Ready to grow your fro? Building a natural hair care routine for Type 4 hair takes a little planning, but it doesn’t have to take a ton of work. Type 4 hair is uniquely delicate, requires consistent moisture, and thrives with minimal manipulation. We’re going to cover how you can take care of your natural head of hair at home. Remember, every hair care regimen is different and will need to be customized to suit your needs. In a few key steps, you’ll be on your way to growing (or maintaining), long, healthy, natural afro-textured hair.
We’re covering the steps you need to take from pre-pooing (yes, that’s a thing), cleansing, conditioning, moisturizing and finally, styling. Let’s get into our wash day routine!
Step 1: Pre-poo
What exactly is pre-pooing? As you might have guessed, the term “pre-poo” is a derivative of shampoo. It’s a key step in any natural hair regimen to ensure strands do not become tangled or stripped completely dry when shampooing. Think face primer, but for your hair.
How to Pre-poo Natural hair
To pre-poo, saturate hair with water using a spray bottle or by running your head under the shower. Once the water has absorbed and your strands are no longer brittle, part and secure your hair into 4-6 sections. Then, apply pre-poo specific products, detangling products or a blend of your favorite natural oils to each section. At this stage, you should also finger detangle hair, working from yours ends to the root.
Must-Try Pre-poo Product
Mielle Organics Pre-Shampoo Treatment with Mongongo Oil - Made with all natural ingredients, this pre-poo treatment preps your hair for wash day with a rich formula of nourishing oils and butters. As a double duty product, you can also use this as a co-wash.
Step 2: Wash
How often you should wash your natural Type 4 hair depends on a few factors. Those following a moisture-focused regimen may opt to wash their natural hair once a week, while others may be fine washing every two weeks. This frequency depends on your lifestyle, which products you’ve used throughout the week and just generally how your hair *feels*. You’ll know best when it’s time for a wash.
How to Wash Natural Type 4 Hair
With your hair still in sections, apply shampoo to your scalp. This could be a moisturizing or clarifying shampoo product designed for natural hair. Focus on really cleansing the scalp and stimulating blood flow, which promotes hair growth, by using strong circular motions with your fingertips. Then, work the suds from your scalp into each section, going from the root down. Rinse. You may need to give the length of your hair a second shampooing to ensure dirt and product build up from styling products is completely removed.
Natural Shampoos You’ll Love
tgin Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Natural Hair tgin (Thank God It’s Natural) is a brand you can count on to understand what your natural hair needs. This shampoo will give your hair the perfect dose of moisture it needs while thoroughly removing the build up, grime and dirt from your scalp.
Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo The review from this trending brand let us know that this shampoo for natural hair lives up to its name. Combining the benefits of a hair mask with an ultra cleansing shampoo, this promises to intensely moisturize and repair your hair.
Step 3: Condition
Conditioners are known to have ultra moisturizing ingredients that instantly replenish the moisture and elasticity lost in your shampooing process.
How to condition Natural Type 4 hair
Remove the 4-6 sections and give your hair final rinse to ensure there is no leftover shampoo. Now is the perfect time to inject your strands with a dose of moisture by using a conditioner. Apply the conditioner to the length of your hair, an inch or two away from your scalp. Using a wide toothed comb, detangle conditioner saturated hair and then rinse. Feel free to repeat this step for an extra dose of hydration.
The #1 Conditioner for Natural Hair
Aussie Miracle Moist Conditioner Conditioners are an important step but they don’t have to be expensive. This drugstore find is a tried and true favorite that provides an insane amount of slip to make your detangling process a breeze.
Step 4: Deep Condition
It’s finally time to step out of the shower—hallelujah! Deep conditioning is arguably the most important step in any Type 4 hair care regimen and should be done every single time you shampoo your hair. When you’re using the right deep conditioning product for your hair’s needs, you’ll have moisture for days.
Keep an eye out for deep conditioners that have moisturizing ingredients plus protein. You can find these at your local beauty supply, online or in your own kitchen when you make your own deep conditioner. A combination of moisture and strength is exactly what delicate Type 4 hair needs on a consistent basis for optimal volume, length and health.
How to deep condition Natural Type 4 hair
Once you’ve found your ideal deep conditioning product, follow the instructions on the packaging to a T. Apply the product to strands, focusing on the length of your hair and avoiding your scalp. Many of us were led to believe that deep conditioners should be left on your stands for extended periods of time and even slept in overnight! While this may feel like you’re giving your hair extra TLC, deep conditioners reach maximum effectiveness when sticking to the typical 20-35 minute leave-in time. To boost store-bought products, add in a few drops of your favorite natural oils or even avocado, which is rich in fatty acids that support healthy hair.
Rinse the deep conditioner out by running your head under the shower.
The Best Type 4 Deep Conditioners
Kinky-Curly Stellar Strands Hydrating Deep Treatment A staple deep conditioning treatment that promises to improve elasticity and reduce breakage? We’re in! Apply this natural hair treatment and then put a hair bonnet or bag over your strands for intense moisture retention.
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Treatment Masque SheaMoisture is a widely accessible brand that most naturals have tried at least once or twice. Containing Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Shea Butter, this treatment packs a moisture punch.
Step 5: Lock in Moisture
Locking in moisture is vital! All the work we’ve done so far has led us to this key step. Moisturized hair is flexible, less prone to breakage and an indicator of overall natural hair health. The #1 most moisturizing ingredient on planet Earth is plain old water. Ensure any hair moisturizer, milk or leave-in treatment you use has Aqua high on its ingredient list.
How to lock moisture into Natural Type 4 hair
Divide your hair into 4-6 sections. Apply your moisturizing leave in product from root all the way down to your ends. Try to give every strand as much attention as you can. If your hair needs a refresh throughout the week, you can spray hair with water (or a blend of water and oils).
Moisturizing Products for Type 4 Hair
Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Original Leave-In Moisturizer The natural hair gurus over at Carol’s Daughter have amped up this moisturizing formula with Agave Nectar for a glossy, frizz-free finish. You can reapply this Hair Milk throughout the week to refresh your hair.
Step 6: Style
To prevent unnecessary manipulation and breakage, only style your hair after you wash it. Be sure to use a heat protection spray if your style involves any heat tools.
There are hundreds of ways to style natural hair, from braid outs, twist outs, cornrows, single braids or twists, wigs, and hair extensions. Find a protective style that keeps the integrity of your natural hair while giving it a break from daily manipulation and tensions. Find a method that works for you and is easy to maintain until your next wash day.
The Best Hair Styling Accessories for Natural Hair
Luxy Hair Carrier and Loop Brush Bundle Who’s protecting your protective style? This unique set allows you to keep weaves and extensions safe with a handy carrier. Included in the set is an innovative Loop Brush with unique looped nylon bristles to prevent snagging and pulling at the roots and to keep tangles and matting at bay.
We hope these steps help you build your Type 4 Natural hair care regimen at home. It’s a journey, but once you find the products and steps that work, you’re on a path of serious growth!
Written by: Taja Jarvis