Struggling with growing your type 4 hair? Here’s how to solve the 4 common mistakes and problems that may be slowing down your hair growth!
You’re Going For Protective Styles, But Not Low Manipulation
Wearing protective styles like braids, twists, buns, and headwraps is one of the major keys to keeping your kinks and coils healthy, long, and strong. However, when protective styles are done incorrectly, the can also cause damage like thinning edges, general hair breakage, and irreversible damage from chemicals or heat.
When dealing with hair that can be incredibly fragile and prone to dryness like most type 4 textures, the best thing to remember is that “low manipulation” is the best protective method there is! Consistently wearing low buns, chunky twists, natural puffs, and other hairstyles that require little to no manipulation or tight twisting, pulling, and bending of the hair is how you promote long term hair growth.
Your Hair Isn’t Moisturized Enough! Or Is It?
With type 4 hair, we often get caught up on the idea that our hair needs as much product as it can get because it is extremely thirsty. And in a lot of cases, this is true! Type 4 coils get dry very easily, and sometimes, it feels like it can only be solved by applying a ton of heavy creams and oils. However, this could actually be the very thing that’s preventing your hair from growing!
Slathering heavy, water-based creams onto your hair without properly assessing how much product your hair actually needs to thrive, can cause a whole new set of problems. You might experience breakage from weakened strands, clogged scalp pores blocking growth, and product build-up that prevents you from achieving the curl definition you want.
But Then Again…
Dryness is still a very big deal, and shying away from using heavy creams, gels, and lotions to moisturize and hydrate isn’t going to do you any good in the long run. Instead of focusing on how much product you’re applying, focus on the quality of what you’re using. In other words, read the ingredients!
If what you’re using is:
- Free of harmful ingredients (like parabens)
- Includes a natural humectant as a main ingredient (ex: honey, aloe, shea butter, etc)
then you can almost guarantee that you have a good quality leave-in or moisturizer on your hands. Of course, always do what feels right for your hair and don’t be afraid to toss out and switch any product that isn’t a fit for you!
Shrinkage Is Your Friend… Until It’s Not.
Shrinkage is something that we all have a little bit of experience with. Yes, it hides the true length of our hair, but it’s just a part of being natural that we should embrace instead of fight! It truly isn’t a big deal, aesthetically speaking. However, when it comes to growing your hair, shrinkage may be working against you big time.
When you think about it, when you’re dealing with shrinkage, each of your individual hair strands are in their most defined states. Type 4 curls and coils tend to make tight “S” and “Z” shapes, opposed to Type 3 patterns that make a loose “S”. The tighter each pattern is, the harder it becomes for water, your natural hair oils, and products to evenly distribute on each hair strand. In turn, this creates hair that is not as thoroughly moisturized or clean as it should be—leading to dry and fragile hair.
The solution? Use heatless methods to stretch your hair more often! When Type 4 hair is stretched and not so tightly coiled, there is a much better chance that you are truly caring for and nurturing your hair from root to tip, and that water and products are actually absorbing into each strand instead of sitting on top of your hair and scalp!
(Lead image IG: Nahlabee)