how to straighten 4c hair
It’s officially been two years since my big chop and my hair is flourishing. Every time I take my braids out I’m in awe of how much my natural 4c hair has grown and get excited about every inch.
Unfortunately, thanks to crazy shrinkage that admiration only lasts until the next wash. Because wet 4c hair immediately reverts back to its natural curl pattern and leaves me with a teeny weeny afro (TWA).
And of course, I have been dying to know how long my hair would be if I straightened it properly. But the risk of potential damage is so high. So how can I straighten my 4c hair without using chemical relaxers and avoiding heat damage?
Well, I tried three different techniques that allow you to straighten natural hair without damaging it (a lot) and decided to share the straightening process and the best results with you below.
How can I make my 4c hair straight without a relaxer?
Whether you went natural by transitioning or decided to cut off all your hair as I did. A lot of times, we take this step because our hair suffered from too much manipulation.
You most likely decided to go natural after years of rocking relaxed hair, because you witnessed the health of your hair deteriorating.
The use of hair relaxers causes breakage because it penetrates the hair cuticle and the cortex layer of the hair shaft to loosen the natural hair texture. However these chemicals oftentimes also seriously attack your scalp. It can burn your skin, cause inflammation, and even leave scarring, which can lead to permanent damage and hair loss.
This is why you want to avoid chemical relaxers once you transitioned to natural hair. Instead, we are going to look at how to straighten 4c hair without a relaxer or heat damage.
How to straighten 4c hair without relaxer or heat damage?
Okidoki, it’s time to get to the meat of things and figure out how to straighten 4c hair with as little damage as possible. And as you can tell from my wording it is really hard to avoid the heat altogether if you want healthy hair.
But it is possible to avoid excessive heat by using the right hot tools and a heat protectant. But I will get to the specifics of this later.
1) Flexi Rod Set
The first method to straighten natural black hair without chemicals or heat is by using a Flexi rod set. It’s a technique that was new to me as I always assumed only old people used roller sets.
Turns out the little rollers help stretch your natural 4c hair and if used correctly even straighten your hair.
The best way to achieve the look is by parting your hair in small sections and installing Flexi rods. You want to make sure to space out your hair on the rods to stretch out the tight curls. Once your hair has dried, unravel the hair from the rods and wrap it around your head.
This last step will loosen up the roller curls and allow you to have a straight style.
2) African threading
That method to straighten natural hair without heat is African threading. A technique, I am very familiar with. My very African mother from Congo has been threading our hair since we were little girls. Back then, she, unfortunately, used it as a not-so-cute protective style.
You can imagine how excited I was to learn that it is also an easy way to straighten 4c hair naturally.
All you have to do is to take small sections of your hair and wrap black thread in a downward spiral fashion around your hair strands. The closer together your thread is, the more hair is completely covered from root to tip and gets stretched.
When using this technique it’s very important to work in small sections to not put too much tension on your roots and edges. Once your hair is dry, you can unravel the hair, brush it, and style it to your liking.
3) Silk press
Lastly, I decided to include the silk press is another way to get your 4c hair straightened. And yes, it obviously includes using heat.
The good news is, however, that silk presses don’t have to include excessive heat. By using the right products, heat protection, and regulating heat settings you can achieve beautiful silky-straight hair while taking good care of your hair.
First, you want to use a low-heat blow dryer to simultaneously dry and stretch your hair. Ideally, use a round brush while blow-drying your natural hair to get the natural kinks out. Then you want to apply a heat protectant to your hair before flat ironing your 4c hair.
Once applied, you can now use your hair straightener. Ideally, choose one with ceramic plates that have adjustable temperature settings so you can put it on low heat. Remember that the goal is to avoid as much direct heat as possible, so refrain from passing over your hair too often, especially if you have fine hair.
How often can you straighten natural hair without damaging it?
There is no specific number regarding how often you can straighten natural hair without damaging it. However, manipulating your hair, even when it is without heat puts a strain on your hair. Therefore, you want to keep your 4c hair in its natural state as much as possible, especially if you have very defined curly hair.
Instead of straightening your natural hair often, try out 4c hair wigs which will give you the straight look and double as a great protective style.