Listen to your hair...
Listen to your hair. This would be the one great piece of advice I would give to anyone who is seeking to properly maintain their natural 4C hair. Over the last 3 years I've learnt loads about what my hair responds well to and what it reacts against. It's been a long process but I think my hair and I are starting to understand each other!
Are you struggling with dealing with your 4C hair at the moment? Does it seem like you've tried all the suggestions and pieces of advice given in the natural hair community. I know I have, and the wealth of information can over whelm you. But I would definitely say... start by listening to YOUR hair.
There are of course general principles of maintaining 4C hair which are very useful. These should be your starting point.
In short the basic principles are:
- Moisture (WATER, WATER, leave-in conditioner and more WATER)
- Seal (butters and oils)
- Low manipulation (reduce frequency of styling hair, limited heat and usage of dyes),
- Protective styling (to help retain moisture, reduce ssk knots and protect fragile ends)
OK so the second aspect to look at is your hair.
I would definitely describe my hair as 4C BUT I have 3 different textures within that '4C' range. Each texture needs its own particular care. Check out my latest video on managing different hair textures.
Hair texture lowdown
Hair at the side front-
- Very fine
- Very fragile
- Forms tiny coils
- Breaks if I look at it
- Needs gentle handling
- A no comb zone!
I find this hair the hardest to grow because of its features. It dries out really easily so I've responded by ensuring I spritz this area everyday and seal with a heavy shea butter. Flat twisting this area also helps retain moisture. I find I retain the most length when this hair is regularly in a protective style.
Hair at the crown
- Wavy, kinky curl pattern
- Looses moisture rapidly
- Breaks easily
- Grows slowly
This hair is very coarse and seems to eat moisture up like anything. I also try and spritz this area everyday and not handle it too much during the week. If it's given what it likes then it grows well and has lots of body even though the hair here has a similar density to the hair at the front.
Hair at the side - The best hair of all!,
- Clumps well
- Defined coils
- Retains length no matter what I do
- Retains moisture well
- Grows the fastest
Hair at the back - a mixture of the hair on my crown and sides.
This hair is probably the most predictable and if you give it moisture and seal it well, and leave it alone it usually just grows well by itself.
What is your hair like? Do you have problem areas? Or perhaps your hair is mostly one texture. If so, watch it carefully when you apply water, leave-in conditioner and a butter/oil to it. How long does it retain moisture? Does it dry out quickly? What does it do when it's wet? Shrink up or hang loose? Asking these questions will allow you to move forward in the development of a regime that will really allow your hair to flourish.