how to french braid 4c hair
Springtime is here, so my natural 4c hair stays braided up. And while I love trying out fancy, complicated hairstyles on my short natural hair from time to time. Nothing beats a quick and easy hairstyle such as a french braid on 4c hair.
A popular protective hairstyle that can be worn regardless of your hair texture, including very kinky hair.
What is a french braid on 4c hair?
A French braid is a braiding technique where your hair is parted into three sections, and then woven together, while gradually incorporating each strand. In contrast to its cousin, dutch braids, with a french braid, you cross the hair over one another, rather than underneath.
This simple style is especially popular with black women because it keeps short hair neatly in place. As we all know 4c hair has tight coils and a kinky texture, which can make it challenging to style at times.
However, with the right technique and products, a French braid on 4c hair is achievable and can result in a great protective style.
How to French braid 4c hair?
Creating a French braid on 4c hair can seem daunting at first. Which is why so many women often opt for flat twists. But I assure you, with a little practice you can master french braids, especially if you are not adding synthetic hair.
And here is how to french braid 4c hair step-by-step:
1. Clean and moisturize your hair
Start with clean, moisturized, and detangled hair, free of knots and tangles. You ideally want to create the french braid style right after washing your natural hair. But if not, simply wet your 4c hair with a water spray bottle and use a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle your 4c hair. Once combed through properly, apply a leave-in conditioner and hair oil to keep your hair moisturized for the next few days.
2. Part your hair
Next, you want to decide where you want to part your hair for the braided hairstyle. Traditionally, for a french braid, you want to part your hair straight down the middle of your head. But you can also get creative and part it to the side, or create a zig-zag part for a more unique look. I have even seen a YouTuber part her hair in a nice swirl before, which made the hairstyle look super girly and dreamy.
3. Start braiding
Now you can begin the first braid, starting at the ride side of your head. For that take a small section of your natural hair and divide it into three equal parts. Cross the right section over the middle section, then cross the left section over the middle section. Continue like that until you braided all your hair down to the nape of your neck. If you have very short 4c hair, you can use Eco styler gel before braiding to slick your 4c hair down a little easier.
4. Tie and secure the braid
Once you fully braided the single braid to the bottom you can use a hair tie to secure the end of your hair and prevent the braid from re-opening. If your hair is short, you can use bobby pins to pin it up into a nice pretzel or if your hair is long, you can leave the braids as is. This is also where you can add additional hair extensions if you like.
5. Finish up the style
Lastly, clean up the hairstyle by applying gel or mousse to tame the flyaways. Don’t add too much product as you want your french braid to look fluffy. In addition, use some edge control to style your baby hairs to your liking.
As you can see, creating a French braid on 4c hair is not hard. But even those 5 steps require a little bit of practice. So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right, right away. Just repeat the process and with some patience, you’ll be able to master this classic hairstyle in no time.
And if you are a visual learner, then follow along as I try out the hairstyle in my YouTube video below.
Is it easier to French braid wet or dry hair?
In my experience, it’s easier to do french braid hairstyles on dry hair. And for even better results, you may even want to stretch your natural hair with a blow dryer before braiding.
That is because it’s easier to grab the sections of hair when they are dry and stretched, which results in a smooth and polished braid. However, be careful not to pull too tightly or tug on your hair too much, as this can cause breakage and damage.
How long do French braids last on 4c hair?
The duration that French braids last on 4c hair varies depending on how well you maintain the style. However, on average, French braids can easily last anywhere from 1-2 weeks on 4c hair.
To ensure that your French braids last as long as possible, it is important to take proper care of your 4c hair and scalp while the braids are in. This includes keeping your hair clean and moisturized, by applying leave-in conditioner and oil a couple of times throughout the week.
In addition, you want to avoid excessive tension or pulling on your braids. That means, instead of rebraiding them whenever you notice a flyaway or loose hair strand, you simply smooth over it with an edge brush and some gel.
Lastly, make sure to cover your natural hair at night to prevent it from tangling and frizzing. Simply wrap it with a silk scarf before going to sleep to avoid friction on the cotton pillow.
By doing these few additional steps, you’ll notice that the hairstyle lasts much longer.
Can you French braid 4c hair with extensions in?
Yes, you can French braid your hair with extensions in. In fact, French braiding 4c hair with extensions is very common because it gives your hair more length and volume, and creates a fuller and more intricate braid.
To do so, you simply use the same braiding hair you’d use for box braids and add them in. And if that is too complicated for you, there is a new method where you crochet the hair extensions on. I’ve seen multiple tutorials for this method pop up.
Does braiding 4c hair help it grow?
As mentioned in the beginning, double braids are one of my favorite protective hairstyles. That’s because they are one of the few styles doable on shorter hair, but also classy and simple.
However, the primary objective of protective styling is to help your natural 4c hair grow. And luckily braiding 4c hair can help it grow in some cases.
When done properly, braids can help protect your hair from breakage and damage, which can lead to longer, healthier hair. Here are some ways that braiding can promote hair growth:
- Your hair ends are tucked away while they are in braids and therefore less likely to break from daily styling, environmental factors, and manipulation. That leads to length retention, which results in hair growth.
- Thanks to the braids your hair is less likely to lose moisture through evaporation, which can lead to dryness and breakage. Instead, it retains moisture, which is important for healthy hair growth.
- Lastly, braids are a low-maintenance hairstyle that doesn’t just save you time and effort in your daily hair care routine. But also reduces the amount of tension and manipulation you put on your hair, leading to fewer split ends and breakage.
While braiding can be beneficial for natural hair growth, it’s important to keep in mind that over-braiding or wearing tight braids can lead to damage and breakage. So make sure that your french braids are not too tight and that you are not leaving them in for too long.