You might watch your favorite 4C queens and want your hair to be as long as theirs. Well, good news! you can grow your hair to waist length if you follow the right hair regimen.
No matter your hair type, growing your hair requires a bit of patience and consistency from you. 4C hair is no different.
But before you jump into this article, you might want to read about the natural hair stages of growth to help you better understand how your hair grows.
What is 4C hair?
4C hair is made up of tightly coiled strands with a very tight zig-zag pattern. Type 4C hair has no defined curl pattern, it has to be defined by twisting, or shingling through the strands. it is the most fragile hair type and more prone to shrinkage and dryness.
How long can 4C hair grow?
Your hair grows at roughly ½ inch per month which means that the typical head of hair will grow six inches per year. 4C hair is made of tight coils which makes it more prone to dryness and shrinkage. This is a huge factor because how well you retain moisture into your 4C coils will determine how much length you can achieve.
How long your hair can grow is also tied to your genetic makeup. If the genetic traits passed down to you from a previous generation had longer hair growth, then your hair tends to grow longer and faster. If it isn't short hair growth, then you would have to put in the extra effort to get your desired length.
Like I said earlier, growing your hair requires patience from you. You need to give your hair time to grow to its maximum length. You have to wait a couple of months before you even see a significant amount of growth in your hair. If you are itching to know how well your hair is doing monthly, you can measure with a measuring tape, take pictures or use the hair length chart.
How can you care and grow 4C hair?
When you are on a journey to grow your 4C hair to maximum length, the key isn't just to grow your hair but to also retain that length you have achieved.
If you don't do a good job of retaining your length by keeping it healthy, your hair will likely break off and you would lose all the hard work you put in. Because we don't want that happening, I will be sharing tips you can use to care and grow your hair while also retaining your length.
1. Shampoo often
To get your hair to grow and thrive, you will need to shampoo every 2-4 weeks. This keeps your scalp and hair clean, takes away any product buildup, and allows moisture back into the hair.
When washing your hair, go for a sulfate-free shampoo that wouldn't dry out your hair or alternate with a co-wash routine sometimes. This will prevent a tangled mass of hair and eventual hair breakage.
2. Use products that work for your hair
Don't get caught up using any products recommended by your favorite naturalistas and expecting the same results. Specifically, try out products on your hair and find out what works for your hair and what doesn't.
Use moisturizing products on your hair, this is because your hair is naturally dry, and using those types of products will retain moisture into your hair.
3. Trimming your hair
You might think trimming your hair would mean getting rid of the precious length you have achieved. But there are actually great benefits to trimming your hair often.
By trimming off your split ends, you prevent breakage to your strands and allow space for healthy hair to grow out. However, you should only detangle when necessary or if you start to notice split ends or excessive breakage when you wash, detangle, or style your hair.
4. Finger detangling your hair
4C hair tends to clump together into tight coils which causes it to tangle often. These tangles can lead to breakage and discourage optimal hair growth.
The best way to prevent this is by finger detangling your hair often. Finger detangling might take longer to do than using a comb but it works best for when you run into knots or strands that are about to snap off. With this method, you would experience less breakage and damage to your hair.
Also, when finger detangling, use a product that has enough slip, it will save time and make it easier for knots and tangles to unravel by itself.
5. Protective styling with breaks
It is easy to leave your hair in a protective style like braids or twists for months and assume it is growing and thriving. When your hair is in a protective style for months, it isn't getting moisturized often and this would lead to it breaking off.
When trying out protective styles, you should only leave it in for about 4-8 weeks or learn to take breaks in between styling. After you take out an old-style, don't put your hair back into a new protective style instead wash your hair and allow it to breathe.
6. Try scalp massages
Scalp massages might help with hair growth and length retention. It is believed that blood flow helps to grow hair. And when you massage your scalp it circulates blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles to promote hair growth. You can try massaging your scalp every night for about five minutes with a scalp brush.
7. Deep condition your hair
Your 4C hair will thrive with regular deep conditioning treatments. Deep conditioning provides your hair with moisture, nourishes, and keeps your hair looking healthy and shiny.
A well-moisturized hair wouldn't tangle or break off, that way you get to grow your hair and still retain length. You can try a deep conditioning treatment every 2 weeks or once a month.
In this tutorial, Naakie Nartey will share more about how to grow and retain length on your 4C hair.
Products to maintain 4C hair
Here are some of the best products you can use on 4C hair.
1. Suave Curl Defining Cream
This curl cream is ideal for styling 4C hair. Whenever you need your curls to come alive or enhance your curl pattern, this creamy formula will help you achieve that. You can also use it out on your twist outs and braid outs styles or add moisture to your hair.
2. Pantene Pro-V Gold Series Deep Hydrating Co-Wash Curls
This co-wash conditioner has argan oil as its major ingredient which will add shine and moisture to dry hair without weighing it down. You can add this to your natural hair regimen when you don't want to use a shampoo and conditioner.
3. The Mane Choice Leave-In Conditioner Spray
This leave-in conditioner spray can serve as a daily moisturizer for your 4C curls. This will make the detangling and styling process a lot easier. A few spritzes daily will moisturize and smoothen dry hair.
4. Aunt Jackie's Flaxseed Don't Shrink Curling Gel
This curl gel is infused with vitamin E, fatty acids, and flaxseed which will give your hair maximum hold and definition without leaving the hair greasy or heavy.
5. Suave Sulfate-Free Cleansing Shampoo
This shampoo is sulfate-free and moisturizing for 4C hair. It is formulated as a curl enhancer and helps to make the detangling process a lot easier. You can use this to achieve frizz-free curls and as a cleanser for your 4C hair too.
How to style 4C hair
4c natural hair is always susceptible to tangles and breakage, so it is good to keep that in mind when styling your hair. Another thing is to explore heat-free hairstyles and low manipulation styles for your 4C hair. To get you started, here are some natural hairstyles you can try out,
1. Two strand twists
This is like the holy grail of hairstyles for most naturals. It requires minimal manipulation and a short styling process. This style also works for any hair length. After wearing your twists for a few days, you can always take it down to achieve twist-outs which is another great hairstyle.
2. Bantu knots
Bantu knots are another great way of styling 4C hair. They usually involve parting the hair into sections, twisting it between the fingers and around each other to form a knot. Just like the two-strand twists, you can unravel your bantu knots to get a bantu knot outs style.
3. High puff
This is one of the easiest ways to style your 4C hair. Just grab a stretchy hairband and gather your hair up into a puff. Keep your high puff loose so you don't get a headache. A satin scarf or head wrap also works for this style.
4. Space buns
Space buns are another easy hairstyle for 4C hair. Here, you have to gather your hair into 2 high or low buns, whichever one you prefer. You can also add a little pizzazz to this style by braiding the hair halfway before putting them into buns.
5. Sleek ponytail
You can never go wrong with a ponytail. A sleek ponytail allows you to pull all your hair away from your face and flaunt the full features of your face. To achieve the sleek look for your ponytail, use a moisturizing and strong hold gel. Make sure to detangle thoroughly before styling and also keep your ponytail loose.