What is Type 4 Kinky-Curly Natural Hair?


 joshica beauty type 4

The Hair Typing System was created by Oprah Winfrey's stylist, Andre Walker, in the 1990's and since has been widely adopted by the black natural hair community in our journeys to understanding and caring for our unique hair textures.

According to Andre's hair classification system their are four different hair textures; Straight, Wavy, Curly and Kinky- Curly.  African-American women mostly have type 4 hair which is also known as kinky hair and our unique hair textures requires special care specific products to keep our hair thick and luscious.  Type 4 hair can range from fine strands to coarse, as well as, have different ranges of curl patterns from tightly coily to zig-zag. 4a, 4b and 4c hair may seem similar but they are different. They do have similar hair care tips however the shape is different and sometimes need to be treated different.

Joshica beauty hair typing chart type 4 hair

photo by blackhairinformation.com

 

TYPE 4A HAIR:
4a’s curl pattern is the most defined out of the 4 range. 4a hair has more of an “S” pattern. The circumference of the “S” curls is similar to a crochet needle. This type of hair is wiry or fine-looking. Under a microscope, 4a has few cuticle layers than other types of hair hence there is less natural protection from chemical, environmental and mechanical damage. Because of the “S” curl pattern people with this type of hair mostly hair wash and go's.

How to care for 4a hair?
1) Cowash or cleanse the scalp with a sulfate free shampoo every week. Ensure that the clarifiers or shampoo has tea-tree or rosemary oils.

2) Use thick, rich and creamy ingredients such as shea and mango butter in order to keep the hair moisturized.

3) For length retention wear hair styles such as wash-and-go's, twists-outs or braid-outs.

joshica beauty natural hair type 4


TYPE 4B HAIR:
4b hair has a z pattern and a less defined coil pattern than 4a. Because of the z pattern the hair strands bends at all different angles which makes it highly susceptible to breakage and dryness.  This type of hair is coiled tightly and may range from fine to coarse. 4b hair has a fluffier cotton appearance than all the other types of 4 hair. 4b hair shrinks to about 70% - 75% hence it would appear shorten than it is. This hair type can hold styles well just as well as 4a hair.

How to care for 4b hair?
1) Frequent deep conditioning and the LOC will combat dryness thus keeping the hair moisture.

2) Pre-pooing with oils can help prevent the natural oils from being dried out from the scalp after shampoo.

3) Dry your hair with a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel instead of a towel that will cause frizz, tension and strip the hair of its natural moisture.

4) Protective styles such as twists and braids and low manipulation styles such as braid/twist outs, and puffs) would be great for length retention thus reducing the damage.

5) Protect your hair at night with a satin cap to prevent moisture loss and breakage.

natural hair picture short twa natural hair

TYPE 4C HAIR:
4c is said to be 4b’s twin however the hair is more tightly coiled with less definition. After 4c hair has been freshly washed there is no defined coiled pattern. So different styling techniques (such as braids or twists) and products (like jels and custards) will help to define the pattern. Type 4c hair can range from fine to coarse as well. Just like 4b hair it will shrink to 70% – 75% thus appearing shorter than it actually is. It is the most fragile hair and deserves a lot of care.

How to care for 4c hair?
1) Use a detangling co-wash with slippery elm or marshmallow root in order to define the curls

2) A curl defining gel or custard can help to define the curls

3) Styles such as braids, twists, and bantu knots can help to define the hair pattern as well

4) Protect your hair at night with a satin cap to prevent moisture loss and breakage

5) Protective styles such as braids, twists and buns will help with length retention because it daily manipulation is avoided which will cause breakage

6) Braiding, twisting, or cornrowing the hair will help to stretch the hair


These are all the different hair types amongst us natural hair women. Your hair may not be one specific pattern but could be composed of two or all three different types. Hence, you can try a mixture of different tips in order to keep your hair healthy. Remember everyone’s hair is different so what may work for this 4c girl may not work for you. Hair charts assist us in learning about our hair but they are not the standards which everyone should subscribe to, they are merely there for guidance. Hence, try these tips but also listen to your hair needs for maximum growth, moisture retention and overall health of your curls.

 

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The Best oils for type-4 hair and The Best Natural Hair Products for Moisture