how to take care of 4c hair
The first thing you learn when you “go natural” is that in order to have healthy 4c hair you need a good natural hair regimen. A regimen that protects your hair from hair breakage, includes the right products for your natural 4c hair, and promotes hair growth.
Basically a holy grail of natural hair care routines. But if you just started your natural hair journey, then you might not know how to come up with that.
That’s where I come in. Today I am sharing with you how to take care of 4c hair.
How can I take care of my 4c hair?
In order to take care of your 4c hair, you need to understand that the most important ingredient for 4c hair is water.
Because of the tight, dense, and kinky hair texture, the 4c hair type is much more prone to breakage. To combat that, you need to find ways to infuse as much moisture as possible and then help your hair retain it.
And the best way to do so is by optimizing your 4c hair care routine. Here are the exact steps I follow to take care of my 4c hair:
1. Identify and research your hair porosity
I will be honest with you I feel super hypocritical putting this step as number one, but as usual, I want you to learn from my mistake.
The truth is, you will get the absolute best results if you understand your 4c hair porosity. I can’t even tell you how essential that is, because every single step moving forward will depend on this information.
Finding out whether you have high-porosity or low-porosity hair, will influence how you wash your hair and what products work for you. So, do me a favor and take the test now.
2. Choose the right hair products
Once you know and understand your hair texture and curly type, you want to choose natural hair products that work for your unique 4c hair texture.
Find a moisturizing shampoo, deep conditioning treatment, and moisturizer that provide the most hydration to your hair. These will differ based on your hair porosity especially.
3. Moisturize your hair regularly
This one comes without saying but has to be mentioned again and again. 4c hair needs a lot of moisture to stay healthy and, most importantly, to grow.
So whatever you do, keep your natural hair hydrated. Effective ways to do that are of course, by regularly washing and co-washing your 4c hair, but also by wetting it in between wash days.
Simply buy a water spray bottle on Amazon and then fill it with a mixture of water and a good moisturizer. Then mist it every other day or so. That will keep your hair moisturized and prevent your natural 4c hair from breaking.
4. Implement a bi-weekly growth treatment
When I say “treatment” what I really mean is a deep conditioning treatment, hot oil treatment, or protein treatment. Any type of hair treatment that offers a boost of hydration and natural ingredients that repair and nourish.
There is no need to do all of them all the time, but as you learn more and more about your hair you will start to notice what works well. Most of them include the same natural ingredients, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, and shea butter.
Some may work better than others, depending on your type 4c hair. I for example am allergic to Jamaican black castor oil, which sucks because it’s used in many natural hair products.
5. Use a gentle detangling method
Another very easy way to take care of 4c hair is by learning to detangle your 4c hair gently. And I say “learning” because many of us still deal with trauma from wash days years ago when our mother or grandmother pulled our heads in all different directions.
Don’t do that!
Instead, get yourself a wide-tooth-comb or detailing brush and put on a YouTube video or show while detangling. Take the stress and pain out of the detangling process and watch how much you’ll start enjoying it. Make sure you start at the ends of your hair and work your way up.
These 5 steps are the basics of 4c hair care, which you can use most of the year. However, during the wintertime, you may have to love on your natural hair a little more.
How to take care of 4c hair in winter
Did you know that cold weather dries out 4c hair even more? The cold air robs your hair of moisture, making it even more prone to breakage. So, if you want to wear your hair in its natural state for the holidays, you may have to take some precautions.
Protect your hair from the cold
First things first. You have to invest in a hat. Cover up your 4c hair whenever you step out in order to protect your hair from the icy temperatures, rain, and strong winds.
And when choosing a hat, make sure you search for a hat or beanie that is lined with satin or silk inside to prevent friction which will lead to more damage.
Wash your hair with lukewarm water
I know it can be tempting to treat yourself to a steamy hot shower after spending the day in freezing temperatures. However, excessively hot water strips your hair of moisture and will leave it dry.
Therefore, you want to clean your hair with lukewarm wateror even cool water to seal the ends.
Use a Vitamin E oil
The cold weather outside combined with the dry indoor heat will lead to increased split ends and breakage on your 4c hair.
Therefore, you have to give it a little moisture boost with an oil that contains vitamin E. The vitamin is best known to prevent breakage and split ends. That makes it the perfect supplement for the winter season.
You can use it for weekly oil-based hair treatments or simply apply it to your ends daily to protect your hair from drying out.
Deep condition more often
During the wintertime, you have to love on your hair more than usual. That means increasing the number of times you deep condition it. If your regular 4c hair care routine included bi-weekly deep conditioning treatments and more co-washing, then now is the time to pump it up to weekly treatments.
5. Steam your hair
For those of you that do not own one yet, a tool you need to invest in is a hair steamer. 4c hair needs all the help it can get in maintaining moisture during the cold months.
And there is no better way to hydrate your hair than steaming your natural hair. Steaming penetrates dry hair strands, increases elasticity and adds moisture. And all this can easily be done from the comfort of your home this holiday season.
What helps 4c hair grow?
In contrast to common belief, 4c hair grows at the same rate of 1/2 inches per month as most other natural hair types. However, it is much more likely to break. This is why here we focus on length retention instead. Here are some ways in which you can help your 4c hair grow and retain length:
- Maintain a healthy diet: It’s often underestimated how much influence our diet has on our hair. But it does. Therefore, you want to pay attention to what you eat. Eat a balanced diet that includes vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, and E. These are known to support hair growth from the inside out. In addition, drink a lot of water. As mentioned before, hydration is key. By drinking more water you help keep your hair and scalp hydrated from the inside out.
- Minimize heat styling: Most of us have experienced heat damage in the past. We know that using a flat iron or blow dryer too often can lead to split ends and breakage. That’s why you want to limit the use of hot tools. Instead, look for alternative ways to stretch your natural 4c hair.
- Avoid harsh chemicals: That obviously goes without saying. Chemicals like relaxers, dyes, and other treatments can cause damage to your natural hair and therefore slow down growth. To protect your 4c curls avoid using chemicals and opt for natural alternatives and natural ingredients whenever possible.
- Trim regularly: Believe it or not, this is one of the easiest ways to take care of your 4c hair. Simply trim your 4c hair every 4-6 months. That prevents further damage in case your hair was hit and promotes hair growth. I’ve seen great results since incorporating my regular trims and can assure you your natural hair will grow back.
- Protective styling: Another great way to master length retention is by keeping your hair in different protective hairstyles. Whether it’s simple two-strand twists, Bantu knots, or knotless braids. The less you have to manipulate your tight coils on a daily basis, the more your hair will flourish.
- Massage your scalp: Did you know that scalp massages can increase blood flow and promote hair growth? No? Well me neither before starting my natural hair journey. But the fact is, massaging your scalp with a gentle, nourishing oil from time to time can give your hair a boost.
- Protect your 4c hair at night: By now we all know that cotton is not good for your hair. The fabric builds friction and leads to hair breakage while you sleep. So, a satin bonnet, satin scarf, or even a satin pillowcase needs to become a staple in your bedroom if you want healthy hair. Learn how to sleep with 4c hair properly here.
If you follow these tips and maintain a consistent natural hair care routine, you can promote your hair growth and improve the overall health of your 4c hair.
What should I do to my 4c hair every day?
Now that we talked about your regular hair care regimen and ways to promote hair growth, let’s talk about what you should do on a daily basis. As mentioned many times before, the key to taking care of 4c hair is moisture retention and minimizing damage. Therefore, you want to moisturize your 4c hair daily, if needed.
My hair holds on to moisture for 2-3 days, so I don’t touch it up daily. But you should mist your hair with a mix of water and a good leave-in conditioner daily or every two days. That will keep it hydrated and prevent hair damage.
How often should I wash my 4c hair?
To be honest the frequency of how often you should wash your 4c hair will depend on your natural hair needs and lifestyle. However, the best practice is to wash 4c hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and deep conditioner every two weeks.
That happens on your so-called wash day. That’s when you want to use all the best products and really take your time.
In between those weeks, on the off week, you want to wash your natural hair with a cleansing conditioner only.
That is called a co-wash and is done to prevent shampoos from stripping your hair of its natural oils too often. It still cleans your scalp and removes product buildup, however, it is much more gentle on your natural hair.