Your natural hair is beautiful, versatile and stylish, but it can take a bit of effort and lots of love to achieve your best curls. If I had to pick some of the most important tips for type 4 hair to help retain length, maintain styles beyond the first day and foster all-around healthy curls, these would be them. I have no doubt that you will adopt your own top tips along your natural hair journey too!
Natural Hair Regimen
This is one of the words you hear frequently discussed within the natural hair community. A good regimen is a vital part of maintaining your lovely coils. The beauty in developing a regimen is that it can be customized to fit every natural, no matter your hair texture or length. The primary components within a regimen are cleansing, conditioning, moisturizing/sealing and the fun part, styling! There are as many variations within each element as there are regimen options, so do what works best for you and your hair.
- Cleansing: Choose between clarifying, co-washing or sulfate-free shampooing.
- Conditioning: Try rinse-outs, leave-ins or deep conditioning treatments.
- Moisture: You can use natural oils, butters or creams to seal the moisture in.
Easier said than done, right? As a natural you may not find this the most exciting task, but it is definitely important. Proper detangling of your hair will not only aid in the styling process, but it will help you eliminate tangles and retain length in the process. Just like your regimen, there are many ways you can detangle your hair. The general consensus with the detangling process is that it’s best done starting from your ends up to your roots and while the hair is wet and full of conditioner.
- Using your fingers, a detangling comb or brush in conjunction with conditioner will help make tangles and knots easier to separate, thus making the detangling process easier. I’ve been using this method for quite a while, but sometimes you may need an extra bit of help. If this is the case, try detangling your dry hair using oil to tackle pesky snares. For me, this actually doubles as a pre-poo; I add a generous amount of oil to my hair, and detangle in small sections.
- Once detangled, I put my hair in about 4-6 plaits, cover with a plastic cap and then put on my Hair Therapy Thermal Wrap for about 30 minutes. By the time I get ready to wash my hair already has slip from the oils and washing is now a breeze.
Many girls with type 4 hair choose to pineapple their coils; that involves pulling your hair up into a high, loose ponytail and securing with a satin scrunchy or ponytail holder. This works to keep the hair in a stretched state overnight and also prevent your curls from being squished while sleeping. When you wake in the morning, just take the ponytail holder down, fluff, spritz with a leave in and you’re ready for the day. Pineappling works great when your curls are fairly fresh, but sometimes you may need to reset your style for the next day. You may want to twist your hair in several chunky twists to keep the shape, or tighter twists if you want added definition.
What you sleep on is just as important as how you prepare your hair for bed. Your best options are satin or silk fabrics because they allow your hair to glide over the material and won’t snag the cuticle. You can use a scarf, bonnet or even a satin pillowcase. These are extremely convenient especially if you’ve had a long night or don’t feel like tying your hair up at night. And they make great gifts to your natural friends, too!
Gentle handling and low manipulation are always important when you’re dealing with type 4 hair. Your hair is delicate and those coils need to be handled carefully. Each bend in your hair is an opportunity for breakage, so take your time when you wash, condition, detangle and style.
You’ll want to opt for styles that don’t place too much tension on the hairline, which is usually more fragile. Keep the base of your braids and twists a bit more relaxed around the edges, same with your poufs and ponytails. Also, when you’re detangling, comb gently through your ends first, and work your way towards your roots. The task is often easier to tackle when your work in smaller sections, too. This can be the difference in actually seeing your hair grow versus seeing pieces of your hair in the sink, on your clothes or in your comb.
There’s not enough space on this page for all of the tips, hints, and tricks you’ll learn as a natural! Throughout your journey, you’re bound to pick up new tricks from other naturals and I’m sure you’ll share a few of your own as well. If I could give you one final tip, it would be to learn to appreciate your own hair. After all, no one should know your hair better than you!
I have been putting a towel on my natural hair
for years. However I never rub or dab the towel on
my hair. I found out years ago if I use a large enough towel gently drape and tuck, the towel will
absorb all excess water without doing anything.
I even practiced this method when I used to relax.
I have taught it to others with great success!!
No need to panic and run out trying to find special terry cloth wraps or using all your T- shirts unless you can afford to. Place the towel over your head do not tug, rub or move it in any way at all fold the edge of the long towel length wise. Then wrap towel gently around your head and tuck over not under. Just let the towel naturally absorb the water. Then remove the towel. It beats towel drying many times and their is absolutely no friction with your hair ever. Try it, someone told this to me
and I was amazed the lady had natural waist length hair. She said I have been towel drying like this 3 years now and haven't lost a strand of hair. You let the towel stay on till it has absorbed most of the water or a lot of it.
Where can I buy a hair therapy wrap? It's always referred to in articles but it's always unavailable on CurtMart. Does any other online stores sale it?
Thanks Antoinette! Will give it a try.
The Native New Yorker,
Try wrapping your twist like you would wrap your pressed hair, around in a circle. I saw it on youtube from Naptural85 (not sure if thats the correct name) but it works! Invest in a lot of bobbypins and a silk/satin scarf 🙂
This article is wonderful for veteran and newbie naturals alike. I was stuck on the fact that shampooing is harmful and I should co-wash instead, but the truth is, I have to find a regi that works for MY hair! She may not like what the next natural does, and this is where the trial and error starts. Thanks so much for getting back to the basics for me!
I’ve been reading your blog a few times and this is the first time
I feel like I need to comment. Very nice writing indeed.
Thank you for your sharing useful article.
hair salons in orange county,
Thanks for posting, Lisa. Since my big chop in October, I find myself re-twisting my hair into two-strand twists every night on my 4-inch length hair because my hair isn't long enough for "pineappling", and I hate how my twists get flattened during my sleep. Any suggestions, ladies?
i just noticed that the woman in the pic has a towel on her head, natural hair no-no!!!
This was soooo helpful!!!! I just recently combed out my locs and didn't know where to begin with my regimen. I've done a lot of reserach and had tons of notes on hand but at the end of the day I was a wee bit overwhelmed when it came time to wash and condition my hair for the first time. You just simplified everything for me!