Having Type 4 hair can be lots of fun. Our coils are versatile and can easily take on a wide variety of styles and updos. That said, many of us struggle with “dry-looking” hair. Yep! You read that right, our hair naturally has less sheen than other curl patterns, but shine is not always indicative of moisturized hair and lack of luster is not always a reflection of dry, damaged hair. BaldHeadSmallHea from Curly Q&A inquired about how to tell if her hair is dry or simply naturally shine-free, as she’d like to achieve juicy waves on her 4c hair.  

Question

My hair always appears to be dry, even though it isn't...or is it? I'm not sure, but I know that isn't the way my hair naturally should be. I shaved my head multiple times to try and start over and reset the hydration. Every product I use seems to either be too heavy and thick and sits on my hair, or it just doesn't do enough.

PLS HELP ME! I want juicy waves not dry and crunchy!

Answer

It is worth acknowledging that the beauty industry promotes glossy shiny hair. Advertisements for sheens and elixirs have somehow made shiny hair translate to healthy hair. However, as is the case with 4C hair, this isn't always true. Type 4 hair cuticles tend to be raised meaning our hair refracts rather than reflects light. This in turn may give the appearance of "dull" hair. That said, there are several ways to abate dryness and in turn add a shine to our hair.

Read more: You are Feeling Texture, Not Texture

Ensure that your moisturizing game is top notch

Be sure to keep up with my weekly deep conditioning treatments. Moisture is essential for the health of our hair as it adds elasticity and prevents breakage. Now your hair doesn't have to be soaking wet all day every day, but make sure to have it drenched in water at least once a week.

Always deep condition after you cleanse

Always deep condition or use a daily conditioner after cleansing your hair, especially with a shampoo. Daily conditioners and deep conditioners close the cuticle after it has been lifted by cleansers. Remember that a closed cuticle increases the potential of shine.

Seal your strands with natural oils

I prefer natural oils like olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil, as they've proven to be effective sealants over the course of my five year natural hair journey. When my hair is slightly damp after a wash, I apply a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of coconut oil along the length of my hair and then follow through and braid or twist my hair. When I take my twists or braids out, my hair is shiny. 

What are your favourite ways to add hydration and sheen to your hair?