It has been a minute since I have updated my 4b/4c natural hair wash regimen, and it is time! My routine is completely different now, and I am convinced my current routine is the best yet! My hair is super thick and tangles easy, and after nearly 10 years of being relaxer free I finally found a routine that agrees with my hair’s texture. Keep reading for the products and procedures I use to breeze through wash day.
Detangling my 4b/4c Natural Hair
A few years ago I purchased a Q-Redew handheld steamer around Christmas time. I had been eyeballing this steamer for YEARS and finally took advantage of the holiday discount. However, I didn’t realize just how valuable this handheld steamer is until recently. I honestly don’t know how I detangled my hair prior to purchasing my Q-Redew — actually I take that back — I do know. Poorly. I did it poorly, I’m sure damaging my hair in the process. Since I switched up my regimen I’ve noticed growth in an area of my head that just seem to not be growing at all! But the truth is that I probably wasn’t retaining growth, in part, due to my poor detangling methods.
Using the Q-Redew on my 4b/4c Natural Hair
Now I use my Q-Redew to detangle my hair prior to washing it. I have found that trying to detangle my hair after washing is a no-go zone for me. Any trapped shed hair will just make my head a tangled and matted mess if I do not detangle before. I have found that separating my hair into quadrants and going through those quadrants in smaller sections with my Q-Redew is LIGHTYEARS more effective. I use Aussie Moist conditioner along with my Q-Redew to loosen any trapped shed hair and melt away knots. Now I know you are probably thinking, “Aussie conditioners are packed with silicon,” and you are right. However, I feel comfortable using it prior to washing my hair since I will just be shampooing the silicon out of my strands. Plus, you cannot beat the slip for the value!
Pro Tip: Keep Your Hair Moist!
One thing that makes all the difference is keeping my hair moist while detangling it. I like to use my continuous mist spray bottle to moisten my hair before applying the Aussie Moist Conditioner. This helps the nubs of Q-Redew to glide right through my hair releasing shed hair and tangles. I do this through each quadrant, twisting off the quadrant when each section has been detangled. I will also use my tangle teezer brush to make sure I am successfully working through all tangles. It works magic!
Shampooing and Conditioning my 4b/4c Natural Hair
I recently completed a partnership with Carol’s Daughter. During that time, I got to use their Wash Day Delight liquid to foam shampoo. Oh Emm Gee does it rock my socks! I have never used a shampoo that I enjoy more. The bottle is equipped with a nozzle that gets right to my scalp. As a natural I have always heard that you only need to apply shampoo to your scalp and allow the runoff to cleanse the strands of your hair. HOWEVER, I have never been able to successfully apply shampoo to JUST my scalp. The Wash Day Delight shampoo changed all that. I can apply it directly to my scalp and cleanse my strands with the excess. The shampoo not only cleanses my hair but loosens any shed hairs that I may have missed during the detangling process.
Applying Deep Conditioner to my 4b/4c Natural Hair
I use to apply a wash out conditioner to my hair after shampooing it, put on a plastic cap, and go through my usual bathing routine while it percolated. To be honest, I really do not think that step made a huge difference in my hair. Now I deep condition directly after shampooing my hair. Also, I forgot to mention that I wash my hair in the same quadrants I detangle it in. I leave my hair in clamps in the shower, only releasing the section that I am tending to at that time.
The procedure is the same with the deep conditioner. After shampooing and combing through each quadrant (directly under running water), I go back through each quadrant and apply deep conditioner to soaking wet hair. If the quadrant has dried a bit in the process of tending to the other sections, I will rewet it under the running water before I apply the conditioner. This way requires WAY less product than doing it on damp as opposed to soaking wet hair. I put my plastic cap on and leave it on for the duration of my shower, and for about 30-45 minutes after.
If I am feeling frisky, I will sit under my hooded dryer. However, I am almost never feeling that frisky. 99% of the time, I use my hothead heated bonnet for better penetration. It stays hot for about 30 minutes and allows for deeper conditioning.
Styling my 4b/4c Natural Hair
Following my detangling and deep conditioning procedure makes my hair much more malleable at the styling step. At this point, my hair is still in quadrants and I style it in those section. Though the products change, I have been loyal to the LOC method of moisturizing my hair over the last few years. For those who do not know, LOC stands for Liquid, Oil, Cream, and many suggest that you apply your products in that order to achieve the highest level of moisture. Some will interchange the O and the C in the process depending on the hair’s need. I have done and do both. Sometimes it is planned and sometimes I just forget what product I have already used in the sequence.
Products I use on my 4b/4c Hair
As the LOC method would suggest, water is the most important ingredient in this process. Again, I use my continuous misting water bottle to take my hair from damp to wet before applying products. After, I apply oil to my scalp and hair. I use a mixture of olive oil, tea tree oil, Jamaican black castor oil and peppermint oil on the right side of my head. However, I use a mixture of neem and alma oil on my scalp and the strands of the left side of my head. The texture and needs of the hair on the right side of my head are quite different from the left. The right grows more rapidly and is more 4b in texture. The left side grows slower, and benefits from the neem and alma oil mixture to promote growth.
After my oils, I apply Shea Moisture Apple Cider Vinegar leave-in conditioner. Again, I go through each quadrant in sections. Following the leave-in, I apply Alikay Naturals shea yogurt. Now, I swear by the LOC method to moisturize my hair, but nothing helps my hair retain moisture like the Alikay Natural shea yogurt. Plus, a little goes an exceptionally long way! After I moisturize my hair, I apply my styling products. Many times, I twist my hair and leave it for a few days under a headwrap or a wig.
To twist my hair, I use my trusted and beloved Cantu coconut curling cream. Nothing defines my curls like this product. I follow this up with Aunt Jackie’s Curls and Coils Flaxseed Gel. This product is a new on for me, but had to have it after seeing Aisha Beau’s wash and go using it. I have yet to master the perfect wash and go with it, but it does a fantastic job of maintaining my definition after I remove the twist. My hair remains twisted for about a day, but I try to remove them before my hair completely dries. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but I am not a fan of how my hair looks super defined — I prefer a little fizz.
Maintaining My Twist Out
Following this process, pineappling my hair nightly, sleeping in a bonnet AND on a silk pillowcase, I can maintain my hair with some semblance of definition for at least a week. Now, I will say again that I am not a huge fan of definition. I prefer big, voluminous hair with a hint of definition. If things get too out of hand during the week, I will touch up individual sections using my Cantu coconut curling cream and Aunt Jackie’s gel.
I totally stumbled upon this routine, but I am so impressed with how well it works for my hair. I have changed products and methods several times of the past 10 years, but I do not see any modifications occurring any time soon. Especially since I am starting to see growth on the very stubborn left side of my hair.
What natural hair routines and products do you guys swear by? Sharing is caring so drop it in the comments below! You can see how my wash routines have evolved here and here.