Natural hair typing has become a very common thing in the natural hair care world.
Everyone wants to put their hair into a particular box so they can try to better understand it. I get that.
Although hair typing between 2 individuals can never fully tell you what will and won’t work for your particular curl pattern it can give us more insight into understanding it better.
Hair typing starts from type 1 which is completely straight to type 4c which is tightly coiled.
Every individual falls into a particular category.
This form of hair typing was first created by Andre Walker who was Oprah Winfrey’s stylist and has since become a wildly recognised way of describing natural hair.
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What is 4c hair typing all about?
4c hair was once known as the hardest to manage type of hair that there was and many people used to shy away from falling into this category but as time has gone on advantages of having 4c hair have come to light.
Treated in the right way 4c natural hair comes out flourishing!
Within the category of having type 4 hair it goes as follows:
Type 4a – The strands are very much an S shape
Type 4b – The hair strands will be a mixture of S and Z patterns
Type 4c – With each strand the pattern is much harder to see but the strands will be much closer to a tight S or Z pattern.
Does 4c hair grow?
All hair types grow but for some hair types you can see the growth a lot easier.
For people with type 4 hair, it is harder to see the growth as it happens but if you were to pull a section of the hair you would see the true length of the hair.
Having 4c natural hair is no different in this instance. It grows just the same as everyone else’s hair.
With 4c natural hair, there appears to be much more shrinkage and that contributes to how long or short your hair appears to be.
The best regime for growing 4c hair
For anyone that has type 4c natural hair, your secret weapon is always going to be water.
Your hair needs water and lots of it if you want it to grow.
4c hair gets dry very quickly so finding ways to keep your hair moisturised is of the utmost importance.
As part of a daily routine, you should spritz your hair with water if you can before styling.
Aloe vera juice is great for helping your hair to get moisturised.
This will help you to seal in the moisture into your hair.
This is called the LOC method and basically stands for:
O – Oil
Some people find that the LCO works better for them. One thing to particularly notice is that water always comes first no matter if you use the LOC or LCO method.
Remember no product can add moisture to your hair like water can. The days of using hair grease as a way of moisturising your hair are long gone.
Try to keep your hair fresh and not bogged down with too many products.
To achieve this try washing your hair regularly so it remains fresh and moisturised.
How often should you wash your hair?
If you have time the best practice would be to wash your hair once a week or every 2 weeks if you simply don’t have the time to invest.
If you are going to wash your hair every 2 weeks instead then I would recommend deep conditioning.
Deep conditioning is great for your hair as it refreshes it and gets the moisture to penetrate deep into the hair shaft in a way that a regular conditioner would not be able to do so.
If you are not sure about the difference between regular conditioner and deep conditioner then this might help you throw some light on it.
How to wash 4c hair
As 4c hair gets dry and tangled very easily it’s better to wash your hair in sections.
Washing in sections not only makes your hair easier to manage but it also allows you to control the amount of tangling that can happen during the process.
Start by sectioning your hair into 4 or 6 sections, whichever feels more manageable.
Once sectioned decide if you want to pre-poo or not.
Pre-poo simply means adding some type of treatment to your hair before you wash it (pre-shampoo). You can use your regular conditioner or do a hot oil treatment.
After you pre-poo, begin to wash your hair each section at a time.
You can either wash with shampoo or conditioner. Just bear in mind washing with shampoo can cause a certain level of dryness so I would advise you only use the shampoo once in a while if you don’t have a lot of product build-up.
Keep your hair in its sections throughout washing then add your leave-in conditioner followed by your choice of oil or/ and butter.
Style as desired.
Best shampoos for natural hair
Best conditioners for natural hair
Secret tips for growing your 4c hair
Ok so there aren’t really any “secret” tips, these are just some tips that I have picked up along the way and that have helped me and many others to grow our natural hair long.
1. Moisturise daily
Keep your hair moisturised as much as possible. When your hair is dry and dull it will cause your hair to break and snap much more easily.
Keeping it moisturised allows the hair to have much more elasticity, therefore, reducing breakage.
2. Wash your hair often
I’m not saying you have to go as far as daily washing but if you can aim for washing your hair once a week or at least every 2 weeks.
Building up the habit of doing this will make it much easier for you in the end as it’s harder to break a habit.
Helpful post: How often should you wash natural hair
3. Opt for co-washing
If your scalp is in fairly good condition then opt for co-washing rather than washing with shampoo.
Co-washing keeps your hair moisturised whereas shampooing your hair too often can leave it feeling dry. You will then need to find extra ways to add the moisture back in again.
4. Deep condition
Deep conditioning is the extra step that you have to take if you want your hair to be long and healthy.
It will keep your hair feeling vibrant so try to deep condition every 2 weeks or at least once a month when you have more time.
5. Finger detangle
Finger detangling or finger combing for me has been the one thing that helped my hair to see so much more growth.
When you finger detangle you can feel if a strand of hair is about to snap and avoid it.
It takes time to learn how to finger detangle but the more you do it the more you will get used to doing it.
Trimming your hair might seem to be counterproductive at first but the benefits of trimming really are great.
When you trim off your split ends you encourage your hair to grow much more healthily.
Split ends tend to travel up the hair shaft. You might think that by not trimming it you are holding on to length but in fact, the reverse is true because the split ends will travel and cause more damage and breakage to your hair strands.
If you are going to trim your hair make sure you do it with professional scissors like these ones otherwise you will cause more damage than do good.
7. Head massages
You may not have come across this tip before but head massages are wonderful for keeping the circulation going on through your scalp.
Blood flow to your scalp helps your hair to grow.
When I had my TWA (teeny weeny afro) I used to get my husband to do these all the time for me. They really are the best thing ever!
If you don’t have anyone to do it for you just do it yourself.
8. Use sulfate-free shampoo
Using a sulfate-free shampoo is in your benefit because they don’t contain any harsh chemicals that can strip your hair and make it feel dry.
Try to use as many natural products in your hair as possible. They are less likely to make your hair feel dry, brittle and look frizzy.
9. Protective styling
Doing a protective hairstyle can help you to maintain some of your natural hair growth.
You can try braids with extensions or just have your own hair in a protective hairstyle.
Bear in mind that even though your hair is in a protective style you still need to keep it moisturised if you don’t want to experience breakage.
Related post: 6 Reasons your natural hair is not growing
Final thoughts on 4c natural hair
4c natural hair grows just as well as all other hair types.
If you want to see a curly pattern you can try a braid out or a twist out.
These hairstyles will allow you to keep it out and stretched so that you don’t experience too many tangles.
Give it a go and let me know how you get on!