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  • Writer's pictureAzé

How to Actually Take Care of 4C Hair Pt. 1: Detangling Severely Dry, Matted Natural Hair for Extreme Growth

Updated: Feb 16

Hey Lovely and welcome to the How to Take Care of 4C Hair Series where Sierra and I teach you all you need to know on caring for your naturally kinky and coily hair texture. 

This series is very important to us because relaxers, texturizers and learning to hate our texture as it grows naturally is BACK

From heat-trained natural hair (which is nothing but heat damage re-packaged)— to the “I-don’t-have-time-to-not-enjoy-my-natural-hair-so-I’m-going-to-relax-it” mantra ex-natural hair community members are endlessly repeating to coax themselves into believing the irreparable damage they’re causing to their natural hair is OK, natural hair culture is moving backward into self-hate; and just like with anything in pop culture, these messages spread en-masse, and permeate the minds, behaviors and beliefs of practically anyone who isn’t educated enough to refute it. 

And as a community, we can’t afford to continue believing relaxers are ok, that our natural hair is too hard to manage, too difficult to understand and isn’t pretty enough to put the effort into it that it requires. Do you know how many black women have cancer, fibroids, ovarian and uterine dysfunction and hormonal issues due to relaxers? So many that there is a class-action lawsuit happening right now on this very fact

Do we hate ourselves so much we’re willing to risk contracting cancer and ovarian disorders? 

Our natural hair is beautiful, is classy, is worth the effort, and we as black people do not have to adopt the features, textures or even skin tones of other races to be beautiful. 

We are naturally beautiful, because our beauty is natural. Period. 

And to top it all off, our natural hair maintenance is not nearly as difficult as we’ve been taught to believe. I grew my hair to my hips with 3 products and 1 style, and styling has been a breeze because I found a way make detangling coarse, dry, matted and loc’d up 4C hair easy, which is exactly the topic of today’s post.

I wanted to begin with the most difficult aspect of maintaining 4C hair, because once you get this down, everything else becomes 1 MILLION times easier. I mean think about, out of all the times you wanted to give up on your natural hair, it was when you were de-tangling, wasn’t it? Exactly. 

So, here’s the tea on how to make de-tangling quick, easy and nearly pain-free.

How to De-Tangle Severely Matted, Dry, Loc’d, Thick 4C Natural Hair


  • Hot water from the faucet. NOT BOILING HOT

  • A spray bottle

  • Conditioner of your choice with a lot of slip. I use the Cédaje Naturals 2-1 Leave-in-Conditioner and Styling Gel.

  • Fingers or a super wide tooth comb. I use my fingers. 

  • Oil (opt. if you’re using the Cédaje Naturals 2-1 product you don’t need oil 😉 )

Step 1: Spray and Section

Before you do any combing, sectioning or parting, grab your spray bottle, fill it with hot water from your faucet—the water should be very warm but not too hot to the point where you can’t touch it—, and spray the hair well. Do not be afraid to really soak your hair. 

The warm water is going to begin softening the hair and making it more manageable. 

Throughout this process, your hair should never be dry. Detangling on dry hair is going to cost you comfort, time, ease and, well, hair. 

Now begin sectioning your hair. The parts don’t matter and therefore do not need to be perfect. In fact, aiming for perfectly straight parts right now will do more harm than good.

If your 4C hair is matted and severely dry, there’s a chance locs are forming at your scalp. So if you take a comb and drag it over the scalp with the purpose of trying to get a clean part, that is going to huurrrttt. Don’t. Do.That.

Instead, take your fingers and begin separating chunks of hair from each other. Follow your hair’s lead and part where your hair is naturally separating. Keep doing that until you get to a section that is small enough for you to detangle. 

Do this for every section of hair. If your hair is dry, refill your spray bottle with hot water, and re-soak your hair. 

Step 2: De-tangling

Once you have your section, grab your spray bottle with hot water and thoroughly wet the section. Work the water into the section with your hands, like you’re applying a moisturizer. With this maneuver, you should begin to see shed hair coming out of the section. This is a great sign that the tangles are coming undone. Repeat this step until you no longer see shed hair coming from the section, or it’s significantly less than when you first started. 

Next, grab your conditioner and apply a generous amount of it to the section. Work the conditioner in, from ends to root. Now you can begin officially detangling your hair.

Whether you’re using your fingers or a comb, gently begin combing out the tangles, starting from the ends and working your way up to the root. 

For me, I prefer to use what I call the pull-apart method first, before I begin combing through my hair. The pull-apart method is simple. I pull the section taut, with my hands on my ends, and I pull my hair apart from itself, eliminating hard tangles. 

Think of when you see braiders separating braiding hair for box braids. I do the exact same thing, except I don’t separate from the top of the section —because that would hurt— instead, I separate from the middle and the bottom of the section. 

Once I detangle with this method, I then begin combing through the section with my fingers. At this point my hair is very soft, moisturized, has a lot of slip and very little tangles to get out. So combing through it becomes a breeze.

The only tangles that are left are the ones at my root, which are much easier to get out because the rest of the section is detangled. 

Now, I’m not gonna lie…these tangles still hurt a bit to detangle, but because the rest of the process was pain-free, I can deal with a little discomfort from having to detangle literal locs forming on my scalp. For these tangles, I wet my hair with the warm water, apply conditioner, use the pull-apart method, and then comb through them. 

With my tailbone-length, coarse, thick, very dry, matted 4C hair, each section took me about ten minutes to detangle. And for me, that’s pretty quick, especially with the state my hair was in. 

On a regular detangling day, where I probably left my hair out for 1-2 weeks, I get my hair detangled even quicker than this, in under an hour on a good day. But I left my hair out for 6. WHOLE. WEEKS

No scarf. No moisturizing. No protection against the winter weather when I would run errands. Yeah, I know. I was wylin. But, that’s life, and I wanted to show you all that even when your hair is in its worst state, it still doesn’t take much to get her back right. 

So on the days when your hair has just been left out overnight, for a few days or even 6+ weeks, and you need to re-moisturize and style, with this method, you can get your hair done super quickly, easily and (almost) pain-free. 

Love you lovelies! Hope you enjoyed this blog. If you’re more of a visual learner you can check out the video version of this post here. Also, here’s the link to the conditioner I use. Make sure to get yours before the shop closes Feb. 29, 2024. 

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