitate towards black hairstylists because they are invested in supporting black (or brown) businesses. I’m all about that. In fact, I like to call myself the ‘Madonna of Hairstyles’ when it comes to hair reinvention. Each hairstyle, cut, weave, braids et al I’ve had for the past three decades (up till now) has been done by a black hairstylist and baby, I’ve supported them in Nigeria, London, Germany, and America.
However, if you’re living in an area where your nearest black hair salon is so far away, you have to take a bus, plane, train, ferry…camel to get there or you feel like the black hairstylists in your area are not giving you adequate hair consultation – I’d advise you to keep your options open. I did this and it worked out for me.
If you’d told me years back that one day a young, white German boy would ever put his mitts on my ‘hur, I would have said, ‘Hellll Naaaaw!’ but in our session, Christian gave me good consultation and I ended up with a bomb-ass cut.
3. Get Pierced
Now, this tip ain’t for everyone. But if like me, you are a fan of piercings, it’s an interesting way to add more depth and character to your look, which does add to one’s beauty.
Over the summer, I got a cartilage piercing at Naked Steel and I recommend it. My piercer (Tanja) was super patient with my many questions and the experience as a whole is one I want to repeat which is why I’m thinking of my next piercing.
In my opinion, when you have a TWA your face for lack of a better word is ‘out there’. You don’t have much to play with – no fringe, no locks to toss over your shoulder, no interesting shapes to create by pulling your locks or braids into a bun…so accessories go a long way.
I’m a huge fan of snake jewellery and collect them in the shape of rings, necklaces, bracelets…so getting a snake earring for my cartilage piercing was a no-brainer.
4. Channel a Style Mood
A distinctive haircut is bound to change the garments you gravitate to in your wardrobe.
My haircut has 80s distinctive vibes and whilst I’m rocking it, I’m finding myself drawn to my structured 80s pieces. Take this red leather dress for example – the statuesque silhouette, exaggerated sleeves, and embellishment compliment my hairstyle to perfection.
5. Your Skincare Regime Needs to be On Point
I’m not a skincare expert, so I’ll make this short. As I said in my last point, with short natural hair, your face is ‘out there’. So glowing and healthy skin will make you feel confident and as a result – more attractive.
I have genetics on my side when it comes to my skin – my mum is 72 and looks like she’s in her 50s. I’ve been with her in Lagos and strangers have come up to her to ask for her beauty regime. I won’t be as lucky as her because her diet is a lot healthier and she drinks litres of water every night before going to bed. I’ve watched her do this. In shock.
With my newly short haircut, I’m trying to be better with my beauty regime…
6. Pop That Lippy
I’ve found that a strong lippy compliments the fuck out of a short natural haircut. If you don’t feel confident with a TWA, a lippy that pops will give the illusion that you teach ‘How to Build Confidence’ masterclasses. And I’m all about faking it till you make it.
7. It All Starts With the Mind
Darlings, Schweeties, Mes Enfants…when all is said and done, the only way to feel beautiful and confident with short hair is to believe you are.
You need to be able to stand naked in front of the mirror. Stripped. Look into your reflection, and like what you see regardless of your curl pattern or hair length.
This takes work. For me what really helped was getting older.
COVID has also pushed me to find new creative outlets which I cling to, to feel a sense of ownership in a world where more and more freedoms are being reduced. So I’m enjoying using myself as a canvas, I’ll cut my hair, colour it, get a piercing, rework vintage styles…
Over to you guys – are any of you sporting short hairstyles at the moment? If not, would you ever cut your hair short? If you have 4c hair – what makes you feel confident about it?
Photographer – (Ma Gurl) Lea Fickenscher