Natural 4C hair is a unique and beautiful texture characterized by tight coils and curls. Whether you are a natural hair baby, enjoy the swift comb of relaxed hair, or enjoy glorious locks; having a routine that promotes health and growth retention requires a thoughtful and tailored hair care routine.
We know how 4C hair has been potrayed in the past, yes, we see the shade and we thowing it right back! We think its greatest things about type 4 hair (expcially 4C) is how it curls, coils and defies gravity!
The curl pattern of 4C hair is often the labelled as dry and prone to breakage and is often labeled as time consuming and difficult to manage. In reality this hair type is not more or less difficlut to manage than other hair types. HOWEVER, the education and resources around how to care for it – without tryng to change it into something else, have been limited and are only gaining momentum over the past decade.
We are of the mind that curlier hair types can become prone to dryness and breakage when handled inappropriately. It’s crucial to acknowledge the characteristics of 4C hair while using products and implement a routine that works with your hair and not against it.
In this blog post, we’ll explore four simple steps for caring for your natural 4C hair:
- Protective hairstyling and detangling,
- Retaining moisture
We’ll look at how these practices contribute to overall hair health and growth retention. It’s worth noting that while the advice we offer is specifically directed at indiciduals with natural 4C hair, it also applies to individuals with relaxed hair and other hair types. These 4 steps can also be adapted for wig care.
1. A solid foundation to healthy hair starts with a clean scalp
The first step to maintaining healthy 4C hair is more than just a regular cleansing routine. Unlike with skin care, most generic brands on the shelf are not designed with ALL hair types in mind. This is why we have avoided creating a traditional shampoo and conditioner in the Earthly Q hair care range and opted for an ACV Cleanser instead. HOWEVER, we don’t think that our shelves could ever be completely free of shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo (at least) doesn’t always feature in our wash routine.
A clean scalp (more than clean hair) is what is needed for a healthy mane of hair. Think of your scalp as the bed of soil from which your hair grows and the hair as the flowers. Think of dirt accumulation on your scalp as weeds, if the are too many weeds in your garden your flowers cannot thrive. In fact, your flowers might die! Weeds don’t grow overnight, so they don’t have to be removed every day (sometimes not even every week). In the same way you don’t weed your garden every day, you don’t have to wash you hiar every day. Unlike the skin on your face, your scalp doesn’t build up with pollutants or dirt that need to be washed daily (the plant analogy continues).
Just like a garden doesn’t need weeding weekly, your scalp doesn’t need to be washed every day.
When cleansing your scalp using a shampoo (once a week or every two weeks if you can get away with it), focus on washing your scalp more than washing your actual hair. Gently massage the scalp to stimulate blood flow and remove any product buildup on your scalp. The sud formed while massaging your scalp will wash off any dirt on your hair when you rinse out the shampoo.
Use a sulphate-free, preferably an organic or natural, shampoo to avoid stripping the hair of its natural oils. A clean and well-maintained scalp contributes to overall scalp health, reducing the risk of dandruff and irritation. Don’t go into massaging your scalp with oils or butters until you’ve got your wash routine and products on lock!
2. Moisturising for elasticity (aka shrinkage)
Moisturizing is a crucial step in maintaining soft, healthy 4C hair that doesn’t break. Water is the best moisturiser of all time. Using a humectant like aloe vera, glycerine, honey and other water-dissolving substances to make it soft and elastic (aka shrinkage). Ensure that your moisturiser has water as the main ingredient and at least one humectant (gkycerine, aloe vera, etc) in the ingredients list. Try and ensure that your chosen products are free of harsh chemicals that can lead to dryness.
For wig care, moisturizing is just as important. Use a water-based leave-in conditioner or a wig-specific moisturizer to keep the fibers soft and manageable.
3. Keep your hair in a protective hairstyle & only detangle wet or moisturised hair
Detangling is one of those steps that you want to avoid as much as possible, but is necessary for healthy long 4C hair (unless you are intentionally locking your hair) You can extend the times between your detainling session by keeping your hair in a protective hairstyle (twist, cornrows, braids, etc) and detangling inbetween your protective hairstyles. Just like cleansing, you don’t have to detangle every day or even every week. If you can minimise knots by keeping your hair in a protective hairstyle, you save yourself time when you are detanging..
Detangling 4C hair is often perceived as a daunting task, but it’s a crucial step to get rid of and prevent knots that can exaggerate breakage when you EVENTUALLY want to detangle/comb your hair. Applying water, a conditioner, leave-in conditioner or a detangling spray makes this process smoother and minimizes breakage by increasing the slippage between your hair strands and the comb/brush. On wet or moisturised hair:
- First use your fingers to gently detangle the most obvious knots in your hair.
- Follow this with a wide-tooth comb, starting from the tips and working your way closer to your scalp and all the way to your roots.
- Follow this with a detangling brush (if you can get your hands on your
Even when caring for wigs, detangling using moisture is as important as it is for natural 4C hair (Even though it doesn’t grow out of your scalp). Use a ide tooth comb or your fingers to gently detangle the strands. Hold the strands in a ponytail close to the roots reducing hair fallout to ensure that the wig stays thick and in optmal condition. Detangling a wig when it is dry can quickly reduce the volume of your wig and leave it looking and feeling dry and itchy.
4. Retaining moisture
Retaining moisture is the key to long-term hair health and growth. After applying a water-based moisturiser or humectant like aloe vera gel or glycerine, make sure that you seal this moisture in with moisturising oil or butter. Natural oils like olive oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter work wonders in providing moisture and sealing it into the hair shaft.
This step helps 4C hair stay hydrated for an extended period. The principle of retaining moisture applies to all hair types. Dairy hair is more brittle and prone to breakage, moisture retention in promoting overall hair health and growth retention (after all, your hair grows about 2cm a month, if it breaks a lot you won’t see this growth)!
By using the right products for cleansing, detangling, moisturizing and retaining moisture—you can achieve and maintain healthy, soft, and growing natural 4C hair. Now, now… we’re not saying you’ll be able to grow waist-length 4C hair just by following these four steps. To do grow waist length hair (coily, curly, or straight), you’ll have to incorporate herbs, oils and other products into your routine (and we’ll bring you all the scoop in the upcoming blog posts).
That’s it from us for now, let us know what you think of these four steps and if you have already incorporated these steps into your routinei in the comments section below.