Type 4 Hair is more commonly known as kinky or Afro hair. Although anyone can have their hair done in a curly or Afro style, black Americans tend to be born with it.
Being coily, type 4 hair is prone to developing tangles and frizz. It has 3 subtypes: 4A, 4B, and 4C.
Type 4A has dense, tight coils of hair. The hair stands make an S pattern. Having fewer cuticle layers, type 4A hair strands break more easily.
This subtype retains the most moisture out of all the 4’s. Because of this, thicker emollients like products with creams or butters are ideal for this type.
Type 4B carries Z-shaped angles that are not as defined as Type 4A coils. It creates a fluffy appearance.
This type of hair is drier and more brittle because the strands bend sharply. It can also shrink more than half of its original length.
To protect this fragile hair type, hairstyles that pull on the strands such as ponytails and curlers should be avoided. Moisturize and deep condition type 4B hair frequently.
Type 4C resembles s4B but is less defined. This type has delicate strands that would also require to be frequently moisturized.
A hair detangler is a product with ingredients that make hair easier to manage. It does this through several ways – by making the hair slippery by coating with a polymer (synthetic material), by increasing acidity to tighten up each hair strand, by softening the outer surfaces of the hair, and by creating a mildly positive electric charge that counteracts static and frizzy hair.
You will find all sorts of detanglers, but they usually have the same common ingredients: acidifiers, cationic surfactants (chemicals that bind to negatively charged hair molecules), hydrolyzed proteins that repair broken hair strands, oils that fill up the pores of damaged or dry hair, and silicone, which adds a glossy coat to the strands.
Herbal products have a natural ingredient called mucilage. It is a gelatin-like substance derived from plant seeds and roots. It weakens cohesion between hair strands and allows them to slide against each other freely. This makes it easier to separate them and remove shedding hair.
If you’re thinking of saving money, try making your own detangler with materials you already have at home. A simple way to detangle is to mix 3 tablespoons of hair conditioner with water in a 12-oz spray bottle. Spray this on your hair and comb it through until tangles are straightened out. It is best if you get a conditioner that is designed for Type 4 hair.
Want something organic? Try these:
Apple Cider Vinegar Detangler
Mix 2 cups of clean, lukewarm water with half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. After your regular shampoo, pour this over your hair. Use a bit of fragrant conditioner to mask the smell and to add smoothness. Rinse your hair thoroughly afterwards.
Olive Oil Detangling Shampoo
This shampoo makes use of 1 tbsp olive oil soap flakes (grate the soap to get the flakes), ½ cup water, and an essential oil or herbal extract of your choice.
Boil water in a pan. Reduce the heat and add the soap flakes to the water, stirring continuously until they have dissolved. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Stir in a few drops of the essential oil or herbal extract.
Lather the shampoo into your hair and leave on for 5 to 15 minutes. Rinse continuously with running water, making sure that you have removed any undissolved flakes.
Detangling Herbal Conditioner for Fine, Greasy Hair
Fine kinky hair is prone to becoming greasy because of the presence of more hair follicles that produce sebum. Using the following herbs will help reduce greasiness so the hair won’t clump together.
The ingredients are as follows:
- 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp dried chamomile flowers
- 1 tsp dried stinging nettle leaves
- 100 ml water
- 1 tbsp vinegar
Collect all the herbs in a bowl. Boil the water and then pour it on the herbs.
Pour the vinegar and let it infuse for about 10 – 15 minutes before straining the concoction through a sieve.
After shampooing, apply this herbal conditioner to your damp hair. Leave it on.
Detangling Shampoo for Dry Hair
Eggs will help nourish and detangle dry hair. It is best to use this formulation immediately to prevent it from spoiling.
For this, you will need 2 egg yolks, 1 egg white, 2 glasses of water, a teaspoon of honey, and the juice of one lemon.
Whisk the egg whites and fold in the egg yolks. Stir in the olive oil, honey, and lemon juice. Massage the mixture into your scalp until it thoroughly coats your hair. Leave for a few minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
Detangling Herbal Blend for Thin, Brittle Hair
Prepare the following:
- 1 tablespoon fruit vinegar
- 1 handful of fresh watercress leaves
- 500 ml water
Chop the watercress leaves and collect them in the bowl. Blend the water and vinegar in another bowl. Pour the liquid over the watercress. Allow the liquid to infuse overnight, then strain. After shampooing, pour it over your hair and then dry it.
There is a vast number of detangling recipes that could be made from household materials. For as long as you remember the basic ingredients of detanglers, you will always find a way to create an inexpensive alternative to commercial products. However, you must remember what worked and what didn’t, so it’s a good idea to keep a list of what you’ve already tried so far.
If you don’t want the trial and error, look for other recipes that have worked for other people. Blogs like this one will help you find one that’s suitable for your hair type more quickly.
If you have little time to experiment with other people’s formulas, consider using tried-and-tested products. There are many brands that cater to Type 4 hair, with some of them having names that clearly say that they are for the kinky-haired:
Kinky-Curly provides hair-care products for curly, kinky, and wavy hair. One of their products is Knot Today. It is a detangler and leave-on conditioner that manages knots and smoothens hair cuticles. Those with wavy hair can use it as a regular conditioner that is rinsed afterwards, but those who have thick and curly hair can use it as a leave-on. It is recommended for using after removing hair extensions and braid.
To use this, apply it throughout your hair with your hands or a comb. If you decide not to wash it out, run some water on your scalp so you will distribute it evenly.
Knot Today ingredients are natural and includes mango extracts, marshmallow root, slipper elm, lemongrass, citric acid, behetrimonium methosulfate (BTMS), and phenoxyethanol.
BTMS is created from rapeseed oil. It is considered as one of the most effective substances that can detangle hair. It can penetrate the hair shaft, so the hair becomes manageable from the root towards the ends. Phenoxyethanol is an FDA-approved preservative used for hair and cosmetic products.
This product detangles and controls Type4 hair frizz with the use of shea oil, coconut oil, and coconut milk. It’s novel ingredient acacia Senegal serves as the detangler and frizz preventer. Manufacturers promise that their product will leave your hair smelling like a coconut breeze.
To use, spray the product generously on damp hair. Focus on applying it to the middle down to the ends of your hair so it won’t feel oily on your scalp. Dry it naturally or use a blow dryer.
Although this product has positive reviews, take note that some may be allergic to its organic ingredients. It warns users to discontinue usage if signs of irritation occur, such as itchiness, redness, swelling, and the like.
Curl Immersion Triple Treat Deep Conditioner is a formula that claims to restore curls in as little as 2 minutes. It has a rich formulation that softens and moisturizes hair without weighing it down. It penetrates the hair cuticle and keeps moisture within it. The active substance is grapeseed oil.
TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING YOUR DETANGLER
You will find different kinds of detanglers – leave-on sprays, deep conditioners, shampoos, creams, hydrating masks, and so on. These are some things to consider when choosing:
Ingredients – Do you prefer organic hair products? Be warned that herbal products will tend to have synthetic ingredients mixed in. What’s important is that you check whether a product contains something that you’re allergic to or not. Remember that something is not completely safe even if it claims to be all-natural.
Method of Application – Would you like to rinse it out or leave it on? Thicker hair can handle leave-ons, but if your hair is fine, you need to wash it, so it won’t turn into grease. Also, consider how much time you have. There are those that can be applied quickly, while others have special instructions like putting it on and then rinsing it off several times. Before buying anything, read the instructions first.
Reviews – What are the other customers’ experiences? Since you have Type 4 hair, it’s a good idea to go into forums that are dedicated for Afro-haired individuals. Although you can read product reviews, forums allow you to chat and ask questions.
Budget – Detanglers can cost a few dollars to hundreds depending on the brand. Think about how much you are willing to spend for something that you can probably get in inexpensive ways.
Time Available - As mentioned, you can make a detangler out of relatively cheap supplies, but it will cost you time to prepare. Is a DIY detangler worth losing time over? How often will you use it? If your hair gets tangled up often, consider buying in bulk or making a lot of the solution.
Detanglers are available for type 1 - 4. If you have Type 4 hair, it is best if you find detanglers that are suited for your hair type. What will work for type 1 may not work for you because of the unique qualities of your hair.
If you’re not sure about what to buy, consider buying a product from a hair salon. You could also find one online. Specify that you want a detangler for Type 4.
Of course, you will need less detanglers if you handle your hair carefully. Don’t forget to moisturize your hair whenever you notice it drying out. Try getting a hot oil treatment every few months so you don’t have to apply moisturizers every now and then. Dry hair is prone to breakage and unruly hair strands.
Try not to wash your hair loose but braid it instead. This will keep the curls intact and prevent them from tangling up with each other.
Avoid styles that stretch your hair especially if your hair is vulnerable to shrinkage. If your hair is the type that becomes shorter than it really is, it is likely to be more affected by being pulled. Hairstyles to skip are tight ponytails and curled up sets.
Do not wet a knot in your hair because it will just get harder to untie. Apply butter or oil to it instead. Gradually pull the individual strands until you undo the knot. Use a blunt item for this, such as a pencil or the end of a long-tailed comb.
In summary, detangling Type 4 Hair involves understanding it and addressing its unique challenges. You can make detanglers on your own but involves time and some risk. If you want convenience, buy products that are created specifically for your hair type and choose products that have earned a good reputation. Research not only by reading the reviews, but by asking around and participating in forums that are dedicated for Hair Type 4. More importantly, learn how to take care of your hair better so you won’t have to rely on detanglers so often.