tori type 4 natural hair copy

by Tori (pictured above)

When I started my natural hair journey, I didn’t have specific hair length goals. My goal was to focus on healthy hair and the length came over time. I watched several YouTube videos and visited several blogs, from which I learned a ton of information on caring for my hair. However, there are a couple things that I have learned about having long type 4 hair that I wish I saw a video or blog post about. A “things to expect with long type 4 hair” video would have been nice. So, if you are thinking about growing out your natural (type 4) hair, here are some things you can look forward to:

1. Single Strand Knots

Coily hair likes to curl around itself, creating single strand knots. Well, if you are already experiencing a lot of single strand knots, just know that these little knots don’t go away the longer your hair gets. In fact, they can sometimes increase in number. The best (and easiest) way to get rid of these knots is to cut them off. I try to minimize knots by keeping my hair stretched, but even then I just cannot get rid of them completely. Don’t stress yourself out too much about single strand knots. A knot or two will not stop you from reaching your hair goals.

2. More Hair Products

The longer your hair gets, the more products you will need to care for your hair, especially, if you tend to be heavy-handed with products like I am. For example, a 16oz store-bought conditioner would probably only last me through 3 washdays (maybe 4 if I’m lucky). It will also require more moisturizer, more cleansers, more oils, etc. This could wreak havoc on your budget. However, there are ways around it. Look for cheaper options that will provide similar results. Then, save your more expensive products for when you want to treat your hair to a little luxury. I keep my more expensive products stowed away for days when I want to give my hair a special treat. You can also opt for homemade concoctions from things such as shea butter, clays, oils, etc. The ingredients may seem pricier initially, but your homemade concoctions and batters will last longer than most store-bought products. For instance, I’ve had a one-pound bag of rhassoul clay (great for making a hair cleanser) for almost a year.

3. More Trims

The oldest part of your hair is your ends. The longer your hair gets the more susceptible you are to breakage, and damage to your ends from styling and your ends rubbing against your clothes. Of course, you want to wear your hair out to enjoy your length, but you also don’t want to suffer extensive damage to the older, more fragile part of your hair. I keep my ends protected whenever possible and get trims when needed to keep my hair healthy. I usually about 3-4 times per year.

4. You Learn Time-saving Tricks

Longer natural hair can increase hair care time. Once upon a time, it took me close to five hours to do my hair on a regular washday. But, you learn quickly that having an all day washday routine is just not practical. You develop methods that help to make cleansing and styling your hair quicker and easier. Over time, I’ve found ways to decrease my washday time from almost all day to less than 2 hours.

5. Hair Love

The most important thing I have learned the longer my hair gets is how to embrace the natural me. If you think you love your hair now, wait until you spend more time with it. You’ll develop a bond, even giving it a nickname because you get that close. Lol. This may sound corny, but no one told me that I would love my hair more, the longer I was on my hair journey. I have found that I do and you will too.

What are some things you’ve learned while on your natural hair journey? What do you wish you knew before reaching your current hair goal?

About Tori: I’m Tori, a Jamaican-born natural currently living in Texas. I was reunited with my natural texture in January 2012 when I big chopped, after transitioning for a year and a half. I am still learning about my natural hair, and hope to share the knowledge and experiences I gain as I continue on my natural hair journey. You can find me on Instagram @bonafidestyle.

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22 Comments on "What to Expect with Long Type 4 Natural Hair"

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Harlee Jo

Some in the black community are obsessed with hair length. Why is that?

tia
Persistance, my hair was the same length for twelve years. I reached out to the natural hair community and one person explained that hair is always growing…which is very true. Just think, we have to cut our nails and toe nails…if we didn’t…yuck. She explained that my hair was literally breaking off at the same rate that it was growing. She was absolutely right. I view long hair not as just growing, but the focus must be on LENGTH RETENTION. Research how to retain length, trust me. I cut off all my hair after getting this news. I was a… Read more »
Dee

1. Products aren’t as important as they were in the beginning
2. Keep it simple
3. Hair typing is less important
4. You care less

Silver

I would love to have hair like that. It took years? What exactly did you do?

silver soul

this comment I made was 10 months ago, according to the date up there, in that time, I may have grown an inch of length. How is everyone else doing on their journey?

TWA

Hi I am currently rocking a TWA and I am encouraged by such post especially for my 4C type, I didn’t think it can grow this thick and long.

Mia

Omg! Your hair is beautiful!

ImpeccableWoman

Tori, Woman, BEAUTIFUL HAIR!!! And all that in just to years? Keep up the self love 🙂

Dee*

Longer, messier, ubiquitous-er shed hair :\

vive

Tori had beautiful thick relaxed hair and she has gorgeous and even thicker natural hair. Along with her tips.. I definitely think genes play a HUGE role in achieving hair goals.

LBell
All of the above…My chosen style (which I call the coily ‘fro but could be termed a stretched WNG) isn’t the best choice for retaining length on my fine mostly-4b strands but it takes the least amount of time, looks great on me (and helps take away the years), and allows me to enjoy the bigness of my hair. And yes, I know I could wear a coily wig over cornrows but no man-made creation can duplicate what God and nature gave me. 🙂 When I chose this as my primary style I also put myself on a religious trimming… Read more »
Darlyn

My hair shero, I love Tori’s hair!

Dee

My hair already has a nickname ” Thunda” and we are the best of friends. She’s in her TWA stage now, but that was her name when she was big and bold and B.R. (Before Rihanna). I’m also somewhere between a 3c/4a and I know this article will help guide me as my hair gets longer. Thank you for the info!

cinn

Lovely hair! More power to you… I don’t know if I can take it that long but I am working hard to make it healthy.

Persistence

So what did you do to see length in such a short space of time? Please share your regimen because I am 8+ years natural and my hair is ear length. Please share thanks…

natssha

I notice you said your hair is ear length after u have been natural for a while. Have you tried taking hair vitamins or prenatal vitamins.and drinking a lot of HBO daily. U can take prenatal vitamins even when you are not pregnant. You will see an inch every month. Also check your health. Sometimes no hair growth has to do what is going on in the body. Maybe you have hyperthyroidism and you do not know.

silkynaps
Ooo weee…truth! My hair isn’t even that long and I use a ton of product. I finger detangle; so, I need my hair slathered in conditioner. I section my hair, apply product and clip it up to allow it to “soak” in. As I start handling sections, I’ve recently begun training myself to spray with water vs. adding more product when I need more slip. I’ve also just learn to love my tiny curls the way they are. Tiny. Sometimes frizzy. Pretty much never elongated (unless you count natural growth). Eliminating stylers from my routine saves me $30 because Kinky-Curly… Read more »
Tisha
Yes Yes YES!!! Single Strand Knots….. It’s like I have a Subscription! “Oh look she’s going to do her hair. Make sure to deliver her Dozen & since she’s SUCH a Good Customer throw in a couple of extra!” And Hair Products :'( I have Porous hair so 16 oz Condish only 1 and a half washes!! Boo hoo, sniff, sadness and tears!! AND Yes! Someone understands Hair Treats!!!! I talk to people who can for instance stand under a shower head and have wet hair in like 15 seconds instead of 5 LONG MINUTES!!!(and you would think the really… Read more »
Caray

Time saving & Knots are my biggest issues. I have only been natural 14 months but I have 13 inches of hair. No amount of stretching or moisturizing eliminates knots. But, I have been experimenting with more styles. All summer have been rocking small twist…a lifesaver!

Puff

I agree with all of this list especially the wash day part. I’m thinking about cutting out my shampoo and just ACV rinsing and using my clay mask to cut down on time and avoid stripping my hair.

I still struggle with knowing when to trim. I have a terrible habit of pulling out single strand knots. I’ve noticed keeping hair moisturized and sealed (I use a shea whip) at all times really helps.

Annnsow

-> You Learn Time-saving Tricks

Truth!

I would love to have a natural guru or someone that teaches me about what to do with/can I expect regarding my long and thick 4C natural hair because now that my 4c hair are really long and quite healthy, I noticed they get thicker to the point it’s not possible for me to do a ponytail, and I didn’t expect that. So yeah.

Tiffani

You should give it a shot. Fill that gap by sharing your personal journey; it will encourage others to share some of their challenges and triumphs as well. Great article.

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