10 Maintenance Tips for Your 4C Hair

There are several misrepresentations of type 4c hair on the internet today, and if you are not sure if you are in the 4c category and have no clue of how to care for and maintain 4c Hair, that’s about to change!

What is 4C Hair Type?

4C Hair
Instagram / @theevenhogban

The hair grouping system’s type 4 hair category includes the 4c hair type. A classification system for hair types exists, with type 4 topping the list. Type 4 hair is frequently referred to be Afro, kinky, or coarse and has a distinctive curl pattern and voluminous appearance.

The type 4c hair is the densest in group 4 and has a tightly coiled form, which can be seen using a microscope. Without chemical treatments and heat styling, type 4c hair finds it difficult to transition from its natural texture to wavy or straight.

Coily hair, a more accurate word for four hair varieties, is fundamentally more delicate than other hair types. So, treatments might result in long-term damage that might need to be repaired with drastic haircuts and years of recovery. While it’s understandable to want a switch up in appearance, you should exercise caution.

How to Identify Type 4C Hair

What 4c hair looks like
Instagram / @khadajeee

Since 4c hair is the densest and most coily in the 4s group, you’ll need to understand what it means to recognize your curl pattern.

The shape of the hair follicle determines your hair’s curl pattern; naturally textured (curly) hair has an oval-shaped follicle; the more oval-shaped the follicle is, the curlier your hair is; 4c hair is at the top of the list. It is extremely likely that you will have more than one sort of curl pattern, possibly even more than two.

The shape also determines the curl pattern, how they coil around one another, and whether they kink, curve, or create spiral ringlets. To distinguish them from one another, Type 1s are straight, Type 2s are wavy, Type 3s are curly, and Type 4s are coily. The subclassifications of A through C are determined based on the breadth or diameter of your wave, curl, or coil.

The main distinction between type 4c and the other kinds in its group is that type 4c lacks a defined shape and does not curl unless a product is applied. This means that if, after giving your hair a thorough wash, you cannot recognize a distinct, unique curl pattern without using products, you have a 4C right there! Without styling techniques like twisting, braiding, or shingling, the strands will hardly ever cluster together.

Compared to the other textures, the 4c coils endure the most shrinkage, up to 75% more than the others, and their pattern is extremely tight and not apparent.

Therefore, even if your hair isn’t growing, it actually is. To find out how much growth has occurred, stretch your hair over your face to reveal its length. 4c hair is especially prone to breakage and dryness because of the delicate strands. To maintain healthy hair, type 4c hair needs a specialized hair care regimen and excellent moisturizing products.

Care and Maintenance Tips for Type 4C Hair 

Thick 4c natural hair
Instagram / @thejennjackson

Knowing your hair type helps you take better care of it and understand what it requires. In order to give your hair what it needs, taking care of type 4c hair requires a customized hair care routine and the use of specific products.

1. Know your Hair Porosity

It’s not enough to identify your hair; understanding your porosity is as crucial as it dictates how much moisture your hair takes in. Your hair’s porosity is how well your hair absorbs and maintains moisture.

The hair porosity is grouped into three, low, normal, and high porosity. Low porosity curly hair has difficulty absorbing moisture but can retain moisture well. The more damaged the hair – from heat styling, sun exposure, chemical processing, and excessive manipulation like too much brushing or combing, the more porous it is. 

High porosity can easily absorb moisture but quickly lose the moisture. So, normal porous hair has been mildly exposed to damage and can absorb and retain moisture adequately. Check out this link for further information on identifying your hair porosity. Knowing your hair porosity would ensure you get suitable hair care products for your hair needs.

2. Do a Pre-poo Treatment 

A Pre-poo treatment is treating your hair before a wash. Using a shampoo can be overly stripping for the hair’s natural oils as it typically contains harsh surfactants. Adding a layer of protection would be helpful for your type 4c hair, which is undoubtedly prone to dryness. 

Do a hot oil treatment, where you pour several varieties of oils or oil into a bowl and heat it. Once the oil is warmed, apply it to your hair working in sections, and give your scalp a good massage. Massaging the scalp aids blood circulation, which encourages hair growth. You could also gently detangle and let your hair sit for 30 minutes to two hours.

Conditioners or other hair treatments can be added before shampooing to provide a layer of protection and ensure the hair is moisturized.

3. Use a Sulfate free Shampoo

Sulfates are harsh surfactants, and those in shampoo are overly stripping the hair’s natural oils, which inevitably leads to dryness, and 4c hair is naturally prone to dryness; increasing it wouldn’t do the hair any good. The Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo is excellent for 4c hair.

Use shampoo with gentler surfactant for the hair strands, and when shampooing, avoid aggressive scrubbing and rubbing as that could cause breakage – hair is extremely fragile when wet. 

After pouring a generous amount of shampoo on your palms, run them together and massage them into the scalp; using your fingertips, move back and forth to get rid of first and buildup. For low porosity hair type, saturate hair first with warm water before shampooing to lift the cuticle gently.

4. Deep Condition Frequently 

long 4c hair

Deep conditioners are fantastic at providing moisture and keeping the coils healthy. They prevent split ends and work thrice better than a regular conditioner would. Dryness is a significant problem for 4c type, and doing a weekly deep conditioning treatment can be a game changer.

To apply a deep conditioner, start by sectioning your hair into four quadrants to ensure all the strands are coated, then apply the conditioner from the midlength to the tips. Afterward, you put on a shower cap or sit under a hooded dryer– mainly for low porous hair. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, depending on the product instructions, and do a thorough rinse. You might want to try out the Adwoa Beauty Baomint Deep Conditioning Treatment. It works wonders for 4c hair, and it’s vegan and cruelty-free!

5. Detangle Regularly 

Tangling slows down hair growth and causes breakage; make it a regular habit to detangle hair but be sure to use a wide tooth comb and detangle gently while working in sections. It is best to detangle conditioned hair as it offers that slip and makes detangling much more accessible.

When you aren’t washing your hair, add a leave-in conditioner or detangling spray– kinky curl knot today is a great choice and affordable. Do not yank the knots out; use your fingers instead.

6.  Avoid Overstyling!

Styling products can cause your hair to become weighed down, dry out, and cause hair breakage. Refrain from too much physical manipulation – over-touching and styling and give your hair a rest. 

Alternate between some protective hairstyles and fewer products; these protective styles shield your hair, especially its ends, which are more exposed, from environmental and mechanical damage encouraging hair growth, and you still look good in it; hairstyles like Bantu knots, single plaits, and twists are do-it-yourself friendly.

7. Maintain a Hair Trimming Schedule 

4c hairstyle

Trim off split ends because they could hinder hair growth and indicate hair damage. Split ends are notably seen when the hair strand splits; you should be able to tell when you have split ends; it makes the hair tangle-prone, too, because the split ends are weak; they get knotted easily.

Since the 4c hair type is susceptible to severe shrinking, it is best to trim hair while it is stretched. This would reduce breakage and enhance the overall appearance of your hair. It is recommended to have a trim every six weeks, but it is essential to stick to the schedule.

8. Go to Bed with a Protective Headwrap

If you sleep on cotton sheets, a protective head wrap is a must! The reason is that the cotton material surface causes friction or increased tension on the strands, especially with the tossing and turning; this absorbs the moisture from the hair strands. 

So, if you do an overnight hair treatment and go off to sleep, it goes all away, waking you up to dry and frizzy-looking hair. To prevent that, sleep with a silk or satin bonnet or scarf. Due to their smooth surface, there’s lessened tension and friction, retaining the hair moisture and waking up to healthy coils. 

Wrapping your hair in a silk or satin scarf is quite an easy process; grab your preferred piece, connect the opposite ends to form a triangle making sure it’s the silkier side, bend forward and drape the scarf over the nape of your neck with the middle point directed at the forehead. The ends hanging at the sides, take those ends and make a knot over the middle piece at the top hairline—Tuck the remaining pieces at the sides of the wrap.

9. Clarify once in a While 

Frequently using hair care and styling products leaves a product residue that can damage the hair and cause it to become weighed down. You’ll need a clarifying treatment to get rid of that buildup, and there are home remedies for this.

4c hair men

But a simple and effective way is using a clarifying shampoo; if you live in a complex water environment, a chelating shampoo is best as you might have a mineral buildup; a chelating shampoo works the same as a clarifying shampoo, except it contains some EDTA agents that bind to minerals allowing it to be washed away.  

A sulfate-containing shampoo can suffice if you don’t have a clarifying shampoo; an acid vinegar rinse works, and baking soda in a regular shampoo works too.

10. Moisturizing Products are Essential 

This can not be overemphasized; 4c hair is dryness prone; it needs to be assisted with moisture. The oval-shaped follicle makes it harder for natural oils to travel down the hair shaft, and 4c hair has the tightest curl pattern, so it’s harder!

dyed 4c hairIn

After washing your hair, add in your moisturizing products, leave-in conditioner suitable for your hair type and porosity, gel, curl cream, hair oils, and serum following the LCO or LOC method, which signifies, leave in ( liquid), cream, and oils or leave-in, oils, and creams. Figure out what method works best for you. 

The creams and oils typically contain emollients and humectants, and they work to seal in moisture by creating an oily film. When selecting a cream or oil, I recommend choosing based on the hair’s porosity.

Lightweight products for low porosity hair and less dense hair types, a heavier weight product contains ingredients like oils and butter for much more porous hair. When applying these products, pay special attention to areas that are more prone to dryness and if you want to define curls, rake the styling products in the hair.


4c hair is nothing short of gorgeousness, and like all beauty, it can take some time to figure out. Don’t rush the process; experiment with products till you find what works for you, because even if you had the same hair type as everyone else, your hair is peculiar to you, the same as the skin is. Eventually, you’ll fall into a comfortable hair care routine.

Don’t constantly rake styling products into your hair because you want defined curls. Wear the crown as it is and own it! And, above all else, handle with care; a 4c hair type, irrespective of how it looks, is fragile.

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