Ready to celebrate your natural coils? Prepare to let your hair texture inspire you with our comprehensive guide to nurturing and enhancing the beauty of 4c hair, plus the best black hair care products for hydrated, vibrant coils.
Understanding the 4c hair type
4c is a hair labelling system used to describe the types of curly hair. 4c is typically what we at Bouclème refer to as coily hair - the tightest curl type with the smallest curls. Here are some key characteristics of this fragile but beautiful hair.
Tight coil pattern
Coils are tightly wound curls, creating a zigzag or spiral pattern. It’s the tightest curl type, often struggling to form clumps of definition like other curl types, therefore creating a much more voluminous look.
A high spring factor means up to 70% shrinkage, so retaining length can be a challenge.
Manipulation techniques work well for 4c hair, helping to elongate coils and encourage more definition.
4c coils come in a variety of textures, from fine to thick.
We don’t love generalising hair types as we believe we’re all individuals, but understanding your hair type does help you look after it. Discover how to work out your curl pattern.
Everyday coily hair care routines
Because they’re the most fragile of all curl types, looking after coils takes a lot of care. Understanding your coily hair’s unique characteristics is crucial for developing an effective hair care routine, and tailoring your approach can lead to healthier, stronger curls.
People with type 4c hair may have different textures from each other and therefore require different care. What’s most important is to understand what your hair needs. It’s all about the texture, porosity or density of the hair. Is it dry? Does it break easily? Is it fine in texture? Is your scalp dry and flaky?
Due to the tight coil pattern, natural oils from the scalp may have difficulty travelling down the hair shaft. This makes regular moisturisation and sealing essential to prevent dryness and breakage. Plus, 4c requires gentle handling and careful maintenance. Protective styles, such as braids and twists, help to manipulate and elongate coils that suffer from high shrinkage and protect them from becoming too dry.
Here are some essential tips for maintaining healthy and vibrant coils.
1. Moisturise regularly
Coily hair can be prone to dryness, so consistent moisturisation is crucial. What natural hair needs most is hydration with water, not oil. We recommend water-based products rather than heavy butter and oils that need shampoos with strong detergents to remove them. This helps prevent build-up. Use our leave-in conditioning Curl Cream, which offers unrivalled moisturising for nourished and perfectly defined curls.
Then, seal in the moisture with a silicone-free oil like Revive 5 Hair Oil – a nutrient-rich, lightweight oil that conditions and protects hair against heat styling, UV rays and humidity. It locks moisture in and boosts shine.
2. Cleanse gently
Sulphates, used in many shampoos, can be stripping, which is why everyone is obsessed with co-washing (washing your hair solely with conditioner). But at some point, you still need to give it a deeper clean. Co-washing is a gentler, more hydrating way to cleanse your coils. We recommend co-washing hair once a week, and a deeper shampoo once or twice a month. Here are some tips:
- Choose a sulphate-free shampoo, like our Hydrating Hair Cleanser, to avoid stripping the hair of its natural oils, which can lead to excessive dryness.
- Consider co-washing between regular washes to maintain moisture levels without over-cleansing. Boucleme’s Curl Cleanser is perfect.
- Detangle before washing – use our Wide Tooth Comb or your fingers to detangle your hair gently, starting from the tips and working your way up to the roots. Our comb can also be used to define your coils – learn how.
- Apply a detangling conditioner to ease the process and reduce breakage. We recently upgraded our Curl Conditioner to boost its detangling powers, while still keeping its lightweight formula to soften strands, enhance definition and increase shine.
- Leave in your conditioner and layer with Curl Cream on top to help keep coils moisturised. If coils are quite dense, try sectioning hair when cleansing and applying your leave-ins. This ensures your scalp is cleansed thoroughly and products are distributed evenly.
- Don’t overwash! Coily hair doesn’t need frequent washing – in fact, it positively hates it. Anything from once every 7-10 days is fine!
- Refresh as needed to stop product build-up and get rid of surface grime. Try Root Refresh, a refreshing mist that soothes and deodorises the scalp to extend wash days. It’s also great post-workout and when wearing hair in braids.
3. Condition deeply
Integrate a deep conditioning treatment into your routine to nourish and strengthen your hair. Our Intensive Moisturising Treatment deeply conditions to enhance and strengthen curls, and was voted Best Product For Afro Hair in the Marie Claire Hair Awards 2019.
4. Style with protection in mind
If you want length or to wear your hair with more versatility, try manipulation techniques like twists, braids and bantu knots or wrapping curls around satin-lined roller sets. These techniques help create definition, shape and length.
5. Take care overnight
Prevent your cotton pillowcase from sucking out all the moisture from your hair by sleeping on a Silk Envelope Pillowcase. This minimises friction and helps retain moisture. Retwist or braid your hair before bed for extra night-time protection.
6. Trim twice a year
Styling 4c coils depends on the look you want to achieve. If you love a fro, find a curly specialist hairstylist to create a shape that suits your face. Wash-and-go will then become your go-to styling method.
Trim twice a year to get rid of split ends and prevent them from travelling up the hair shaft. This promotes overall hair health and reduces breakage.
7. Eat well and stay hydrated
Ever wonder why your hair is feeling dry and brittle? It might not just be your styling routine – it could be a lack of those essential fats, omegas 3 and 6. Time to introduce salmon, mackerel and other oily fish to your diet.
If you’re struggling with slow hair growth or feeling a bit dull in the hair colour department, it could be a zinc deficiency. And if you’re shedding hair, have a chat with your GP – it could be a hormone imbalance or thyroid issue.
Don’t forget to eat the rainbow. Colourful fruits and veggies are superheros for your locks, while seeds, nuts and even olives (and the magic that is olive oil) will make your hair as happy as your taste buds.
Common challenges and solutions
Coils can suffer if washed too often. As soon as it is washed, or even rinsed (both of which strip hair and scalp of natural oils), moisture needs to be replaced – or you’ll end up with an itchy, grey scalp and, in extreme cases, snowflakes on your shoulders.
But what about in between washes? Product build-up, dryness and frizz can all cause problems. Here are some common coily hair challenges and how to overcome them.
Product build-up and itchy scalp?
Wash away build-up and excess sebum with our Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo. This rich creamy lather contains hydrogenated castor oil beads that gently exfoliate and stimulate, leaving the scalp soothed and invigorated and strands soft and bouncy.
Removing residue allows your hair to absorb moisture more effectively. Learn how to remove product build-up and relieve an itchy scalp.
Breakages and brittle hair?
Just as our bodies need a dose of protein to stay fit and healthy, so does our hair. Protein Booster lets you customise your routine with no need for an extra step.
Simply turbo-charge your cleanser, conditioner, or Curl Cream with these powerful drops for improved elasticity and stronger bonds that protect against breakage.
Out of control frizz?
Embrace your natural texture while keeping frizz at bay by using anti-frizz products or opting for protective styles that minimise exposure to environmental factors. Read about how sleeping with a silk pillowcase can help you beat the frizz.
Our ‘30 Days to Coils’ kit
Coils need intense hydration and strengthening. Amplify your coily hair by infusing them with the moisture-rich products in our 30 Days to Coils Kit: all the black hair care products you need to create bouncy, juicy coils.
Save up to 38% with these products:
- Curl Cleanser 300ml - Gentle conditioning wash
- Hydrating Hair Cleanser 300ml - Low foaming cleanser for a deeper cleanse
- Intensive Moisture Treatment 250ml - For conditioning and strengthening
- Curl Cream 300ml - Softens, defines and boosts moisture
Embarking on a 4c hair care journey requires patience and a tailored approach. By embracing your natural texture and following these guidelines, you can achieve healthy, vibrant hair that reflects your unique style, where each curl is a celebration of your individuality.