Well hello natural beauties! I pray that all is going well with your journey? At 4.5 years wearing my all natural hair I am here to tell you that I am still learning. Yah, the journey continues! With type 4 hair many of us know that tangles and single strand knots come standard. I didn't really run into problems with tangles and knots until about year 2.5. My hair was a lot longer so there was more shrinkage thus more knots and tangles to deal with. I've kept those under control over the years by wearing my hair stretched in two strand twists. They have always been my go to staple style and has helped me to maintain healthy hair and retain a good amount of length. I've worn them protective up to 4 to 5 weeks. And when put in larger up to 2 weeks.
In the last year I sort of strayed away from twists because the longer my hair gets the longer they take to install. In my attempt to switch up my styling methods and save on time, I have been reintroduced to how bad my type 4 hair can tangle, shrink, and knot up! I recently cut off about 3 inches to give my hair a nice shape, and since the cut, I've been wearing my hair in buns and ponytails. Lets just say my hair has reminded me that it does not like to be loose and.or out past 3 days or there is heck to pay! (buns don't stretch my hair in this state, the ends just further ball and curl upon themselves in the bun.)
The above photo is how my hair looked after wearing it out in a pony tail all week that I had been adding moisture and oils to. It was so fun and freeing to wear my hair out all week and not worrying about stretching, re-twisting or plaiting it at night. But hon-TEYS? Never again! With this freedom came single strand knots and tangles for days. It seemed as though every end I had possessed a single strand knot on it? And then when I added my pre-poo to detangle all of my ends were popping off where the single strand knot was. This is what slows down growth retention. Type 4 natural haired women ask me all the time why their natural hair isn't retaining length. After speaking with them I find that they wear their type 4 tightly curled or coiled hair out most of the time, in a shrunken state. And I'm sorry, this is a no go if you want your hair to retain length at a faster rate, or at ALL for some people. I know people who have literally been at the same length of hair for years and its not been on purpose. (If you aren't trying to grow your hair longer then this is definitely not a big concern for you, as you can just keep cutting your ends off?)
Type 4 hair in my opinion is best managed in a stretched state. Meaning if you want to minimize breakage, knots, and retain length its better to wear your hair in a stretched state. Now it is up to you to find the healthiest way and the most convenient way to do that for your hair. Everyone isn't going to adopt all of the same practices when it comes to stretching, but definitely do what you can manage, and work it into your schedule. Over the years I've always washed, deep conditioned, and plaited my hair to stretch it out, and then after about 90% dry I will add my two strand twists or plaits. This has been working perfectly for my hair, and then I had the nerve to not want to spend 2 to 3 days post wash in my head.. Geez what was I thinking right? lol. So, I have been on a bit of a quest to find a quicker but still healthy way to keep my hair stretched. So I've gone back to exploring the blow dry and or flat iron heat stretching method.
|Blow out on Medium heat|
Flat ironed on 375
The flat iron seemed really hot to me even at 375, and it was a lot straighter but my hair seems to fluff out pretty quick after a light flat iron. I know if I want my hair silky smooth with flat ironing the temperature has to be above 400 and I'm not going there to get a tangle free stretch, its not needed. After my hair was stretched I just threw in some plaits for a braid out. In the future I will probably throw in some medium size twists to bun up for the week and twist out at the end of the week. And then re stretch the twists with plaits to possibly get another week in before washing again. (I've been using the Q-Redew to help refresh in between styles..will give my review on that soon!)
Ladies, if you don't take anything else away, just remember that keeping type 4 hair stretched "in most cases" is the best way to minimize knots and tangles and to retain length. If you want to wear your hair out, by all means wear your hair out, it's yours and you should enjoy it! Just know that you have to be willing to put in the time and care on the tail end of that to avoid breakage. You also have to know how far to go with that. We all know what our hair is capable of and what the limits are for our hair. If not, just hold on, those strands will be faithful to remind you as mine did! lol. Until Next time keep it Healthy and Happy!
|Loving my new cut!|