How to slick down 4c hair
If you know me, you know that my favorite 4c hairstyles are sleek ponytails.
Sometimes with a fun high puff up top and sometimes with an elegant low bun. Whether you have coily or curly hair, there is just something super chic about a slick style.
And believe it or not, it is not as hard to achieve as you may think. While slicking down 4c hair can be a bit of a challenge, it’s easy once you have the right techniques and products.
To help you, I figured I’d share with you how to slick down 4c hair.
Why won’t my 4c hair slick down?
The 4c hair type is known for its thick texture and natural curls and coils, which can make it difficult to manipulate it into certain styles, including slick ponytails.
However, with patience and some serious arm strength, you can achieve a smooth and polished look that lasts a few days. So if you haven’t been able to slick down your natural hair as desired, here are some of the most common reasons:
- Lack of moisture: 4c hair is naturally dry, and without enough moisture, it can become brittle and difficult to manipulate. If your hair is not well-moisturized, it may resist being slicked down.
- Product build-up: Using too many hair products or not properly washing them out can lead to product buildup on your hair. This buildup can prevent your hair from lying flat and smooth.
- Hair texture: 4c hair has a tight coil pattern, which can make it difficult to style it. If your hair has a lot of shrinkage, it may be more difficult to get it to slick down. But not impossible.
- Improper technique: Slicking down natural hair requires a certain technique to be effective. If you’re not using the right products or applying them properly, your hair may not lay flat.
- Weather conditions: Humidity, rain, or other weather conditions can make it difficult for hair to stay slicked down. In humid conditions, for example, hair may frizz up or revert back to its natural texture.
If your 4c hair is not slicking down, try addressing these potential issues.
Make sure your hair is well-moisturized, avoid using too many products, use proper technique, and consider using a scarf or headwrap to help set the style. With patience and practice, you can achieve a sleek look on your natural 4c hair.
What is the best gel to slick down 4c hair?
The best gel to slick down 4c hair, I found, is my beloved Eco Styler Gel! It’s a water-based gel that snatches my edges as well as the thickest parts of my hair together. I love it because it keeps my hair hydrated and doesn’t flake even after days.
It contains natural ingredients like olive oil and argan oil which help moisturize hair.
I know that some girls don’t like it on their hair. And what I’ve learned is that it can be harder if you have really thick hair. In that case, try using it in combination with a thicker gel, like Gorilla Snot Gel.
However, finding the best gel to slick down 4c hair can be a bit of a trial-and-error process, as everyone’s hair is different and may react differently to various products. So, I suggest you consider the following factors when choosing the best styling gel for your 4c hair:
- Moisturizing ingredients: As 4c hair is naturally dry, it’s important to choose a gel that contains moisturizing ingredients to help keep your hair hydrated.
- Maximum hold: To achieve a slicked-down look, you’ll need a gel with a stronghold that can keep your natural hair in place for an extended period of time.
- Non-flaky formula: No one wants to deal with flaky gel residue on their hair or clothing, so choose a gel that won’t leave flakes behind.
And if you need help narrowing your search, then check out my most popular post, the best gels for 4c hair here. Here I include a few gels that are commonly recommended and I tested for slicking down 4c hair:
How do I get my 4c hair to slick down?
As mentioned a few times now, getting 4c hair to slick down requires a few key steps and the right technique. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how I slick down my 4c hair:
1. Start with clean hair
As always, you want to make sure your hair is clean and well-moisturized before getting started with the style. If it’s wash day, use a good moisturizing shampoo and deep conditioner to ensure your hair is hydrated.
If desired, you can also treat your hair with a hot oil treatment or protein treatment. These kinds of treatments are especially effective right before a long-lasting protective style or a style that requires a lot of products such as this one.
2. Detangle and moisturize
Step two is, of course, to properly detangle your natural hair with a wide tooth comb or detangling brush. Take your time and work on your hair in small sections, to ensure you remove all the knots and tangles.
3. Start applying your gel
Now we are getting to the important part of this tutorial. And that is to slick down your hair with Eco Styler gel. To achieve the desired sleek look you want to start applying the gel from the inside out.
Meaning you start in the middle of your head.
The trick is to gather small amounts of hair at a time. Start by grabbing a small section of hair where you want your slick ponytail, and add eco-styler gel to it. Then secure it with a hair tie and then section by section add more hair to it.
Every time you add more hair, make sure to cover it in gel and use a boar bristle brush to distribute it evenly and slick down the hair. Depending on the length and thickness of your 4c hair, you may need to use more or less product as well as different hold.
4. Set your hair in place
Once you apply the last coat of gel, use your boar bristle brush to smooth your hair down in the direction you want it to lay. Then tie all the hair together.
Once you have your hair slicked down, use a satin scarf or headwrap to tie it down and set the style. Leave the scarf on for at least 10-15 minutes to allow the gel to dry and set. If needed, use a blow dryer for an even better hold.
5. Finish styling
Once the gel has dried and set, remove the scarf and use a small amount of oil or serum to add shine and prevent your hair from drying out. Then take an edge brush and some edge control to lay your baby hairs. A great option is the Gummy Styling Wax, which I use and love.
And lastly, if you have short hair, you can now add your 4c hair extension. Use braiding hair or weave to create a sleek bun or you can rock a cute afro puff.
Done! Your 4c hair is sleek and will last you a few days if you take good care of it.
And remember, practice makes perfect! Slicking down natural hair can take some trial and error until you find out what works for your hair type and texture. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different products and techniques.
How to slick down 4c hair without gel?
If you prefer not to use gel to slick down your 4c hair, there are other products and techniques you can use to achieve a sleek and polished look. Here are some alternative methods to consider:
- Instead of gel, you can use hair butter to help smooth and define your curls. Apply a good amount of hair butter to your hair, and then use a boar bristle brush to smooth it down.
- Hair pomades are similar to gels but have a creamier texture. They can help provide hold and definition without the stiffness of gel. Apply a small amount of pomade to your hair, then use a boar bristle brush to smooth it down.
- African threading is a method that involves using thread to stretch and smooth your hair. Divide your hair into sections, then wrap the thread around it. Start at the root and work your way down to the ends. Leave the thread in overnight or until your hair is dry, then remove them and style your hair as desired.
While these alternative methods work well for women with soft or thin 4c hair, it’s much harder to slick down 4c hair without hair gel if you have thick hair.
Thankfully, there are many beautiful protective styles that don’t require the use of gel you can choose from.