Understanding & Caring For 4C Hair

By Qhemet Biologics

There is a lot of variation within type 4 (afro/coily) hair which can be coarse or fine, thick or thin and high, medium or low porosity, etc. However, the curlier the hair is, the drier it tends to be. The definition of curly hair is hair that contains bends along its length and the more bends there are, the curlier the hair will be. An interesting property of 4C hair is that it contains very closely spaced angular or zigzag bends along its length which can impede the downward flow of sebum from the scalp. Sebum is a naturally occuring lipid that coats and lubricates the hair but when it's prevented from coating the entire strand, the hair is left vulnerable and dry. Without this slippery coating, your strands are also more likely to cling to adjacent strands causing tangling and making the process of separating them, or combing, difficult. The cuticles positioned at these angles may also be raised, creating a gap which allows the moisture inside the hairs cortex to seep out. The more gaps along a strand, the more porous or leaky the hair will be which is why the process of retaining moisture in 4C hair can be a challenge. In order for 4C hair to thrive, the moisture it absorbs must be effectively sealed in so that it doesn't leak out. Its edges and ends must also be kept properly lubricated and hydrated at all times to prevent breakage and preserve length.

Creating slip and effectively moisturizing

As mentioned above, zigzag shaped hair is more susceptible to tangling since it lacks the slippery coating of sebum to enable each strand to slip and slide against adjacent strands rather than latching onto them and becoming entangled. The naturally dry state of high porosity 4C hair also makes it fragile and vulnerable to breakage and brittleness so it's important to handle this texture with care and properly manage it using the steps discussed below.

Step One: Detangling

Detangling matted hair can be a painful, frustrating process when you're not equipped with the right tools, techniques and products. To reduce the time and effort it takes to restore your crown to a manageable, hydrated coif that you can glide your fingers through without resistance, you'll need our Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee, a multi-functional conditioner capable of both moisturizing and detangling hair at the same time. Our Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee is a rich cream formulated specifically for 4C hair that contains slip, detangling and conditioning agents that simultaneously wet the hair, flatten the culticles and elongate it by weighing it down. Using a detangler with these 3 features is essential to detangling 4C hair. To get started, grab a jar of our Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee, a wide tooth comb and a moisturizer, either our Amla & Olive Heavy Cream or Castor & Amla Nourishing Pomade (more on these later). Start by dividing your damp or dry hair into multiple, manageable sections and applying a quarter sized amount of the Cocoa Tree to just one section at a time. Repeatedly smooth it through that section until you feel your hair softening and elongating. Using your fingers and starting from the bottom up, begin separating the strands. Once they're separated, follow up by using a wide tooth comb to gently comb through while the tangles slip away.

Using a thin tooth comb or combing 4C hair while dry, without a creamy detangler, will lead to frayed ends and excessive pulling and ripping of the hair which can result in traction alopecia.

Step Two: Moisturizing

Qhemet Biologics has mastered the art of moisturizing high porosity, 4C hair. Our products contain a balanced and effective combination of plant based ingredients that retain and draw moisture to the hair and lock it in, preventing moisture loss across several days. Our Amla & Olive Heavy Cream is an ultra hydrating cream capable of keeping the thickest, driest hair soft and supple for days. Our Castor & Amla Nourishing Pomade is a 100% vegan, mineral oil-free pomade that supports growth and imparts shine, softness and pliability. Using either the Amla & Olive Heavy Cream or the Castor & Amla Nourishing Pomade, thoroughly distribute a nickle sized amount throughout the recently detangled section of hair. This will keep the strands fully lubricated and slippery and prevent them from latching onto adjacent strands. Twist, plait or braid this section or otherwise style as desired before moving on. Repeat this process for each section. You'll be amazed at how soft and supple your 4C hair feels afterwards and more importantly, how easy, quick and painless the detangling process was.

Step Three: Stick to this routine and your hair will flourish

Once you realize that proper detangling techniques and moisturizing products are the key to transforming dry, tangled 4C hair into fully hydrated, manageable 4C hair and keeping it that way, you'll no longer dread going into wash day or need to devote 3+ hours to taking down a style or detangling your hair. Your attitude towards your hair will shift too, in a more positive direction as managing it evolves from being a chore to a process you enjoy. Our gentle handling routine will allow your beautiful kinks and coils to flourish and reach their fullest potential as they finally have a caretaker who understands and embraces them!

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