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How Often Should I Use Clarifying Shampoo on 4C Hair?

3 mins

Andela Patrnogic

Your 4C hair needs more care and maintenance than other hair types. What about getting it squeaky clean? Can you use a clarifying shampoo, and if so, how often?

Clarifying shampoo is fantastic for getting rid of that nasty product build-up. But what about 4c hair? Does your 4C hair need clarifying shampoo, and if it does, how often? It all begins with understanding your 4C hair type and its care.

Table of Contents:

  • What Is 4C Hair?
  • Characteristics of type 4C hair
  • What Is a Clarifying Shampoo?
  • Are Clarifying Shampoos Safe for My 4C Hair?
  • How Often Do I Need to Use a Clarifying Shampoo on My 4C Hair?
  • How Do I Know When to Use a Clarifying Shampoo on My 4C Hair?
  • Tips for Using a Clarifying Shampoo on 4C Hair

What Is 4C Hair?

According to Andre Walker’s famous hair typing system, all category 4 hair is categorized as “kinky,” made of tight coils or tightly curled hair. The hair is very wiry but also extremely fragile. Although this type of hair looks coarse, it is quite fine and comprises thick strands of densely packed hair. Type 4 hair is also one of the most common African American hair types.

What Is 4C Hair, caring for 4c hair type

Unlike 4A and 4B hair types, 4C does not belong to Walker’s hair typing system. But it is recognized by the hairstyling community as the kinkiest and most tightly coiled of all hair types.

  • Characteristics of type 4C hair

Type 4C hair is naturally very dry with a spongy texture. It can also be coarse and wiry or soft and fine. Either way, this hair type is very fragile and shrinks more than other hair types (up to 75% more than other textures).

What Is a Clarifying Shampoo?

A clarifying shampoo is a deep cleansing shampoo designed to eliminate product build-up and the unhealthy residue left by styling products. 

Clarifying shampoo, like all other shampoos, is mainly made up of water. But what sets these shampoos apart is their level of heavy surfactants (the soap-like ingredients that remove grease, residue, and other impurities from your hair). The surfactants in a clarifying shampoo are much stronger and more potent than those present in other shampoos.

Are Clarifying Shampoos Safe for My 4C Hair?

Clarifying shampoos are fantastic for removing product build-up. However, your 4C hair is prone to dryness and brittleness, and clarifying shampoos are famously known to dry out hair. 

Too much or too frequent use of clarifying shampoo can leave your hair dry, frizzy, and brittle. Strong surfactants in these shampoos strip away all your hair’s natural oils and moisture sealants even as it removes product build-up and grease. 

Are Clarifying Shampoos Safe for My 4C Hair, 4c hair type clarifying shampoo

Clarifying shampoos that are not color-safe can damage color-treated hair.

If you have skin or scalp conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, or dandruff, clarifying shampoo can worsen them. You will need to use clarifying shampoos containing ingredients like salicylic acid to help control these scalp and skin conditions.

How Often Do I Need to Use a Clarifying Shampoo on My 4C Hair?

There is no definite answer to this. As a general rule, do not use a clarifying shampoo more than once a month. If your hair isn’t too dirty or greasy, you can even push that to once in two months.

How Do I Know When to Use a Clarifying Shampoo on My 4C Hair?

Here are five signs that it’s time to use a clarifying shampoo:

  1. Does your hair feel dirty and greasy even after you wash it? That could be because of oil or product build-up. If your regular shampoo cannot break through your product build-up, it might be time for something more substantial like a clarifying shampoo.
  2. Do your highlights look dull and lackluster? It might be time to clarify your hair, although you must ensure that the clarifying shampoo you use does not cause your colored hair to fade.
  3. Do you find that your hair doesn’t hold a style? Your hair might be weighed down by product build-up and grease that your regular shampoo cannot eliminate.
    How Do I Know When to Use a Clarifying Shampoo on My 4C Hair
  4. Have you been using many hairstyling products and dry shampoo? Excessive use of hairstyling products and dry shampooing calls for clarifying shampoo treatment once a month.
  5. Have you been swimming a lot? The chlorine in swimming pools can be hard to eliminate, and a bit of clarifying shampoo can help.

Tips for Using a Clarifying Shampoo on 4C Hair

While your 4C hair can benefit from a clarifying shampoo, it should not be used more than once a month. Look for signs that your hair and scalp are ready for a deep clean with a clarifying shampoo. Always choose a shampoo that is safe for your hair type.

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Author: Andela Patrnogic

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