Here’s How to Grow 4C Hair, According to Natural Hair Experts

On the mission to grow out your natural 4C hair, you’ve been following the biggest YouTube vloggers, trying out new protective styles and investing in the most popular hair care products. But many dollars and a dozen tutorials later, it seems like your coils have barely grown an inch. What went wrong? 

We consulted natural hair experts Dawn Myers, founder of Richualist, Starr Mason, field education leader at Hair Cuttery Family of Brands and Alexis Flagler, founder of TruRestoration's Hair Growth & Maintenance System, for some helpful pointers on how to grow 4C hair.

how to grow 4c hair
Getty Images

First off, is it true that 4C hair doesn’t grow?

Many of you may have heard the common misconception that 4C hair grows at a snail’s pace or doesn’t grow at all—but it’s time to dispel these myths. 4C hair does grow. It’s just a bit harder to notice because tighter hair textures typically shrink to a shorter length, making it seem like the hair hasn’t been growing. “Shrinkage is REAL. 4C hair is much longer than it appears,” says Mason.

So, before you start to worry about not noticing any new growth, make sure to stretch your hair out to get a better idea of how long your strands really are. Mason recommends trying a two-strand twist, a flat twist, a rod set or a stretch blowout before doing a length check.

Why isn’t my 4C hair retaining length? 

If you’ve stretched out your hair and it still seems like your tresses haven’t made any progress, then it might be time to reassess your hair care routine.

The issue might be due to dryness, constant shedding and split ends, which makes it harder to grow out your 4C coils. Lucky for us, Myers and Mason shared their tips on the best habits to adopt and the ones to avoid for retaining length. (And as a bonus, we’ve included a few of the best products to promote 4C hair growth).


You’ve heard it repeated ad nauseam: “Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp.” But honestly, it rings true. To promote growth, one of the best things you can do is keep your scalp clean, since excess buildup can block your hair follicles and hinder the growth process. Another great practice? Massaging your scalp regularly with oils that include key growth stimulators like jojoba oil (which has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties) and peppermint oil (which boosts circulation).

Best products for a healthy scalp:

how to grow 4c hair cibu shampoo

1. Cibu Curl & Coil Shampoo

Mason notes that Cibu’s entire Curl & Coil line is made specifically for curlier hair types. “The shampoo has aloe, sunflower seed oil and jojoba seed oil, which helps remove impurities from the hair and helps define and de-frizz, while preserving the natural curls and coils,” she says.  

how to grow 4c hair jane center solution scalp serum
Jane Carter Solution

2. Jane Carter Scalp Nourishing Solution Serum 

It happens to be one of the most popular hair serums in the 4C community, thanks to its powerful blend of pure essential oils. Active ingredients include rosemary, vitamin E, lemon and jojoba oil. And according to the brand, the product is designed to stimulate hair growth, treat dry scalps and prevent itching, flaking and dryness. 

how to grow 4c hair beas bayou scalp solution
Bea's Bayou

3. Bea's Bayou Good Biome Scalp Relief Solution

Per the brand’s website, this best-selling liquid solution contains a number of active ingredients that promote a healthy scalp, including probiotic extracts (which reduces flakes), oregano (which stimulates the follicles to support growth) and rosehip seed (which helps with hydration). One satisfied customer writes, “I have been trying different products and to no avail until I tried Good Biome Scalp Solution. My scalp [isn’t] itchy and red anymore. [The serum is] very soothing and the inflammation is much better.”


Geneva Fowler, natural hair expert and lead braid stylist at BEAUTYBEEZ, told PureWow in a previous interview that moisturizing your curls is essential to keeping them healthy and, of course, retaining length. As she explained, “A moisturizing product is a key part of retaining your hair’s moisture between wash days.” 

Flagler also said, “By design, the tightly coiled and shrinkage-prone 4C hair type is dry and if not maintained with the right amount of moisture (not too much, not too little), it eventually becomes brittle, causing the hair to break and shed with every stroke.”

So, after washing your hair, make sure to apply a leave-in conditioner to retain the moisture. This way, your coils are less prone to breakage and split ends.

Best leave-in conditioners:

how to grow 4c hair tgin leave in

1. Tgin Miracle Repairx Protective Leave-in Conditioner

This tried-and-true lightweight formula has biotin and black castor oil, which not only give a moisture boost but also reduce split ends and restore softness.

how to grow 4c hair camille rose moisture milk
Camille Rose

2. Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk

This leave-in cream is packed with star ingredients like macadamia seed oil, which helps prevent breakage and rosehip, which protects your hair against sun damage and dehydration. The formula also includes humectants like aloe vera and slippery elm—both of which smooth the hair shaft and make detangling more seamless.

how to grow 4c hair apple aloe leave in
Taliah Waajid

3. Taliah Waajid Green Apple & Aloe Leave-In Conditioner

Packed with vitamins, fiber, protein and antioxidants, this conditioner is designed to moisturize, soften and repair your hair. Flagler says the entire line provides "moisture and hydration,” as well as “more manageability” for daily styling.


Pro tip: Avoid detangling or styling your hair when you’re in a hurry. 4C hair is more fragile because of its tight curl pattern, which makes it easier to break. If you’re rushing through an intricate style or trying to pull off a tight bun in five seconds, it’ll do your coils more harm than good. Mason says, “4C hair should be handled with care. It appears to be able to handle anything, but it can’t.”

So, what’s the best way to handle your mane? Mason suggests working carefully in sections. “Depending on the density (for thicker hair use smaller sections), work in small sections and apply a leave-in conditioner after combing out each section with a large tooth comb,” she shares. “Do a 2-strand twist to each section to keep the hair manageable and control the curls until you’re ready to create the finished style.”

Meanwhile, Myers recommends working with damp, conditioned hair. “We should avoid detangling dry hair as much as possible,” she said. “If you want to decrease shedding and save time, use a conditioner with lots of slip and a wide-tooth comb with bristles that work best on your hair.”

Best products for detangling and styling 4C hair:

how to grow 4c hair shea moisture detangler

1. Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Moisturizing Detangler

If you need a lightweight formula to help loosen those stubborn knots, add this to your cart. The product boasts a unique raw shea butter blend that provides nine times the moisture, thanks to additional hydrating ingredients like sea kelp and argan oil.

how to grow 4c hair 4c only too slick
4C Only

2. 4C Only Too Slick Styling Cream

Not only does it smell delicious, but it also provides plenty of slip to get rid of tangles and knots swiftly (thanks to slippery elm). Shea butter, rosehip oil, hempseed oil, aloe vera and grape seed oil are just a few more standout ingredients that will keep your coils shiny, soft and easy to manage. 


Heat styling comes in handy when you want to achieve more intricate styles. However, too much heat exposure can be especially damaging to 4C curls since they’re more fragile and often lack moisture. 

Instead, Myers suggests heat-free stretching. “Foam [hair] rollers are the best bet. There are heat-free hair dryers and reverse hair dryers on the market, but they aren’t always the best for moisture retention, which is still important whether your hair is stretched or not,” she says.

Best products to stretch your curls:

foam rollers curlers

1. Curling Rods Set

This 47-piece set of flexi rods is suitable for all hair types and lengths, making it the perfect substitute for heat drying after a wash. You can either pair these rods with a heat-free dryer or air dry your tresses throughout the day.

how to grow 4c hair mielle protectant spray

2. Mielle Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray

When it comes to heat styling, it's important to always use a heat protectant. This popular pick, which has a near-perfect rating on Amazon, protects your strands from the damaging effects of intense heat and minimizes frizz, thanks to ingredients like almond, mongongo and sacha inchi oils.


This is especially important if you’re a restless sleeper. Not protecting your coils at night can leave them messy and knotted come morning, which can delay your hair growth.

Myers recommends that you use a silk-lined bonnet to keep your hair safe at night. “Eight hours of friction between your hair and your pillowcase ravages your length and causes frizz and breakage,” she adds. 

Best hair covers:

how to grow 4c hair bonnet

1. Sleeping Satin Bonnet

You can easily adjust the size of this bonnet and it comes in a variety of colors. But best of all, it works like a charm to reduce friction from your pillows while you sleep.

how to grow 4c hair satin scarf

2. Satin Scarf

If bonnets aren’t really your thing, then wrapping your hair with a satin scarf at night also works. Just be careful not to tie your scarf too tightly, as it can add pressure to your scalp and eventually lead to breakage.


We know, we know, getting trims are hard when you’re trying to grow your curls out. But trust us, regular trims are the best thing you can do for your hair if you want it to grow long, healthy and full.

“With 4C hair, the biggest mistake you can make is not getting it trimmed regularly,” says Mason. “The damaged ends will continue to move up the hair strand, which will cause more damage,” she adds. 

We definitely recommend visiting a professional stylist to get your hair trimmed on a regular basis (or as needed). However, if you’d like to keep a pair of shears handy for some light dusting, you can get these stainless steel shears from Amazon for just $7.

From Embracing Texture to Chopping it Off: 7 Women Share Their Natural Hair Journey 

nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...