I read this article recently about a fellow natural who had grown her curls down her back and she was irritated about the constant questions she received from others regarding its length.
They would ask, is that your real hair? Can I touch it? The woman even had people assume she was of a mixed race because of its beauty and length.
Though it’s easy to dismiss this as an isolated incident, unfortunately, it’s anything but. I have experienced it personally and sadly among those in my own family.
For some reason, it is just very hard for people to believe certain races can grow hair just as long and gorgeous as others. Although hair type is not confined to one particular race but that’s a conversation for another day.
Still, as insulting as it can be when other people make this presumption, some curlies actually think this about themselves.
Of course, there’s the other part of it where people are aware they can grow hair down their back but believe that it’s too difficult or too much work and opt for a different option.
Now, there is nothing wrong with extensions, weaves, and what have you for self-expression, protective styling, or all-out fun. However, doing so out of a sheer lack of faith in your ability to grow your hair will only cut into your self-esteem. It’ll also help to propel the very erroneous narrative that long hair belongs to other races and hair types.
With that said, I’m going to give you specific tips that I use myself to show you how to grow 4C hair this year. Follow this simple guide and see for yourself what your curls can do.
How to Grow 4C Curls Tip #1: Wash Your Curls at Least Every Three Weeks
Type 4 hair is the driest of all the hair types but 4C, in particular, is exceedingly so. Since I’ve written previous posts as to why I won’t bore you too much with the reasoning. You can read them here: How to Care for 4C Curls, How to Moisturize 4C Curls, and 7 Tips to Grow 4C Curls.
The reason why knowing your hair type is important is that it provides an outline or a rule of thumb for the hair. For instance, 4C coils are extremely dry therefore you know your regimen must consist primarily of moisture.
Water is your hair’s best moisturizer but over time it can also cause dryness. Most curlies are born with low porosity hair which is why washing your strands once or twice a week is recommended especially if they’re above the shoulders.
As the strands grow beyond that point, it’s suggested your wash-days be scaled back two or even three weeks. This is because with length comes a heightened porosity because the hair is older.
Higher porosity could be the result of things like mechanical damage (i.e.- combing, brushing, touching), chemical damage (i.e- bleaching, dying, relaxing), heat, and environmental damage.
It happens naturally and is essentially unavoidable. The damage to the strands leads to dryness which is responsible for gaps, holes, and splitting in the hair fiber.
The best protection we have from dryness is our natural sebum or natural oils. The oils slither down the shaft to lubricate the strands but because of the kinks of 4C hair the oils hardly ever make it down the shaft.
When you add water it further dries the strand which could increase the vulnerability along the already porous parts of the fiber. Thus, to grow the hair, extend the wash-day to a comfortable point.
What Not to Do to Grow 4C Hair
I saw someone with beautiful, long relaxed tresses who was giving others advice on how to grow their hair. She said to put your strands in a protective hairstyle and just leave it.
While I agreed with the advice somewhat, I could not endorse her time frame of two to three months. Before I get into why this is not the best advice, I just want to say this. The last thing you want to do is give a blanket answer to people who don’t share your hair’s characteristics.
Because it is entirely plausible someone will follow this advice unaware that they have thin strands. A characteristic which may require daily moisture and a protein treatment every so often.
Then months later after taking the hair out of the protective style, they might find their strands have broken off dramatically and now appear shorter than when it first went into the style. Or some other similar occurrence.
I’ve seen this happen. I’ve had this happen. It’s why I narrow the scope of my posts to specific characteristics such as type 4 or 4C hair. This article serves only as a guide or a blueprint that leaves room for you to tweak according to the other traits of your hair and your lifestyle.
I like protective styles and use them almost exclusively. In fact, I will give you some to try later in this post. However, regardless of the style, remember, it is imperative that you continue your regimen. Make sure you’re following up with your moisture and protein routines.
Please do not put your hair in a style and leave it for months because your strands may not be able to handle that kind of stress. Also, keeping the scalp clean and moisturized is equally vital to growing your hair.
How to Grow 4C Curls Tip #2: Stretch the Curl
I’ve said this in prior posts and I’m mentioning it now because it is so helpful in growing 4C curls. The reason for this is that it stretches our tight curls.
Remember, when I told you the reason our hair is so dry is that the sebum cannot travel down the length of the shaft therefore our regimen must be primarily moisture-based?
Well, stretching your curls not only allows for oils to lubricate the fiber easier but additionally allows for better application of moisture from products and helps maintains moisture longer.
Keeping your hair moisturized longer helps prevent irrevocable damage to the ends of the fiber. This also means you won’t have to trim more hair than you’re growing which aids in length retention.
This is one of the main reasons my curls have been able to grow down my back. You may be asking now, how do I stretch my hair? You could use a blow dryer ( click here to discover the best method) or if you’re uncomfortable with heat try hairstyles like jumbo box braids.
Another option if you don’t mind spending the money is the REVAIR Air-dryer. It is pricey but it does possess the ability to stretch and dry your hair quickly with minimum heat. Plus, it leaves the hair soft to the touch. Just another option to try.
How to Grow 4C Curls Tip #3: Use Protective Hairstyles
Protective hairstyles you’ll find are your best friend if used correctly. You can keep a good protective hairstyle in your hair for weeks. They’re great because they allow you to leave your curls alone for a time while it grows.
Further, protective hairstyles shield the hair from damage so when trim-day comes you’re not subject to cut more hair than you’d like or that’s growing. Although these styles are extraordinarily helpful, it’s important you continue good hair practices.
Hence, you want to make sure you are maintaining a good moisture-protein balance. Also, choose a hairstyle that will not cause unnecessary stress upon the strands and scalp.
Again, it’s not a great idea to keep the style in for long periods of time. One style I commonly use throughout the year is mini or two-strand twists.
I think 4C curls are perfect for mini twists because they are so versatile, neat, and they keep for a long time. Personally, I keep my twists in for about three weeks. I spritz my hair every day with a water bottle (sometimes mixed with a product) and I’m out the door. Here are some tips for achieving the perfect mini twists.
How to Grow 4C Curls Tip #4: Trim Them!
I love trimming my curls. Not something you typically want to hear from someone telling you how to grow your locks but it’s true. I like that my hair is getting longer but I really like when it looks healthy. I have a thing about that.
Nevertheless, it is the best thing you can do for your tresses. Some people don’t like the thought of cutting their strands but holding on to damaged ends that can not be repaired would only harm your hair.
If you don’t trim your curls, the ends will catch on each other and continue to break or split off making the hair look thin overall. Trimming your hair every two or three months would be more than enough to keep your hair healthy.
There are a few methods you could use to trim your hair but if you want a super quick and easy tutorial check out this post.
What I’ve discovered after five years of growing my 4C curls is this: it’s not as hard as one may think. That’s not to say there is not a lot to hair care. Certainly not. There is loads of information about hair that you could fill your head with.
However, the tips I provide in this post are a great starting point for those who want to learn how to grow 4C curls. Like I said earlier, there are other traits about your hair that you’ll want to uncover and examine in order to build a more complete regimen.
Just know, that you can do whatever you think you can. So, if you want to grow your hair, believe in yourself. Believe your tresses and don’t forget to follow these tips. Then you’ll be well on your way to growing your hair down your back in no time.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below or message me directly on my contact page. Until next time!