Women with type 4 hair can often find it challenging to manage and care for their hair. I don’t necessarily like the hair typing system but hair typing can be useful for finding hair care tips for optimum length, hair health and overall better hair care practices.
Type 4 hair is considered to be kinky or tightly coiled in curl pattern. The strands are typically very closely packed together which can make it appear as if there is no defined curl pattern. The strand thickness of the hair can be fine, medium or thick. Our curl pattern can range from an “s” pattern to a “z” pattern. Our hair type has fewer cuticle layers than other hair types, which means that it has less protection from the physical damage that can be caused by combing, brushing, curling, blow-drying and straightening.
Here are some hair care practices that can help you achieve healthy hair, your desired length, and overall happy hair!
- Condition, moisturize and seal often
The number one challenge with naturally kinky or coily hair is retaining moisture. A good moisturizer will have water as a main ingredient and will hydrate your strands inside and out. Type 4 hair benefits very well from thicker, creamy moisturizers and conditioners that are infused with oils and heavy oils or butters to seal in the moisture.
I usually deep condition weekly and need to moisturize and seal my hair every two to three days. The frequency that you moisturize may depend on various factors including how often you deep condition your hair, your porosity, how much you manipulate your hair, if you apply heat/color, and the products that you use.
- Wash in sections
Because our hair type has a tendency to tangle easily, washing in sections is ideal for reducing knots and shrinkage. Washing in sections also helps to ease detangling and prevents damage. To wash in sections simply section your hair in big braids, big twists, or with hair clips/holders while you wash each individual section.
- Stretched hair is your friend
Keeping your hair stretched will reduce breakage, single strand knots, and tangles. Stretched styles include twist-outs, braid-outs, bantu knot outs, buns, etc. Buns, twists, braids, and other stretched styles in this prevent our strands from intertwining, tangling, and breaking.
- Be gentle – detangle and style with your fingers
Wide tooth combs and our fingers are the most gentle tools for our hair. Both minimizes snagging and pulling during a detangling session. If you must use a comb or brush to style your hair, keep it to a minimum and be gentle. If your hear your hair ‘popping’ or breaking, you are not being gentle enough.
- Manipulate your hair as little as possible
The more you manipulate your hair, the more likely you are to get breakage, tangles, split ends, and knots. Wearing stretched styles or protective styles for a long amount of time can prevent you from over-manipulating your hair.
- Your diet counts!
Healthy growing hair starts from the inside out. Drink lots of water and incorporate more healthy greens and vegetables into your diet. Foods high in Vitamin C, fatty acids, biotin, MSM, Iron, minerals, are all beneficial to healthy hair growth.
What are some of your tips for taking care of your type 4 hair? Do you have any tips for 4b or 4c hair growth? Share them below!