5 Tips To Help Manage Your Type 4c Hair

Type 4c hair is underrepresented and it can be hard to find info on how to properly take care of our hair. Here's some tips to help you manage your 4c hair.

After being a naturalista for a little over a year, I’ve noticed that type 4c hair doesn’t get enough love. Yeah we have a few dedicated Instagram pages and brands focusing on us (i.e. 4c Hair Chicks) but in general I feel like we are underrepresented.  It can be hard to find info on how to properly take care of our hairy. That is why I do my best to share information here along with tutorials on my YouTube channel to help others with 4c hair. Here’s some tips to help you manage your type 4c hair, and type 4 hair in general since a lot of us with 4c has a mix of other type 4 textures. My own hair is pretty much type 4c with some patches of 4a mixed in. Please keep in mind that I’m still learning how to manage my own hair and sharing what I’ve learned so far.

type 4c hair

1. Moisture Is Key

Type 4 hair can be very dry and needs a lot of moisture, especially 4c hair. Before you pile on the leave-in conditioners, moisturizing cream and oils, it’s important to know that water is key in keeping your hair moisturized. Water is absorbed into the strands and these other products lock it in to keep hair moisturized. This is why water based moisturizers work best for our hair, but they are not enough. I find that the L.O.C. Method works best in keeping my hair moisturized. This involves applying a water-based Leave-In Conditioner to soaking wet hair, followed by an Oil (I love Coconut and Jamaican Black Castor Oil) to lock it in, and a butter-based Cream for extra moisture. You just have to find products that work nicely together without leaving residue or flaking. I use this method as a base for creating all of my styles. Water is not only your best friend externally but internally as well, so drink up for healthy hair, nails and skin.

2. Do Not Comb Your Hair While Dry

Unless you want breakage. Although our hair is very strong, it is also very fragile. It’s easy for our hair to tangle since our strands are so tightly coiled and close knit. Combing through these tangles while your hair is dry will cause unnecessary breakage. It’s best to comb 4c hair while soaking wet, using a conditioner with a lot of slip (allows the comb to easily glide through). You’ll be able to comb through your hair more easily and will only lose the hair that naturally sheds out of our head daily.

3. Less Manipulation = Less Breakage

Speaking of combing 4c hair, it’s best not to comb too much. Combing your hair every day will lead to breakage. Create styles that last at least a week and don’t require too much manipulation like finger coils, finger shingles, twist outs and perm rod sets. I wash and style my hair every 7 to 14 days and only comb while styling. In between styles I do not comb my hair, I just use a pick to lift my roots if my hair gets flat from sleeping on it. Less manipulation allows your hair to flourish and grow.

4. Cater To Your Curl Pattern

“How did you get your hair to curl like that?.” That has to be the question that I get the most from others with 4c hair. The thing is, that’s MY curl pattern. I use methods to enhance my curl pattern like finger shingling, but you can not manipulate your curl pattern without chemicals- with the exception of perm rods and other rollers where your hair takes the shape of the roller. Your hair will never look like anyone else’s because everyone’s hair is different, even if you have the same texture. Cater to your curl pattern and don’t expect your hair to look exactly like that tutorial you watched.

5. Your Hair Is Beautiful

4c hair has a history of being “bad hair” and I see a lot of women with type 4c hair claiming that their hair is too hard to take care of and they wished their hair was more _____, or they wish their texture was _____, or they wished their hair looked like ______. Stop it. Your hair is beautiful. Your hair is unique. It’s thick and strong enough to support the most intricate of protective styles without worrying about your braids slipping out or your twists coming loose. Comb it out in a ‘fro and it’s big and fluffy like cotton, or shingle it for a head full of tight coils. The options are endless once you embrace your texture and learn how to take care of your hair.

I hope my fellow 4c naturalistas found these tips useful, and feel free to leave any tips you may have for 4c hair in the comments. We need as much help as we can get! 🙂

My favorite products for 4c hair

33 Responses

  1. I needed to revisit this post to help me Hold On in these difficult times! LOL I am getting so frustrated with my hair but I’m going to attempt finger shingling.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

    1. I can understand the struggle… those are the days that I throw on my headwrap and call it a day lol. You are very welcome! 🙂

      1. Hello Erica. I’m about to start my natural journey. I think I’m a type 4 after reading your article but how can I know for sure what type of hair I have?

          1. Hi there I just did a big chop for my birthday last month
            Should I use my fingers to help with my curl ?

  2. Hello Erica,

    Thank you again for these tidbits they are so helpful! Maybe you can help me a problem I have just recently started experience, but I believed you covered it above. I am starting to see a great amount of breakage in the center of my head. What can be done to help the center?

    1. You’re welcome. If you have coarse/thick hair like mine, the crown usually requires extra attention. Give it extra moisture and treat it gently as it can be more fragile than the rest of your hair

  3. Your site and YouTube videos have helped me over come the frustration of growing out my twa. Tempted to perm and textutizer…I came across your finger shingling video….I get constant compliments and it’s so easy I. The mornings. I’ve been trying different products for the LOC method…just to see the difference in results. I thank you for sharing..Roxy

  4. Hey, I just did the big chop and I’m loving the thought of tending to my new natural beauty. I’ve picked up on your tips but I would like to know how I keep my hair moisturized everyday and what I do to it before going to bed.

    1. Hello. I usually don’t have to add moisture to my hair everyday. When I do need to boost the moisturize between styles, I use a curl refresher spray or coconut oil depending on the style. I just sleep in a satin bonnet.

  5. Hi Erica,

    I happened upon your pin, in hopes of getting ideas on how to take care of and style my twa. It’s just that, a teenie weenie afro, so it’s difficult to not have to comb it every day. I don’t have it in a protective style and if I use the curl sponge, it doesn’t last more than a day. When I go to bed, it gets flat and looks matted. Do you have any advice on what I can do?


    1. Hi Odette. I sleep in a satin bonnet at night to protect my hair. When I had a short TWA, I simply sprayed it with water in the morning, fluffed with my fingers and lifted any areas that were flat with a pick. I actually still take these same steps when wearing a Wash n Go although my hair is longer on the top. I hope that helps!

      1. Thank you ever so much for replying. Due to my being as thirsty as it is, I have to moisturize it everyday. I have not resorted to using any gels or curling cremes. The problem is, I’m already a product junkie and don’t want to keep buying more and more products. I need to get rid of the ones I have that do not work. I found the Eden Body Works conditioner works for me and not the shea moisture leave-in with the sort of off white color wrapping. This is a journey I’m not willing to give up on very easily. I’ve already subscribed to your YouTube channel and will see what you recommend to hold/keep/maintain style(s). Thanks again!!

  6. Hello Erica. Thanks for your contribution to natural hair styles, I love them all. I have dred locs for about 3 years. It’s shoulder length, the thing I really can’t stand hair on my neck anymore. Then going through you posts on Printerest give me a new view of how I can have my hair. I am planning on cutting it short and try one of your styles. The back of my head is flat, some people say I have dog head….. I am seeking your advice.

  7. Hello Erica, I’ve tried several times going short hair, but some how the barbers always go too low at the back of my head. Ok I know that that’s the shape of my head, but it shouldn’t be almost no hair at the back. I want to learn to cut my own hair and develop my own style to suit my face. I know every style does not suit everybody. I need something that just right for me. So can you help me out with the know how, does and don’ts.
    My strands are very fine and tangle very easily.

    1. Hi Mona. Unfortunately I can’t help you choose a hairstyle as that’s personal preference, and I don’t know what you look like. If you want an idea on how to cut your own hair, check out my DIY Tapered Cut Tutorial.

  8. Hi Erica. I recently did a big chop about 4 months ago. I have 4C hair. It has become so difficult for me to maintain and seems to stay very dry no matter what i do. Some days Im close to tears trying to style,other days im talking myself out of the mad dash to the beauty supply for perm. Just wanted to say i feel a bit inspired reading your column. Today i will just wear a fro! lol

    1. Lol girl, you better rock that ‘fro. Comb out the ‘fro and go. I’m glad my posts can inspire you!

  9. How are you keeping a style for 7-14 days? My twist outs only last 2-3 days. I wear a bonnet at night and sleep on a satin pillowcase.

    1. When I wore twist outs, I didn’t mind if my hair wasn’t super defined. After a few days it looked like a coily afro. I would lift my roots and wear it like that. When my hair is styled with the shingling method it lasts 7 to 14 days depending on my activities. I’m rocking a super short twa right now and my wash n go lasts an entire week. I guess it depends on if you know how to refresh your hair, and how you’re sleeping on it.

  10. Thank you Erica for all your info and inspiration. I now know its ok to experiment with how much to wet my hair and how much goop to put in it and how to account for the amount of product already in my hair at the moment. My last product to place in my hair most of the time is a detangle low porosity goop with plenty slip. Some days I use a bit of water and rose oil or coconut oil or black castor oil with a barber sponge. I let my hair tell me what it needs. Thanks for your videos.

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