Because yes, achieving long 4c hair IS possible.
What is 4c Hair?
Back in the 90s, celebrity hairstylist, Andre Walker unveiled his revolutionary, new hair typing system onThe Oprah Winfrey Showin an effort to promote his hair products. This groundbreaking system divides hair into four distinct categories: straight, wavy, curly, and coily. Each category has three lettered subcategories, with type 1a on one end of the spectrum and 4c on the other.
4c hair is a common hair type in the Black community, characterized by its tight coils. This hair pattern has little to no visible curl definition and can be very fragile and prone to dryness and breakage. Its texture ranges from fine to coarse, with a lot of gorgeous, natural volume.
Misconceptions About 4c Hair
There are MANY misconceptions about 4c hair. And despite its diversity and beauty, 4c hair is too often met with criticism from both within and outside of the natural hair community.
One of the most common beliefs about 4c hair is that it can’t grow past a certain length. This falsehood has led many people to feel frustrated with their own natural hair journey when they are not seeing length after months or even years of effort.
Fortunately, this misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, with proper care, 4c hair can flourish and reach impressive lengths just like any other type of curl pattern!
8 Tips For Growing Long 4c Hair
If you want to grow long 4c hair, you most definitely can. To do so, it’s important to start by building a strong foundation of healthy habits that will protect and nourish your hair. So here are eight tips for growing long 4c hair:
1. Gently Detangle
Detangling 4c hair can be a difficult process, but with the right approach it doesn’t have to be. First, spritz your hair with water to help loosen any tangles, making the detangling process easier. Then, start from the ends and work your way up as you gently separate out any tangles using a wide-toothed comb or, if you prefer, your fingers. With 4c hair, it is important to be gentle with the detangling process – combing or brushing too roughly can lead to breakage and damage. Taking the time to do this step properly will pay off in long-term results for beautiful, long 4c hair.
2. Just Add Water
Contrary to popular belief, 4c hair LOVES water. In fact, water is absolutely essential for growing and maintaining long 4c hair. Not only does it provide hydration, but it also helps to detangle strands to prevent breakage when combing or styling. So to keep your 4c hair looking healthy and long, aim to use water every time you style your hair.
When using water on 4c hair, the best way is to use a spray bottle with water and conditioner mixed together. This helps the water penetrate the strands, helping to promote lasting hydration. You can also add essential oils such as jojoba or almond oil for added benefits. Moisturize your 4c hair at least once per week, or whenever your hair feels especially dry.
3. Deep Condition
Deep conditioning your hair is a great way to restore and maintain its health. From hair masks to leave-in sprays, deep conditioning products help to lock in moisture while repairing split ends and restoring shine. They also help protect against damage from heat styling, pollution, and chemicals used in hair products.
Plus, they can reduce breakage and frizziness from regular combing, brushing, and other forms of hair styling. Even better, deep conditioning strengthens hair follicles at the root to promote healthy growth for longer, stronger locks!
Choose deep conditioning products that contain protein-rich ingredients such as keratin or shea butter. These will help to nourish and strengthen each individual strand from root to tip. Also, look out for formulas with natural oils like argan oil or avocado oil, which are great at locking in moisture.
4. Leave It Alone
Many people consider caring for 4c hair hard work. But did you know that leaving your 4c hair alone can actually help it grow?
This is because excessive heat styling, such as from blow dryers, flat irons, hot combs and curling wands, can damage the cuticles of your natural strands. When this happens, the protective outer layer of your hair becomes weakened, causing your curls to look dull and lifeless.
Plus, over-manipulating 4c hair with tights rubber bands, snagging hair clips, and harsh hair products also causes breakage, which hinders growth and retention.
Instead, try sleeping with a satin scarf or bonnet, using protective styles, and deep conditioning regularly to help keep your hair healthy and long.
5. Protect 4c Hair
Protective styling is a very important part of growing long 4c hair. It helps reduce manipulation and give your natural hair a break from heat, dirt, pollutants, styling products, heat tools, and other manipulations. Plus, protective styles are extremely versatile, so you can switch up your style without compromising your hair’s health.
Protective styling is achieved through styling methods such as braiding, twisting, or even installing wigs and weaves.
To try a protective style, keep your ends tucked away to prevent breakage caused by tangles and friction. You can also prep your hair for a protective style by applying a deep conditioner or steam treatment prior to styling for even greater protection.
6. Nourish Your Hair
Part of growing long 4c hair includes nurturing its health. To do this, you can use natural oils, nourishing hair care products, steam treatments, and deep conditioners to keep your locks looking healthy and vibrant.
Aim for products that are free from parabens and sulfates as these can be damaging to the strands. Instead, try products that contain natural oils or botanicals, such as shea butter or avocado oil.
Natural oils are great for providing nourishment and locking in moisture. For example, coconut oil is a great option as it helps strengthen the hair shaft and protect from protein loss. And jojoba oil is also beneficial as it seals cuticles, encourages growth and keeps the scalp hydrated.
7. Maintain It
Caring for 4c hair involves more than just washing and styling. A big part of successfully growing your hair has to do with maintenance.
For example, protective styling helps prevent over- manipulating your strands and keeping moisture from escaping from the ends. Try simple styles like two strand twists or buns to keep your ends tucked away and out of sight.
Satin bonnets and scarves are great for keeping in the moisture when sleeping. The pineapple method is another popular way to protect your strands at night. To do it, gather your curls into a high ponytail on top of your head before bed, securing it with a satin scrunchie or a bonnet. This can help prolong the life of your hairstyle for bouncy and beautiful curls that last.
8. Destroy Split Ends
Split ends are a true enemy of 4c hair. Not only do they not look good, but they can also affect the overall health of your hair. Fortunately, getting rid of split ends is a simple process that can have a dramatic effect on the appearance and health of your hair.
It may seem counterintuitive but regularly trimming your hair is the key to helping it grow. Trimming your hair helps get rid of split ends, which can cause damage to the follicles and lead to breakage and frizziness.
And when you cut off those pesky damaged strands, it encourages new hairs to grow in their place, giving you a healthier head of hair. It also allows for easier styling, as split ends or knots can make detangling and styling difficult to manage.