When it comes to 4c hair, the detangling process can be a pain. Fortunately, you can cut down on the time it takes to detangle your hair with a little help.

What is 4c Hair?

In an effort to promote his hair products, celebrity hair stylist Andre Walker debuted his hair typing system on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” back in the 90s. The system separates hair types into four categories: (1) straight, (2) wavy, (3) curly, and (4) coily, including three subcategories for each.

4c hair falls into the very last category. But when it comes to hair, last certainly does not mean least. Instead, it’s one of the most unique hair types in the world. It’s classified by its distinctive, tight and coarse curl pattern. Plus, 4c hair strands contain a lot of natural volume so it’s often thicker and fuller than other beautiful hair types.

The Stigma Surrounding It

4c hair often gets a bad rep. Many in the Black community consider it difficult to manage, with some even calling it ugly. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. All kinky textures are beautiful. And with a little TLC, women with 4c hair can grow healthy, long locks just like everyone else.

How To Cut Down on Detangling Time For 4c Hair

Many Black women find the detangling process challenging because kinkier textures have a tendency to tangle pretty easily. And let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than when your strands start to do the tango. But fortunately, you can make the process easier AND faster with some helpful tools and techniques. Here’s how to cut down on detangling time for 4c hair:

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Start From the Bottom Up

A lot of Black women become frustrated with their 4c hair when it’s time to start the detangling process. And we get it, kinkier hair textures tend to have minds of their own.

A black wide-tooth comb
Photo Credit: Pattern Beauty

But sometimes, the problem lies with your tools and technique. To start the detangling process, you should first have the appropriate tools. Instead of using a fine-tooth or rat tail comb, grab a wide-tooth comb like this one from Black-owned company, Pattern Beauty.

Because your roots are thicker and more prone to tangling, avoid starting the detangling process at your scalp. Instead, start at the ends of your hair, using the comb to work your way upwards.

Use a Deep Conditioner

A hand holding a jar of deep conditioning hair cream
Photo Credit: SHVETS production via Pexels

Deep conditioners are a godsend for women with 4c hair. They contain humectants and exfoliants, which help pull moisture from the air and into your strands. As a result, your hair should feel softer and more moisturized. And the best part? It’s WAY easier to detangle.

There are a number of deep conditioners on the market, from deep conditioning masks to sprays. This can make shopping for one feel daunting. Fortunately, there are many Black-owned companies that create hair products with formulas designed for kinkier hair textures.

Our pick: The “Miracle RepaiRx Deep Hydrating Hair Masque” from Black-owned hair care company, TGIN.

Section the Hair

For the many lucky women, their 4c hair is full and thick. And while this makes for beautiful hairstyles, caring for a full head of hair isn’t quite as pretty. To cut down on detangling time for 4c hair, here’s how to break it down — literally.

Try parting your 4c hair into 4-6 sections. It’s easier to detangle smaller sections of hair instead of combing through a lot of hair all at once.

If part of your styling process includes detangling, you might want to create clean parts. To do this, use a fine-tooth or rat tail comb to section the hair, then move on to a wide-tooth comb to start detangling it.

Try a Steamer

Steam rising against a black background
Photo Credit: Olha Ruskykh via Pexels

You might have visited a hair salon that uses steamers following a shampoo and conditioning treatment. Hair steamers are great for 4c hair because they open the hair cuticle, allowing moisture to enter. And what you’re left with is super soft, manageable hair.

But you don’t have to schedule an appointment at your local salon to get the experience. There are many hair and beauty supply stores that sell hair steamers to the public for at-home use.

But if you don’t have a hair steamer but need one in a pinch, don’t worry! You can create a similar effect with a few items that you probably already have at home.

Start by covering your hair in a plastic cap. Then, wrap a damp, hot towel around the plastic cap before applying another plastic cap on top. The heat from the hot towel will lift your cuticles to penetrate your strands just like a hair steamer.

Our pick: The “Q-Redew Handheld Hair Steamer” from hair care company Q-Redew.

Make Sure It’s Damp

A spray bottle filled with water sitting on a ledge
Photo Credit: cottonbro via Pexels

One of the main reasons why some Black women have a hard time detangling their 4c hair is a lack of moisture. Contrary to popular belief, Black hair LOVES water. Not only is water good for your physical health, but it’s just as good for your hair’s health, too.

To start, fill a spray bottle with water. For better results, you can add a small amount of your favorite leave-conditioner as well. This “Lemongrass Leave-in Conditioner” from Alikay Naturals is made with all-natural essential oils and other nourishing ingredients — perfect for the job.


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Then, after sectioning your hair, spritz it with the water until it’s nice an damp (not soaking wet). You should be able to work your way through your hair MUCH easier. Plus, the nutrients from the leave-in conditioner should leave you with softer, yet stronger hair.