The curls decoding system was initially started by hairstylist Andre Walker and later modified by others from the same community. Many argue that this system is confusing and also either divisive or even too narrow. But controversy aside, many people with curls use this not-so-perfect system, as it can be super helpful to identify your curl pattern. Finding your curl pattern (or patterns) helps you find the right hair care products.
Read on to find more about identifying the 4C hair type and choosing the right shampoo for 4C hair.
Table of Contents:
- What is the 4C hair type?
- Haircare for 4C hair type
- Best shampoo ingredients for 4C hair type
- What products to use for 4C hair
1. What is the 4C hair type?
The shape of your follicle, from which the hair grows from your scalp, determines your curl type. A flatter follicle leads to curlier hair, whereas a circular cross-section leads to straighter hair. The curl pattern, on the other hand, is identified by the shape of the strands, whether they curve, kink, or form spirals.
The four (major) hair types are:
- Type 1: Straight Hair
- Type 2: Wavy Hair
- Type 3: Curly Hair
- Type 4: Kinky Hair
Each hair type has subsections. In Type 4, there are four patterns:
Type 4A: Tight coils with an “S” pattern when stretched.
Type 4B: Less defined curls with a “Z” pattern, as the hair bends with very sharp angles.
Type 4C: Densely packed, just like 4B, but with less definition. The hair is delicate, and the texture can range from super fine and soft to coarse and wiry.
Type 4D: Emerging classification.
2. Haircare for 4c hair type
Like 4B hair, 4C hair type needs extra moisture and hydration to stay healthy and tangle-free.
Here are a few tips you can follow:
- Moisturize before styling: Use a mild moisturizing spray or wet your hair before styling it to help “tame” your natural hair and prevent tangles and breakage.
- Condition: Try the LOC: liquid, oil, and cream method to keep the moisturization throughout the day. First, use coconut or almond oil, followed by a natural curl cream and, finally, a leave-in conditioner.
- Wash and condition in sections: Washing the entire head of 4C hairs can be discouraging. Instead, you can section off small areas and apply products to them individually. This will keep the tangles to a minimum and ensure thorough cleansing and moisturizing. Also, always make sure to use sulfate free shampoo and conditioner to maintain the natural oils on the scalp and hair. Which leads us to...
3. Best shampoo ingredients for 4C hair type
3.1 Coconut oil
Hair products for 4C hair almost always contain coconut oil because it’s perfect for sealing moisture into curly hairs. A coconut oil shampoo for 4C hair will provide both shine and strength to locks, which makes it a popular ingredient in many hair care products, not just for 4C hair type, but for all hair types. If you have thicker textured hair, you can use coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner as well.
3.2 Aloe vera
Aloe vera promotes hair growth, reduces breakage, and also treats various scalp problems. Since 4C hair is prone to breakage, the best shampoos for 4C hair often contain aloe vera. This amazing natural ingredient can significantly reduce hair loss due to breakage. You can even add aloe vera gel to your shampoo or conditioner. It’s also an excellent ingredient for a DIY hair mask, as it provides natural conditioning to your scalp and hair.
3.3 Castor oil
Castor oil not only acts as a humectant, but also has anti-fungal properties, which makes it the best ingredient in products for 4C hair type. You can either look for a shampoo that contains it or use the castor oil on its own to nourish and hydrate your scalp and hair.
3.4 Avocado oil
Avocado is a miraculous fruit packed with vitamins A, D, E and contains more potassium than bananas. The better news is that the skin does a very good job at absorbing avocado oil; also, avocado is the main ingredient of many products for healthy hair. You can massage the oil directly onto your scalp for improved hair growth or use an avocado shampoo or conditioner.
3.5 Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil or EVOO is a natural emollient that works wonders in sealing moisture in the dry hair shaft. This will make your curly hair soft, shiny, and bouncy.
3.6 Jojoba extract
Yet another humectant, Jojoba extract (or jojoba oil) can quickly revitalize damaged hair and helps balance oil production.
3.7 Shea Butter
Shea butter is a rich natural emollient perfect for sealing moisture in the hair follicles and the hair shaft. It has high levels of vitamin E, which gives it anti-inflammatory properties and makes it beneficial in treating an itchy, dry scalp.
4. What products to use for 4C hair
These are my top recommendations of plant-based hair products that you can use to take care of your 4C hair:
This is an amazing product to use as a leave-in conditioner. It is packed with essential nutrients like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Moroccan Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Safflower Oil, Vitamin E, Grapeseed Oil, Bhringraj Extract, Rosemary, and Tea Tree Essential Oils that help tame frizz, reduce split ends, and nourish your curly hair. The shea butter and soy protein in its composition allow your hair follicles to absorb protein, thus helping smoothen out your hair strands.
This leave-in conditioner comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle and can be left on until your next wash.
The Moroccan Argan Oil Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner provide rich moisturization to the scalp and hair shaft, improve hair elasticity, make your hair more manageable and help prevent damage.
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