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Conmuffin_ (3C) recently posted this question in our Q&A section.

Question

My hair is 3c and recently it has been getting dry and matted at the roots especially, sometimes the ends. It happens no matter what I do. It can happen a few days after deep conditioning, right after detangling, or just anytime really.

I've been conditioning a lot and sealing with oil yet that still doesn't help. [My hair] shrinks at the roots and get stuck in this round afro-shape...When it's in this shape, I can pull a curl out and hear it crackle and pop and then that one curl will be longer than the rest. I currently have my hair in Marley twists because my hair is getting on my nerves. What can I do? I miss when my hair used to behave!

The pictures I included are one of a bomb wash and go 100% dry before the matting, the other is a day at work when my hair was matting. Note the length and shape difference. These were taken maybe a month and a half ago.

Answer

Based on the pictures provided, your hair type is 4a, which is a bit coilier than 3c but still appears to be fine in texture and medium (normal) in porosity.

Since you didn't detail your exact morning and nightly regimen and the products you currently use, I'll outline a quick list of questions you may want to ask yourself. This should help you in modifying your personal steps to fit the needs of the current state of your hair:

PHOTO: ANYASVIDA

"What do I do to my hair at night before bedtime?" 

Conditioning hair frequently doesn't always help the cause. This can lead to hydral fatigue, which causes continual swelling of your hair cuticles, or over-moisturizing. Deep conditioning overnight as a habit, for example, can cause weaker strands.

Since your hair easily mats up, I recommend doing two-strand twists and wrapping each twist's end with a foam roller or flexi rod. Not only will this be easier for next day's wear, your coils will be defined, uniform, and the weight of the roller will help you avoid shrinkage and enhance your natural curl pattern and shape. Don't forget to cover your hair with a silk head wrap--or sleep on a satin pillowcase.  On top of that, you put your hair in protective styles that further tug on the follicle, making your hair even weaker and more damaged over time. I suggest trying an at-home protein treatment twice a week with a gelatin packet or purchasing protein-enriched products to strengthen your hair fibers. Read the reviews of these community faves and determine which one you might like:
PHOTO: KALA G

"How do I refresh my hair the next morning?"

Your hair needs an even amount of moisture, day and night. Spritz water with a little bit of your favorite conditioner throughout your hair in the morning after untwisting. Or, if you would rather purchase a leave-in refresher spray, that works, too.
On the weekend, treat yourself to a soothing steam session. There are portable handheld hair steamers like the Q-Redew, or you can make your own with 2 face towels, 2 shower caps, and a hooded dryer.
PHOTO: CASSANDRE BECCAI

"How do I style my hair on most days?"

Try a twist-out, flexi rod or perm rod set instead of a wash-and-go. Like I mentioned above, this will allow your coils to clump into ringlets and tendrils rather than stand alone and get matted or tangled up easily. Also, it may be time for a trim.

It sounds like your hair is uneven since some pieces are longer than others. You may search a salon in your area that specializes in natural hair or try the Search & Destroy Method at home with a new (not dull) pair of shears. With this method, you won't lose as much overall length--you'll just focus on the split ends that stand out and need to be removed.

PHOTO: PURELY KAICE

"How do I currently detangle my hair?"

Have you considered investing in a detangling brush? You didn't mention what tool or method you use to detangle your coils, but you may want to look into a Denman or Tangle Teezer to really get to the root of the problem, pun intended. You can also finger detangle, but make sure your hair is saturated with a ton of slippery conditioner to prevent that snap and crackle that you get. Watch how Naptural85 detangles her hair in the most effective yet fuss-free way possible.

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