4c hair is known to be pretty dry, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way! There are several ways to moisturize 4c hair to prevent breakage and get those coils softer than ever.
What to Know About 4c Hair
4c hair is the most coil hair type on the curl type chart. It is very versatile and has the most shrinkage out of all the other hair types. If after you wash your hair and you don’t see a defined curl pattern, you most likely have 4c hair. 4c coils have to be defined through twisting, braiding, or applying products.
The hair will also not clump together like 4a and 4b hair, the strands stay apart, making it look even more frizzy. In addition to being frizzy, the hair tends to also be very dry. The curl pattern of 4c hair does not allow for the natural oils to travel from the root to the tip, therefore, the hair is prone to damage (ex. breakage).
If you are finding that you have to be very gentle with your hair in order for it to grow long, then this is another indicator of having 4c hair.
7 Ways to Moisturize 4c Hair
It is always important to wet your hair. Water is the ultimate source of hydration. You don’t want to drench your hair all of the time, but you do want to moisturize it with water regularly. Spraying your hair with a spray bottle before styling your hair when it is in its natural state is usually a must.
Topical use of water is not the only requirement for hydrating yourself, drinking water is important for both your hair and skin. The reason why drinking water is so vital to healthy hair is that it causes the scalp to remain hydrated. It will also help prevent brittle hair, split ends, dryness, and itchiness.
The general recommended amount of water is 2 liters a day, but make sure you do your research to know how much water you should be drinking for your height, weight, and lifestyle.
Also read: How Often Should you Wash 4c Hair?
Leave-in conditioner is so beneficial for 4c hair because it gives the hair consistent moisture. In addition to giving moisture, it will also help you retain moisture.
4c hair tends to tangle easily because of how dry it gets, but a leave-in conditioner will help detangle your hair and keep it easy to comb. When you do protective styles, such as twists, this will help lock in the conditioner and cause the hair to soften.
Leave-in conditioners should be free of parabens and sulfates, and if possible, fragrance. Fragrances usually include alcohol, which dries out the hair.
3. LOC Method
The LOC acronym means applying liquid to hydrate the hair, oil to lock in moisture, and cream to prevent moisture loss. This method is used as a means to keep moisture in the hair throughout the day.
The liquid in this case just refers to applying water to your hair. Water helps to hydrate the hair and helps the hair to absorb the products being placed on it. It is important to remember that your hair cannot be moisturized without water.
Some products have water as one of their ingredients, but it is not enough to give the hair the hydration it needs. On the days that you are not using this method after washing your hair, a spray bottle is a great tool to use in order to get the right amount of hydration.
Applying this method in sections will help you get every part of the head and make it easier to do. You want to start the method by spraying water on your first section, especially your ends because they are the driest and most delicate parts of the hair.
Applying oil is such a key part of moisturizing 4c hair. Not only does it lock in moisture, but it also gives the hair a nice shine. There are several types of oils that you can use, you may want to try different ones to find what works best for you. Here are a few with their benefits:
- Coconut Oil– This oil is very heat resistant, so even when you are out in the sun the heat will open up the cuticle and the oil will penetrate it for even more moisturization. Coconut oil is said to aid in hair growth and helps prevent frizz.
- Jojoba oil– Jojoba oil has many vitamins and minerals which promote healthy hair growth. It also helps restore the scalp’s pH balance, which controls dandruff. It also encourages hair growth and repairs hair damage from heat and styling.
- Avocado Oil– This oil is loaded with fatty acids which helps soften the hair and impart shine. It helps strengthen hair and has many vitamins and minerals.
The cream for the LOC method could be a curl cream, moisturizer, or hair lotion. I would recommend a curl cream so that you are also getting some nice curl definition. It will help with definition if you comb the curl cream through your hair using a Denman brush.
After applying the cream, let your hair air dry to keep all the product in your hair.
You want to add the oil in while your hair is still damp, and can either apply it to the whole strand or just to the ends. Also, remember to only apply a small amount of oil to the hair, because applying too much can cause your scalp to feel irritated.
4. Hair Masks
Hair masks are great for those days that you have downtime and want to do something nice for your hair. You can buy hair masks, but you can also make them with 100% natural ingredients!
My favorite hair mask consists of avocados, olive oil, organic honey, pure avocado oil, and organic unsweetened coconut milk. The avocados really help soften the hair, and the oil and honey help keep the hair moisturized.
This is the ultimate DIY hair mask for 4c naturals because your hair will definitely not be dry after this mask. You can leave a hair mask on for hours, but you want to leave it in for at least 1 hour. Natural ingredients have different qualities, for example, eggs have protein, and bananas have antioxidants.
Depending on what your hair needs at this time, you can mix and match different ingredients. Most DIY masks are very simple, and cheap!
DIY Hair Masks
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- ½ cup of yogurt
- ¼ cup of honey
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 avocado
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
5. Cut Out Heat
Heat will take you backwards if you are trying to keep your hair as moisturized as possible. If you have suffered from heat damage and are trying to repair your hair, then my number one tip would be to cut out heat.
Many people use heat to blow dry their hair, straighten it, and curl it – all of these methods are very damaging to 4c hair. There are ways you can stretch your 4c hair without heat if length is what you are going for. You should only straighten your hair twice a year to keep it healthy and free from damage. When you do straighten or even blow dry, you should use a heat protectant.
A heat protectant is something that provides a barrier for the hair from the heat so that it won’t penetrate the shaft as much. When heat penetrates the shaft, it absorbs the moisture – leaving the hair even drier and prone to breakage.
A good heat protectant would be argan oil. Protective styles are best for 4c hair because they lock in moisture and do not involve any heat or chemicals.
6. Satin or Silk Bonnet
It is so important to protect your hair at night because you can lose a lot of moisture as you’re sleeping. Rubbing your hair against a pillowcase all night can also cause breakage.
Applying a silk or satin bonnet on top of your head before you go to bed will keep the hair from rubbing against your pillowcase and hold in moisture throughout the night. A good silk bonnet costs between $10-$15.
The best way to use a silk or satin bonnet is to first twist your hair or put it in a bun with a leave-in conditioner. This way, when you start to style your hair the next day it is moisturized and easy to comb.
7. Hot Oil Treatment
A hot oil treatment is great for opening up the cuticles and allowing for the oil to penetrate the hair shaft as much as possible.
Although it is called a hot treatment, that doesn’t mean the oil should be hot! The oil should be warm, and you should test it on your skin before you apply it to your scalp.
Steps for a Hot Oil Treatment
- Put about 3-6 tablespoons of the oil of your choice in a microwave for 10 seconds to heat it up.
- Apply the oil to your damp scalp and hair shafts and comb through.
- Cover the hair with a shower cap for about 20 minutes
- Rinse the hair thoroughly. Any oil that is left behind can cause irritation and/or buildup.
Hot oil treatments are great to do once a week for some extra TLC for your 4c hair.
How Often Should You Moisturize 4c Hair?
You should moisturize your hair every two days or as needed. When you apply a leave-in conditioner or style your hair with moisturizer, it usually lasts 2 days until it dries again. Your hair should always have some form of moisture in it, this will keep the hair from breakage and becoming brittle.
If you are wearing a protective style, then moisturizing the scalp and washing the scalp is crucial. Many people forget the scalp when they are wearing a protective style, but it still needs to be cared for because an unhealthy scalp means unhealthy hair.
Many times, while wearing a protective style, the scalp can get dry and itchy. Rather than scratching the scalp, applying oil to moisturize it should stop the irritation. Cleansing the scalp and applying water to it will also give it the hydration that is needed.
How Can I Stop 4c Hair from Breaking?
Keeping your hair moisturized will strengthen your hair shafts, especially the ends. Most breakage happens on the ends of the hair, because the ends are the oldest parts. Usually, to protect the ends of the hair, people will wear protective styles, but also keeping your hair moisturized will keep the ends strong. You want to make sure you are keeping the ends protected and limit their exposure to the elements.
Being gentle while detangling will also prevent the hair from breaking. Finger detangling is one way to gently detangle the hair and prevent too much hair from being pulled out. Many people do not realize how much hair is in a knot, and finger detangling gently unravels knots in the hair, leaving you with more hair and less breakage.
You should also avoid over-washing your hair because shampoo will strip the moisture out of your hair and dry it out. Co-washing your hair or using a pre-poo should be what is used for the most part to clean your hair, because they impart moisture instead of strip it away. Shampoos are best for the occasional deep clean.
After washing, it is best to use a microfiber towel, because cotton towels are rough on hair and can pull it out. You can also use a t-shirt, which is gentle on the hair and dries it just enough to finish with air drying.
The Final Word
Being consistent with your moisturizing routine will really transform your hair and help it to grow since dryness is the main factor in breakage.
Moisture is so important for 4c hair so make sure you are taking time to help it remain healthy.