Where’s My Curl Pattern? How to Make 4c Hair Curly and Defined

how to make 4c hair curlySome of the most frequently asked questions regarding 4c hair are curl pattern related. I’m sitting here, before bed, doing my nightly hair care routine, and it got me thinking… does 4c hair have a curl pattern? Many woman want to know how to make 4c hair curly.

I did some research and I’ve learned 4c hair does not have a defined curl pattern in its natural state. To make 4c hair curly you need water or product and those curls have to be defined manually by hand or using a tool.

Keep reading and I tell you how to get defined 4c curls, what a curl pattern is and why shouldn’t stress too much if your kinky curls aren’t exactly how you envisioned.

There is an undeniable appeal that comes with healthy hair. Sometimes, your hair leaves an impression on others, without you uttering a word.

4c hair possesses z or s-shaped kinky curls. To make these curls more visible and defined, it usually takes some work and treatment. Keep reading to find the best ways to make 4c hair curly and defined.

How To Make 4c Hair Curly?

Compared to other hair patterns, 4c hair possesses the tightest curls. This hair type has different porosities and densities, which alters how it behaves. One these behaviors is the absence of defined curls.

To solve this “problem”, there are a few go-to options. Some of these include styles and/or products. For products this can include curling creams, styling gels and etc… Styles that promote curls could be shingling, braiding, curling, bantu knotting and many more.

The Maximum Hydration Method

Pioneered by Pinke Cube of Black Hair Media, the maximum hydration method involves seven days of consecutive clarifying and conditioning your hair… morning and night! Warning, if wash day is something you hate, this may not be the ideal method for you.

For low porosity hair, at night, you need to clarify with baking soda.

For high porosity hair, at night, you clarify with apple cider vinegar.

Next you deep condition and cover with a shower cap.

The next morning, apply a bentonite clay treatment after rinsing the conditioner from the night before. You should leave this treatment in about 10 – 15 minutes.

Next rinse out the bentonite and apply your favorite leave-in conditioner.

Finish up by sealing in that moisture with gel.

After seven days, you should have defined curls and your hair should be moisturized to the MAX.

One caveat is, DON’T over do this method. When you wet and dry your hair repeatedly over a long period it can lead hygral fatigue — constant, excessive swelling of the hair cuticle as water is absorbed and the contracting of the hair cuticle as it dries. Which could ultimately lead to breakage.

The Best Styles to Define 4c Curls

Defining curls with shingling

Shingling is a method that can be done in about 20 minutes.

  • First, apply a moisturizing leave-in conditioner and clip your hair in segments.
  • Next up, spritz each hair section with water and generously apply oil.
  • Comb each oiled section with a wide tooth comb, dividing it further and apply a styling gel. (Be cautious of applying excess styling gel so you don’t weigh the hair down.)
  • Finally, take your hair in small sections and wrap each section within your thumb and pointer finger.

When you’re done, your curls should be defined and ‘poppin’

Creating curls with braiding and curling 

  • This method involves first applying a Leave-in conditioner to slightly damp or wet hair.
  • You can then go on to use hair custard or hair whip or any product of your choice. However, like above, products should be applied conservatively to avoid getting your hair weighed down.
  • Next up, braid your hair into a minimum of 14 braids.
  • Go on to wrap each braid in a curling iron.
  • Let them dry with a hair dryer or naturally.
  • Once dry, unroll the rods and loosen the braids.
  • Part each curled section twice or thrice. (Avoid separating the curls too much so they won’t lose definition. )

Defining curls with Bantu knots

  • With this method, break the hair into little parts, twist all the section and then wrap each one around itself.
  • Keep doing this until it is curled in a knot. Clip the knotted hair and use a scarf to wrap your hair for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
  • In the morning, go on to oil each knot sufficiently and then loosen the knots.

This should give your 4c hair well defined appealing hair curls.

Sleeping with 4c hair Curls Overnight

Whatever method you chose to help define your curls you’ll often run into the issue of protecting those curls overnight. The best method, I’ve found to protect your curls is using by wearing some form of satin sleep cap or satin bonnet. Make sure to opt for the satin silk type as oppose to satin polyester. I’ve discovered first hand that satin polyester often snags and pulls my hair.

My favorite style for bedtime curls is the two-strand twist. It’s super easy and probably the fastest method, in my opinion. It can be done when you hair is wet or dry, but I prefer doing it on wet hair. My curls come out more defined and tighter when my hair is damp.

Here’s a video of Shanice Alisha doing two-strand twist on her 4c hair.

What Is A Curl Pattern?

Hair pattern is a term that, basically, describes the shape in which your hair naturally grows in. This pattern is influenced primarily by the shape of your hair follicles.

However, external factors such as weather, heat, chemicals or damage can alter your hair pattern.

Other factors such as health or diet. Pregnancy, and medications can permanently change the course of your hair pattern.

That said, in understanding curl patterns, hair types fall into four categories (1-4). Each category is further subdivided into a, b and c. The letters signify the dimensions and width of the curls.

A means wide, B is medium, and C signifies tight. Knowing your curl patterns gives you an understanding of how to cater to your hair and what products are most suitable.

Why Doesn’t 4c Hair Have A Defined Curl Patterns?

This hair type has the tightest curls with hairs forming Z’s or S s. However, in its raw state (without products), it is impossible to see a defined curl pattern. Such lack of curls is due to its porosity and density.

Furthermore, many naturals of this hair type experience hair shrinkage of up to 70 percent. With such nature, 4c hair does not have defined curls, unless such defined curls are created.

Do Curls Equal Healthy Hair?

We all have diverse opinions on how healthy hair should look. This, of course, ranges from radiance to elasticity, minimal breakage, and the likes. However, defined, curly hair is not necessarily a sign of healthy hair. Whatever your pattern looks like, it should be embraced.

So get rid of the worries and treat those curls to some moisture and hair beautifying products. Your hair would be sure to thank you for it.

Summarily, we can agree that curls are amazing irrespective of age. All that bounce and tight curls just make a sister feel fabulous, fun and absolutely gorgeous.

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