I Have 4C Hair And These Are The High Street Products Which Really Work

One writer on how she found the best, most affordable products to care for her hair.

4C Hair

by Ata-Owaji Victor |
Published on

Controversial statement: I love wash days. Be it a long de-tangle in front of a great TV series or swapping my favourite drying-time tips with fellow 4C hair girls and guys - I love it all. But up until a few years ago, when it came to buying products for afro hair to aid my wash day love affair, I was often left in one of two potential scenarios.

Ata-Owaji Victor
Ata-Owaji Victor

Option one: a densely packed hair shop coupled with tense customer service, which unless you lived in a diverse neighbourhood- which I did not - also required a pilgrimage-like trek to get to. Option Two: standing for what felt like hours in drugstores and supermarkets looking for a 4C-friendly option before giving up and deciding that washday could wait until my online order arrived.

Thankfully, over the past few years the tide has begun to change, with more and more high street stores and supermarkets now offering ranges for all hair types. In order to get the full picture of the 4C landscape, I spoke to Julian Addo, founder of Adwoa Beauty and Sharley Viola, textured hair care specialist and lead educator for Curlsmith, to share their thoughts on this.

How different does the high street look now vs a few years ago?

'For far too long, the beauty industry has treated Black consumers like an afterthought, now they have options that are made with them [in mind],' explains Addo. It’s a shift, she says, that has ultimately begun to benefit 'all sorts of people that have tighter textures.' Although having accessible options is something we should expect from beauty in 2024, Addo says that the difference on the high street now versus a few years ago is also due to more widespread information about what it takes to keep 4C hair healthy. 'At the end of the day, our world is much more diverse than before and is scheduled to be even more diverse in the next 10-20 years. Having hair care options for all curl textures is not just vital, it's good for business.'

What should we be considering when shopping for 4C hair on the high street?

Viola says: 'Having products designed for those with 4C hair that are readily accessible really is about helping consolidating shopping needs. Navigating high street shopping can be daunting due to the variety of brands available, but there are few steps you can follow to make the process easier:

1. Know Your Hair: It is crucial to understand your hair type, including porosity and texture. Using an online process like The Curlsmith curl quiz, is a great place to start.

2. Check Ingredients: Read product labels carefully to ensure they work for the type of hair journey you are on. So, if you have unprocessed hair, look for products that are free from ingredients such as sulphates, silicones, drying alcohols, and parabens.

3. Plan Your Routine: Consider your hair care routine and identify the essential products you need, such as shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner and styling products. Having a clear idea of what you require will streamline the shopping process.

4. Visit your local drugstore: High street staples like Boots now offer trusted curl care brands like Curlsmith, with a range of products tailored for all curl types – including 4C hair – which makes it easier to find suitable options with confidence.

Ata-Owaji Victor
Ata-Owaji Victor

There’s no doubt that there’s still some progress to be made in terms of full shelf inclusivity, but for now, these are some of the products I actually buy (and use again and again on my 4C hair).

Shop: My High Street Shopping List For 4C Hair

Wakati Re-Activating Conditioning Mist
Price: £11

Picture this - three women of all different curl types with only one shared suitcase for a week by the Ionian Sea, with exactly three hair products from one brand. We left the trip with two things, a giant shared photo album and the knowledge that if we are ever in a pinch, U.S. export Wakati has us covered.


  • Naturally moisturising ingredients


  • One review said the formula can be 'sticky and oily'

For hydrated coils and diffuser-ready curls, this plant-derived moisturising treatment from British beauty brand Bouclème is filled with Mafura Butter and Camellia Oil to keep your 4C hair at its best.


  • Encourages growth and overall hair health


  • Some bad reviews cite heavy scenting

The brand is best known for its Baomint collection which founder Julian Addo says 'is the foundation for healthy hair thanks to its baobab, mints, rosemary oils, nettle extract and biotin for hair growth.' So, if you're looking for a place to start, I suggest trying the Baomint Leave-In Conditioning Styler during your next wash day.


  • A hybrid formula that tackles a handful of concerns at once


  • May not work for oily hair types

The efficacy of ‘pre’ shampoos and treatments might always be a divisive topic in the afro hair community but, as someone that is pro-scalp care and still likes the added ritual and repair that comes from these products, I love this Bond Curl Rehab Salve from Curlsmith.


  • Powered by proteins and superfoods


  • Can make low porosity hair feel brittle, according to one review

If you have afro hair, you'll know that when it comes to conditioner, bigger is always better. Thankfully, Pattern's conditioning range—heavy, medium and lightweight—is by far one of the most affordable, yet extensive, options on the market right now.


  • Great for coils and tight textures


  • May be too heavy for some hair types

The sumptuously rich shampoo is currently top of my Sunday rest rotation - and if you love a detangling tool as much as I do, then I suggest picking up one of Charlotte Mensah’s paddle brushes to make it easier than ever.


  • Moisturises and fortifies 


  • May weigh hair down

Although my ability to employ the intricate edge-swooping skill on demand is still a work in progress, this gel's foolproof holding power is enough to make me an expert.


  • Easy to work with


  • Some reviews claimed it can leave a sort of sticky, tacky cast


Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us