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How I Keep My Ends from Tangling, Knotting and Breaking (4C Hair)

Avatar • May 8, 2015

chi ends 2

chi ends 1

You see, while some naturals make major hair care mistakes and then learn, my experience was quite different.  I went into my natural journey prepared with all the tools (e.g., information from hair care forums, fotki albums, and veteran naturals) I needed to retain length.  I retained that length and ultimately hit my goal.  Then I threw almost everything I learned out of the window so that I could have more fun with my hair.  Now, I am back to my tried and true practices and on my second journey to healthy, growing hair — including my ends.

Last year, I wanted to play more with my longer hair. I left my strands loose majority of the time in the form of braid-outs. I colored and bleached and colored my hair again. I manipulated my hair weekly, which included braiding and comb detangling.  I cut here and there to remove knots, tangles, and split ends. By the beginning of 2015, my hair had lost so much length that it was no longer touching my waist. It was now at my armpit.  Losing that length was not a revelation, but rather, confirmation of what my hair needs best.

My hair, especially my ends, thrive when they are stretched and bound in the form of twists or braids.  Shrinkage is the biggest contributor to my hair’s propensity to tangle, knot, and break.  (Just check out my photo in 10 Pictures of Natural Hair Shrinkage that Will Blow Your Mind.) Thus, why stretching and protective styling work for me.  Another property of my hair that contributes to its inclination to break is coarseness; my strands are mostly medium, and those strands fair fine.  However, the fine regions in the back of my head need no-to-low manipulation in order to stay strong.

Additionally, I do have a few must-have products to reduce tangling, knotting, and breakage of my ends.  For one, a thick moisturizing conditioner that contains keratin is a must.  My favorites are Aphogee 2‑Minute Keratin Reconstructor, Renpuré Originals Brazilian Keratin Conditioner, and OGX (formerly Organix) Brazilian Keratin Therapy Conditioner. (These are not to be confused with the BKT.)  For two, my ends cannot do without shea butter mixed with oils (grapeseed, avocado, coconut, olive).  Also, moisture is key to keeping my ends pliable, but too much of it can mean shrinkage and tangling of my ends.  Moisturizing my strands once a week and keeping wash days to a minimum work well for me.  Lastly, at the bare minimum, you will find me sleeping on a satin pillowcase if I’m not wearing a bonnet or scarf.

Ladies, how do you keep your ends in good shape?

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About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more! http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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Kaila P
Kaila P
5 years ago

People always give me flack for washing my hair every 4–6 weeks but honestly washing ym hair so often just cause it causes my hair to be dry. washing it at those intervals works well for me.

more
more
5 years ago
Reply to  Kaila P

That’s why its’ called do what works for you

kalexa1
kalexa1
5 years ago
Reply to  Kaila P

Glad to see someone out there admit to 4–6 weeks! It was always my guilty secret but yes, I realise whenever I can leave it alone, it works well enough. 🙂 Thanks for posting that.

Sally Dee
Sally Dee
5 years ago

This is what I hate about my natural hair now though — not being able to ENJOY it, always having the same hairstyle of twists and braids. I’m now at waist length but the only time I can say I’ve truly liked my hair was when I did a blow out and it was huge long and wonderful. That lasted about a week but now back to the usual. Surely there must be a way to enjoy my length and huge hair without breakage? I can’t see the point of long hair which is always packed away. I’m truly only… Read more »

lolagag cha
lolagag cha
5 years ago
Reply to  Sally Dee

Dude there are lots of who wear there hair out while maintaining to length e.g ayacale, christine amor recent style icon I forget her name but huge afro. There is a difference in maintaining out natural hair. Shaping, regular trims. It isn’t talked about much but us out naturals are here.
Maybe you just want looser hair and are in denial.

JenniD
JenniD
5 years ago
Reply to  lolagag cha

This is true. You don’t have to end up in protective style purgatory if you don’t want to. It is about shape and trims but also not obsessing about switching it up so much. Tex-laxing hair still needs low manipulation too. Most tex-laxed women pretty much follow the same routines as natural hair.

aj
aj
5 years ago
Reply to  Sally Dee

I am right there with you on the texlaxing or texturizer. My only fear is the unpredictability of the chemical process–will my hair straighten over time? My hair DOES need to be stretched to avoid breakage, ssk, etc. so for now, I plan on flat ironing my hair 1/month. At least I can enjoy straight hair w/out the chemicals. Good luck!

Tasha
Tasha
5 years ago
Reply to  Sally Dee

Wear your hair out then. Like someone said there are plenty of naturals who wear it free and retain length…just gotta figure out how to make it work for you

LBell
LBell
5 years ago
Reply to  Sally Dee

I came to the decision some years back that I’d rather wear my hair loose and see slower length retention than wear it in protective styles 24/7/365. The key thing here is, as Tasha said, figuring out how to make it work, and if I wasn’t going to stay in the TWA indefinitely, I was going to have to do some research. For me, “making it work” means wearing what I call the coily ‘fro pretty much exclusively. (I still struggle to call it a WNG because the only time I’ve ever had true WNG hair was when it was… Read more »

Dorcas
Dorcas
5 years ago

Wow Sally. That is what makes me so apprehensive about my hair too. I am now at 9 inches at the front and 7 inches at the back, but because my hair is so coarse, I cannot mositurize it and wear it out; it will form knots. Over the past week, i wore my hair out and lost almost half an inch. It seems us 4C or type 4 naturals do not have alot of choices. Regardless, I want long hair and if protective styling is what will get me there, so be it. I suggest you find interesting ways… Read more »

Bigantic
Bigantic
5 years ago

There are natural youtubers and bloggers who will wear their hair in a loose style or a stretched or shrunken afro regularly and rarely protective style.

I wanted to do the same especially because I felt prettier with bigger hair instead of buns or updos. However, when my ends arent tucked, they dry out tangle then break.

These girls must be living in areas with no harsh drying weather ever to have their hair in a flawless afro so often.

Jones
Jones
5 years ago

these people call everything 4C hair.

curly 3C long hair
curly 3C long hair
4 years ago
Reply to  Jones

lol

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