Trying to avoid the creamy crack, I experienced hair loss after getting a keratin treatment on my 4c hair. My mission was to reduce the anxiety of managing my natural hair. While some people have had the treatment without any adverse effects, I wasn’t one of them. 

Unfortunately, I suffered from bald spots, massive shedding, and a burning scalp that lasted for many months. I’ll refrain from mentioning how many Les Brown videos I had to watch to rebuild my self-esteem. He said, “it’s not over until it’s over,” and by golly wiz, that was much needed during my time cosplaying as Cynthia the doll.

Flying Cynthia doll with hair loss from the Rugrats Cartoon

At the time, I did not possess enough knowledge to recover from this mistake which caused the ordeal to last for several years. I had to learn the hard way over time.

Hair Loss

After the treatment, clumps of hair began falling out, especially during combing. I noticed three things right away, a receding hairline, thinning, and a weird indescribable texture. 

Since my head looked like your favorite dalmatian, a spot of hair there, here, and everywhere, I chose to wear headwraps to hide the ghastly sight. No need to scare babies and all. 

My go-to style was loose cornrows that looked several weeks old and Celie Harris plaits. I wasn’t exactly avant-garde, but I did manage to preserve my poor fragile hair strands somewhat fashionably. 

Tight hairstyles were off-limits as was leaving my hair out. Loose hair caused tangling, and that meant more detangling. I was already desperate for the hair to stay on my head. I didn’t need to yank out the ones that prevented me from looking like Smeagol.

Smeagol character with hair loss from Lord of The Rings

I stressed like I never stressed before fearing my hair wouldn’t grow back. I wondered if I finally did something that permanently damaged it. My mind flashed back to the time I was massaging my grandmother’s head, listening to her stories of how beauty school damaged her follicles.

That lady, may God rest her soul, warned me to stop experimenting in my hair, or my head would end up like hers. Did I listen? Of course not. I wanted kinky straightness, and I was willing to use formaldehyde, the same chemical used to preserve dead bodies, to get the look.

Behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.


I cried to the Afro hair queen hoping she heard my plea of desperation, “give me back my fro, and I won’t do it no mo!” Honestly, it was too much to cope with. One day I got the clippers, marched into my sister’s room, and demanded she fulfills her duty of helping me do reckless things.

If my hair was going to fall off, I rather have control and focus on regrowth. I wasn’t a stranger to the Big Chop., so off with his head…I mean, hair.

Iman hand slices across her throat gesture to indicate ‘off with his head’

4C Hair Recovery

A lot of women write me seeking help for the same problem, and in the years that passed I doled out advice that I deemed most helpful. Listen to me know when I say, If you’re experiencing hair loss because of a keratin treatment on your 4c hair, every little thing will be alright.

You DO NOT HAVE TO SHAVE YOUR HEAD for your hair to recover but only if you can gather your patience and keep calm. 

The first thing you need is a consistent routine. Do not worry about hair that is shedding, there is nothing you can do to stop it. Since it’s damaged, it has to do what it has to do! Sing with me. A one, two, three “Let it goooo, let it goooo turn away and slam the door”.

Focus on regrowth using simple techniques to get you through however long it will take for your hair to recover. The suggestions I have for you aren’t radical, but rather very useful. The best thing you can do is aid the natural process of your hair through strengthening, hydrating, resting, and increasing your blood circulation.


Massage your hair daily to increase the blood circulation in your scalp. I used rosemary essential oil with olive oil to help strengthen circulation. Make my grandma proud, because even with damaged follicles, she had hair that held on until the end due to massaging her scalp. I also found relief from the itchy, burning, tender sensation every time I did it.

Once my scalp ceased being tender, I transitioned to protective styles such as twists, box braids, cornrows, and anything that prevented me from combing my hair too frequently. Low manipulation is the key. 

When my hair wasn’t in a protective style, I struggled with managing it. I felt that the keratin treatment had lasting effects on my 4c hair, and it was frustrating to deal with. This is why I decided to do things my way and began my hair journey to manageability.

I finally understood that facing the problems head-on was preferable to running from them.


Avoid putting protein on your 4c hair and redirect that energy to eating more protein. Strengthening yourself internally is vital to your recovery. Feed your hair excellent nutrition by eating food rich in iron. Hair derives nutrients from your blood. You are what you eat! Fill up on fruits and vegetables and get adequate amounts of sunshine. 

 I acted so thirstily while figuring out how to recover my hair. I did everything I could think of to help myself, but it all seemed to be a waste of time. Several ideas were good, and in hindsight, others didn’t make sense at all. When Google tells you to drench your hair in ocean salt water, just give yourself a moment to think that through. Needless to say, I was less than impressed with my solutions.

Not once did I read anything about keeping yourself hydrated. Not the sipping on a bottle of water throughout the day type of hydration, but calculating how much your body need to replenish itself daily. Your hair is like a fetus in the womb. The mother supplies everything it needs to survive by consumption. You are the Mother.

If your body is thirsty then so is your hair! That means in addition to battling the jack-upness of a keratin treatment on your 4c hair, it’s dying of thirst! Drink water! Throw a lemon, cucumber, or chia seed in it if you’re having a difficult time drinking water alone. Do what needs to be done, but get it down! Stay hydrated.

The next technique for hair loss recovery is rest. When you experience severe psychological stress it increases your hair loss. So yes! I will have the audacity to tell you to stop stressing about your hair, pay her dust while you do all the other necessary techniques. My journey lasted longer because I wouldn’t stop stressing. Rest your mind to know everything will be alright if you do. Get some sleep!

The Takeaway

My hair did grow back after many failed attempts. For the longest time, I focused so much on believing that there was some quick overnight solution that I overlooked the actual resolution. Your journey must start from within no matter what’s going on outwardly. 

Sometimes it’s best to move forward from the middle position that you are in vs. constantly restarting. Keep calm. Follow a few simple techniques and tips to improve your hair loss recovery. 


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