Natural hair has become a popular choice in the past years, with more women choosing to this path.

It’s no wonder the natural hair industry has grown by leaps and bounds, with new local and international products emerging every year. And even though that’s the case, being a new natural can be confusing and intimidating. From not knowing your curl type to figuring out which products to use for your hair type. But first, what are the different curl types?

3A The curls are big and loose but are well defined.
3B The curls are tighter than 3A and mimic loose corkscrew spirals.
3C The hair is voluminous, and the curls are tight, bouncy and dense.
4A The hair has lots of volume but little movement, the curls are springy.
4B The hair is thick and coils, and has a zig-zag pattern.
4C This hair has the kinkiest curl and doesn’t have a defined curl pattern.

“The most common hair type is 4C hair, and it requires a lot of care for it to grow healthily,” says Johannesburg based Jawad Maphoto, Miss SA 2020 and 2021 hairstylist, and salon owner. “Because of its pattern, the hair loses moisture very easily and quickly, and this means it can be prone to dryness, tangling and breakage,” Maphoto adds. Breakage because of improper care is one of the reasons why 4C hair seems like it doesn’t grow beyond a certain point.

Maphoto guides us on what the other factors that affect hair are:
  • The growth and shedding phase; hair has phases in which it grows, stops growing and sheds. The stages are namely anagen, catagen and telogen. These different stages will play a huge role on the state of your hair growth or length retention.
  • Your diet: what you put in your body shows on the outside. If you maintain a healthy diet, your skin and hair will show.
  • Your hair porosity (the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture); moisture loss results in dry hair that will likely break if the moisture is not replenished. Consistently keeping your 4C hydrated with the right products will keep hair healthy and hydrated.
  • Manipulation (heat styling, pulling and colouring); the different styles you do on your hair influence its health. Anything that causes tension or is harsh will stress the hair and scalp.
  • The health of your scalp: hair growth starts from inside the scalp, and if that’s a healthy place then your hair will grow out healthy too. If you have skin issues such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis (scalp eczema) contact a dermatologist or a trichologist for treatment.
  • The products you use: if you use the wrong products for your hair type, your hair will not benefit from them.

We asked Peter Matlala, natural hairstylist and colourist at Lucy’s Hair Salon in Morningside, to fill us in on how to best take care of 4C hair. “Use sulphate and silicone free shampoos to prevent dryness. These types of cleansers won’t strip the hair of its natural oils,” Matlala says. “If you use oily and heavy products, use a clarifying shampoo every few weeks to remove product build up. A regular deep condition treatment and co-washing the hair will maintain moisture levels and keep the hair soft and manageable,” Matlala adds.

  • Not keeping in your braids for too long. This causes the hair to knot and tangle, and as a result break.
  • Moisturise your hair and scalp regularly, ideally in the morning and evening.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner to soften and hydrate your hair before you detangle it or undo your braids.
  • Use less heat on your hair to minimise heat damage.
  • Wear a silk cap or scarf to bed to prevent hair from losing moisture.

Remember, shrinkage is a sign of healthy and happy hair- so embrace it!

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT 4C HAIR EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT 4C HAIR  Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on February 17, 2021 Rating: 5
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