Get A Trim
Ah, yes, the dreaded trim. Trimming is hated simply because we don’t want to lose our length, but if our hair split at the ends, is heat or chemically damaged, or has been neglected for some months, a trim is most certainly in order. The longer the wait, the worse the damage, and the more you’ll have to cut. Not to mention that if you have hair that needs to be cut off and you don’t do it, it’ll make the rest of your hair dryer, weaker, and susceptible to damage. Be mindful that split ends can go all the way to the root and if that happens, you will have to big chop. Who wants to do all of that again? Not you. Go get your hair trimmed while it’s still just a trim.
If you’re already past that point, figure out how much of your you can actually salvage and begin thinking about a hair growth routine. A lot of Type 4 naturals feel that their hair takes too long to grow, but if you really care for it through your hair routine and even your diet, you will see results.
Biotin and Other Supplements
If you don’t know, biotin is a form of Vitamin B that is often recommended when looking to improve hair health because it makes hair grow in longer, stronger, and thicker. When taken orally as a vitamin or in a supplement, Biotin works to improve any Vitamin B deficiency that may be contributing to your hair loss and thinning. No, it’s not a magical vitamin that’ll suddenly turn you into Rapunzel, but it will encourage healthy hair growth.
Because taking straight biotin can have side effects like acne and rashes, your best bet is to try out supplements that include other ingredients along with biotin, that were formulated specifically for hair growth. This way, you’ll get biotin as well as other vitamins and proteins that’ll ensure your hair and both are both healthy. Mielle Healthy Hair Biotin Vitamin Gummies and The Mane Choice Healthy Hair Growth and Retention Vitamins are great places to start.
*Disclaimer: No one here at Emily Cottontop is a doctor. While biotin and other vitamins and supplements may be right for us, please talk to your doctor first and find out if they’re right for you.
The first sign of damaged hair is dryness and breakage. This tends to be true for most women with natural hair, but it’s especially true for us type 4 ladies. It can already be a bit of a struggle to keep our hair moisturized, but it’s a whole different monster when you’re dealing with mild to serious damage. One thing that’ll get your hair back on track is extensive deep treatments, specifically hot oil treatments and frequent deep conditioning. Giving your hair extra nourishment and moisture one to two times a week will help offset all the daily dryness you’re experiencing.
A hot oil treatment or deep conditioning your hair with a mask at the beginning and middle of the week will help your daily moisturizers and sealants be more effective. If your hair is weak, be careful not to over-do it because this also can cause breakage. After you’ve achieved consistently moisturized hair and have regained a level of hair health, try a protein treatment to strengthen your strands. Be sure to moisturize intensively after this, as well.
In my experience, type 4 hair can be easy to neglect. The fact that type 4 textures require high maintenance hair care doesn’t stand a chance against our busy schedules, sick days, workouts, and our ever-increasing laziness. Still, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to live our lives and have healthy natural hair. The key to this is protective styling. If you don’t know, those are styles like braids, twists, low manipulation buns and ponytails, full sew-ins, and comb-less wigs that keep your hair protected from damaging practices and conditions.
Protective styling will undoubtedly save your type 4 hair. Why? Well because once you get your hair back to a state where it is regularly moisturized and healthy, and begin a new routine that promotes health from the inside-out, protective styles will prevent you from neglecting and damaging it once more.
All you have to do is make sure you wear it for no longer than 7-8 weeks, take care of your hair before the style and after you take it down, and then go right into the next style.