Best hair care routine for 4C hairMonday, April 19, 2021
BY CANDIECE KNIGHT
IF we're being completely honest, most of us with 4C type hair are truly intimidated by it. We keep it under wraps as we hop from protective style to protective style, until we become frustrated and either straighten it or cut it all off. Then we miss our kinky curls, promise that we'll take better care of it next time and grow it out again… only to repeat the cycle.
It's time to hit reset on your haircare mindset! If you care for your hair, there will be no need for you to fear it. All living things need a healthy routine to grow — children, plants, pets, and yes, your hair. Work this easy-to-follow 4C haircare routine into your schedule, add a little patience and commitment, and with time you will find that you have tamed your tightly-curled mane.
Pre-poo and shampoo every two weeks
It's no secret that shampoos, especially those with harsh chemicals, can damage your hair. While shampoo is very important for cleansing your scalp, reducing product build-up on your hair and preventing fungi and odour, it can also strip your hair of moisture. It is therefore not advised that you shampoo your hair too often, especially your 4C hair that dries out easily. Most women find that shampooing every two weeks or so, with sulfate-free shampoo, works well for them. Coating the hair with a protective layer of product, called a pre-poo, is also a good idea.
Co-wash between washes
Now if you find that your hair is dehydrated, very tangled, or saturated with products in between your wash days, you might need to co-wash your hair. This is essentially washing your hair, but only with a deep conditioner and water — no shampoo. Now is also a great time to treat your hair with your homemade or store bought masques and essential oils.
Pre-style before drying
When it comes to 4C hair, the shrinkage and knots are too real, especially after a wash. This means you can't allow your hair to dry without guidance. After your final rinse, ensure that you either plait or two-strand twist your hair before you let it air dry. It's a great time to plan a twist out! Using a blow dryer and comb to detangle and dry your hair is an absolute last resort, as excessive heat can damage your hair (and it hurts).
Leave-in conditioner, always
Even after wash days are over, you need to ensure that you keep your hair hydrated as you go about your day. If you wear low-manipulation protective styles, then you don't have much to do each morning beyond moisturising and slaying your edges. Leave-in conditioner is a must-have for 4C hair to prevent it from becoming brittle and dry. You can also use creams to help to define your curls, and oils to seal in the moisture and create a protective barrier from the elements of nature.
Protect for bed
You cannot afford to just go to bed with 4C hair and expect to wake up flawless. It just doesn't work like that. You need to prep for bed by moisturising and setting your hair up for the next morning. If you have your hair out, it's wise to plait or twist it before going to bed to prevent shrinkage and tangling while you sleep. Even with a protective style, however, it is advised that you cover your hair to keep the moisture on your head, and not on your pillowcase and face. Use a silky scarf, durag, or — as Da'Naia Jackson aptly renamed bonnets — a helmet of salvation.
NOTE: 4C hair has the tightest curl pattern of all curly hair types. It tends to clump more at the ends and is very prone to shrinkage and dryness, and requires regular moisturising.
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