What Are Realistic Expectations For High Shrinkage 4b 4c Hair?

wash and go

3. You may have to give up moisturizing daily – ‘What you say gurl?’, let me explain, by no means are we saying that your hair does not need water, as a matter of fact it does and a lot of it.

What we are merely suggesting is that when you do add moisture to your hair, do it in a way that allows you to maintain that moisture for a couple days especially if your hair is in a stretched style.

Even with pure h20 being the best moisturizer, it may turn out to be counterproductive to spritz your tresses with water daily. The goal is to avoid full shrinkage and tangles so dunking your hair in a bucket of water every day is a no no.

4. You may have to to accept that wash and go’s are not for you – This brings us to the infamous wash and go. A wash and go embraces shrinkage, it is a way to freely show off your curls free form, allowing them to do what they want to do. Girl no! When you have high shrinkage hair, if you want to experiment with a wash and go every now and then, feel free but allowing your hair to freely hug and commingle regularly is disastrous.

A wash and go works best when your hair can naturally clump together and not individually wrap around itself. For this reason if you have 4b, 4c hair you might find yourself dealing with intense tangling when doing regular wash and go’s . Just make your life easy and do it only once in a while to get it out of your system or just don’t do it at all.

5. You may never be able to grow it long without protective styling – Girls we hate to break it to ya, but your strands are divas. They don’t like to be touched excessively, they do not like to be outdoors free to be one with nature and the elements, they like their ends healthy and tucked all the time.

Now if you have a diva in your life maybe a family member or a bestie you know you can either love her or hate her  but she ain’t going nowhere so in this case we suggest that you choose love.

If you want to see some real length retention in your hair you may have to wear protective styles at least 90% of the time. Why? Kinky hair textures can be fragile, and again prone to tangles so to preserve it you have to protect it.

Additionally if you are wearing it stretched and you hope to maintain the moisture levels in your hair for a couple days, then you have to make sure that it is not exposed to excessive sun and wind or friction with your clothing.

6. Product recommendations based on hair texture may not work for you 4B and 4C hair can either be coarse or fine. Knowing the difference between coarse hair and fine hair is very important to any category of hair but there is a misconception that all 4 category hair is coarse which just isn’t true.

Originally posted 2014-05-25 15:00:08.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for BlackHairInformation.com . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for BlackHairInformation.com . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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  1. Tiffaney Siriouthay
    Tiffaney Siriouthay

    Learned this the hard way… Twist Out look like crap in my hair ..I will never be able to do a wash and go .. I have 3 hair types and no matter how much I condition or whatever it will always be like this …. As I think about it I would think a good amount of Black American women would ….Your typical Black Person here in America are Mixed with some form Native American..White ..South American and may have these issues .. Is there any help online ?

  2. Maybell Lena Killion
    Maybell Lena Killion

    Just let the hair do what it do! Why is shrinkage such a problem? It’s the way natural hair is….natural!
    I use to have this thought as well but gave up the fight and I’m much happier letting my hair be!

    1. Lisa

      At this time, shrinkage don’t bother me. I’m protective styling for two years. My hair grow like a weed when it’s protected.

  3. Liz Marie Maysonet Sostre
    Liz Marie Maysonet Sostre

    Never have I ever been concerned about shrinkage. When I was natural in high school, in college, never. I wasn’t even concerned with hair typing. It’s not a bad thing to have shrinkage, it works in our favor with wash n go’s. The shrinkage makes the style look likeva fresh cut.(I do them almost daily.) Wearing a style more than a few days isn’t an issue either, I wash my hair 4 times a week or so. I really enjoy my shrinkage because I can go from picked out fro to pixie cut all in the same week if I choose.

  4. Melissa

    This actually makes sense. I embrace the shrinkage I have. It’s how my hair is. I’ve slowly been learning what works.

  5. Erica Williams
    Erica Williams

    Don’t like shrinkage unless I’m doing finger coils! Wash n go’s are a no no, my ends tangle and knot! I need my ends to be stretched! Flat twists, twists, Bantu knots work for me!

  6. Shareta

    LOL, thought I was going to do a braid out that would change my life. WRONG! Epic fail. I wanted to cry. All that work I did Friday to have it be a disaster today. I went back to my tried and true 2 ponytails with puffs. Come Monday, I will be back to my bun until I get braids. I won’tbe trying a braid out or a twist out anytime soon.

    1. Traci

      You shouldn’t give up. It could be the products that you are using. I had to try different products till I got what work for me. After I shampoo and condition my hair for a twist out I apply a leave conditioner, Nubian Heritage E V V O & Moringa repair & extend styling custard, and olive oil. I let my hair stay twisted anywhere from 2 to 3 days then rock the twist out from 3 to 4 days. Oh yeah the size of the twists makes a difference. Smaller twist for more defined curls and bigger twists for more of a wave. Hopes this encourages you to try again. 🙂

      1. Traci

        Oh yeah you might want to try doing it on dry and letting it stay twisted for 2 to 3 days.

  7. Rurh Dyson

    Thank you for this article!! I thought I was doing something wrong every time I did a twist out or braid out. I would even watch YouTube videos to as I did them to make sure I was doing them right and each time, they came out a hot mess. Roller seting has proved to be disastrous too. The confirmation on using Coconut Oil is welcomed. I found that the heavy oils DO weigh my hair down and whenever I use any product with Castor Oil, my hair immediately rises up and revolts by breaking off to the root! Now I understand why. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  8. Pinke

    Hello to you and all 4c/4b/4a Naturals. I want to share with you this regimen. Look up the Max Hydration Method. This regimen systematically increases moisture retention by controlling all the factors that effect absorption on water in the hair cortex, until max hydration is reached. This is the ideal regimen for low porosity type 4 hair, and especially 4c textures, as most often they have the most trouble absorbing moisture.

    No it will not loosen ur texture, but those pin sizes curls are there and this method will make then clump from root to tip no product, aka, reach max hydration.


    By the way, there are several before and after testimony pictures throughout post from the link above. also details of Max Hydration method 5 step regimen, and more factual information, explanations to why it works, testimony, and before and after PHOTOS.

    Here is my 4c wash and go, root to tip defined coils:

    A lot of the time when wash and goes are done on type 4 hair that isn’t maximally hydrated, the hair does not clump, and looks almost like there is no product in it, or a shrunken clump-free fro. This lack of clumping, is soley caused by lack of moisture retention in the cortex. Many ppl do not get that they aren’t efficiently introducing moisture to their hair.

    With lack of moisture retention in the cortex, the hair is very lightweight. The more lightweight your coils are, the more prone they are to over-shinking. So you’ll have a 4c coil that not only springs into a tight coil(which it is supposed to do), but also repeatedly, and randomly loops back over upon itself(which it should not be doing).

    This causes the individual coils to be unable to have a uniform pattern down the strand, and also makes it so you get prone single strand, two strand knots, matting, locing, tangling, and breakage when you try to wear your hair loose. Single strand knots also make the individual coil strands want to bend in weird angles further disrupting the uniform pattern of the hair strand.

    Over all with all these different strands bending and twisting and randomly re-looping upon itself, it makes it impossible for the coils for form a uniform pattern that will readily clump together. This effects the way your styles come out, twist outs, wash and gos, etc. It helps to think of each strand like a puzzle piece.

    The Maximum hydration method, actively retains water in the cortex so hair reaches it’s maximum potential. Once you retain water in the cortex, your hair isn’t as lightweight, so many of the negative impacts of lightweight hair that effects type 4 hair, doesn’t actually happen.

    Once you reach max hydration:

    Root to tip definition ON PRODUCT FREE HAIR
    Root to tip definition in wash and gos
    Moveable shakable hair, even when dry
    Length retention, easily
    Styles last longer and look better
    Soft, pliable hair
    Enhanced moisture retention
    Detangling is easier, in fact my hair is perpetually detangled from rolling and bunning during step 2
    single strand knots & split ends rarely occur

    MHM wash and gos are actually the ultimate protective style. The gel works to hold the clumped curl perpetually in that state and prevents it from tangling on other curl units. This makes it more effective in retaining length.

    I remember doing small twists and various protective styles, where they would actually encourage knots, dryness, and split ends, and i end up trimming and pulling all my retained length away. It was very frustrating because it took a lot of discipline to hide my hair most of the time, only to not get the results i expected. Also it was time consuming. Where as now my hair seems to be growing at a faster rate than it was before, and I don’t get those single strand knots and matting anymore, and it doesn’t take me forever to detangle my hair.

    Watch this video, especially toward the end(@6:40), where aketafitgirl gives a really good visual about how wash and gos are the ultimate protective style.

    This is what Completely Product Free type 4 hair that has total maximum hydration looks doing techniques from MHM regimen.

    Brief overview of the regimen:

    Step1 Clarify (acv or B.S. mixture)
    Step2 DC/GHE/Steam


    Step3 Clarify with clay rinse
    Step4 Leave in conditioner
    Step 5 botanical, nondrying gel
    Optional Step 6 stretching techniques that do no smoosh

    For more information and before and after pictures on type 4c hair go to the link:


    My testimony b4 and after photos(they get better and better):



    My friend’s result on short 4c hair:




    1. NaturalShari

      I totally agree with everything @Pinke said. I watch Aketafitgirl all the time. Once there is maximum curl hydration it doesn’t matter how tiny your curls are they will rock. Please watch her videos and follow her suggestions. You will see results. You can’t help but be inspired by Aketa.

  9. Latoya Aaliyah Small
    Latoya Aaliyah Small

    I love my 4b/4c hair and I have crazy shrinkage! I’m slightly past bra strap length but my fro is to my ear length wash and go’s give me definition but it’s still very short but it’s very thick so my fro is large. I embrace it but it’s the fairy knots that kill me! No matter how moisturized it is I still get them

  10. monniej

    my realistic expectation is to expect my hair to shrink! in fact, i encourage mine to shrink! it’s what my hair knows best and wants to do! to expect anything different would be like removing a turtle’s shell and then expecting it to protect itself! if you want long hair embrace your shrinkage and starting thinking BIG, not long! jmho~

  11. kim

    “full shrinkage shouldn’t be something that you allow your hair to do regularly. –

    Can you clarify? why is this bad?

  12. Deanna Merritt Ross
    Deanna Merritt Ross

    Yes. If I want big hair, I blow it out before twist- out. I also protect it from moisture ( steam, rain, sweat, etc) by re-twisting every night and pulling it away from my face and neck when I work out.

  13. Dimples12553

    To be honest, I may be the only person that has no problem with the shrinkage. I have a head full of 4c with some 4b mixed in and I have learned to embrace my shrinkage to the point that I rock my wash and go with style even in “White Corporate America”

    When I change it to another style, they marvel at how versatile my hair is and how I am able to get it to be in a different style and at a different length and it is all still mine. Since as you we all know they can not be as versatile in the same manner as we can with their hair.

    Only my closest coworkers ask the questions, but I know that the word does get around to everyone about my hair. Even the ones that are too afraid to ask.

  14. Leah James

    It’s weird reading this when you don’t have 4b 4c hair . I don’t have 3a 3b hair either I’m stuck in between 3c and 4a multiple textures . This information is still useful to me though .

  15. Embrace

    I have high-shrinkage 4B hair, but wash and go’s worked well for me with hair gels and creams after my big chop.

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