Do you have healthy, type 4c natural hair? I do and I thought it would be most helpful to write a post about the things I have done right over the years (to save you time, energy and money!). Below are my eight precious pearls of 4C wisdom.
1. Started my hair journey with a made up mind
Many along the way get discouraged because when one returns to natural, having experienced the ease of processed hair and not dealing with kinks, coils, hair that won’t straighten past 400 degrees, fairy knots, brillo pad ends and such the like, it can cause a sistah to retreat and throw down the 4C flag. I for one made the decision, ride or die, hook or crook I was not going to exchange my wonderful kinks for the creamy crack.
2. Establishing a regimen using the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple Sistah)
Whether you are a 4C General or front line soldier, any Naturalista will tell you that not having a regimen is a recipe for ongoing frustration. When we were relaxed we knew upkeep was critical because after a while the hair would look…you know…natural. But now with the brilliant fro, we must be intentional and consistent in making sure we are giving our hair the TLC it deserves. And in developing my regimen, there was no way I was going to use ten products and eight steps for a shampoo and condition. I kept it to the basics and it has served me well.
3. Water Rinsing
Moisture is an ongoing thorn in a Naturalista’s side and she must always ensure her hair moisture levels are up. After testing my water pH levels, I decided to switch from faucet to bottle and it made all the difference. When I moved, the pH levels were less alkaline and I could return to the faucet again. But the key was to incorporate water rinsing into my regimen and I am glad I did. After years of depletion, I am starting to see the benefits: more moisture retention, less product, my styles last longer, and my hair doesn’t look so thirsty.
4. Reading the labels
I am a closet nerd and took my passion for education and transferred it into my natural hair journey. When I started reading the labels and looking up the words which required Rosetta Stone, there was no way, no matter how good it looked, smelled, or felt, that those products were going in my cabinet. This has also helped me in understanding basic chemistry in mixing homemade products and which products to avoid.
5. Using the three day rule for products
If it itches my scalp it goes straight to the garbage. If my hair does not respond immediately or within three days, I ditch it and keep it moving, no matter how much I spent on the product. The only thing I would have done differently was searched the whole world over for samples instead of purchasing the whole kit and caboodle.
6. Subscribed to other natural hair You Tube channels
When I started my natural hair journey in August 2013, I was under the illusion that transitioning would be easy if I only continued using the flat iron. Four weeks after my final relaxer all hair hell broke loose. My hair rejected co-washing. The scalp was on fire, and I thought I would need medical attention because the relaxer withdrawals (headaches) were unbearable. But I avoided the relaxer section in Walmart and started watching You Tubers giving tips, encouragement, and hair tutorials along their journey. That was a saving grace.
7. Used products sparingly
My motto is “to keep it minimal is to keep it simple” and I live by that. Insomuch it has helped keep money in my pocket and the product build-up is very slow. If I were heavy handed on creams, gels and the like, not only would I have had to clarify more often, my scalp and hair would have had an unpleasant odor.
8. Frequent trimming
The one thing we naturals dread and fear is the most needful. In the beginning I had a three month trimming schedule, but since I am battling with dry ends and the scab hair dilemma, I decided that monthly trims would be the best way to go.
We avoid trims like the plague but the reality is if we do not trim or cut damaged ends, the hair will split up the hair shaft further weakening the hair. Better to have a beautiful healthy cut than sport a weak, damaged pony tail.