A Guide to 4C Hair: Everything you need to know about how to care for your curls
4C hair is naturally curly with a tightly coiled texture and high density. It is often considered the most fragile and delicate of the natural hair types and requires special care and attention to maintain its health and integrity.
Compared to other natural hair types, such as 4A and 4B, 4C hair is typically more prone to breakage and requires more moisture to maintain its elasticity. Because 4C hair can be coarse and very dry, products that provide moisture and protection for 4C hair are essential to healthy hair.
Discover how to take care of your 4C hair by reading on!
What is 4C hair?
Known for its tightly coiled texture and high density, 4C hair is naturally super curly. The curls of 4C hair are tightly packed and have a "Z" pattern, which makes it more delicate and prone to breakage. It is also more tightly coiled and less defined than other natural hair types, such as 4A and 4B. The hair strand of 4C hair also tends to be thinner than other hair types.
Due to these characteristics, 4C hair requires special care and attention to maintain its health and integrity.
Characteristics of 4C hair include:
- Curl size: 4C hair is the smallest and tightest of all curls patterns! This makes the tiny ringlets and coils very vulnerable to tangling and matting.
- Pattern: With a tight Z-pattern, 4C hair may give the impression of less-defined curls or have a “frizzy” appearance.
- Texture: 4C has the tightest texture out of all the curl patterns, with a tendency to shrink when wet and can be difficult to stretch out or style.
Moisture Levels: This hair type doesn’t retain moisture easily and dries out quicker than other curl patterns.
It's worth noting that hair typing systems are not scientific, and individual variations can exist within a type; for example, most people have several curl types throughout their hair. While you may have a dominant hair type, there are probably 2-3 other types of curls sprinkled throughout, so there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach! Taking the time to experiment and understand your own hair type is always a good idea rather than relying on a classification.
How to take care of 4C hair & keep it moisturized
Taking care of 4C hair can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can keep your curls moisturized and healthy. 4C hair is known for its tightly coiled texture and high density, making it more delicate and prone to breakage. But don't let that discourage you!
You can keep your curls hydrated and looking their best with a few essential tips and tricks. From choosing the right products to developing a consistent hair care routine, there are many ways to keep your 4C hair moisturized and healthy. So, let's dive in and give your curls the love and care they deserve.
1. Use a pre-poo
A "pre-poo" (pre-shampoo treatment) can help keep 4C hair moisturized by adding an extra layer of moisture before shampooing. This can help reduce the amount of moisture lost during the washing process, making hair feel softer and less prone to breakage. Add Slip (a conditioner, deep conditioner, or leave-in) to improve your hair’s manageability while detangling and reduce the amount of breakage when washing. Use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to distribute the product and separate knots.
2. Deep condition frequently
Frequent deep conditioning can help keep 4C hair moisturized by providing a boost of hydration and nourishment. This can help to strengthen the hair, reduce breakage, allow the hair to retain moisture (we love a hydrated curl), and improve the overall health and appearance of the curls.
3. Use a silk/satin pillowcase or microfiber hair wrap
A silk/satin pillowcase or hair wrap can help keep 4C hair moisturized and prevent breakage by reducing friction between the hair and the pillowcase. Satin is a smoother fabric than cotton, which can reduce hair tangling and breakage. Additionally, satin pillowcases can retain moisture in the hair, which can prevent dryness and brittleness. A bonus is that it makes you feel fancy!
4. Use a leave-in conditioner & detangle regularly
Using a leave-in conditioner and detangling can be a game-changer for keeping 4C hair moisturized and preventing breakage. A leave-in conditioner can provide an extra layer of moisture and protection to the hair, while detangling can help to remove any knots and tangles. Together, these two steps can help to keep your curls hydrated, healthy, and looking their best. So, don't skip these crucial steps, babe! Your curls will thank you.
5. Experiment with co-washing
When you co-wash your hair, you use only conditioner. It is likely to benefit your haircare routine if you have an afro, mixed-textured, very curly, or dehydrated hair. Using a co-wash is beneficial in preventing hair breakage, but you should always add a shampoo once in a while to avoid the buildup on the scalp and hair that can block pores and follicles.
6. Avoid sulfates
In addition to stripping curly hair of its natural oils, sulfates tend to make it dry faster than straight hair, so it's better to avoid them altogether. Using products with sulfates may lead to dehydrating curls, which can result in breakage. This affects all hair textures, but 4C hair, which tends to be dry and tangled, is especially vulnerable.
7. Use the LOC method
The LOC method is the best way to keep 4C hair moisturized since it involves hydrating the hair with a water-based product, sealing it with oil, and finally closing its cuticles with cream to lock in moisture.
L = leave-in conditioner
O = oil
C = cream
Mane Club’s Honey That’s How I Roll curl-defining cream is an excellent addition to the LOC method, as this silicone-free formula with coconut oil is a lightweight cream that sculpts and defines curls (minus the crunch). Boost shine, tame frizz, and seal in moisture with this long-wearing humidity-proof formula. Plus, panthenol (vitamin B5) is crucial for moisture retention and is a massive frizz-saver for your gorgeous curls.
8. Cut split ends
An easy way to tell whether you have split ends is whenever your hair feels dry and rough. Taking care of your hair by cutting split ends will ensure it retains moisture; cut away dead ends before they cause more damage so that your hair has more water to drink.
It may seem counterintuitive, but retaining the length of your curly hair means getting regular trips. Split ends can cause way more breakage than a 1-2 inch trim every 3-4 months will take off, so don’t be shy with the salon appointments!
How to deep condition & moisturize 4C hair
There are a few steps you can follow to deep condition and moisturize 4C hair:
How to deep condition 4C hair
- Start by washing your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo to remove buildup and dirt.
- Apply a deep conditioning treatment to your hair, focusing on the ends and particularly dry areas. You can use a store-bought treatment or make your own with ingredients like coconut oil, honey, and avocado.
- Cover your hair with a shower or styling cap and sit under a dryer or steamer for 20-30 minutes to allow the treatment to penetrate your hair.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water to close the cuticles and lock in moisture.
- Apply a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer to your hair, focusing on the ends and dry areas.
- Style your hair as desired, using a lightweight oil or butter to seal it in moisture and prevent breakage.
Consistent and regular moisture is the key to healthy hair, so it is good to moisturize and deep condition your hair at least once a week. Remember that your hair care routines may vary based on personal preference and hair type, so you may need to experiment to find what works best.
How often should you deep condition 4C hair?
It is recommended to deep condition 4C hair at least once a week, as consistent and regular moisture is the key to healthy hair. Deep conditioning helps to nourish and strengthen the hair, repair damage, and retain moisture. It can also help to improve elasticity and reduce breakage.
Pro tip: Regularly deep conditioning ensures that your hair gets the moisture and nutrients it needs to stay healthy and strong.
Some people with 4C hair may need to deep condition more frequently than once a week, especially if exposed to a lot of heat or chemical treatments. On the other hand, some people may get away with deep conditioning less frequently if their hair is well-maintained and in good condition. Ultimately, listening to your hair and paying attention to its needs is essential to determine the best schedule for your deep conditioning routine.
How to style 4C hair
Styling 4C hair can be challenging, but with the proper techniques and products, you can achieve a wide range of looks. The key to styling 4C hair is to focus on moisture and definition while minimizing manipulation and breakage.
It's important to note that styling 4C hair can be a process, and it may take some experimentation to find what works best for you. But, with patience and persistence, you can achieve beautiful, defined curls that are healthy and manageable.
Here are some popular hairstyles that work well with 4C hair:
Bantu knots are a popular styling technique for 4C hair because they help to define and enhance curls while minimizing manipulation and breakage. They also provide a great way to stretch the hair without heat, reducing the chance of damage.
Two-strand twists are a good styling option for 4C hair because they are gentle and help define and separate curls while minimizing tangling and breakage.
Twist braid updo
Twist braid updos are an excellent option for 4C hair because they are versatile, low-manipulation, and help to define and stretch the curls. They also provide a protective style and can be worn for several days without re-twisting, reducing the chance of damage.
Jumbo Box braids
Jumbo box braids are a good option for 4C hair because they are low-manipulation, protective, and can give the hair a break from daily styling. They are a great style to experiment with different hair colors and lengths, offering a unique look.
A high puff style is a good option for 4C hair because it is a low-manipulation and easy-to-maintain style that you can dress up or down. It helps to stretch the hair, keeping it off the neck and shoulders and reducing the chance of breakage and damage. It also gives a great definition to the curls, which we love.
An afro is an excellent style for 4C hair because it embraces the natural texture and allows it to be in its most natural state while being low-manipulation. It gives a unique and bold look and is also a protective style.
A bun is a versatile, stylish look that you can wear in different combinations. It’s relatively easy to maintain and can protect the hair by keeping it out of the way.
Top 3 products for 4C hair
Hair masks provide an extra boost of moisture and nourishment for 4C hair while helping keep it hydrated and healthy. They can be used as a pre-shampoo or deep conditioning treatment after shampooing. Additional benefits such as strengthening the hair, repairing damage, and improving elasticity are nothing to scoff at. Incorporating hair masks into your hair care routine can help to keep your 4C hair healthy and strong while reducing breakage and promoting growth.
A good curl cream is excellent for 4C hair since it can help to enhance and define the curls while providing moisture and hold. Use it alone or in combination with other styling products, like hair oil, to create various looks. Honey That’s How I Roll curl cream is formulated with nourishing, hydrating, and lightweight ingredients. It’s also free from silicone, chemicals, and alcohol that can dry out the hair, making it an excellent option for 4C hair!
Appears in this Story
- Regular price
- Sale price
- Unit price