Some of the misconceptions surrounding 4C hair are that it is coarse, unwieldy, and lacks styling versatility. According to Dr. Kari Williams, a trichologist, cosmetologist, and DevaCurl Curl Expert Council member. But in fact, almost the opposite is true. Although 4C strands can be brittle, which means reducing handling is important, the hair’s spiral structure does not make it less manageable than other types, and in fact, makes it one of the most versatile curl types out there.
However, when styling 4C hair, remember that it can be prone to breakage, adds Dr. Williams. If you can, try to avoid the regular use of heat styling tools, and when you do, apply a protector. Styles that help stretch curls are preferred, such as two-strand twists, Bantu knots, and braids. Or wearing your hair in a wash and blow-dry style or tied it back in a puff. Dr. Williams notes that a couple of years ago, “there was a lack of information about the unique needs of 4C hair, so there was also a lack of effective products.” Now, there is an abundance of products and tools to help make the styling process easier.
As for those products, Dr. Williams recommends applying a daily moisturizer (as a leave-in product) to the hair and, after shampooing, applying oils and serums. In contrast, the hair is still damp to increase absorption and help maintain hair elasticity. She also suggests incorporating a protein treatment every six to eight weeks to give hair strength and using a deep hydrating conditioner regularly: “Hydrating conditioner should be used more often than protein-based conditioner,” she notes.
Now that you have the recommended tools and expert advice to make it happen, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite styles for 4C hair types.
Once you get tired of the twists, you can untangle them twist-style. As Dr. Williams mentions, it is a two-in-one style that can last up to two weeks.
Here’s another favorite style from Dr. Williams. “Curls are the ultimate length retention style for 4C clients who have ‘long hair’ goals,” he says. “And they still offer the same styling versatility as loose curls with a simplified hair care regimen and more freedom of daily manipulation.”
TWA with accessories
A nice and easy way to raise your TWA is by adding a ribbon for the hair.
Stretch your 4C curls for some height, volume, and lots of character.
French braided buns
This French braid style protector can be worn for days without having to handle it. Just be sure to hydrate properly before putting your braids on, and sleep in a silk cover of some kind to prevent premature frizz.
Medium buns twisted
Twists don’t just have to be thrown into a ponytail. You can also try a half up and half down style like this tall bun. Twist the front of the hair to flip it up.
One style for natural hair is the big puff, which is easy (if not a bit of a headache) and always fun.
Very similar in height to the tall puff, the elegant tall bun involves tucking in the ends rather than leaving them loose.
These space buns, with sleek edges, are literally out of this world.
Similar to two-strand twists, Bantu knots are a two-for-one style that can be rocked as is or worn unwrapped.
Short box braids with beads
If you plan to keep your braids braided for some time, add some beads for a nostalgic touch.