We can’t thank the internet enough for giving us a wealth of information at our fingertips about our 4C coils, fros, and kinks.
But even we have to admit that sometimes the sheer amount of advice, products, and tutorials can be overwhelming.
The first thing to remember is that natural hair does not require a lot of maintenance.
You can be a minimalist when it comes to coils and kinks, or you can decide to be a bit more adventurous and try many different kinds of products.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to the very personal approach of crafting your own routine, but we all have to remember that our strands deserve rest.
We have to give major kudos to the 4C bloggers and vloggers in the hair space that have helped us to explore and perfect our hair rituals.
We spend significant time each week on the pages and YouTube channels of our Top 20 Favorite 4C Vloggers, and countless others for guidance on how to keep our coils and kinks healthy, how to perfect our twist and braid-outs, product reviews, and so much more.
So, if you’re just embarking on your 4C hair journey or want to revamp your routine as the year comes to a close, you might be asking -- where do I start?
To help you, we’ve rounded up 9 of our favorite tips that can help you build and establish a natural hair care routine that works.
#1: Experiment until you’ve found products that give you amazing results… then stop.
We believe you can count the number of 4c natural hair care products you really need in your arsenal on less than two hands: a shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, mask, leave-in, styling cream, and oil.
As an example, one of our favorite 4c natural hair vloggers, Jenn Jackson talks about some of her holy grails below.
There are many more kinds of products on the market that you can incorporate into your routine that actually work and that we love, but these are the basics.
We love hair care and being a product junkie is very fun, but everything in moderation applies here.
Especially when you start adding up the price of being a product junkie!
Once you’ve found 4c natural hair care products that work for you, don’t feel pressured to continue experimenting.
If your goal is to have healthy hair, just know that you can stick to your holy grail products time and time again until their efficacy wanes.
#2: Moisturize often.
To get and maintain healthy 4c hair, you need to find a way to infuse it into your coils and kinks on a regular basis.
Using a curl refresher and oil combo can be alternated with a moisturizing cream or leave-in.
Popular 4C hair vlogger Nappyfu shares her step-by-step moisturizing routine for healthy 4c hair:
This will prevent your hair from being dry, which we especially need as the temperatures dip.
Dry hair can lead to breakage which takes a long time to repair, or requires a few inches to be cut from your hair each time you visit your stylist: counterproductive if you’re looking to grow your natural coils.
Do a scalp massage with a penetrating oil like avocado oil or jojoba oil as well to cleanse your scalp of impurities, add moisture, and boost the circulation that leads to healthy hair and hair growth.
#3: Give your hair some rest. Protective styles are great options, but be mindful.
Yep, we said it. Be careful with protective styles.
Because the truth is, while protective styles are must haves for 4c natural hair, they don’t work unless you do.
Though we love an elaborate updo, sleek ponytail, or the overall fresh feeling that comes from not washing our hair each week, it’s incredibly important to give our strands some rest.
Overmanipulation is real and sometimes we are literally doing too much.
Protective styles are great ways to give yourself a break: we love the elegance of box braids and how faux locs can make you feel like you’re falling in love with your hair again.
But again, be cautious: if these styles are pulling on your scalp, you may want to take a break from them.
And if your hair and scalp are not being nourished, then you need to rethink the style.
Learn to listen to your hair and what it’s telling you, especially when it comes to discomfort and care.
#4: Find a stylist you both love and trust.
Myriad 4C hair bloggers and vloggers make us feel like literally anything is possible when it comes to our hair.
They’ve taught us so much, but nothing beats the professional expertise of a hairstylist.
Their specific training in caring for natural hair is invaluable and they’re the best ally to have as you go along your journey, which might be lifelong.
Seek a stylist that has you leaving the salon, bouncing from your roots to your feet. You know the feeling!
You should be seeing them often as well, which we’ll get to a bit later.
#5: Wrap up your hair in silk at night.
Hair care also happens overnight and wrapping up your coils and kinks will protect them from any friction that happens between your strands and the pillow while you’re sleeping.
This friction can not only lead to hair damage, but can also strip your hair of moisture.
#6: Get regular trims.
You should be seeing your stylist every 3 months for a trim, or doing one yourself if you feel you’ve mastered the art.
Even healthy 4c natural hair is fragile and prone to small fairy knots, so it’s great to take some length off every so often to ensure your hair is healthy and that no damage or dryness is traveling up your hair shaft.
4c vlogger Queen Kayy shares how to trim your hair in this short vid:
#7: Detangle gently and thoroughly.
Given the aforementioned knots and tangles that often pop up in our tightly coiled hair, detangling is a must to ensure our strands do not get matted and that they can flourish without any impediments.
There are levels to detangling: the methods you employ during your wash session or right after it may be too intense for what you do nightly as you prepare your hair for rest.
But detangling should be happening in some form weekly, unless you’re wearing a protective style and cannot.
Finger detangling always does the trick without causing any damage, though we recommend wetting your hair or coating it in a product that provides slip to detangle it throughout the week.
Check out this 7-min vid with Naturally Temi’s detangling method here:
In the shower after a mask has worked its magic for 15 minutes, we also run through our coils and kinks with a flexible brush like this one.
Another option is to handle the detangling post-shower after applying a leave-in conditioner.
#8: Choose products that are clean and feature natural and naturally-derived ingredients.
As you strive for healthy hair, it’s of the utmost importance that what you put on your scalp and hair features ingredients that will boost your hair’s well-being instead of causing it any potential harm.
That’s why you should opt for products that feature clean, natural, and naturally-derived ingredients, instead of controversial ones like sulfates, silicones, parabens, and phthalates.
The latter get the job done, but they can have harmful effects to your body and wellness over time.
#9: Keep heat to a minimum.
We support any and all ways you choose to wear your 4C hair: we just want to help you keep it healthy.
Blowouts and silk presses help us switch things up and can have you feeling like a new natural.
And heat-applied styles are even some naturalistas’ styles of choice, but you must be cautious to not use an excess of heat on your hair.
It strips moisture from your strands and can lead to damage and breakage, especially when the heat is at the temperatures needed to straighten our coils and kinks.
Instead, try to only apply heat once while straightening and then do overnight styles like wraps and pin curls to keep its shape and style.
And that’s it!
Our 9 Tips to Help You Build a Healthy 4c Natural Hair Routine.
What does your routine look like right now?
Share in the comments below!
Thank you for sharing this! I have been on this natural journey for so long and I finally feel like I am taking charge of my hair. This was refreshing to know that I am doing the right things with my hair because I am doing some of the tip mentioned, and it is awesome to get those extra tips that I haven’t done yet . And its is great to have some videos provided within the article supporting our sistas. Great read 😀
I’m so glad to see tips from real 4c hair gurus! I had to find a new moisturizer, so my routine is in reboot.