natural hair types

Your Go-to Hair Care Guide for Natural Hair Types

Because it's a cut above.

Natural hair care has evolved so much in recent years. There are more and more products popping up that are catered for hair types in the type 3 and 4 categories. These products aim to address common hair concerns natural-haired ladies have, such as dryness and a need for consistent hydration, gentle cleansing, and detangling. Now, it’s pretty easy and affordable to find the correct products for all the natural hair types.

Read on for some tips on how best to care for and maintain natural hair types:

Types of Natural Hair

When caring for natural hair, it’s important to know your specific type and curl pattern. This will make it so much easier to build a routine and decide what products you should use.

Type 3 Hair

girl with 3c hair type
Type 3C hair.

This type of hair consists of curly strands ranging from 3A, 3B, to 3C. 3A hair is larger loose curls, 3B hair is usually seen as springy ringlets, and 3C hair is tight corkscrew curls that are often the width of a pencil.

Type 4 Hair

girl with 4c afro
4C hair type.

Type 4 hair is coily and the driest type of hair out of all. Like type 3, type 4 hair ranges from 4A, 4B, to 4C. 4A hair includes dense, springy curls. These strands form S-shaped coils. 4B strands are also dense but have a sharper curve. These can be seen as more of a Z-shape, going in various directions. Lastly, 4C hair is similar to 4B, but has a tighter zig-zag pattern and is often more fragile.

Maintenance Guide for Natural Hair Types

Not sure where to start when caring for natural hair? Keep scrolling to check out our routine and tips when building a hair care routine. This is a great starting point, and based on your hair needs; you can adjust as needed.

natural hair types baby Afro
The ABCs of natural haircare: Always Be Conditioning. Photo credit:

1. Determine your curl type.

Different women have different curls: Various salon and hair experts follow a curl chart that helps them categorize their client’s particular curl shape. This helps you better strategize a hair care routine that’s tailored to your specific type. This will also help you streamline which products you should focus on.

2. Prep hair for breakage.

Relaxed hair that’s reverting back to its natural textured state can go through an adjustment period. Experts say that this restructuring process, where the curls are slowly returning back to their original pattern, can take up to eight months or until the scalp and follicles are fully healed. Be patient, and in the meantime, moisturize properly with a shampoo, conditioner, and mask that is formulated to moisturize hair so you can help reduce the amount of breakage that happens.

3. Start your week with a deep-conditioning treatment.

Remember that extra moisture that’s crucial? Choose a day where you can spend an extra 10 minutes on setting your hair in the shower, preferably while it’s still steaming in the bathroom (hot air opens up the cuticle and helps the product absorb better). A hair mask, like SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Moisturizing Masque. We love this mask because it uses raw shea butter to deeply nourish hair and help revive damaged strands.

4. Do a full shampoo and condition once or twice a week, max.

Natural hair is typically extremely curly, meaning sebum from the scalp doesn’t coat root to tip as quickly and as straightforwardly as it does on straight hair. This mainly means curly hair tends to be drier than other hair types and, therefore can withstand more time before a full wash. This is also why it’s very important to use a shampoo and conditioner set aimed to moisturize strands. We love SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner to help do this. This set is perfect for added moisture because it uses 100% Virgin Coconut and Shea Oils, Coconut Milk, and Acacia Senegal to nourish your curls.

5. Have an off-day ritual.

Pre-poo, co-wash, or steam! Before you shampoo, give your strands a quick coating with a hair oil. We like For Every Hair Type Revitalizing Hair Oil because it uses a blend of essential fatty acids, argan + castor oils, and Vitamin E to fight frizz and breakage. Using an oil like this before your shampoo will help lock in moisture.

Natural hair types also benefit from a co-wash or washing hair with a conditioner/cleansing conditioner. To do this, we love using TRESemmé Botanique Nourish & Replenish Cleansing Conditioner because it includes a blend of coconut milk & aloe vera to help re-hydrate strands. Doing this employs a milder, gentler, silkier formula to remove grime without deflating curls or breaking the hair strand altogether.

Round out those in-between days with a healthy steam session. This helps infuse some moisture to the shaft without fully wetting it, refreshes a second or third-day scalp, and also breathes new life into those spirals.

6. Leave a leave-in bottle everywhere.

Stash a leave-in product in your office drawer or gym locker, as it’s bound to become a daily must-have. A leave-in spray, like SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment will help revitalize those coils in case the weather turns or if you need to restyle hair anytime during the day. It also helps ensure your moisture levels are consistent, so you don’t overdo it with the product afterward. Over-moisturizing hair can be just as bad as under-moisturizing it, and keeping hair in an optimally hydrated state with a leave-in conditioner helps you determine the right level for your specific curl type.

7. Experiment with knots and twists.

Just because you’re wearing it curly doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with different styles. Bantu knots, twist-outs, and braids are some updo options ladies with natural hair types can play with. Just make sure they’re comfortable enough that they don’t tug at your scalp, and be careful with both creating and removing them.

8. Wear hair up at bedtime.

Try wearing hair in a turban scarf or head wrap at bedtime to minimize friction on your strands while you sleep. Note: A scarf or head wrap look is fab for the daytime, too! It’s both a fun and practical way to accessorize while keeping your scalp fresh and your hair free from environmental aggressors.

Do you have any natural hair care tips that you love to do? Share your tips and tricks with us on Instagram @AllThingsHairUS.

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