QOTW: General Upkeep of Type4 Hair

This week’s question comes from SC reader Ms. D McGee about some general tips for her type4 hair:


I am just 5 months into my transitional from relaxed to natural and I refuse to do the big chop. I am currently using the Chi iron to straighten my hair about every two weeks or week and half.  I have about I guess 2 inches of new growth and my natural texture is tight curls from what I can tell.  I have a “good grade” of hair and I was only getting a perm about every two months, but I could have went longer.

I was wondering if you had any tips on ways to style my hair and just the general upkeep of my hair. I saw the twist out and figured I would try it. Also what shampoos and conditioners do you suggest?  I heard that Aveda is good. Should I be doing a hot oil treatment in my hair? What is your opinion of sew-ins to help with the process? Should I not be using the Chi on my hair so often? Have you heard of Curls’ Transitioning Diva Kit?

I know this is a lot of questions. I am excited and frustrated all at the same time and I really want to do this. I thank you advance for answering my questions.


Ms. D. McGee

Thanks for the questions Ms. D and I too am excited about your decision to embark on this journey! Try your best not to get frustrated hunny, for I know that at this stage it can be really hard.   This is a very challenging time for you, as you are fresh into your transition stage.  That being said, this is also the perfect time for you to try some new styles out and have a fun until you decided to rid yourself of the remaining permed hair.  As always, I look for the SC family to weigh in on their thoughts, but I will do my best to give my suggestions/recommendations on some possible tips to help maintain your hair.

First and foremost, we ALL have a “good grade” of hair.  We may have different ways of maintaining our hair (some of us may have to practice more patience than others), but in the end we all have this thing called GOOD HAIR.

In my last post on how to Moisturize your TWA, I mentioned many products to consider (online ordering versus around the corner), but also a list of ingredients to either look for OR run away.  You have to keep in mind that everyone’s hair is different so you definitely want to listen to YOU hair and determine your needs from there.  In my opinion, the products you use make all the difference in achieving the “styles” you seek.  Before trying anything, I highly suggest you take a hard look at the shampoo’s, conditioners, styling aids, etc and determine if they are still considered “good” for your hair (in its current state).

Products to Consider:

To be more specific, while I was transitioning I FAITHFULLY used Karen’s Body Beautiful (KBB).  Not only does her products work for those who are natural, but also for those who regularly straighten their hair.  Her products are reasonably priced AND remember a little goes a long way.  For more convenient items found in your neighborhood beauty supply, Pantene for African American Hair line is real good one especially if transitioning. While some of the ingredients mentioned in my last post is prevalent on their ingredient list, this is a line I used that works well for my 4A/B hair.  Again, you have to decide what ingredients you do or don’t want in your hair products, but as a newer natural, this line can be your life line.

Weekly/Monthly treatments:

YES, YES and oh did I mention YES!!!  You should definitely be utilizing the hot oil treatment technique at least once a month while transitioning. These treatments will not only help to keep the two hair textures in check, but also will add moisture and repair the strands as your new natural hair continues to grow out.  Also, I noticed my hair was a lot thicker because of this technique, than when I was perming it out (lol).  To this day, I still treat my coils to a hot oil treatment monthly as part of my current regimen.  You can use just about any natural oil to accomplish this (refer to linked post above for my suggestions).  My hot pick (and of course my staple) is shea butter, with a hint of coconut oil.

Also, I highly suggest a weekly deep treatment (DT) for your hair, with a good moisturizing product.  Again, this will help keep your type 4 hair soft and manageable while transitioning.   I used (and still do) LeKair’s Cholestorol….an oldie but goodie!  I purposely look for deep treatment products that aid in dry brittle or damaged hair.  This is not due to my coils being this way, BUT I can feel confident that I’m getting all the necessary ingredients for soft and shiny hair.

Styling options:

Well of course I am a fan of the dry twist.  I did this A LOT while transitioning. The only thing to remember is that you want to limit the amount of heat applied to the hair.  Straightening is an option, but I prefer to keep the heat to a minimum; so doing this often was not my choice.  With that being said, I know many naturalistas who utilized the blow out/straightening iron technique while transitioning (and actually still do).  I also utilize the sew in weave style at least once during my transitioning phase.  This is a great way to give your hair a break AND also protect the new growth as your natural coils continues to grow out.  The only catch (depending on the type of sew in you get), you will need to be mindful of the amount of heat you are putting on your hair (to achieve and keep the sew in style).  The more heat you use, the likely hood of you altering your hair texture increases (which in fact is possible when applying regular heat to your coils).

Other styles you may consider include, but are not limited to: braids, twist out sets, roller sets, straw sets, finger or comb twist…the list goes on and on.  I would highly suggest purchasing a natural hair book to assist with really all your questions (click here to see my top picks).  Remember its also about trial and error when determining what styles to attempt!  The only way to learn new styles or what products not to use is by trying new things. Personally, the transition phase was an exciting time for me for I was slowly watching my REAL hair grow out and I got creative on how to style my hair.  It encouraged me to keep going with the transition process, AND to also learn more about my God given texture.

Well that is all I can think of right now!  Again, I am giving my account from what I learned AND experience while transitioning over a year ago.  My transition phase was not long, but in that time, the above is what I did to get threw it.  Know that you are constantly learning new things about your hair, styling, etc.  I learn something new literally every time I cleanse my hair…lol…but again that is me.  Hope this helps you and remember to be patience and love your natural!

The orAKAle has spoken…..


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