How To Straighten 4C Curly Natural Hair And Control Shrinkage

Expert tips on giving the coarsest curls a sleek and smooth makeover with minimal damage!

Reviewed by Yvey Valcin, Hairstylist Yvey Valcin Yvey ValcinHairstylist insta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years
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Are you in the mood to go from 4C curls to silky straight hair? And are you overwhelmed by how difficult it is to straighten your 4C hair? We feel you. Stretching 4C type hair requires patience unlike other hair types and the right hair products. However, the hair styling process can be simpler. This article takes you through an easy tutorial to straighten 4C natural hair without heat damage. Scroll down!

How To Straighten 4C Kinky Hair Without Heat Damage

Straightening 4C type curls is challenging. But not protecting your hair from heat can damage it irrevocably. Hence, go from kinky to straight hair without heat damage. You must use products that protect your hair from the heat of a hair straightening tool.

 You Will Need

  • A moisturizing shampoo
  • A conditioner
  • A heat protectant
  • A silk infuser
  • Tangle teaser brush
  • Rat-tail comb
  • Hairbrush
  • Blow dryer
  • Flat iron

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can also use smoothening or keratin shampoos instead of moisturizing shampoo. They may help smoothen your coily tresses easily.

Follow these steps to change your 4C kinky hair to silky, shiny, and straight hair.

 Step 1: Wash your hair with the shampoo and apply a deep conditioner.

Wash your hair with the shampoo and apply a deep conditioner.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 2: Part your hair into four sections.

Part your hair into four sections.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 3: Take a section and apply the heat protectant to the coils, this will help maintain hair texture.

Note: It is a good idea to keep a spray bottle with a mixture of argan oil and water, so you can mist each parting before using the blowout to keep locking the moisture in.

Take a section and apply the heat protectant to the coils.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 4: Apply the silk infuser for a silky smooth finish.

Apply the silk infuser for a silky smooth finish.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 5: Hold the hair section with the tangle teaser brush and blow dry it.

Hold the hair section with the tangle teaser brush and blow dry it.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 6: Use the hair brush to lift the roots and blow dry again for a straighter finish.

Use the hair brush to lift the roots and blow dry again for a straighter finish.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 7: Twist this section and start blow drying another section of your hair.

Twist this section and start blow drying another section of your hair.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 8: Use the rat-tail comb to section your hair.

Use the rat-tail comb to section your hair.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 9: Take a small section of your hair and use the flat iron (at a medium heat setting) to straighten it.

Take a small section of your hair and use the flat iron (at a medium heat setting) to straighten it.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 10: Follow the “chase method” –  comb your hair and slowly use the flat iron to chase the comb.

Follow the “chase method” –  comb your hair and slowly use the flat iron to chase the comb.
Image: Youtube

Step 11: Repeat the process.

Repeat the process.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 12: Use the flat iron to add volume and waves.

Use the flat iron to add volume and waves.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

Step 13: Brush your hair.

Brush your hair.
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

 Voila! Can you stop seeing yourself in the mirror?

 Voila! Can you stop seeing yourself in the mirror
Image: Youtube

Straighten 4C Curly Hair – Before And After

How To Straighten 4C Curly Natural Hair And Control Shrinkage
Image: YouTube @ShakiraJonay

The main drawback of straightening 4C natural hair is that it causes shrinkage. This means your hair curls back again and becomes short. However, there are ways to reduce shrinkage. Check out the next section to know more.

How To Control Shrinkage 

  • Blow Dry The Roots – Section your hair and use a brush to lift the roots. Blow dry those areas and brush your hair thoroughly. This is an easy way to control shrinkage.
  • Twist Your Hair While Washing Section your hair and twist it before washing. You can also make Bantu knots. Untwist only one section at a time and apply shampoo and conditioner. Yes, this might take time, but it will save you from going back to square one.
  • Keep Frizz Away If your hair becomes frizzy, it might shrink. The best way to keep your hair frizz-free is by applying argan oil or a coconut milk hair mask. Apply coconut oil gently to your hair and blow dry it. Apply coconut milk hair mask and twist your hair in sections. Wash it the way mentioned in the previous point.
  • Wrap Your Hair With A Scarf This is definitely one of the best ways to prevent shrinkage. Use a silk or satin scarf to wrap your hair (do not twist your hair) before sleeping.
  • Use A Shine Butter – Shine butter is rich in oils that prevent frizz and shrinkage and keep the hair shiny.
  • Moisturize Your Hair Apply almond, olive, or argan oils to your hair every day. This will keep the strands hydrated and prevent shrinking.
  • Go For Blowouts Blowouts are the easiest way to keep your hair straight and control shrinkage. However, avoid frequent blowouts as that can damage your hair.
  • Apply Aloe Vera Gel – Aloe vera gel is enriched with amino acids, rich enzymes, and minerals that may help provide hydration to the tresses (1). Apply the gel before styling your hair to prevent shrinkage and promote smooth, silky hair.
  • Trim Your Hair – Regularly trimming the hair is also important for 4C curly tresses to get rid of the dead and dry ends and combat shrinkage and hair damage.
  • Opt For Deep Conditioning – Deep conditioning is essential for 4C hair type as it helps add moisture to the dry strands, thereby preventing hair breakage and shrinkage. It also makes the hair more manageable and allows for easy styling.
protip_icon Did You Know?
The more you straighten your hair, the looser your curl structure gets. For example, curls that were once tight S-shaped coils might become loose spring curls.

It is important to allow your hair to recover from heat exposure to maintain your curl pattern. Syleste, a blogger, who has 4C type hair, shares on her blog: “I think it’s important to give my hair a break from the annual silk presses. Even when you have the most well-educated natural hair stylist, too much direct heat from a flat iron will change the look and feel of your hair, and will lead to breakage. At least, that’s true for my coily hair (i).”

There are several benefits of straightening your 4C kinky hair. Scroll down to know what they are.

Benefits Of Stretching 4C Hair Type 

  • You Can Flaunt Long Hair: Straightening your hair can add length to your locs. If you have an upcoming occasion or want to flaunt long hair, consider straightening your 4C curls.
  • Makes The Hair Manageable: Curly hair is gorgeous but can be challenging to manage. Not combing or taking proper care can make the hair frizzy, rough, and brittle. Straightening helps make your coily hair manageable. You do not have to worry about tangles or spend time and money on hair maintenance.
  • No More Tangles: Detangling curly hair can be a good arm workout. Jokes apart, detangling is time-consuming, tiring, and can lead to hair breakage. Straightening the hair helps reduce time and energy detangling knots. Also, you can protect your hair from breakage and frizz.

Infographic: A Simple Guide To Straightening 4C Hair Without Heat Damage

Straightening 4C hair has several benefits like adding length, making the hair manageable, and eliminating tangles. If you are worried about how to do this, do not fret. Check out the infographic below for a simple guide to help you stretch your curls without any heat damage and flaunt your silky smooth hair with confidence!

a simple guide to straightening 4c hair without heat damage (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Conclusion

Straightening or stretching 4C natural hair can be done easily at home. It can help you achieve a stylish hairstyle and prevent breakage. What are you waiting for? Follow the hair care steps mentioned above and flaunt your silky smooth hair!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the normal percentage of 4c hair shrinkage?

You can expect up to 10% shrinkage of 4c hair after straightening it.

Is shrinkage a sign of healthy hair?

Yes, shrinkage is normal and a sign of healthy hair. If your hair shrinks easily, it means you have minimal or no heat damage.

What is the best temperature to straighten 4C hair?

The optimal temperature to straighten 4C hair will be between 280-400 °F. Start with the lowest temperature, see how your hair responds, and then gradually increase it. This will reduce the chances of heat damage.

How often should you straighten your 4C hair?

Once a month. It’s because 4C hair needs moisture, and using hair tools for heat styling frequently may cause dryness and breakage.

Is keratin treatment good for 4C hair?

Yes, keratin treatment can work on 4C hair. It smoothens the curls and prevents frizzy hair.

Key Takeaways

  • Clean and condition your 4C hair before straightening to prevent breakage.
  • Use a heat protectant spray.
  • Wide-tooth combs and a flat iron are recommended for straightening 4C hair.
  • Work in sections for a smoother finish.
  • Use a low heat setting to avoid roasting your hair.
straightening 4c hair

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn how to do salon-quality silk press on 4C natural hair at home with this video! Get the perfect blowout and flat iron look without leaving your house. Check it out!

Personal Experience: Source

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. Aloe Vera: A Short Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/
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Yvey Valcin

Yvey ValcinHairstylist

Yvey Valcin is a celebrated master stylist based in Seattle, WA, and was one of the highest rated stylists at the flagship Gene Juarez salon in Seattle. He is known for his superior cutting technique and has styled for top editorial and fashion events, such as New York and Paris Fashion Week. His insights have been featured in InStyle, Martha...read full bio

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