Ah, yes, the question on every curly haired girl’s mind as of late: how the hell do I take care of my super curly hair? Well, first and foremost, it is important to identify your curl type so that you’re better at understanding how to care for your texture so you can have more versatility.
Curlfriends, let’s talk! Type 4 hair is coily hair, commonly referred to as Afro-textured or kinky hair. This hair type is naturally very dry and spongy in texture and can be soft and fine or coarse and wiry. Strands shape very tight, small curls of zig-zags proper from the scalp and are liable to essential shrinkage. Here’s a simple breakdown of type 4 hair: it is further divided into three groups- 4A, 4B and 4C hair.
- Type 4A hair is full of tight coils. It has an “S” pattern when stretched, much like type 3 curly hair.
- Type 4B hair has a less defined pattern of curls and looks more like a “Z” as the hair bends with very sharp angles.
- Type 4C hair textures are similar to 4B, but the tightly coiled strands are more fragile and have a very tight zig-zag pattern.
But this article is going to focus more on 4c hair type and how to manage it. If you are a type 4c curly, maintaining your natural hair can be the biggest challenge if you are not sure how to keep your locks healthy and strong. But once you practice basic healthy hair habits, your hair will be soft, moisturized, and, because you have 4C hair, fluffy too! Time to rock your afro all day, every day!
So what is 4c hair?
4c hair looks similar to 4b hair type but it is more tightly coiled. In its raw state, it does not have a defined curl pattern. Coils ought to be described via way of means of both twisting, braiding, or shingling thru the strands.. Many 4c naturals have shrinkage up to 70% or more so therefore, hair dries out quickly and cannot hold moisture for a longer period compared to other curl patterns. It is also prone to tangles and matting if not properly cared for and regularly detangled. 4C hair kind does high-quality with merchandise at the heavier creamier side.. In order to grow 4c hair long, you have to be very gentle with it as it is the most fragile hair type.
Like every hair type, 4c hair has its own perks too (only if maintained properly). Some of them are:
- It’s incredibly flexible. You can rock a tight, shrunken afro for a shorter chic look or you can stretch it out for a longer, voluminous look. No scissors or clip-ins necessary!
- It’s great at maintaining shape and neatness in braided or twisted hairdos. You never have to worry about your braids falling or loosening up.
- It’s fluffy! There’s this misconception that coarse hair is rough and hard. Just because 4c hair is prone to dryness doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get soft hair.
- You can mold and shape your hair into any style, without worrying about it falling flat throughout the day.
So how do you tackle these problems in order to enjoy the unique beauty that 4c hair actually is? Here are some useful tips for managing 4c hair:
1.Keep your coils hydrated
Hydration is key when it comes to managing 4c hair. Because 4c hair is extremely kinky and coily, natural oil produced by your scalp is not able to distribute throughout your hair due to the complex curl pattern. This allows your hair to dry out way faster so you need to take extra precaution to keep your locks moisturized. Moisturize your hair with sealants like coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, etc. Sealants contain butters or oils that help to seal in moisture into your natural hair and keep your hair shafts soft and supple. A combination of oil and water also keeps your hair super hydrated and moisturized when you apply it daily. Even if you wear a protective style, don’t forget to moisturize regularly!
2. Wash mindfully
While it is important to keep your scalp and hair clean, it is not advisable to shampoo very often. Cut down on washing your hair to twice a month and co-wash in between. Remember to choose a mild, sulfate free moisturizing shampoo and finish off with a conditioning treatment. It is recommended you co-wash your hair in between the shampoo washes. This will help you minimize exposure to shampoo while ensuring that your scalp is kept clean and your strands moisturized. Wash in sections.
This can’t be stated enough- as much as possible, avoid styling your hair with hot tools. Instead, practice heat-free styling and drying techniques. Going overboard with the hot tools results in dry, frizzy, brittle hair. And as it is, 4c hair is already all of that! So why make matters worse. But if you must use heat on your hair- always use a heat protectant prior to styling, keep your tools on the lowest temperature setting, always use a diffuser when blow drying and never ever heat-style damp hair.
4. Treat your hair to deep conditioning once a week.
Unlike other curl patterns that require deep conditioning every 2 weeks, 4c hair thrives with weekly deep conditioning treatment. The deep conditioning process involves raising the hair cuticles with heat (steam) so your deep conditioner mix can penetrate the hair shaft with all the natural ingredients and allow your hair to retain extra moisture for days. Deep conditioning your natural hair helps to prevent snagging, tangles and restores your natural shine.
5. Trim regularly
Because 4c hair is naturally dry, it is more prone to frequent breakage and becomes unmanageable. Therefore trimming your natural hair is essential in enhancing growth and maintaining health. As such trimming should be counted as an important part of your hair regimen. A trim every 3-4 months is recommended, depending on how healthy your hair is.
6. Don’t keep touching your hair
While it is oddly satisfying and soothing to always want to touch your hair, don’t do it! Ladies, keep your hands out of your hair. Touching your natural curls all the time will make your hair dry out faster and strip your hair of all its moisture eventually. Touching also makes your hair become dirty faster.
7. Protect your hair while sleeping
Sleeping on cotton pillowcases or hair wrapped in rough fabric will not only damage your hair and cause split ends but also strip your hair of its much-needed moisture, resulting in dry and dull looking natural hair. It’s advisable to sleep on a silk pillowcase, or better still get a satin bonnet, which would stay firmly on your head overnight. They will keep your tresses frizz free and full of volume and prevent moisture loss from your hair while you sleep.
8. Avoid over styling
Over styling can damage your hair because of over-manipulation which weakens the hair and exposes it to damage. Excessive use of styling products is also not good for your hair as they may dry out your hair, build up on your scalp and weigh down your hair. Alternate between high and low manipulation styles which may require less use of styling products.
9. Detangle gently
Detangling matted hair is every 4c girl’s worst nightmare. This type of hair is very prone to tangles so you must be extra gentle while detangling. Detangle regularly and gently, using a wide-toothed comb or your fingers on damp hair (don’t use a brush!). Try using a detangling product or conditioner to add slip and for extra assistance. When you find knots, use your fingers to gently pull hairs out of the knots instead of yanking through. And never start from the roots when detangling.
10. Consider simple natural hairstyles
Always keep shrinkage in mind while styling 4c hair. You don’t have to keep straightening your crown with heat. There are other ways to style your hair and retain length without damaging your beautiful coils .You can explore heat-free styles that stretch your hair, such as threading, twist outs, buns, braid outs, and Bantu knots. Embrace your natural texture, and have fun with it!