Proven tips on how to retain length on 4c hair

I’m now officially 1-year post big chop and my hair has grown a whole lot. However, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m slowly approaching that awkward length stage that I was stuck in for years before cutting my hair. 

And I know every 4c naturalista knows what I’m talking about. That stage when you keep asking yourself: “Why is my 4c hair not growing?”.

Even though you seemingly do everything you are supposed to do to grow your 4c hair longer and faster, the inches stay the same. 

So what is it? Why won’t my hair not grow anymore? 

If that is a question you have been asking yourself lately, then I have good news for you. Unless you have a medical condition your hair is growing. The problem, however, is that you are not retaining the length. Which luckily can be fixed. 

What prevents hair growth?

If you are one of the people that notices that their hair is indeed not growing past a certain length, or even thinning in one area, then one of these reasons could be why:

Your family history: 

Believe it or not, genetics plays a role in hair growth even for women. The genes for strong and thick hair can be passed down from either your mother or father. So, if one of them experiences hair loss, chances are you may too at one point.

Your age: 

I know nobody wants to hear it, but unfortunately, age does matter. At least when it comes to your hair. The older you get and the more your body and hormones change, the more likely it is that you may experience gradual hair thinning.

Your thyroids: 

Our thyroids have a big impact on our hormone levels. Therefore, when thyroid functioning is imbalanced it can lead to hair loss. Of course, it’s a medical condition that you should talk to a specialist about because this blog post is not medical advice.

Stress: 

I’m sure this does not come as a surprise. But stress can impact your hair growth or even lead to hair loss. Whenever your body experiences a traumatic event such as childbirth, surgery, or a period of stress you may notice your hair shedding more than usual.

These are some of the reasons why your hair may actually stop going or fall out, however, they are rarely the reason you ask yourself “why is my hair not growing?”. 

how to grow my 4c hair

Why is my 4c hair not growing?

As mentioned before, the reason why you are not seeing the length you want is that your hair keeps breaking off before you get there. Which is very common. Before I started learning about 4c hair and started taking good care of mine, I was doing those same mistakes too. 

1) Not protecting your 4c hair at night

I’m almost ashamed to say this, but I only started wearing a bonnet last year after my big chop. I did not know that cotton pills were bad for my hair and I’m sure some of you reading this are shocked now too. 

Fact is, you have to protect your hair at night, Sis. Either by wearing a satin scarf, a bonnet or by using a satin pillow. 

Because in contrast to cotton, satin does not rub against your hair and create friction which then leads to split ends. That way your hair is safe at night and won’t break off. 

2) Detangling your hair too often

Number 2 is just as equally as common as number 1. And that is that you are detangling your hair all the time. Meaning you are combing your hair daily to put it into a new 4c hairstyle. 

Believe it or not, natural hair grows and flourishes the best if we just leave it alone. 

Excessive detangling with tools and manipulating it will break off your hair quickly. Instead, you want to put it into beautiful protective styles that allow your hair to be tucked away. So, if you are wondering why your 4c hair is not growing, then this may be one of the reasons why. 

3) Not making use of deep hair treatments

I kid you not, but for the longest time, I thought deep conditioners and hair masks were for bougie white women only. I did not understand that 4c hair needs deep conditioner treatments as well. Again, before I cut my hair I had never done a hair mask. And if I did then for merely 10 minutes without a shower cap. 

I know I know shame on me. But that is often a reason why your hair will shed or break off. 

You have to deep condition your hair every 2 weeks minimum if you want it to grow. Because deep conditioning treatments give your 4c hair the nutrients they need to retain length. 

4) You don’t drink enough water

LOL, I’m actually laughing as I write this. Because if you know me, then you know I am THE WORST when it comes to drinking water *takes a sip. I don’t know what it is about drinking water but I just forget.

However, that could be the very reason why you are faced with split ends and 4c hair breakage all the time. It’s no secret that natural hair needs moisture to flourish, otherwise it gets brittle and breaks. 

So, if you are anything like me, it’s time to get yourself one of these beautiful water bottles on Amazon and drink up.

5) You wash your hair with hard water

Now this one is a point I am mentioning for the first time today. Because as of the past 6 months I have been living in a country where the water is hard af. And if my very well hair-educated Indian friend wouldn’t have told me I would not even have known. 

In Mexico where I currently live the water is super hard. This means that instead of moisturizing my hair it is doing the opposite. The excess amount of calcium and magnesium mix with your hair products, which then create a salt that blocks your scalp from absorbing the moisturizer from your conditioner. 

So, while I’m thinking I’m treating my hair to some TLC it really isn’t getting any. Luckily, there is a work-around for that. Which is what I just did. I ordered myself this clutch water filter for my shower head. It helps filter the water of its mineral salts and therefore increases the effectiveness of my hair products.

So, wherever you live make sure you research the water in your area. 

6) You don’t care for your hair in protective styles

This is another mistake I used to make. And that is that when I was wearing my hair in a protective style I would just forget about it. I wouldn’t wash it, I wouldn’t condition it, and I definitely would not dee-condition it. 

It was almost like. Out of sight, out of mind. Until I would take it out 6-8 weeks later and hold clumps of hair in my hand. Sounds familiar? 

Welp. Just because your hair is neatly and securely tucked away doesn’t mean you don’t need to take care of it. It still needs to be moisturized daily, washed bi-weekly, and be oiled on the scalp. If you fail to do so, the protective style won’t help.

7) You take down protective styles harshly 

The first time I watched this YouTube video I was shocked by a very simple thing she said. If it takes you less than 30 minutes to take down a long-term protective style you are probably hurting your hair. 

And omg did I feel embarrassed. I would literally rip out my braids whenever the time came to take them out. Instead of carefully opening each strand I would forcefully pull them out. And yes I would see sooo much breakage. 

Which is why my hair wasn’t growing for so long. Thankfully, I know better now. Nowadays, I take my time when taking out protective styles. I use less force, avoid hair tools that could harm my natural hair, and make sure I retain the length. That alone has helped me retain length on my 4c hair.

8) You don’t know your hair porosity

If you have never heard of hair porosity, then I’m glad you are here because it’s about time. And I’m saying this in the nicest way as someone who it took a long time to understand 4c hair completely.

Hair porosity determines how quickly your hair absorbs moisture and loses moisture. Meaning if you have low porosity your hair takes longer to absorb water and dries slower. And if you have high porosity your hair absorbs quickly and therefore dries out faster. 

That will affect how often you need to moisturize but also what products work best for you. Knowing these two things will allow you to adjust your natural hair regimen to promote growth. So, without further due, I suggest you check out this post to find out your hair porosity. 

9) You don’t split from your hair often enough

I already know what you are going to say. My hair doesn’t grow, so cutting it will only make it worse. I understand but it’s not true. Not trimming your hair won’t lead to longer hair, it will actually lead to more broken hair. 

Yes! You have to snip and snap every 3 – 6 months in order to promote hair growth. Otherwise, you’ll keep wondering “Why is my 4c hair not growing?”.

10) You use too much product

I know it can be so hard to keep up with 4c hair care because it’s a lot of learning. But it’s so important to understand when your hair is fully moisturized and oiled. Because if you don’t and end up clogging your hair follicles you end up doing your pores a disservice. 

Especially if you have low porosity hair and keep putting on layers of oil when your hair hasn’t even absorbed yesterday’s moisture. 

So be careful not to suffocate your hair with too many hair products and come up with a 4c hair routine that is effective

natural hair regimen to promote growth

How can I grow my 4c hair?

Now let’s talk about the fun part. Growth!

In order to grow your 4c hair, you need a natural hair regimen that promotes growth and the best one is the LOC method. I speak on this method in pretty much every blog post, but I promise you it works. 

The LOC method stands for the Liquid Oil Cream Method. It refers to a three-step technique of moisturizing your natural hair to retain as much moisture as possible. 

First, you use a water-based product (liquid) such as a leave-in conditioner, then you use an oil of your choice to oil your call and hair strands, and lastly, you use a cream product to seal in the moisture. 

This is just one of many steps you can take to fix stunted hair growth, but it makes a difference the moment you apply it. 

How to retain length on 4c hair

Now that I answered every girl’s common question “Why is my 4c hair not growing?”, I want to share my most important tip when it comes to growing your 4c hair.

And that is to learn about it and then give it time. 

Like I said in the beginning I am just 1-year post big chop and this year I have been able to use everything I have learned so far. This is why I have seen such tremendous growth. However, I also continue to learn about 4c hair as I go to make tweaks to my natural hair journey as needed. 

In order to learn how your hair best retains length, you will need to test a lot of products, wash routines, and protective styles. But you will eventually get the hang of it and see your hair flourish. 

how to retain length on 4c hair

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These are some of the reasons why your hair may actually stop going or fall out, however, they are rarely the reason you ask yourself “why is my hair not growing?”.