The Basics of 4C Hair Care

Megan Dominion

More people are embracing their natural hair and sharing how to bring out the best in their curls, and we’re definitely here for it! The coily, voluminous 4c texture is no exception to this wonderful trend – here are our top 5 tips to get the basics of caring for this hair type and help your 4c hair grow healthy and strong.

Our top 4c Hair Care Tips

1. Protect your ends

4c hair is the most delicate hair type. The ends of the hair are the most prone to damage and should really be avoided when adding extra heat or chemicals – which can cause them to split.

If you want to make sure your hair remains healthy, make sure you don’t apply too much heat, especially when flat ironing. Do not go over your ends with a flat iron as this will cause them to dry out faster.

Quick pretective styles for 4C hair

It is also important that you keep your ends from being exposed to the elements. Natural and quick protective styles are chunky braids, twists, and cornrows. These are styles you can wear that will not pull on your hair too much and will keep your ends tucked in so they can stay healthy.

2. Keep your 4C Hair Moisturized

Moisturizing tends to be very important for growing and caring for 4c hair. This hair type tends to be the driest because the curl pattern doesn’t allow for natural oils to travel from the scalp down the hair shaft as much as less coily hair types. It’s important to keep in mind how much moisture your hair needs, so that you are not risking it becoming brittle and breaking off.

Every 2 weeks is the rule of thumb for washing 4c hair, because it doesn’t get as oily as straighter textures do. However, if you find yourself struggling with product buildup, then you may want to co-wash your hair in-between wash days. Co-washing will help to remove product buildup while maintaining moisture in the hair.

After you wash your hair, you always need to condition. Shampoos are great at getting rid of dirt and grease, but they also get rid of moisture and natural oils. Conditioners help the hair gain back the moisture it loses during the shampooing process. Deep conditioning is also great for 4c hair because it provides additional moisture to lock into the hair.



Ingredients 4C hair should avoid

When using shampoos and conditioners, it is best to stay away from ingredients such as sulfates and parabens – which dry out the hair. After conditioning the hair, it is good to use a sealant to lock in the moisture you’ve imparted so that it doesn’t evaporate throughout the day.

Best Oils for 4C Hair

Oils are great sealants for locking in moisture. Great oils for hair are olive oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil. You can make your own blend of oils by mixing some of them together with essential oils – such as lavender and rosemary, which are great for hair growth.

3. Detangling 4C Hair

Due to the fact that 4c hair is so delicate (due to being prone to being drier), it needs to be detangled gently. The best way to gently detangle the hair is through finger detangling. Finger detangling is simply combing out your hair with your fingers instead of a comb.

By using your fingers you pull out less of your hair and are able to untangle knots more gently. You can also feel what your hair needs. If your hair is dry, running your fingers through your hair can let you know which areas need more moisture. If your hair has split ends in a certain area, you can feel which areas of your hair need a trim.

Using detangling brushes and combs are also a good option for detangling. These products are made specifically for being able to gently comb through the hair without pulling it out.


4. Protecting your Hair at Night

Protecting your hair while you sleep helps to retain moisture and prevent friction that could lead to breakage.

Covering your hair with a silk bonnet can help protect it. They are soft and slippery and will not cause friction as you are wearing them. This material also keeps moisture in the hair instead of absorbing it like a cotton pillowcase would.

Applying a leave-in conditioner and twisting the hair will keep it moisturized and detangled throughout the night. You can braid the hair or put it in a loose bun before applying your bonnet. Protecting your hair at night also makes it much easier to style in the morning.

Also read: 5 Methods to protect your coily hair at night

5. Give your 4C Hair Reglar Trims

Maintaining healthy hair always involves a trim every now and then. The ends of the hair are the oldest, and they become damaged after a while and start to split.

If you allow split ends to keep growing, they will continue to split up the hair shaft and eventually your hair can break off. By cutting the split ends you seal the hair again so that it will not continue to split and stunt hair growth. Most stylists recommend that you trim your hair every 3 to 4 months.

If you keep your hair healthy with maintaining moisture, you will definitely notice that you will not have split ends as frequently.

How to Soften 4C Hair

Deep conditioning and using hair masks can aid in softening 4c hair. When deep conditioning,, place a shower cap over your hair and let it sit for at least an hour. The steamy effect that happens inside of the cap will help the conditioner penetrate the hair shaft and leave the hair feeling softer and fluffier. Using a hair mask once a week can also help impart moisture and soften the hair.

Getting to know your hair and figuring out what it needs is the best step to caring for your 4C hair. The more your hair care routine becomes established, the healthier your hair will grow.

Also read: Hair Slugging – Who should be trying this

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.