10 Effective Ways to Keep 4C Hair Moisturized & More

A good lifestyle combined with some safe haircare products, and your 4C hair is ready to roll!

Medically reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS Dr. Shruti Chavan Dr. Shruti ChavanMBBS
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
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Keeping 4C hair moisturized can be tricky. Type 4C hair experiences the greatest shrinkage among all kinky hair types and has tight zig-zag pattern curls (1). Despite its beauty, this curly hair pattern is usually very subtle. In addition, type 4C hair is fragile and loses moisture easily, and the lack of nutritional support often leads to hair breakage.

Lack of moisture can cause breakage. Hence, it is crucial to learn how to keep 4C natural hair moisturized. In this article, we have compiled some tried and tested methods for moisturizing 4C hair. Scroll down and take a look.

How To Moisturize 4c Hair Daily: Low Or High Porosity Hair

Most of us associate 4c hair with roughness and dryness. However, it is to be noted that your hair’s moisture retention ability plays a major role in effectively moisturizing it. Porosity is the property that determines how much moisture your hair will retain. Hair porosity is determined by genetic factors, stress, chemical treatment, and aging, among others (2).

  • Low Porosity Hair

If your hair cuticles are flat and closed, it becomes difficult for moisture to seep in. This is what happens when your hair has low porosity. It is recommended that you use an emollient-richi  A property of a product with a significant amount of emollients that help moisturize dry and chapped skin. daily moisturizer for 4c hair and stick to conditioners that do not contain proteins. Considering the role of heat in the opening up of cuticles, you must use a thermal heating cap while deep conditioning your 4c hair.

  • Medium Porosity Hair

This is when you have a looser cuticle layer, and a moderate moisture flow occurs. While styling and coloring go well with this hair type, try to keep a tab on excess styling or chemical treatments. You may want to occasionally use protein conditioner-based moisturizing products for 4c hair. However, it is a good idea to restrict their usage in your daily grooming regimen.

  • High Porosity Hair

The cuticle’s large gaps allow too much moisture into or out of it, making highly porous hair more prone to frizz. If you have high porosity hair, you must use protein-rich moisturizing products for 4c natural hair and cut down on heat exposure. This includes the usage of blow dryers, styling irons, and direct sun exposure.

When moisturizing 4c hair that is highly porous, you may want to go for layering multiple moisture-locking products wherein conditioners, moisturizers, and sealers are used in an orderly manner to ensure minimal moisture loss. The use of anti-humectanti  A chemical substance that can stop or slow down the absorption of water molecules by hair, preventing frizz and flyaways. hair products such as palm oil, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and shea butter is highly recommended (4).

protip_icon Quick Tip
Oiling 4C hair at least once a week keeps it hydrated and moisturized. You can use coconut oil, sweet almond oil, black castor oil, or argan oil. You can also use shea butter or cocoa butter.

Best Ways To Keep 4c Hair Moisturized

The next step is to give your hair the hydration it deserves. You need to know where to draw a line, as over-moisturizing the 4C hair will do you more harm than good. As you look for the most effective ways of giving your hair the hydration it deserves, your focus should also be on how to retain moisture in 4c hair and give it a lustrous look (4).

  • Drink Ample Water
Woman drinking water to keep her 4C hair moisturized
Image: Shutterstock

Before you direct your efforts on finding the best creams and oils to moisturize 4c hair, you need to realize that the water you drink will reflect on your skin and hair. Ideally, an adult should consume about 3 liters of water every day. With every human body having its limits, you need to set your personal bar and drink as much water as your body permits (5).

  • Condition Your Hair Regularly
Woman buying conditioner for her 4C hair
Image: Shutterstock

Shampooing your hair strips it of its moisture and leaves the cuticles raised. Using a conditioner with natural ingredients helps your hair shaft regain nutrients and moisturize 4c hair, thereby helping it get rid of the dryness associated with it (3).

  • Consistent Deep Conditioning

While you should regularly condition your hair to improve the hair texture, it is just as important to have a fortnightly deep conditioning regime. Here are the steps you should follow while deep conditioning:

  1. Choose a natural conditioner with olive oil and gently massage it on your scalp.
  2. Let it sit in your hair for at least half an hour before you rinse it off. The prolonged duration will ensure that the conditioner penetrates through the strands of your hair and gives it the nutrition it deserves.
  3. After rinsing it off, avoid the use of a blow dryer for a couple of days.

Amecha, a blogger, shared her experience of cutting out regular conditioners and using deep conditioners in her blog. She said, “I find that most deep conditioners have the same ingredients if not better as compared to regular conditioners. Therefore, I find it a bit counter productive to use regular conditioners (i).

  • Do Not Experiment With Hair Care Products

Understand that your hair is more sensitive than that of most others, and you cannot afford to experiment with it. Select your shampoo, conditioner, and other hair care products after due consideration, and ensure that you stick to them. Most such products need to be reintroduced a few times before they start showing results, and simply using them on a one-off basis will not yield any change.

  • Give Up On Sulfate Shampoos
Sulfate-free shampoo can dry out hair
Image: Shutterstock

Having realized that your efforts of keeping 4c hair moisturized involve sticking to your hair care products, you need to realize that there is one exception to this rule. Traditional Sodium Laureth Sulfatei  A common surfactant found in soaps, commercial cleaners, and some foods that is used to reduce the surface tension between compounds. (SLS) containing shampoos undo all your efforts at moisturizing 4c hair leaving you with dry and coarse hair (3). Make a conscious effort at reading the label of your shampoo, and if you find that it contains sulfates, do not hesitate to replace it.

  • Use a Satin Bonnet
Woman wearing a satin bonnet on her 4C hair
Image: Shutterstock

One of the major challenges in moisturizing 4c natural hair is the loss of moisture that happens as you sleep through the night. An effective way of avoiding such a situation is by using bonnets. While you can go for silk bonnets, satin bonnets are the best option for 4c hair.

  • Spray Water On Your Hair

Purified water is the best moisturizer for 4c hair, and one of the best things that you can do is consider using a spray bottle to moisturize your hair. By ensuring that you just dampen the hair and not make it wet and dripping, you allow the 4c hair to retain moisture and get a bouncy look.

  • Do Not Neglect Conditioner

Other than the deep conditioning regimen, make sure that you use a conditioner to moisturize 4c hair after every wash. Using a conditioner will help prevent roughening and tangling of the hair. You may even consider using a leave-in conditioner, as that will give your curls a more pronounced look (3).

  • Use Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is known for its moisturizing and soothing properties, making it effective for hydrating and taming the often dry and unruly 4c hair (6), (7). When applied as a leave-in conditioner or styling product, it lends essential moisture to minimize frizz and promotes overall hair health. However, it is important to use pure aloe vera gel without added chemicals, and in moderation, for the best results.

  • Use A Humidifier

Using a humidifier is a useful strategy for managing 4c hair, which tends to be dry and prone to breakage. Humidifiers add moisture to the air, preventing your hair from becoming excessively dry. Maintaining a balanced indoor humidity level can help reduce frizz, prevent breakage, and make it easier to manage your 4c hair. Simply place a humidifier in your living space to enjoy the hair-friendly benefits of a consistently moist environment.

protip_icon Quick Tip
When styling 4C hair in protective hairdos like twists and braids, make sure you use an oil or a cream. This keeps your hair moisturized and prevents tugging or pulling on the hair roots.

How To Moisturize 4c Hair Daily With The LOC Method

If you are looking up how to moisturize 4c hair, you cannot ignore the LOC method. Here, you follow a three-step process in which the hair is first hydrated, then oiled, and steps are taken to keep a check on the moisture loss. Here’s what the process is all about (1):

Step 1: Liquid

This is the first step while moisturizing 4c hair with the LOC method, wherein a leave-in liquid is applied to the hair cuticles. Ideally, a true moisturizer with a high-water content is used at this stage. That way, the hair cuticles open up and allow the moisture to penetrate through the hair shafts. The moisture ensures that your hair is left soft and shiny, and there is a significantly lower risk of breakage and subsequent hair damage.

Step 2: Oil

Woman oiling her 4C hair to keep them moisturized
Image: Shutterstock

The next step of the LOC process for moisturizing 4c hair is oiling, wherein you ensure that the moisture from the previous step is sealed. Avocado, coconut, or olive oil are excellent choices for this step as these can penetrate through the hair shaft and keep 4c hair moisturized. Understand that this is the most important stage of the LOC process, and your choice of hair oil will play an instrumental role in deciding the overall hair health of your curls.

Step 3: Cream

The final step is the one where you use a cream to further seal the moisture that was retained by the shaft. Spend time identifying creams that define your curls while also moisturizing them and improving hair elasticity. Depending on the nature of your curls, choose a moisturizer for natural 4c hair that prevents the curls from getting weighed down.

The LOC process may seem complicated, but once you do it a couple of times, you will get the hang of it. The fact that you can do this either at night or during the day gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of incorporating it into your personal care routine. If followed properly, the LOC process gives you up to 3 days of well-hydrated hair. This is a boon for people struggling with maintaining the moisture of their hair even for a day.

The moisture retention achieved with the LOC method ensures that you do not have to worry about keeping your 4c hair moisturized even during the challenging winter months. Well-moisturized hair ensures lesser breakage.

Infographic: Top Tips To Keep Your 4C Hair Hydrated

Coily 4C hair experiences heavy shrinkage and needs a lot of moisturization to thrive. But you cannot just try any hair care practices. Following the right methods mentioned above can help transform dry and coarse 4C hair, making it healthy and curlicious. Check out the infographic below for a brief recap of the best tips to follow to care for your 4C hair.

top tips to keep your 4c hair hydrated (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Type 4C hair has the greatest shrinkage and tight zigzag curls. It is fragile and becomes dry easily, leading to breakage. Therefore, it needs extra care to maintain its shine and moisture. There are several techniques to moisturize your 4C hair, like conditioning, deep conditioning, using a satin bonnet, and drinking ample water. Following these tips and a perfect hair care regimen will help maintain your curls. The three-step LOC procedure will also help moisturize your 4C hair. Always do a patch test if you are using any new products.

4C Hair Moisturized

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you over-moisturize 4C hair?

Yes. You can know that your 4C hair is over-moisturized if your curl pattern has become looser and the strands don’t bounce back when stretched.

How often should I put oil in my 4C hair?

It depends on your hair porosity. However, you can oil your hair once every 2-3 days for optimal nourishment.

How often should you use a leave-in conditioner for 4C hair?

Generally, you should use a leave-in conditioner in your 4C hair every 7-10 days. However, if your hair is dry and damaged, you can use it more often.

When should I moisturize my 4C hair?

You can condition your hair after every wash and deep condition your hair once every 2-3 days.

Key Takeaways

  • Tailor your moisturizing routine to your hair’s porosity level.
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water to maintain hydrated hair.
  • Deep condition using aloe vera gel, and avoid sulfate shampoos to retain moisture in 4C hair.
  • Try the LOC method which involves layering products to maximize moisture retention and promote healthy hair.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Hair Cosmetics: An Overview.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387693/
  2. True porosity measurement of hair: a new way to study hair damage mechanisms.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18818850/
  3. Shampoo and Conditioners: What a Dermatologist Should Know?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458934/
  4. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12715094/
  5. Water: How much should you drink every day?
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
  6. Aloe vera: A short review
    https://www.e-ijd.org/article.asp?issn=0019-5154;year=2008;volume=53;issue=4;spage=163;epage=166;aulast=Surjushe
  7. Isolation, Purification and Evaluation of Antibacterial Agents from Aloe vera
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768575/
Dr. Shruti Chavan is a consulting dermatologist at Dr.Sheth's Skin and Hair Clinic since 6 years. She is a co-committee member of CDSI (Cosmetic dermatologist Society of India). She is highly skilled in non-surgical facial skin rejuvenation and face lift by the use of injection treatments and lasers.   Dr. Chavan is well-versed with dermatological and aesthetic procedures. Her special...read full bio

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