Do you have type 4 hair? If so, here’s some good news for you. When it comes to identifying your curl pattern, there are plenty of hair care professionals who can help! However, many naturalistas – including natural hair influencers and experts - face problems in finding the right products for their hair because they're not sure what type of curl pattern they have!
The Different Types Of 4a, 4b and 4c Hair And How To Care For Them
Here's everything that you must know about 4a, 4b, and 4c hair. From hair type to hair care to hair extensions. An all in one guide curated specially for you. Read on.
If you already know which curl pattern you have, don’t be surprised if you’re having problems customizing your routine to match it. But don’t fret! We are here to offer help with our detailed guide that will assist you through the steps in expanding your beauty regime to a level incomparable to anything previously seen.
There are a lot of myths around 4a, 4b and 4c Hair. If you want to learn more about identifying your curl pattern and put an end to any confusion surrounding the type 4 hair, read below! Get ready to unravel the mystery that surrounds 4a, 4b, and 4c hair textures!
What Is Type 4 Hair And Their Sub-Types?
Coily hair, commonly referred to as Afro-textured or kinky hair, is a special type of textured hair that is extremely tight and shrinks dramatically in length due to this. Naturally drier, this hair type is characterized by its coiled appearance that resists unraveling or stretching from its naturally formed shape.
Hair strands form very tight curls of zig-zags right from the scalp and can be soft and fine or coarse and wiry. This hair type is identified as being kinky (curly) with a zigzag pattern - the curlier, the better! Coily hair comes with its own pros and cons and requires extra maintenance when it comes to cutting or styling this particular hair type.
4A Hair Texture : What it is and How to care for 4a Hair Type?
4a hair type has a definite shape that can resemble crochet needles in size. When these spirals are loosened, they can pass for type 3c hair. Due to the distinctive ringlets of this coily hair type, it’s difficult for the scalp’s natural oils to reach down the length of the hair shaft toward the ends. This is a common struggle with all coily textures.
It has a clear and high-density curly pattern, and it tends to look darker than it really is because the hair has a high density, which means that they are usually very thick and that the strands are packed together like a bundle.
Tips for Taking Care of Natural 4A Hair Type
Tip 1: Moisturize
Long 4A natural hair is prone to dryness. To avoid damage and breakage of your locks, complement the natural oil produced in your scalp using essential oils or shea butter.
Coconut, jojoba, Jamaican black castor, avocado, and almond oils are great for 4A natural hair because they contain many nutrients that are good for kinky hair. Massage a generous portion of either one or a mixture of these oils into your scalp.
Alternatively, you can also spritz your hair every now and then with water.
Tip 2: Wash And Condition
Washing 4a natural hair with sulfate-free shampoo is advisable as it doesn’t strip the hair of its natural moisture. Wash your hair only 2 – 3 times per week and condition each time.
You can use a leave-in conditioner to keep your hair moisturized until the next wash. Use lukewarm water as higher temperatures can damage your hair’s health.
Tip 3: Be Gentle With Your Hair
4A natural hair is prone to tangling and breakage. To avoid damage, detangle gently with your fingers or a detangling comb by running the comb through each section of your hair.
Moisturize for optimal results. By breaking it down into sections, you can comb without breaking any strand of hair instead of using a large brush and then pulling out multiple strands at once.
Tip 4: Limit The Use Of Chemicals And Hot Tools
When styling your hair with chemicals, be sure that you're also using a heat protectant to prevent any serious damage from being done to the more delicate strands.
If styling is absolutely necessary, it's best to use sprays and serums that act as a natural insulator that prevents it getting too hot around the edges of your hair while maybe pulling at them during an attempt to style them.
4a Hair Type Celebrities
Macy Gray, Monique Coleman, Leela James
Top Knot (Medium Length Hair)
Looking for a classic hairstyle that's super easy to execute? Play up your hair's natural shine with a lightweight oil and twist your coils into a half-up bun at the top of your head. This one's the definition of cute and simple.
Sleek Ponytail (Long Length Hair)
To recreate this sleek-AF hairstyle, smooth a dollop of styling gel or mousse through your 4a hair, stopping just before the base of your ponytail to maintain your natural volume and definition. Pro tip: Your favorite edge tool (and a non-flaky edge control!) will make this look 100 times easier.
Hair in a Scarf (Short Length Hair)
Looking for an easy way to show off your wash-and-go style? Slip on a printed silk scarf (like the leopard one pictured here) and let your hydrated hair do all the talking. P.S. Sitting under a hooded dryer is a smart way to dry your hair evenly without any unwanted flyaways.
Some FAQ’s Around 4a Hair Type
What does 4a hair texture look like?
Type 4a hair has medium-sized, loosely packed curls. The curls have a springy S-shape and are about the size of a crochet needle. Each 4a strand independently curls or spirals away from other neighboring strands.
How to care for 4a hair?
The best way to care for your 4a hair is wash them only 2-3 times a week following up with conditioning and moisturizing gel.
How to get defined curls on 4a hair?
Deep condition your hair after every wash, finger comb your wet hair and apply conditioning products on soaking wet hair.
4B Hair Texture: What it is and How to care for 4b Hair Type ?
4b natural hair has a Z-shaped pattern rather than an S-curved curl pattern like the other curl types. The curls contain sharp, angled bends rather than ringlets. The strands are narrow and fine, like a ballpoint pen.
Given this hair type's sharp angular bends, it can be hard for hydrating the hair to coat it evenly which is why this kind of kinky curl often suffers from dryness.
It's no surprise that even though Type 4b is thinner and finer than other hair types in general (some strands can shrink up to 60% of their original size), it's prone to frizzing because moisture tends to dissipate when there are too many ways for it to escape at any given moment.
Tips for Taking Care of Natural 4B Hair Type
Tip 1: Shampoo And Conditioning Your 4b Hair
All healthy routines should start with a good cleanse. Washing is crucial for your curls as it gets rid of dirt, oil, and product buildup that can weigh down your strands over time and lead to breakage.
Keeping up with a regular shampoo routine helps promote growth while keeping the scalp healthy. Cleanse your curls every two weeks using a cleansing conditioner on alternate weeks to keep hair hydrated and clean. This will eventually lead to less tangling and promote growth in all curl types!
Tip 2: Deep Condition 4b Natural Hair
Deep conditioning this hair type is a must. You should always deep condition after washing or otherwise styling your hair, especially if you’ve used shampoo.
The best deep conditioners are those that contain moisturizing ingredients such as honey and aloe vera. Other great options include butter and fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol as these ingredients help protect the hair shaft by reducing friction and preventing breakage, improving its overall effectiveness to enhance the look of 4b strands instead of making them appear dull and lifeless.
Tip 3: Seal The Moisture
The last step in your 4B natural hair wash day routine is to ensure your moisturizer is firmly in place. So how can you do that? For starters, the key to achieving healthy 4B hair texture care is to find a natural oil for your hair. It has been known for its ability to moisturize and condition and keep the skin protected from the environment and climate changes.
Good examples of these oils are coconut oil, argan (including argan tea), and castor oil. You might also use shea butter or cocoa butter which are great choices when it comes to 4b hair types.
These work exceptionally well as they are deeply penetrating due to their highly saturated content which helps lock in moisture over a long period of time.
4b Hair Type Celebrities
Lauryn Hill, Esperanza Spalding, Yvette Nicole Brown
Side Ponytail (Medium)
When done on 4B hair texture, a side ponytail features eye-catching volume (thanks to the shrinkage that's a signature characteristic of this hair type). Positioning the ponytail high up can create an almost fauxhawk effect while bringing out your face’s features.
Ruby Highlights (Short)
Type 4 hair has a fascinating pattern already, but you can highlight those soft twists and turns even further with a pop of color. A dark ruby red looks stunning up against dark roots.
Fluffy Bun (Long)
Whether you’re capable of achieving a bun of this size on your own or you need assistance from a hair donut, this style is certainly an attention-grabber. Since your hair is out of the way with this look, you can feel more than free to play around with makeup and accessories.
Some FAQ’s Around 4b Hair Type
What is the 4b hair texture?
4b hair is easily distinguished by its zigzag pattern. Unlike 4a or 4c, 4b has tight “Z” shaped strands with little definition in curl shape. Often, 4b hair is fluffy and can be soft or coarse depending on hair texture.
How to grow 4b natural hair faster and longer?
Moisturize your hair regularly, avoid chemicals, provide your hair with protein and vitamin rich food, go easy on heat styling, care for your scalp and get the trim every 6 months.
How to moisturize 4b low porosity hair?
Use a pre-poo treatment, use heat white moisturizing your hair, try using light weight product, when styling use water based products to help your hair soak the moisture and in the end make satin your best friend.
4C Hair Texture: What it is and How to care for 4c Hair Type ?
Known for its tight coils, tight angles, naturally voluminous texture, and micro coils close and tightly clumping together, here is the lowdown on 4c.
The hair growth of coily hair expands horizontally and doesn’t fall down until it gets very, very long. By pulling a lock of coily hair to its fullest extent, you’ll see that it multiplies in length.
The microscopically tight curls cause significant shrinkage to occur, which gives this hair type so much volume. Though dense in volume, coily strands are very fragile and prone to breakage while also being prone to frizziness due to all the shrinkage.
Tips for Taking Care of Natural 4C Hair
Tip 1: Detangling
Protect your 4c hair from tangles by using a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to detangle after washing, before and after styling, and whenever installing a protective style.
Tip 2: Moisturizing
4C hair flourishes in moisture. To take care of 4c hair, you'll need a deep conditioning treatment once every two weeks and a hydrating conditioner like JBCO or Castor oil mixed with water every other week. You should also spritz your hair with water or shea butter mixed with water daily.
Tip 3: Styling
As with any type 4 hair, 4c coils are delicate and should be treated as such. Protective styles can be styled in anything from box braids, passion twists, Bantu knots and many more.
Tip 4: Co-Washing
Fear not if you have 4c hair and don't wash it daily! You're in good company. 4c hair is notorious for being one of the driest of all textures - which is why washing it every day will only make it more brittle over time.
Instead, consider using co-washes for an extra deep cleanse that won't dry out your natural oils or cause dandruff at the roots since these tend to be lighter than traditional conditioners.
4c Hair Celebrities
Aevin Dugas, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu
Jumbo Box Braids (Long)
These are the best braids to get as they’re quick and if you have enough experience you can do them yourself. Because you’ll likely leave this style in for a few days, if not a few weeks, you want to be sure you start with squeaky clean hair. Shampoo your strands with a clarifying shampoo like our Wash Day Delight Sulfate Free Shampoo.
Then moisturize your hair with a conditioner like the Wash Day Delight Conditioner With Aloe. Once you’re ready to style your mane, separate your hair into about eight to 10 sections and braid each section before securing with an elastic.
Braid Out (Medium)
While we love a wash and go, sometimes the volume and definition you get with a braid out is worth the extra work. There are two ways you can get the look. One way is by parting your hair into sections adding water and a styling product like Coco Creme Coil Enhancing Moisture Butter and creating large braids and leaving them overnight. Another way is by creating large cornrows instead. The results are equally as beautiful.
We love a high-volume look and this one is perfect. To style a faux-hawk, separate your hair into three or four sections horizontally across your head. Secure each section with hair ties or pins. Next, you want to be sure to tease out each section for that volume. This look works with braid-outs and twist-outs as well making great 4C curly hairstyles.
Some FAQ’s Around 4c Hair Type
How to deep condition 4c hair?
Wash your hair, once you’re done apply deep conditioning cream and them cover your hair with a shower cap or a heating cap, wait for around 20-30 minutes then wash and style as usual.
How to detangle 4c hair?
We suggest using a wide toothed comb or your fingers to detangle and while detangling your 4c hair type use some coconut oil or leave in conditioner to do so.
What does 4c hair look like?
4c hair looks like a thick fro, but if you look closely, you'll notice very tight, small springs or coils on each strand which are pretty different from curls.
Do You Have: 4a, 4b Or 4c Hair Type? This Quick Quiz Will Tell You
Type 4A hair texture is thick and springy. The curl in the hair pattern is sharp and resembles the perimeter of a needle head. To make this hair type shine you'll need to include a lot of leave-in conditioners and employ the LOC method at least twice a week or more. When styling this hair, keep a water bottle close and spray regularly to avoid breakage.
Type 4B hair features curls that twist into a sharp pattern and resemble the letter Z. Water and styling creams is an excellent way to keep this hair hydrated and moisturized. Co-washing this hair regularly is important. Consider styling your hair just after washing to tame your crown for easier manageability. You'll also want to work with this hair type in small sections. Avoid trying to style your whole head and break it into sections for the best results.
Type 4C hair boasts a zig zag and random pattern and typically shows no defined curls without styling. This hair is both wiry and coarse and thus requires more regular moisture to achieve most styles. If you want to show off length with a 4C hair type keep in mind that shrinkage is often a characteristic of this hair and thus stretching your hair will be one of the most important ways to achieve many natural hair styles. Leave-in conditioners and heavier creams and butters are recommended regularly.
What is the Difference Between 4a, 4b and 4c Hair?
- There are many similarities as well as differences between 4A, 4B and 4C natural hair. Of course, one of the biggest differences is not just the curl pattern but also how tightly coiled each type of natural hair is in its naturally grown state.
- The shrinkage for both types is high, but some say it's nearly negligible and also lightweight simply because both coils tend to be quite slim in their heights - regardless of how small.
- One major difference that sets these varieties apart is moisture.
- Both types of natural hair must be gently cared for. Choosing the right products and establishing a strict regimen tailored to your type or texture of hair can make it easier for you as a consumer.
Caring for your hair is greatly influenced by your type and subtype. Type 4 is the name given to hair that tends to be coily and kinky. This hair type offers endless possibilities for reaching optimal hair health, but it mostly boils down to the care routine one follows for this hair type.
The most important thing for any person who has a type 4 texture is to learn about the nature of their unique curly hair and then adjust their daily routine accordingly based on how they've been treating their own strands.
We have covered the entire arena of natural hair textures, what they are like and how to care for it. With this knowledge, you will be able to appreciate your hair more and take care of your unique natural hair in a way you never knew before.
Hope this blog has answered most of your questions regarding type 4 hair and its subtypes.
To further enhance your natural hair you can shop some of the top of the line extensions that will blend flawlessly with your hair and also some unique hair care products that will simplify your hair care routine.