By Jc of The Nat­u­ral Haven Bloom

One of the most impor­tant lessons that I now know is that my hair will always behave in a fixed and repro­ducible man­ner depend­ing on how wet or how dry it is. My epiphany came dur­ing a PhD sem­i­nar on smart mate­ri­als (i.e mate­ri­als that give you a  set respon­se depend­ing on heat, light, pH etc  and if you change the envi­ron­ment they revert back to the orig­i­nal state).  I would haz­ard a guess that I had been nat­u­ral for at least 8 years at the time and the most frus­trat­ing time for me was wash day when my hair had to move from wet to dry. I final­ly realised that the rea­son for my strug­gle was that I was expect­ing my hair to behave dif­fer­ent­ly with­out real­ly doing any­thing dif­fer­ent­ly. I thought that prod­ucts could spring my hair into curls or slow down shrink­age but in real­i­ty my hair (empha­sis on MY), did not and still does not care for prod­ucts. I final­ly grasped that my hair is a smart mate­ri­al, it has a fixed behav­iour when wet, when damp or when com­plete­ly dry. The­se are my rules for the first stage — han­dling com­plete­ly wet hair.

Things my hair will do when wet

-Very high lev­el of elas­tic­i­ty
-Very easy to sec­tion through with hands or a widetooth comb
-Very high lev­el of shrink­age (my hair wants to be 1 inch long even when it is actu­al­ly 1 foot long)

Things my hair will not do when wet

-My hair will not form clumped curls even with pro­duct
-My hair will not stay tan­gle free unless I force it to
-Attempt­ing to start styling hair on soak­ing wet hair is futile

Things that I have to be aware of when my hair is wet
1. Silent breakage or breakage by stealth

When my hair is wet it, it can be stretched very eas­i­ly espe­cial­ly if there is con­di­tion­er on it. This stretch­ing hap­pens with fin­ger detan­gling or comb­ing with a widetooth comb. It is real­ly easy to manip­u­late but as the hair stretch­es, it is very easy to move from the elas­tic stage (where hair is like a rub­ber band and can eas­i­ly stretch in and out ) to the snap­ping stage. The dif­fer­ence is that on wet hair the snap­ping is total­ly silent and near­ly pain­less (unlike if you yank on a strand of dry hair).

The rem­e­dy: If my hair is wet, it will only be han­dled once it has been load­ed up with con­di­tion­er. This helps to soft­en the hair and reduce fric­tion. I gen­er­al­ly will avoid wet detan­gling, it does not work that well for my hair, but if I have to, I will always take care nev­er to rake through with a comb. I would always work in sec­tions and always look at the shed hair to see if it has a bulb or not, this is the mea­sure of suc­cess for me

2. Inter-twinning of strands

The high lev­el of shrink­age when hair is wet comes with the high poten­tial for tan­gling. This is espe­cial­ly true if I do not take the time to stretch out the strands and keep them sep­a­rat­ed and detan­gled by either twist­ing or braid­ing. I imag­ine my hair like a box full of lit­tle cop­per wire coils. Wet­ting my hair is like shak­ing this box and caus­ing the coils to min­gle. Sep­a­rat­ing the wires back into indi­vid­u­al coils would take a lot of time, effort and undoubt­ed­ly dam­age to some coils.

The rem­e­dy: Pre­ven­tion is bet­ter than cure. I choose to always wash my hair in braid­ed sec­tions. Pri­or to ful­ly wet­ting my hair, it will nor­mal­ly already be detan­gled and all the braid­ed into 10 or so sec­tions. Dur­ing the wash, the hair will shrink but as the strands are com­pact, they retain the detan­gled align­ment and do not inter­twine. Going back to that box full of coils anal­o­gy, it is essen­tial­ly like tying a few coils togeth­er with a string and then shak­ing the box — it will be much eas­ier to sep­a­rate the coils which are con­tained togeth­er with a string com­pared to those that are free.

3. Products with slip

With the excep­tion of coconut oil, my hair in gen­er­al does not care for prod­ucts. For wet hair,  I am look­ing to wash and con­di­tion my hair. Pret­ty much any ran­dom sham­poo will work and I gen­er­al­ly pick hair con­di­tion­ers based on slip (some type of sil­i­cone, usu­al­ly water sol­uble) and soft­ness (gen­er­al­ly the mag­ic ingre­di­ent is behent­ri­mo­ni­um chlo­ride). Any con­di­tion­er with the­se two ingre­di­ents will gen­er­al­ly work well with my hair and to be fair, even con­di­tion­ers with­out the­se ingre­di­ents will work for my hair, I will just notice that the pro­duct is hard­er to apply and my hair has less soft­ness. I believe the rea­son why my hair does not respond to prod­ucts is because it is not that dam­aged (no colour, no heat use , gen­er­al­ly fin­ger combed and most­ly pro­tec­tive­ly styled). Con­di­tion­ers as a pro­duct will make a great deal of dif­fer­ence to peo­ple with dam­aged hair and those whose hair can clump into curls. Sham­poos will make a great deal of a dif­fer­ence to peo­ple with sen­si­tive skin which is eas­i­ly irri­tat­ed.

How does your hair behave when it is wet? What can you do with it and what would you avoid? Do prod­ucts mat­ter to you

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87 Comments on "How to Handle Wet 4C Hair Without Causing Breakage"

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I have 4c hair and one thing i absolute­ly hate is the shrink­age. Braids and twists don’t help much either. Every day after twist­ing my hair, the twists shrink to like 2–3 inch­es. (My hair is 4″ in short areas and 6″ in the longer areas). Even when i wear exten­sions (braids in Jamaica) the strands do noth­ing but laugh at my efforts. And my hair breaks real­ly eas­i­ly due to the mass of tan­gles. I still love my hair but i don’t know what else to do to stop the shrink­age. Not to men­tion it needs to be mois­tur­ized… Read more »
??? ??

her­mes wal­let


Frus­tat­ed new­bie nat­u­ral chim­ing in:
Hi, Sisie,
I’m about to ask a very naive ques­tion. What are plas­tic clips? Could u post a link with a pic­ture? I’m seri­ous.

Like oth­ers, my hair is about 4 inches…i could post pics but i don’t want you folks to have nightmares…lol! While i wait for pics of plas­tic clips.…what to do with my shrub???


lol sure, no prob­lem! I post­ed pics of two types, the small­er one is good if you think your hair is too short for the reg­u­lar size clips. You can find them at ANY hair sup­ply store for real cheap. 

As for tips, the more you join hair care com­mu­ni­ties and pages on Face­book or Insta­gram, you’ll see so many cute styles for any length of hair and you’ll learn to embrace your hair while it grows. Love your hair and it will love you back! Just mois­tur­ize, pro­tect it and have a healthy dose of PATIENCE.
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What is a 4c nat­u­ral to do when her hair is only about 5–6 inch­es long? I cant twist it to wash it because that takes too long. How do i wash my hair and keep it tan­gle-free?


Braid or twist at night and pick it out into an afro in the morn­ing. Afros do look good. We don’t all have curls nor can we all get them from prod­ucts so an afro may have to be our main­stay until it grows longer. Mine is about that long too. You could try flat twists they hold bet­ter than two strand twists on my hair. If its humid I can for­get it all, my hair does what its sup­posed to do — fro out! I’m hop­ing to grow a huge fro.


Anoth­er good alter­na­tive for peo­ple with short hair (or even for the lazy nat­u­rals among us lol) is PLASTIC CLIPS! The met­al ones will rust with water, but the plas­tic clips will allow you to keep your hair sep­a­rat­ed with­out hav­ing to twist/braid them.

I have an African Amer­i­can daugh­ter, I am white. From what I gath­er her hair is 4c. It is very dry, as is her scalp and breaks off very eas­i­ly. I recent­ly start­ing wash­ing it in twists on a whim and found it does help so so much. When she came to me at the age of 5, her pre­vi­ous home had shaved her head, so her hair was still very short. She want­ed to grow it out and by keep­ing it braid­ed a lot we have final­ly got­ten it long enough to pull it all back into a pony­tail… Read more »

Sor­ry, I for­got to answer the frizz ques­tion. I use Frizz Ease by John Frieda and a lit­tle cas­tor oil. My twists hold, are very defined and shine.


I am glad to see you are fig­ur­ing her hair out but I have a ques­tion. She show­ers every 2–3 days? I hope she is bathing the oth­er 4–5. Please every­one don’t take offense, it just sounds real­ly strange to bathe twice a week unless a doc­tor has said you have skin prob­lems and can’t do it any more than that.

2–3 days? I was think­ing the same thing!!!! @Laura, I applaud you for learn­ing your daugh­ters hair. I don’t comb my hair every day, miss Jessie’s but­ter cream is awe­some but expen­sive as all get out, and olive oil mixed with a tad bit of water in a spray bot­tle works. The water is to help oil get out so u don’t need much. I wash mine once every 2 weeks but beeswax attract dirt so u might need to do it more often. Start at ends to detan­gle and work ur way to the roots. 2 strand Twists helps… Read more »
Use prod­ucts that are not water based. Such as Shea but­ters and oils. I have 4c hair that that is mid back length. Takes me 7–8 hours to do every 2 weeks. When i have twists, To main­tain dur­ing those two weeks frizz free, I use shea but­ter every night or organ­ic olive oil to mois­tur­ize and then I TIE MY HAIR DOWN with a scarf every night and cov­er with a bon­net so the scarf does not slip off. My hair lays down like silk. Now if the hair is real­ly dry I use a spray bot­tle and LIGHTLY… Read more »

Hey Lau­ra! Kudos to you for learn­ing how to work with your daughter’s hair. Try some of the Shea Mois­ture products–to be speci­fic, the Curl Enhanc­ing Smooth­ie and the Curl & Style Milk. I LOVE using them on my nat­u­ral hair! Shea but­ter can also help to smooth the hair and com­bat frizz. :-)


I have very very fine strands of 4c hair. The only way I have been able to grow my hair long is by using hen­na. After sev­er­al times using it, frizz has great­ly reduced and my curl pat­tern has loos­ened a lot, my hair shrink­age has reduced. Detan­gling has become so much eas­ier. Some­times I think my strands are as fine as spi­der webs.


Hello..What hen­na do you use? And where do you buy it at?


I too have 4c hair and have expe­ri­enced the same ben­e­fits of hen­na as Mne. I pur­chase my hen­na (BAQ) from (great cus­tomer ser­vice!)

FYI: You can obtain the same ben­e­fits of hen­na, minus the col­or, by using cas­sia instead. :-)


As a south­ern fem­lae born and raised in South Car­oli­na, I find this sit­u­a­tion espe­cial­ly appalling, but I am not sur­prised. Yes, this is a prime exam­ple of why beau­ty is not every­thing, but it is also evi­dence of a seri­ous prob­lem with­in our school sys­tems. For chil­dren com­ing from poor fam­i­lies, the prob­lems are detri­men­tal.

Gloria ch

When I wash my hair in twists or braid the dirt ( dan­druff) doesn’t go it gets trapped in the twist/ braid what do you think I should do


I would sug­gest sec­tion­ing your hair into 4–6 large twists and wash your hair sec­tion by sec­tion and with each sec­tion unrav­el the twist and wash and detan­gle the re-twist it.


U get in the show­er with your hair braid­ed or twist­ed, and then you wet the hair. Then you undo one twist/braid at a time and sham­poo once or twice, mas­sag­ing your scalp to remove dan­druff and dirt. Fin­ger comb hair in this stage. After you are sat­is­fied your hair is clean, rin­se out the poo and retwist the hair and move on to the next braid or twist. Do this until the entire head is cleaned. Dirt will only be trapped in the hair if you attempt to wash your hair with braids intact.


I learned the hard way. I seen a lot of break­age from my hair when I detan­gle it wet. So now I detan­gle on dry hair and see a big dif­fer­ence. Dry detan­gling isn’t as bad as I thought, it’s alot bet­ter than wet detan­gling. I also wash my hair in braids or twists. It takes waaay too long and it’s just a mess to wash my hair with­out braids/twists. My hair is 4c and bra strap length so you can imag­ine.


same here my hair gen­er­al­ly does not respond to what most peo­ple find use­ful to them! I have no trou­ble wash­ing my hair with sul­fates or dry detan­gling.

This is a good web­site and full of accu­rate infor­ma­tion. I have a lot of shrink­age too and must keep it sep­a­rat­ed when wet. If I let my hair dry after sham­poo­ing, I would nev­er be able to comb it. It locks if I don’t detan­gle it wet and plat it up, or blow dry it and plat it up. Some­times I get frus­trat­ed with my hair because it will not hold any style. I have been nat­u­ral for about 2 1/2 years and my length is past my shoul­ders. I wear wigs to work. Braids and twists pull my… Read more »
I just came across your web­site and am so hap­py to read this infor­ma­tion! I believe my youngest daugh­ter has 4c hair and I have been hav­ing so much fun doing braids, twists and yarn exten­sions but so strug­gle with detan­gling and am in need of ideas for get­ting wax build up out of her hair. I make my own sheabutter/olive oil/coconut oil/beeswax braid­ing paste which holds so nice­ly but is caus­ing buildup. Car­ing for her beau­ti­ful hair is still new to me as we’ve only been togeth­er for two years and my old­est daugh­ter has straight blond hair… I… Read more »


Thank you for your post! Curly hair can be a chal­lenge, but you seem up for the task and to tru­ly embrace and love on your daughter´s hair! Here is a web­site that has been very help­ful for me. Good luck!

You know what the prob­lem is? Our branis are so white-washed that it gets us to think that every­thing should be done in a cer­tain way. The white way. So, if your hair doesn’t flow like the girls in com­mer­cials, or if you can’t get this comb through your hair, you have bad hair.Switching from relaxed to nat­u­ral made me real­ize that if our hair doesn’t look the same, then it sure­ly doesn’t require the same treat­ments. You don’t wash silk as you wash cot­ton. You don’t take care of an orchid the same way you take care of a… Read more »
Jo Somebody

a) Where did she say car­ing for her Black daughter’s hair is hard­er??
b) If you’ve only ever worn cot­ton, you either need instruc­tions or tri­al and error to learn how do deal with silk. That would be why she’s ask­ing.
c) She already said her daughter’s hair is beau­ti­ful, so…

vanessa brown

I always dtan­gle my hair when its filled with con­di­ton­er and after going through my full head brush­ing each sec­tion before twist­ing i only have a few strands or a dime sized hair bal in my den­man brush when I’m done. I know I’m not pulling out my hair by wet detan­glin but could i be dam­ag­ing it some oth­er way and not know it. How do i tell if wet or dry detang­ing is less­dam­ag­ing for me?

I have 4c hair, and I must say, I HATE IT. My hair is about 10inch­es long when flat ironed, but its bare­ly THREE inch­es high with the shrink­age! I cant wear that out any­where! No mat­ter where I go I feel con­fined to wigs and sew in styles. Even when I have pro­tec­tive styles in, the shrink seems to “rule”. I know this is the prop­er forum to voice the­se types of opin­ions so this is why I am being so vocal. I’ve been nat­u­ral for a few years, but Im just recent­ly start­ing to exper­i­ment (WITH THE IDEA)… Read more »

I can relate to this arti­cle & also to you com­ment. I’ve been nat­u­ral for almost 7 years & my hair hasn’t grown past 10 cm. I’ve only recent­ly (last 4 months) start­ed fol­low­ing nat­u­ral hair blogs & vlogs with sim­i­lar hair types. I’m hop­ing to learn to embrace it, because to be quite hon­est I hate my 4c hair.


That’s a no-no Kabo! You have to love your hair FIRST and then it will show you love you back! Dis­sat­is­fac­tion and frus­tra­tion with your hair is what caus­es us to mis­han­dle our hair, lead­ing to break­age. With 4C hair, you MUST be extra atten­tive, patient and (most of all) LOVING with your hair because it has a tem­per. Hair of all types grow, but its up to you to keep it on your head with your par­tic­u­lar tech­niques.


I’m in the same boat with my 4c hair. No curls + Lots of Shrink­age= No styling options. 

I hate it. I’d tired of wear­ing wigs & sew-ins but wouldn’t dare go out­side with this bush on my head.

Brittany Dixon

So some good youtube chan­nels that will give you tons of styling and pro­duct options specif­i­cal­ly for 4c hair are:



My neigh­bor had a pool when I was a kid. It seeemd like she nev­er want­ed to swim and I ~always~ did. I loved going in that with her. It’s fun­ny that I remem­ber how much I loved to swim as a kid and yet now I almost nev­er get in. It’s such a big deal to wash, dry, and style my hair. I feel sil­ly admit­ting that. LOL

Alex T.

You have grown your nat­u­ral hair out for up to 10 inch­es (two years?) and you still haven’t learned to embrace it?

When my hair is dry: — It is hard and brit­tle. — I try to do very lit­tle to my hair when it is dry or there will be split ends and short hairs all over the my shoul­ders. When my hair is wet: — It is at its hap­pi­est. It’s the only time my hair is pli­able enough to manip­u­late. — My hair only clumps if I wet it while already clumped from a twist-out. But after I detan­gle, it will not clump again. I have a very tight­ly coiled curl pat­tern. — I can only style my hair when it… Read more »
Good arti­cle. I have black hair —  - Clumps when wet — I have a whole bunch of Curls, kinks and coils on my head — I love condish — there are only cer­tain ones my hair loves and I spice them up with oils to get the most slip. — Poo is ok — only poo when I think my hair real­ly needs it — I love gel — my go to style is a bun — so to slick those curlyceues down I use gel — I have to real­ly focus on how I detan­gle — because when my hair is ‘naked’, I see short… Read more »

My hair tan­gles if you just look at and it breaks so eas­i­ly I don’t no what to do any­more I’m trim­ming my hair every time I twist it I get balls of hair at the end when I wash it I was detan­gling with the con­di­tion­er and it breaks like crazy Fin­ger detan­gling helps a lit­tle but I still have to put a comb thru it which I hate because it breaks so bad what should I try next

The Natural Haven
The orig­i­nal title for this piece was ‘my rule book’. This is because every­one should have rules that they fol­low that allow their hair to be in the best con­di­tion pos­si­ble. Kalda I have to ask — Why do you have to put a comb through your hair if it breaks so bad­ly? My hair also detests combs and brush­es so I avoid them to stop my hair snap­ping. Do you real­ly real­ly real­ly have to use a comb? If you do, dur­ing what state does your hair break less — gen­tle dry comb­ing, gen­tle damp comb­ing, gen­tle con­di­tion­er comb­ing?… Read more »
This sound famil­iar (from my pri­or expe­ri­ence) A few ques­tions: How do you style your hair pri­or to detangling/ How long do you nor­mal­ly keep the style in? when you detan­gle is your hair wet, damp or dry? When detan­gling doe this balls com from the ends of hair, I assum­ing you detan­gle from end down to the root of course, If not let me know. When your hair is wet is it very stretchy? The diam­e­ter of your aver­age strand would you can fine lit­tle thick­er than spi­der web, thin, medi­um or thick? how long is the break­age around 6–8 mm (approx. 0.25… Read more »

Do note I do get balls after twist­ing still, but I start­ed check­ing them and real­ized they were shed hairs I find I tend to get them if I go beyond a week with twist and I only get the balls when wash­ing my hair and because light­ly fin­ger comb through the hair while wash­ing and con­di­tion­ing to reduce tan­gles and pre­vent new onces from form­ing.

i try not to touch my hair when it’s damp or soak­ing wet, its too weak to be stretched and manip­u­lat­ed and means i get the­se splits mid­shaft which even­tu­al­ly prop­a­gate to one mahooosive split,or a light sprin­kling of cir­cles of hair all around the house result­ing in a heavy trim of 1–1.5″. i wash con­di­tion dry mois­turise and seal it whilst my hair’s in what­ev­er style it was in before. once’s its dry i loosen the plaits or twists and re-style. min­i­mum break­age and effort because its still detan­gled and stretched already. this only changes when i wear loose… Read more »
I have this type of hair, and i find that one of the best ways to min­i­mize break­age is to detan­gle my hair care­ful­ly with fin­gers, comb and con­di­tion­er and twist it into sec­tions before wash­ing it.I try my best to not dis­turb the twists as i sham­poo and rin­se with warm water, pay­ing close atten­tion to my scalp, condition(still with­out dis­turbing the twists)and then apple cider rin­se. I blot my hair with a T-shirt, spritz with an oil or leave=in con­di­tion­er and then let air dry 90% before attempt­ing to do a style. Using this method i have clean… Read more »
I think I do have 4c hair, I am won­der­ing what the best way to trim it is and I also noticed I have a sub­stan­tial amount of hair shed­ding going on, its pret­ty annoy­ing and I don’t know how to stop it! I use Yes to Car­rots Sham­poo and Con­di­tion­er, some­times Gio­van­ni Tea Tree sham­poo for clar­i­fy­ing, and i use Shea Mois­ture Curl Enhanc­ing smooth­ie, I have defined curls when my hair is wet but it ulti­mate­ly frizzes out into a fro.… I’ll attach a pic­ture, i won­der how any­one with sim­i­lar hair treats their hair any advice or… Read more »
The Natural Haven

Actu­al­ly I trim by twist­ing hair and clip­ping the ends.

my hair detan­gles best in water alone. i tried to sec­tion it pri­or to wash­ing, to see if that made any dif­fer­ence, but if any­thing it only made my hair matt up top. my hair wash­es best free flow­ing. i think i’m in the 3’s range some­where. when it’s wet, i get clumpy curls/waves that stay that way even when dry until i run a comb through it. but that doesn’t mean that detan­gling is not a chore for me, still. it is, and that’s the part that i have to attack in sec­tions. so i allow my hair to… Read more »
The Natural Haven

You prob­a­bly are in the 3 range or your hair is a 4 and not very kinky. Water alone can be very dif­fi­cult for peo­ple with super shrink­age. It is very effec­tive how­ev­er for straight, wavy or looser curls. 

I like your answer because you described your hair and it is some­thing that all wom­en have to do — stick to what their hair does best.

Jo Somebody
My hair hates being naked and is quite choosy. How­ev­er, I def­i­nite­ly agree wash­ing in sec­tions is a life-saver!  My hair is short, so doesn’t stay in large twist or braids (espeial­ly as I like to leave the base loose for access to my scalp), so I loose­ly band each twist. I wash with the hair still in sec­tions and still band­ed, but I con­di­tion in unrav­elled sec­tions. I have to t-shirt dry my hair before apply­ing leave-in prod­ucts such as con­di­tion­ers and stylers due to being low poros­i­ty. I sim­ply wrap my hair in a t-shirt. Detan­gling I still… Read more »

see i always thought i was 4c, but my hair does have clumped curls. but when it dries it has a very afro-like appear­ance. i can manip­u­late it into twistouts and ban­tu knots that will last for days. i have very thin hair. i always had peo­ple tell me i have that prop­er: “nig­ger hair” even in salons. So i always assumed i was 4c? i dont think it mat­ters. i love my hair (most days) and oth­ers, eh i just deal with it! thanks for the arti­cle bglh.
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Coun­try peo­ple usu­al­ly say stuff like that; coun­try as in igno­rant. I wish some­body would, that’s not a com­pli­ment by the way…

Jo Somebody

Any­way, your hair looks beau­ti­ful, but it’s dif­fi­cult to deter­mine curl type when it is styled.

Jo Somebody

Well it wasn’t real­ly nec­es­sary to use that term here. We would have under­stood what you meant oth­er­wise.

Miss Enrika

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“I dream of healthy long thick strong beau­ti­ful man­age­able full of bounce sheen shiny rich lus­trous hair…growing from my scape!

I do the SAME exact thing man­go­mad­ness does! woo! hehe :D Except I use Yes To Car­rots to detangle/pre-poo, CURLS creamy curl cleanser to sham­poo, and Shea Mois­ture Curl Enhanc­ing Smooth­ie to style. Prod­ucts do mat­ter for me. Now I can style my hair when wet by ONLY using Shea Mois­ture Curl Enhanc­ing Smooth­ie. This pro­duct total­ly sur­passed my expec­ta­tions. It makes my (4b-4c) hair super soft and man­agable! Plus it smells good, lol. Before, I used the Shea Mois­ture Raw Shea But­ter Deep Treat­ment Mask to twist my hair, but I’d wait until my hair was almost dry in order… Read more »
my hair won’t hold most shapes for very long when soak­ing wet espe­cial­ly when it pre twist it. I tried clips but it seems once I add water the hair expands and the clips can’t prop­er­ly hold the hair sec­tions that it could when dry, I either have to increase the num­ber of clips or try braid­ing it and leav­ing it that way (if the hair will sub­mit) while doing the wash­ing process.  Down side with my clips is if I deep con­dion they don’t fit under the plas­tic cap. If do braids they don’t tend to hold espe­cial­ly when… Read more »

JC, this post is awe­some­sauce. I’ll have to book­mark it to help explain the­se things to oth­ers in the future.

The Natural Haven

lol I like that — awe­some­sauce


Thanks so much for this JC! Could elab­o­rate more on your wash­ing process? how do you apply sham­poo? How are you able to rin­se it out thor­ough­ly? I know wash­ing in braids or twist will real­ly help. I just need to find the best way to go about it.

The Natural Haven

I wash in loose braids leav­ing enough space to access my scalp. I also just spend extra time on rins­ing and use the sci­en­tific rule of 3. First rin­se to loosen the soap, Sec­ond rin­se to get rid of the soap and third rin­se to make sure. Try using a two min­ute timer for each rin­se. You would be sur­prised about how long 2 actu­al min­utes are com­pared to 2 esti­mat­ed min­utes

I think we are hair twins — I have that thick tight and coily or as my west indi­an rel­a­tives referred to it hard african hair. Water is the ene­my of my hair it shrinks from 10 inch­es to 1/4 inch if I let it, and it also cre­ates knots and impos­si­be tan­gles that no-one can remove. I tack­le it by try­ing to sec­tion it -this doesn’t always work as it unrav­els eas­i­ly when wet. Then I have to use either Hel­lo Hydra­tion (I love that stuff it has actu­al­ly saved me from cut­ting all my hair off — it… Read more »

Hard african hair? Real­ly??? ~swal­lows com­ment about crass and igno­rant gen­er­al­i­sa­tions…~

Coley Cole

OK, ladies,this may be a dumb ques­tion, but I am so con­fused by the wash­ing of the hair in sec­tions. So do you braid/twist hair in sec­tions then unloose, wash, rin­se, rebraid/retwist one sec­tion at a time OR do you keep all sec­tions braided/twisted then just wash and rin­se?


Good ques­tion! I usu­al­ly do sec­tions (twists or even just sec­tioned off with ouch­less bands) and keep the sec­tions in as I wash, con­cen­trat­ing on the scalp for sham­poo and hair for con­di­tion­er. Late­ly I’ve noticed buildup on my strands even after wash­ing. I use VERY few (if any) prod­ucts but I have a sensitive/flaky scalp. I wash once a week. I’ve been bet­ter served unrav­el­ing each large sec­tion as I wash and get­ting every­thing out of my hair. This worked well last time: To con­serve water, I wet my hair, then smoosh sham­poo into each sec­tion before show­er­ing. I… Read more »

Thanks! This helps so much.

fluffy in flight

I have to do what man­go­mad­ness say — my hair is very thick yes, so when i wash them in the twists they get real­ly tan­gled because it’s very very curly and I lose hair in the process. so i have to twist them in 3 or 4 sec­tions, then undo them wash and retwist. It’s just eas­ier that way and I do not lose as much hair.

Coley Cole



It depends. I keep all sec­tions twist­ed then just wash and rin­se. Some ladies braid/twist hair in sec­tions then unloose, wash, rin­se, re-braid/re-twist one sec­tion at a time. Exper­i­ment to see what works for you.

Coley Cole

Thanks, appre­ci­ate it.


THANK YOU for this because I have 4c hair and I need the­se tips! So thank you for this post!!! I love this site!! :)

When soak­ing wet, my hair coils up super tight­ly. My hair is ~11–12 inch­es long so I can­not afford to let it shrink up (too much break­age). I also can­not detan­gle when it is soak­ing wet (too much break­age). Here’s what I can do to cleanse, mois­tur­ize and style while min­i­miz­ing break­age and tan­gling… Den­tan­gling -sec­tion my dry, stretched hair into 12 parts -apply con­di­tion­er, fin­ger-detan­gle and put each detan­gled sec­tion in a twist  Sham­poo­ing -rin­se in twists while mas­sag­ing scalp, sham­poo scalp w/ dilut­ed sham­poo in an appli­ca­tor bot­tle Mois­tur­iz­ing & Styling -squeeze excess water out of twists with a black… Read more »
Natural girl
Thanks I’m going to try this. I loose 2 twists, detan­gle retwist condish&-comb, but it caused hair to began to wrap & tan­gle this last time can’t do that any­more. Last thing I start­ed was deep condish for mois­ture. After about 6+ hr detan­gle before I start­ed this process and a lot of pray­ing for patience I need a solu­tion. I heard pre-poo is not good I hope that’s not true I got to find anoth­er way. Now need solu­tion when I use clay mix­ture think I will wash in sec­tion. I know 1 pro­duct work great on tan­gles, but… Read more »

This step-by-step process is SOOO help­ful. Thanks! I will def­i­nite­ly be try­ing some­thing like this dur­ing my upcom­ing wash and detan­gle ses­sion.

OMGEEEE!! This makes such com­plete sense to me. I had Locs for 15 years. I cut half last August and combed the rest out. I’m now 8 months nat­u­ral and there is sooooooo much shed­ding. I haven’t col­ored my hair since July 2011 and I real­ly want one but I gonna tame the mane, if pos­si­ble. I DREAD when I have to wash my hair because of break­age and shed­ding. TONSSSSS of prod­ucts on the mar­ket and it doesn’t real­ly mat­ter. I believe it is my hair. When I had Locs I could go two months with­out wash­ing my hair.… Read more »

Man­go­mad­ness, how you get in my bath­room? this is my rou­tine too, LOL =) Took me sev­er­al years to fig­ure it out, but works like a dream!!!

nikki h

this looks like a great reg­i­men!
just to be clear though — you only use con­di­tion­er in the first step *then* you sham­poo?
do you add con­di­tion­er after­ward or is that just where the product/leave-in comes in?
do you ever deep con­di­tion? or is that based on how long you leave the con­di­tion­er in that you detan­gle and twist with.
hope this makes sense! just want­ed to get this as clear as pos­si­ble so I can try it! thanks!



Yes. I only use con­di­tion­er in the first step then I sham­poo.

No. I do not add con­di­tion­er after sham­poo­ing because I find it to be unnec­es­sary. Sham­poo­ing while focus­ing on my scalp (via a appli­ca­tor bot­tle) doesn’t strip the length or ends of my hair so I do not need con­di­tion­er to cor­rect for that. After sham­poo­ing and blot­ting out excess water I apply leave-in con­di­tion­er, style and seal.

I do not deep con­di­tion. I usu­al­ly let the con­di­tion­er I used to detan­gle sit under a plas­tic cap for 10–15 min­utes.

The best way to find the best prod­ucts for your hair is to try them all. That would be pttery expen­sive but go over to a friends house and use some of her stuff. See how it works, and just keep try­ing new things. Hair may work with prod­ucts from this com­pa­ny and not that com­pa­ny .it’s all tri­al and error. If I can sug­gest some­thing, I would sug­gest you try a hot oil treat­ment .for a cheap­er way to have great soft and silky hair with less frizzies, warm up some olive oil (reg­u­lar cook­ing stuff) in the microwave… Read more »

My reg­i­men is almost iden­ti­cal to yours Man­go­mad­ness except that I some­times use a comb after fin­ger detan­gling. My hair is now up to 17 inch­es in some areas so that’s plen­ty of proof to me that it works.


Hey, man­go­mad­ness great respon­se. I may have to adopt some of your meth­ods. Thanks hun!


My life got eas­ier when I start­ed sham­poo­ing using an appli­ca­tion bot­tle. I def­i­nite­ly have to detan­gle my hair first. What hap­pens in the show­er is just a ‘refresh­er’, and unless I want trou­ble twist­ing braid­ing after my hair has been washed is a must.


God bless you for this reply Man­go! You da best!


+1 Awe­some reg­i­men for us 4c’s — I use a sim­i­lar reg­i­men and my hair responds well. Great break­down!

Coley Cole

I just read your respon­se after I post­ed my ques­tion. haha. Thanks for the break­down.

Natural Newbie

The BEST break­down EVER! I will be try­ing the­se steps on my upcom­ing wash day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Sounds a lot like my hair.


Thanks for this JC! I am still work­ing out the best way to work with my hair when it comes to the wash­ing peri­od. So then may I ask then before your ful­ly drench­ing your hair for the sham­poo, you are using a dry-detan­gling method? Is this with an oil or a pre-poo mix? And are you fin­ger detan­gling?