how often should you wash 4c hair

Hey there, 4C hair beauties! Are you struggling to find the perfect hair care routine for your natural tresses? With so much advice out there, it can be tricky to know how often you should wash your 4C hair, how to grow it, and how to care for it properly. But fear not, we've got your back! 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore how often you should wash natural 4C hair, why you should wash it less frequently, and how to wash it properly for maximum growth and health. So, buckle up, and let's dive into the world of 4C hair care!

How Often Should You Wash Natural 4C Hair?

When it comes to washing natural 4C hair, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. However, on average, experts recommend washing natural 4C hair every 7-10 days but adjusting according to individual needs. Those with low porosity hair can wash less frequently, and co-washing with conditioner once or twice a week is also an option.

how often should you wash natural 4c hair

Here are some general guidelines to help you determine the ideal frequency for your unique hair type:

Every 7-10 Days

Most experts agree that, on average, you should wash your 4C hair at least once a week or every 7-10 days. This frequency helps to keep your hair clean while preserving its natural moisture and avoiding product buildup. Additionally, this schedule helps prevent over-washing, which can lead to dryness and breakage and hinder hair growth.

Low Porosity Hair

If you have 4C low porosity hair, you might need to wash your hair even less frequently, around every 10-14 days. Low porosity hair tends to hold onto moisture, making it more challenging to moisturize and more prone to product buildup. Washing less frequently also reduces the risk of over-drying and damaging the hair's cuticle, promoting healthier hair.


Co-washing, or washing your hair with only conditioner, is another option for 4C hair. Co-washing can be done more frequently, about once or twice a week. It helps maintain moisture levels without over-stripping the hair, keeping it soft and manageable. Co-washing can also help reduce frizz, making it ideal for maintaining your hair's natural curl pattern.

Individual Needs

It's important to note that these guidelines are not set in stone. Some individuals might need to wash their hair more or less often, depending on factors like lifestyle, exercise, and scalp health. 

Always pay attention to your hair's unique needs and adjust your washing frequency accordingly. For instance, if you have an active lifestyle that causes excessive sweating, you may need to wash your hair more often to keep your scalp clean and healthy.

Why Should You Wash 4C Hair Less Frequently?

Why Should You Wash 4C Hair Less Frequently

You might be wondering, "Why should I wash my 4C hair less often?" Well, let's break down the reasons:

Natural Oils

Washing your hair too often can strip it of its natural oils, which are essential for keeping your hair moisturized, healthy, and protected. 4C hair is prone to dryness, so preserving these oils is crucial(1). These oils, such as sebum, provide a protective barrier, maintaining elasticity and reducing the risk of breakage. Limiting washes helps retain these oils, supporting overall hair health.

Dryness and Breakage

4C hair is more prone to dryness and breakage(2), so washing it less frequently helps to prevent these issues. Washing less often also reduces the risk of hygral fatigue, which is the weakening of hair strands due to continuous swelling and contracting when wet and dry. By minimizing exposure to water and harsh cleansers, you maintain your hair's strength and integrity, preventing unnecessary damage.

Hair Growth

Washing your hair less often can actually promote hair growth by reducing breakage and maintaining your hair's natural moisture balance. So, if you're looking to grow your 4C hair, cutting back on washing frequency might be a step in the right direction. Plus, allowing your scalp's natural oils to reach the ends of your hair can help nourish and protect the hair shaft, promoting length retention and overall hair health.

How to Wash 4C Hair Properly

How to Wash 4C Hair Properly

Now that we've covered how often you should wash your 4C hair let's discuss how to do it the right way. Here are some essential steps to follow when washing your 4C hair:

#1. Pre-Poo Treatment

Before you wash your hair, apply a pre-poo treatment (such as a natural oil or conditioner) to protect your hair from losing too much moisture during the washing process. Popular pre-poo treatments include coconut oil, olive oil, or a mix of oils and conditioner. Pre-pooing helps to detangle your hair, minimize breakage, and make the washing process more manageable.

#2. Wet your hair

Wet your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water before applying shampoo. Warm water helps to open up the hair cuticles, allowing for better product penetration and cleansing.

#3. Use a Gentle, Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Sulfates, found in many shampoos, can strip the natural oils from your 4C hair(3) and contribute to dryness. Look for shampoos specifically designed for natural, curly, or African American hair, as these tend to be gentler and more moisturizing.

Sulfate-Free Shampoo

#4. Massage Your Scalp

Gently massage your scalp with your fingertips to help remove dirt and buildup and promote blood circulation. This not only cleanses your scalp but also encourages hair growth by stimulating hair follicles.

#5. Rinse Thoroughly

Make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly to remove all shampoo and any product buildup. Incomplete rinsing can lead to residue accumulation, itchiness, and other scalp issues.

#6. Condition

Apply a moisturizing conditioner to your hair, focusing on the ends, to help detangle and add moisture back into your strands. Leave it on for a few minutes to allow your hair to absorb the nutrients. You may also use a deep conditioning treatment every 2-4 weeks for added moisture and strength.

#7. Detangle

Using a wide-tooth comb or your fingers, gently detangle your hair while the conditioner is still in it. Start at the ends and work your way up to the roots to minimize breakage.

Detangle hair

#8. Rinse Again

Rinse your hair thoroughly to remove the conditioner. Consider using cold water for the final rinse to seal the hair cuticles and lock in moisture.

#9. Dry Your Hair

Gently squeeze out excess water and use a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt to blot your hair dry. Avoid rubbing your hair with the towel, as this can cause frizz and breakage.

#10. Seal In Moisture

After washing, apply a leave-in conditioner, oil (like coconut oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil), or hair butter to seal in moisture and prevent dryness. This step helps maintain your hair's moisture balance and reduces breakage.

#11. Style As Desired

Gently style your hair as desired, making sure not to cause any unnecessary breakage or tension on your strands. Avoid using heat styling tools, as they can damage 4C hair. Opt for protective styles like twists, braids, or updos to minimize manipulation and promote growth.

Final Thought

And there you have it! You now have a comprehensive guide on how often to wash your natural 4C hair and how to do it properly for optimal growth and health. Remember, it's essential to keep your hair moisturized, protect it from damage, and listen to what it's telling you. 

With a little patience, care, and love for your unique tresses, you'll achieve the 4C hair growth and health you've always wanted. So go forth and enjoy your fabulous 4C hair journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you wash natural African-American hair?

You should wash natural African-American hair every 7-10 days. This frequency helps maintain the hair's natural moisture balance, prevents dryness, and avoids product buildup, leading to healthier hair.

How often should I wash my 4c hair for growth?

Wash your 4c hair every 7-10 days for growth. Washing less frequently helps retain natural oils, prevents dryness and breakage, and promotes a healthier environment for hair growth.

How often should you wash 4c low porosity hair?

Wash 4c low porosity hair every 10-14 days. This hair type holds onto moisture and is more prone to product buildup, so washing less frequently helps maintain moisture balance and avoid buildup.

How often to co-wash 4c hair?

Co-wash 4c hair once or twice a week. Co-washing, or washing with only conditioner, helps maintain moisture levels without over-stripping the hair, keeping it healthy and manageable.


1. Westgate, G.E., Ginger, R.S. and Green, M.R. (2017). The biology and genetics of curly hair. Experimental Dermatology, {online} 26(6), pp.483–490. doi:

2. Proceedings of the Royal Society A. (2019). The what, why and how of curly hair: a review | Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. {online} Available at:

3. Bernard, B.A. (2003). Hair shape of curly hair. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, {online} 48(6), pp.S120–S126. doi: