Okay, you have 4c hair, and you are worried about 4c transitioning hairstyles and options available to you. You are not alone. Sometimes we naturals in the four categories feel like we do not have as many options as other hair types. For example, it may be hard to do a wash and go due to the tightness of our little curls and the extreme shrinkage. Also let’s face it, a real wash and go may not exist for 4a 4b or 4c hair. We always have to deep condition and add curl creams and other moisturizers so our afro or curly fro will not become dry and brittle. Since 4c hair has so much shrinkage, it takes a lot of prep work the night before to achieve the desired style.
We can get up and go without our hair already twisted or braided to achieve some a stretch. Yes, TWAs ( tiny winy afros) are beautiful, but once you have been natural for three years you want to show off your length! I have been natural since 2009, and I know that 4c hairstyles can seem challenging. With a lack of resources online and a focus on different hair types, it’s hard to feel like 4c hair can be styled – and styled nicely not a short fro or a buzz cut, which is beautiful and fierce hair cuts. However, a style that may either protect your hair or show off its ideal length. We get it, ladies. Options are necessary. We found some of the cutest styles that are perfect for 4c hair. We also explore the best ways to prep your hair for styling and keep the style up during wear.
- 1 Human Hair Extensions
- 2 Two-strand twists
- 3 Braided crown aka halo braid
- 4 Cornrows & Bun
- 5 One-side, cornrow let out
- 6 Washing, Conditioning & Prepping 4C Hairstyles
- 7 WHAT IS PROTECTIVE STYLING?
- 12 HOW LONG SHOULD YOU WEAR A PROTECTIVE STYLE?
- 13 How to Keep Your Edges
- 14 Shampoo & Conditioning
- 15 Mini Twist
- 16 Braids
- 17 CREATE BIG PARTS
- 18 PREVENT DAMAGE
Human Hair Extensions
This is a simple necessary and staple look in the natural world, especially amongst 4a 4b and 4c natural ladies. This is a look that looks great for any occasion. Double twist your hair in medium or small sections. I find that the best method and best way to achieve a super defined and full twist out is to use flat twists instead of regular two-strand twists. Flat twist will give you a definition from the root and allows you to separate the hair without frizzing it. Use rollers at the ends to add weigh down your twists and apply heat to elongate your twists. If you decide not to do the two strand twist method and use the traditional way, then you can make your hair appear longer by lightly tugging at the roots and applying hot air to stretch out the hair.
Braided crown aka halo braid
This look is perfect for an elegant night out. Using kinky curly bulk extensions or any bulk hair we offer ( preferably one that matches your natural hair texture), start the braid on one-side by the ear. The braid should be one inch away from your hairline. Braid around your crown and pin the braided tail under the existing braid. I love this style because it is sleek and straightforward to do yet goes with any and every occasion. You can wear your hair like this to the gym or dress it up for a night out. Halo braids will be in style a long time, and it gives off that effortless beauty vibe!
Cornrows & Bun
Knock them dead with this up-do. You can get as versatile as you want with your cornrows. We’ve seen some get creative with patterns and all. A natural look starts with three cornrows at the top of your head. Pull the rest of your hair back into a high bun. Use kinky curly extensions to add length and make a fuller bun.
One-side, cornrow let out
Part one side of your hair from the ear to the middle of your head. Braid this section back to the midway point of your head with as many braids as you like. Use rubber bands to secure the braids at the halfway point and let out the rest of the braid to blend with your hair.
One of the best methods and enjoyable methods is playing around with clip-ins! OUR AFRO KINKY clip in the collection allows you to add instant length and volume to your hair effortlessly! Use kinky 4c clip-in extensions to add extra length to your 4c hair. Use low heat to stretch your hair and natural hair extensions.
Washing, Conditioning & Prepping 4C Hairstyles
4c hair is usually low porosity. Meaning it doesn’t readily absorb water, but it does keep in moisture when correctly applied.
The key to styling and maintaining 4c hair is low heat. This can be a blow dryer on low heat, a sit-under dryer, or steam. The first application of moderate heat happens during the wash. You should use warm water to rinse your hair and apply a clarifying shampoo. This will help remove product buildup, a typical result of styling 4c hair or afro kinky braids.
You’ll want to rinse your hair and apply a detangling conditioner. If you have a steamer, you can use it with the detangling shampoo to open up the hair cuticles to allow the product to soak in. If you don’t have a steamer, you can shower in hot water and detangle last. Use a wide tooth-comb first and follow with a detangling brush to minimize breakage.
Be sure to rinse your conditioner with cold water. This will help lock in the oils of the detangling conditioner and leave your hair soft. After washing, you’ll want to use the LOC method to moisturize your hair. Use a rich conditioner for the first step. For the second step, use an oil such as castor oil or coconut oil the final step you can use thick styling cream.
photo credit: Kiitanaxo
After styling, it’s essential to keep your 4c hair moisturized. Use an oil such as coconut oil or an oil spray to moisturize your styled hair. It’s best to get in the habit of doing so before bedtime. Create a routine.
Start by applying low heat to open up your hair. Steam your hair lightly or use a blow dryer on low heat for a few minutes. Carefully apply the oil to your scalp and hair, being sure to follow the direction of the style to minimize frizziness.
Use a satin scarf or cap to cover your hair. You can also use a satin pillowcase. Wrapping your hair keeps your style intact and the moisture locked in.
In the morning you can touch up your style with an oil or sheen spray, and you’ll be ready to go. Have your tips on how to style 4c hair. Let us know in the comments.
WHAT IS PROTECTIVE STYLING?
First, there are many ways to define protective styling, and there are as many methods.
Protective styling protects against split ends and helps retain length. In practicing this styling method, you ultimately will protect the hair from outside factors that result in damage and breakage.
You can receive damage from the elements (wind, sun, and snow) or chemical alterations such as flat irons, texturizers or color and also the one thing that many of us do not think about is the scarves or turtlenecks when wearing causing breakage.
Sometimes, you’ll notice a pull and then a small pop which is the sound of strands of your hair snagging and breaking into your scarf or sweater. This is a common thing in which protective styling can help prevent!!!
Now, that we know, the basics let’s get to the GOOD STUFF and talk about the overall benefits of protective styling. When you decide to do a protective style, it gives your hair a rest from the daily preparation and combing while also retaining MOISTURE.
Even with protective styling that doesn’t mean to neglect your scalp and hair and think that it will still flourish, you MUST remember to always Shampoo and Moisturize. Before, installing or preparing for protective styling, I recommend using a Shea butter for moisture and a daily moisturizer spritz to protect further and nourish your hair and scalp.
BVPSA:: ALWAYS PROTECT YOUR HAIR AT NIGHT WHEN SLEEPING, TO ALSO PREVENT BREAKAGE.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU WEAR A PROTECTIVE STYLE?
Photo credit @jamekaa_youngg
I am a huge fan of protective styling, not only does it protect your hair and let your hair flourish without you doing a thing, but it also saves you time. I’m not talking about protective styling with your hair because that’s the only protective styling I have been doing for the past 12 years of being natural.
However, I’m referring to using added hair. I know I am late to this but a lot of time when I would buy hair at the store, well one time that I did, my scalp itched so bad that I couldn’t take it. It came out that night. I tried again at a hair salon that cost a lot of money to put in my hair, and the same thing happened my hair itched so bad that I took it out immediately. So no loss of money and a burning scalp, so I stopped.
How to Keep Your Edges
I wanted to give you the breakdown on how to keep your edges intact when you’re protective styling. I have five tips here, but if you know anymore below that, I didn’t mention. Please feel free to let me know down below so you can help someone else out.
It’s so prominent in doing your research when doing a protective style. Please do not allow them to grip your edges to where it’s uncomfortable for you. The point of a protective style is for growth and because it looks good, but you do not want any hair loss during the process.
Braiders will sometimes tell you to take an aspirin, and the pain will subside by morning. Please do not believe that if your head is hurting, there is something wrong. If your braider is gripping too tight and it’s causing small bumps than it should be removed to avoid hair loss. So, instead of wasting money on a style, do not let them grip too tight.
LEAVE IN TOO LONG?
If you do go longer, then that know that pasting eight weeks is pushing into a zone where it can lead to dryness, matting and locking of the hair. I see the hair you have to instill could be looking good, but that doesn’t mean that you keep it in for that long.
Lastly, what you want to do is make sure to massage your scalp. Of course, this can feel great alone but feel free to add what you would like.
It is being able to add products or oils that help as well. Using oils such as Jamaican Black Castor Oil or any balm you find that will help with hairline growth. If you do decide to use oil, make sure it’s not potent such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus. You want to usually pair these oils with a carrier oil such as castor, jojoba or coconut oil.
Please make sure to do a patch test first to see if you react to the oil or mixture that you want to put in your hair. This is extremely important to do beforehand symptoms such as inflammation or itching on your scalp could mean that you have an allergic reaction.
Shampoo & Conditioning
Wigs & Sew-Ins
This protective style allows a natural to experience different colors and lengths that would otherwise require a level of commitment that usually counteracts a goal of length or health. Get a bad rep for being more damaging than good, but if you use these tips, it can be a lot of fun.
I know you have seen the Instagram wigs where you wouldn’t even be able to tell it’s one.
Wigs are starting to look way more real than it did before. I mean think about not having to pay a countless amount of money to get sew-ins, or not having those irritating migraines that Tylenol never seems to fix and no endless patting for that itch you can’t scratch.
You can easily have your twists in and be able to put on a wig with no issues. If you can let go of the comb attachments and add the poppy pins to decrease the tension on the hairline that works even better.
Moisturize and wash the hair underneath
Thoroughly dry your hair to avoid moulding
Monitor and protect your edges by using castor oil
Lose your edges by avoiding combs, tight base braids, or super strength glues
Wear wigs for too long to prevent matting
Use leave out with straight styles that require heat. (Instead, wear curly styles that you can blend with or avoid leaving out altogether)
A protective style can only take you so far when it comes to hair growth. Listening to your hair and paying attention to any signs of dryness, tension, or irritation is the key to taking your protective hairstyles to the next level and help them to live up to their name!
The mini twist is a virtually free way to put your hair in a protective/versatile style. When your down wearing the twists, you can take them out and rock a twist out! These are also great during a busy week
when you want to focus a little less on hair care and styles.
Thoroughly detangle before you twist hair
Thoroughly moisturize your hair before you twist
Moisturize during the style to avoid dryness and breakage
Constantly re-twist, this is a perfect way to cause damage.
Twist your twists too tight, or pull them in too tight buns or ponytails
Quickly undo or detangle your twists after wearing them for a while, you will have some tangles from loose shed hair being caught in your twists
A beautiful staple of many naturals during their journey. There are so many different extensions, and spin-offs from goddess locs and twists, etc
Keep the scalp moisturized and clean
Refresh and moisturize the hair inside the extensions
Still, sleep with a scarf/bonnet to maintain more moisture
Wear your hair in tight style or allow them to be installed too tight ( also avoid micro braids, the braids are hanging on such a small amount of hair breakage is possible)
Wear them for too long to prevent matting
Take them out and then reinstall them back to back, your hair needs a rest from the tension and strain of braids. ( I suggest 30 days, but some people wait as little as a couple of days to a week)
CREATE BIG PARTS
I know this can sound kind of off when creating more significant parts while the rest is small, but honestly, it wouldn’t be that much of a difference.
Just something I have tried, and you don’t notice it unless someone is staring at your hair for long periods. However, the biggest reason to create these significant parts is so you can keep your edges.
If you are doing your hair, make the parts of the perimeter of your hair slightly bigger. However, if you have a stylist doing your hair, have your stylist make more significant parts around the edges. You want to make sure that these parts are only slightly more significant than the others. What this does is give your edges more room to support the extension in that area.
Also, when having your extension in try to avoid overdoing it with the styles which can cause quite a bit of tension on your edges. I would recommend to let them hang down or have them very loose near your edges, so it doesn’t put any strain on them.
Techniques that have minimal work where you won’t have the hands in your hair syndrome can work tremendously.
This works well when creating styles with using your hair such as mini twists, braids or updo styles like flat twist updos with minimal upkeep. It is said the best way to grow your edges is too also wear your hair.
So using these styles mentioned above or adding some extra ones to your list can get your hair flourishing. At night make sure to sleep on a satin pillowcase or bonnet to minimize dryness.
Even though what made you get the hair is that it can stay in for 12 weeks doesn’t mean that it should.
If your hair seems to be causing more damage and tension, then let it go. It is recommended from most hairstylist to have the style in for no longer than one month.
I know it was shocking to me, too when I saw it.
You want to do this to get a proper cleanse done to your hair and to avoid any excessive dryness or tangling.
Protective styles are cute but not worth losing your hair over. Also, keep in mind when wearing protective styles not to have them being worn back to back.
Cornrows cause the most tension on your hair, so wearing them back to back is what’s going to lead to hair loss. When the styles are worn too often, it will also cause inflammation even if it’s not tight on your head.