Afro hair

How to Make 4c Hair Curly

Published By: Kennedy

Last Updated: February 14, 2022

4c hair has so much to give, and many people want to see if they can get its curls to pop! 

There are several ways to make 4c hair curly, and they all are heatless and free of chemicals so that your hair can stay in its best shape. 

What to Know About 4c Hair

4c curls are tiny. So tiny in fact that its coils are almost indiscernible to the eye. However, just because the curls are small, does not mean the curls are not there. 4c hair has the ability to be defined, like any other hair type with the right products.

4c hair has a  tendency to be very dry. This is because its curl pattern makes it hard for the natural hair oils to reach the scalp. 4c hair needs to be moisturized and infused with protein in order to help it grow healthy. The curls also don’t clump together naturally as 4b hair does. This clumping plays a role in how visible the curls are. 

4c hair shrinks about 75% of its actual length, which contributes to the curl pattern being very small. Stretching the hair is a key way to get some spirals going.

There are several ways to make 4c hair curly without the use of chemicals. In doing so, the hair will remain healthy and retain the necessary moisture and nutrients that it needs. 

5 Ways to Make 4c Hair Curly

1. Maximum Hydration Method

The Maximum Hydration method is a way to fully bring out any curl pattern by increasing moisture levels in the hair until maximum hydration is reached – especially for low porosity hair. 

This method has five steps and works great to create curl definition in 4c hair. 

Step 1: Moisturize the Hair

You first want to moisturize the hair to make it easier to detangle and prep for washing. There are two ingredients that you need for this step – yogurt and amino acids. These give the hair the nutrients it needs and help strengthen the strands from the root.

Yogurt also helps cleanse the scalp and clears away dead skin cells. You can also add to this mixture: honey, banana, avocado, and an egg. These ingredients all provide necessary nutrients to the hair and help make it softer and bouncier. 

Step 2: Clarify

After you have detangled and rinsed out the moisturizing concoction, you now need to clarify the hair. 

Clarifying is the process of removing dirt or mineral buildup from hard water that is commonly found in water systems without filters. You want to use either an apple cider mix or baking soda mix to accomplish this step.

Step 3: Co-Wash

Co-washing is simply using a conditioner to wash your hair. Co-washing is beneficial because it does not strip your hair of moisture as shampoos do. 

Read: How Often Should you Wash 4c Hair?

Step 4: Bentonite Clay Rinse

Using bentonite clay will help your curls with the definition and clarification of the scalp. There are masks you can buy and add in honey and oil for extra shine and moisture. After it has sat in your head for a little then you rinse it out. 

Step 5: Styling Products

After doing the first 4 steps your hair should be super moisturized. You will then need to hold the hair in place and elongate those curls. 

You should first apply a leave-in conditioner as a moisturizing base. A gel or curl cream will help hold and stretch the curls, while also giving them definition. After styling, the hair needs to dry by either air drying or diffusing. 

2. Shingling

Shingling is the process of applying a curly hair product through each curl on your head, rather than applying it all at once on the top. 

By using this method you focus on the definition of each individual curl, which gives you more definition overall. Shingling is done best by using a mixture of products – like leave-in, curl cream, and gel. 

You should also apply the product while the hair is wet so that it can absorb it better. Shingling is a longer process, but it really helps to make 4c hair as curly as it can be.[1]

3. Flexi Rod

Flexi rods come in various sizes, so if you want to imitate spiral curls for your hair, you can make them wider or smaller in diameter. In order to use flexi rods, your hair will need to be moisturized and detangled. 

You then wrap your hair around the rods and wait until the hair fully dries. After the hair has dried you separate your hair to make it look more natural, and can use a pick for your roots to add volume. 

4. Finger Coil

Finger coiling is a lot like shingling, but running product through every single curl, you need to wrap the individual curls around your finger. 

You can finger coil your whole head, or just some of the curls to add definition. Finger coiling is great for 4c hair because it helps the hair to clump together, especially at the ends.[2]

5. Straw Set

A straw set is done by applying a holding cream to the hair in wrapping it around straws. Each straw creates a curl and after the hair dries it will be spirally.[3]

This style creates a look similar to Shirley Temple curls. Doing a straw set should also be done while the hair is wet so that it absorbs the product better and is easier to maneuver. However, wet does not mean dripping, too much water can cause the product to slip off and the hair would take even longer to dry.  

The ideal time to leave in a straw set is 2-3 days. When you leave the set in longer, the curls will hold longer and be more defined. 

The Final Word 

4c hair does not have to be one way all the time, with some effort and knowledge you can transform its look. 

Making 4c hair curly also does not have to be damaging, there are completely natural and beneficial methods that your hair will love. 


I have always had a love for writing and have been blogging for about 3 years now. I have a passion for teaching what I have learned over the years, especially about hair. I have had almost every hairstyle - typical of a cosmetologist’s daughter- including the big chop in 2015. With all the knowledge I have gained, I feel it is my duty to help others on their healthy hair journey. I believe education can be fun, and I strive to make it fun to learn about beautiful black hair.

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