There are four major hair types – Type 1 (straight hair), Type 2 (wavy hair), Type 3 (Curly hair), and Type 4 hair (kinky hair).
We focus on 4A, 4B and 4C Hair, in addition to 3A, 3B and 3C hair. which is the predominant hair type in Black and African American women. We will also explore some of the best products for natural hair.
- 1 What Is Type 4 Hair?
- 2 4A Hair
- 3 4B Hair
- 4 4C Hair Type
- 5 Differences Between 4A, 4B and 4C Hair?
- 7 How To Grow 4A, 4B and Natural 4C Hair?
- 8 Hair Care Tip: What Products Are Good for 4A, 4B and 4C Hair?
- 9 What Is Type 3 Hair?
- 10 3A Hair
- 11 3B Hair
- 12 What Are the Differences in 3A, 3B, and 3C Hair Types? (See Chart Below)
- 13 How to Grow 3A, 3B and 3C Hair?
- 14 How Often Should You Wash?
- 15 Hairstyles
- 16 How To Keep Moisturized?
- 17 Hair Care Tip: Best Products for Shampooing, Conditioning, and Styling Type 3 Hair
What Is Type 4 Hair?
Type 4 hair is commonly known as kinky hair. It is characterized by curls that resemble the letter “z” and extreme density. It doesn’t have defined ringlets and curly patterns.
Type 4 usually maintains its shape, whether dry or wet. However, you need to moisturize it daily since the natural oils from your scalp don’t reach the hair’s shaft. It’s also worth noting that Type 4 hair is prone to knotting and shrinkage.
Hence, it requires careful handling and proper maintenance to preserve the length and prevent breakage.
Another remarkable feature of this texture is that it can shrink up to 70-85% of its actual length. Your hair may be waist-length, but it may look like you have much shorter hair.
- Loose or tight coils characterize 4A hair type. It is thick and springy. To achieve an attractive luster with this hair, you’ll need to use plenty of leave-in conditioners. When it comes to styling Type 4A hair, it is advisable to have a water bottle on hand so you can regularly spray it to prevent breakage.
- Featuring very tight coils or a zig-zag pattern, 4B hair type somewhat behaves like the 4a hair type. The most effective way to keep it moisturized and hydrated is by using water and styling creams. It is also essential to co-wash it regularly. Co-washing is when you wash it with conditioner only and skip the shampoo. Co-washing usually results in softer, smoother, more manageable hair.
- If you have Type 4A hair, it is advisable to style your hair immediately after washing. Styling soon after washing helps to tame your crown, making it easy to manage. Also worthy of note is that styling your whole head at once may not deliver the desired results. Consider breaking this hair type into small sections when styling it.
4C Hair Type
- The 4C hair type is the most common hair texture for black women around the world. While in it’s natural unprocessed state, 4c hair is coily and highly prone to shrinkage upwards of 85%. This high reduction in length can occur even without adding products such as creams and oils to loosen dry hair follicles.
- The 4C hair type features no real curl pattern. It is the most fragile of all Type 4 hair. If you want to show off your hair-length with this type of hair, you’ll need to stretch your hair to achieve that.
- Thanks to its wiry and coarse nature, 4C hair requires regular moisturizing to achieve most styles. It usually works well with the LCO or LOC (leave-in, oil, cream) styling method. Regular use of leave-in conditioners, heavy creamers, and butter will help keep this type of hair in great shape.
- When 4c hair is wet the hair is much more easier to manage especially when adding products to capture moisture.
- Many women of color find it difficult to distinguish the differences between 4b and 4c hair as they both have similar characteristics to each other. Please see chart below for all the major differences.
Differences Between 4A, 4B and 4C Hair?
(Chart Updated: 2/02/2020)
Curl Pattern Characteristics:
4A Hair Texture
Tightly coiled. Extremely Delicate. Features a highly defined curly pattern
4B Hair Texture
Tightly coiled. Very Delicate. Less defined curly pattern.
4C Hair Texture
Looks quite like 4B hair type but with tightly kinked curls
While the 4A hair type is coiled tightly with an evident “S” curl pattern, Type 4B hair bends in sharp angles characteristic of the letter Z. The curls in 4B are tighter and less defined, with strands ranging from fine and thin to coarse and wiry.
While the 4c hair type is densely packed, its curls are less defined and experience more shrinkage. It’s also more fragile, with strands ranging from super fine and soft to coarse and wiry.
How To Grow 4A, 4B and Natural 4C Hair?
4A, 4B and 4C hair the slowest growth rate typically. However, growing it can be quick and almost effortless if you implement the following tips.
- Use latex gloves when applying products
Sometimes, we can be too heavy-handed when applying products. This can lead to unnecessary breakage, causing slow growth.
Furthermore, your nails and the small grooves in your fingertips may irritate your cuticles and create micro-tears in your hair strands. The best way to prevent these problems is to use latex gloves. The gloves will serve as a protective barrier between your hands and your fragile hair, reducing the amount of breakage when working on your hair.
- Balance moisture and protein treatments
If you’re over-moisturizing your 4A/4B or 4c hair, you could be denying it the necessary protein boosts to keep it curly and bouncy. Excessive moisture and insufficient protein, known as hygral fatigue, can make your hair weak, floppy, and lifeless.
Also, too much protein can make your hair dry, stiff, and brittle. Hence, it’s crucial to balance moisture and protein treatments. For example, if you’re deep conditioning four times a month, three washes should focus on moisture and one wash on protein treatment.
It is advisable to use medium protein treatment. However, if you are somewhat protein-sensitive, consider a light protein deep treatment.
- Pre-poo with a moisturizing oil
Pre-pooing is the practice of applying oil to your before you shampoo it. When it comes to pre-pooing Type 4 hair, it’s important to use extremely moisturized oils. Olive oil, sweet almond oil, and avocado oil are good examples.
Lightweight, these oils can easily penetrate the hair shaft. For best results, break your hair into small sections and apply your preferred moisturizing oil thoroughly. Rub some of the oil in your scalp and massage.
For effective penetration, leave the oil on for at least 20 minutes before commencing your wash day routine.
- Detangle your hair with fingers under running water
Combing or detangling your hair dry is one of the grave mistakes you can make when it comes to growing 4A/4B or 4c hair. Combing to detangle will often break the ends of your hair and will leave it dry, weak, and uneven.
It is advisable to detangle your hair when it is still damp and full of conditioner, ensuring the necessary slip to comb your hair with minimal damage. Applying conditioner and then detangling your hair with fingers under running water is one of the most effective ways to achieve optimal 4A-4B and 4c hair growth.
- Use the right styling methods and products
Type 4 hair is naturally fragile. Hence, lubrication between strands is essential to minimize breakage. It helps to reduce friction between strands and maintain high moisture levels.
It’s also important to use natural products on 4c hair in addition to 4a and 4b hair pattern. Chemical-laden products are known to strip the hair of moisture. For example, after your routine washday, you can apply some Aloe Vera gel to your hair.
Aloe Vera has potent hydrating properties. It will not only add extra moisture to your hair but will also lock in the moisture from your wash. Break your hair into small sections before you apply the gel ensuring all strands get coated.
You can then apply your favorite leave-in conditioner before applying a thick, moisturizing, all-natural cream to lock in all the products.
If you follow these tips diligently, you can be confident that your Type 4 will grow strong and healthy. With proper care, Type 4 hair can grow long, bouncy, and voluminous regardless of its inherent fragility.
Learn more about Afro kinky braiding human hair
Hair Care Tip: What Products Are Good for 4A, 4B and 4C Hair?
If you have 4b-4c or 4a hair, here are some of the best products you can use to keep it long, healthy, and secure.
- Ecoco Eco styler Professional Styling Gel with Olive Oil
This product is composed of 100% pure olive oil and is ideal for wash-and-go and ponytails. Olive oil helps to control the scalp’s moisturizing system naturally. It will give a healthy sheen.
- TGIN Honey Miracle Mask
If your hair is dry or damaged, this rich deep conditioner will deliver instant restoration. Formulated with raw honey for softer, gleaming curls and olive oils for nourishing and healing damaged strands. It also smells great.
- Kinky-Curly Knot Today
This is one the best leave-in conditioners for 4c, 4a and 4b hair. It is useful in smoothing the cuticle and removing knots and tangles from kinky-textured hair. You can use it as a leave-in conditioner for thick curly hair patterns or as a daily rinse out conditioner for wavy hair.
- Long and Luxe GroWash Cleansing Creme Conditioner
This product from As I Am, a potent combination of naturally derived ingredients, which help your hair grow longer and healthier. It is useful in detangling and moisturizing hair and scalp.
- OBIA Naturals Hair Care Neem & Tea Tree Shampoo Bar
This revitalizing shampoo is useful in soothing a dry scalp and removing unwanted buildup. Its main ingredients, Tea Tree Oil and Neem Oil, are potent astringents that will leave your scalp relaxed. It also has a pleasant aroma.
What Is Type 3 Hair?
Type 3 hair is commonly known as curly hair. It is characterized by curls that resemble the letter “S.” This hair type is naturally soft, but still requires plenty of moisture, care, and maintenance. It is often difficult to keep moisturized and hydrated.
That’s because the natural oils from the scalp usually take longer to travel down to the hair’s shaft, thanks to the curly pattern. The most delicate parts of type 3 hair are within the bend. It’s advisable to avoid over-manipulating the texture as it can lead to unnecessary breakage.
This curl type usually is best styled in a wash & go. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t style it in other ways. It offers a limitless versatility of style options.
Example of This Texture:
- The 3A hair type is shiny with large curls and, or, crinkly waves. It is the most naturally curly pattern to manage and thrives in moist and wet conditions. However, it is easily affected by the elements.
- It is advisable to use lighter oils on this texture as opposed to heavier oils. Use only alcohol-free, water-based creams.
- Loose, spiral curls characterize the 3B hair type. It usually is very dry. That means you’ll need to pay serious attention to moisturizing and maintenance if you prefer wearing longer natural styles.
- With this hair type, it’s advisable to use paraben-free and sulphate-free products. Using these products will help you achieve more moisturized curls. Also, consider using a go-to gel that doubles as a hydration and setting agent to keep the curls as defined as possible.
3C Hair Type
- Springy tight spiral curls characterize this type of hair. They are the most textured of curly hair types and known for volume and fullness, which is attributed to the strands being compactly packed together.
- The 3C hair type is also characterized by frizz. Fortunately, you can easily manage this with the right moisturizing and leave-in conditioners. When it comes to washing this hair type, it’s advisable to use a sulfate-free shampoo to keep it hydrated.
What Are the Differences in 3A, 3B, and 3C Hair Types? (See Chart Below)
The features that set 3A hair type apart from its B and C counterparts its luster as well as big and loose curls. The curls look like a stretched coil. Type 3B hair, on the other hand, features tighter curls compared to those of 3A.
The curls may look like bouncy ringlets or resemble tight corkscrew curls. Furthermore, Type 3B hair usually is more delicate and requires extra moisture and TLC. Type 3C hair stands out from the rest due to its more defined curls.
Its strands typically are tightly packed together. However, it is more prone to frizziness and hence requires sulphate-free products to prevent it from drying out. The texture chart below outlines the key features of the type 3 hair type
3A hair type
Thick with Noticeable “S” pattern. Hair is normally frizzy.
3B hair type
Tightly Packed Curls
The average amount of curl. May have a combination texture.
3C hair types
Tight Curls or Corkscrews
The curls may be kinky, or too tightly curled, with plenty of strands compactly packed together.
How to Grow 3A, 3B and 3C Hair?
Growing type 3 hair successfully can be a long and demanding process. Nonetheless, by employing the right methods of caring for your hair and your body, you can achieve faster and healthy hair growth. Here are some valuable tips for growing healthy Type 3 hair.
- Use a deep conditioner at least twice a week
If you want to grow your hair faster, it’s essential to keep your hair moist and conditioned. You’ll experience prolonged and slower rates of growth if your hair is dry, limp, and unhealthy. This will also cause unnecessary breakage. To prevent these issues, apply deep conditioner on your hair 2-3 times every week.
- Use products with essential oils
When shopping for conditioners, shampoos, masks, and other products for your Type 3 hair, consider choosing products enriched with healthy oils such as coconut, argan, and jojoba oils.
Essential oils can help eliminate residue on your scalp and stimulate the follicle. With a healthy scalp, your hair will grow faster and healthy. Also, make sure the products have biotin and proteins.
- Avoid products with certain chemicals
Using products packed with chemicals can slow down the growth of Type 3 hair. Products that have parabens, polymers, and sulphates, typically leave residue on your scalp. This residue can clog the follicle, resulting in stunted hair growth.
It can also make the hair frizzy. Moreover, these chemicals strip the hair of its natural oils and can result in dry, unhealthy hair that won’t grow.
- Avoid over-washing your hair
Washing your hair too often may negatively impact its health. Over-washing can also slow down your hair growth. It’s advisable to shampoo only when it’s necessary.
Washing your hair at least every two days is adequate. Once a week would also work just fine. In this way, you give the natural oils from your scalp enough time to travel to the follicles and promote growth.
- Massage your scalp before washing
Massaging your scalp helps improve follicle health by enhancing the flow of blood to the scalp. Increasing blood flow to the scalp can, in turn, promote faster hair growth. Massage your scalp for at about three minutes every day before washing it.
- Protect your hair at night
It is essential to give your Type 3 hair proper care at night if you want it to grow faster. Seal your ends with oil before you go to bed. Jojoba, coconut, and olive oils are great options.
It’s advisable to sleep on a satin pillowcase. The satin is effective in preventing damage during sleep. You might also want to pull your hair back into a bun, braid, of loose ponytail while you sleep.
- Get the right nutrients
The health of your body affects your hair growth. Your foods should have nutrients that promote hair health and growth.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables – Vegetables and fruits provide nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that promote hair growth. Great options are avocados, melon, citrus fruit, sweet potatoes, peppers, broccoli, and dark leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach.
- Eat plenty of protein – Protein helps improve hair health. Healthy hair is known to grow faster. Hence, add a lot of protein in your diet. Lean protein sources like fish and chicken breast are great options.
- Include dairy in your diet – Dairy products not only help to keep your hair healthy but also promote fast growth. These products are rich in B-vitamins, calcium, and protein. You can use low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, and Greek yogurt.
- Drinks lots of water – Water promotes stronger and thicker hair, which can grow longer without getting damaged. Try to drink at least two liters or 0.53 gallons of water per day.
- Supplements can be of great help – If you can’t get sufficient nutrients for your hair through the foods you eat, consider using nutritional supplements. There are supplements or multi-vitamins formulated explicitly for hair growth.
You can take mineral supplements like silicon, selenium, and zinc, as they promote hair growth. Vitamins such as A, C, and E are great for hair growth as well. Likewise, Omega-3, 6, and 9 acids supplements promote healthy and faster hair growth.
It’s essential to consult with your doctor before you take any supplements.
How Often Should You Wash?
Black hair should be kept as moisturized as possible. It is advisable to wash this type of hair at least every three days with a conditioner and moisturizing shampoo. This will prevent it from looking and feeling dry.
To make sure your curls are always looking fresh, be sure always to use the right cleanser. It is advisable to use a sulfate-free shampoo. This ensures that your hair stays clean and hydrated while preserving its natural oils.
Another great benefit of using a sulfate-free cleanser is that it promotes the effectiveness of your conditioner. When it comes to keeping moisturized, it also advisable to soak your hair wet when styling.
Apply a considerable amount of leave-in conditioner or your favorite styling product to drench the hair further. Avoid touching the hair until it is completely dry. You can leave it to dry naturally or use a diffuser.
However, if you are using a diffuser, be careful not to interfere with the curl pattern. When styling your curls, it is advisable to use your hands. If you must use a comb, make sure it is a well-made, wide-toothed comb.
There are several ways to style Type 3 hair. However, we’ll share with you three methods that are easy to implement and will deliver impressive results.
- Twist Out with Bantu Knots
This style is designed to give you both the benefits of twist outs and Bantu knots. First, create Bantu knots and then undo all of them. This will result in well-defined twist outs. Afterward, moisturize well to get a perfect gorgeous look.
- The Halo Braid
Start with cleaning and moisturizing your hair. Then, create a side-parting by breaking your hair into small sections. Next, start braiding your hair in one direction, from the crown. Be sure all your hair is held in the twist.
Using an elastic band, secure your hair at the end before pinning the twist to the back of your head. Repeat this process on the other side, tucking the new twist inside the existing one.
- The Half-Knot
If you don’t like having hair around your face, this style will work well for you. It helps to keep your locs out of your face and allowing the remaining hair to frame your face. It is also easy to create.
For more information take a look at these afro kinky curly clip ins
How To Keep Moisturized?
We’ve seen that Type 4 hair is one of the most fragile black hair textures. This hair type requires gentle handling. It should be well-maintained with a delicate touch and some TLC.
One of the best ways to keep your kinky curly hair long, stronger, and healthy is to keep it moisturized. So, we share with you some great tips to keep Type 4 hair moisturized.
- Use sulfate-free shampoo products
Sulfates are known to strip the hair of its natural moisture, leaving your hair dry. Hence, it is advisable to always go for sulfate-free products.
- Employ the baggy method
The baggy method is an excellent technique for replenishing hair moisture at night. Start by spritzing your hair with water to make it slightly damp. Consider adding your favorite moisturizer.
Next, cover your hair with a plastic cap and secure it with a headband. Go to bed. The water, moisturizer, and your body heat will help to moisturize and condition your hair overnight.
Keep in mind that this moisturizing method causes frizz. Nonetheless, it can work well for you if you’re wearing an afro and don’t care about the frizz.
- Use hot oil treatments
This method does a great job in softening 4c-4b and 4a hair and bringing out its natural luster. It is especially helpful during the winter months when the hair tends to dry out faster.
- Spritz with water
Water is the most reliable source of moisture for kinky hair. Hence, sprinkling your hair with water every day will help keep it soft and supple. If you are worried about frizzing, consider using a creamy, water-based moisturizer.
While such moisturizers have water as the dominant ingredient, there would be minimal hair frizz due to the creamy consistency.
- Seal your hair with natural oils
After moisturizing your hair, be sure to seal it in with natural oil or butter to lock in the moisture. Castor, sweet almond, jojoba, and olive oils are good options for natural oil.
This procedure is especially helpful during the cooler months. You should realize that oil is not a moisturizing agent by itself. The oil seals and conditions your hair after the water has moisturized it.
- Avoid touching your hair
Frequently touching your hair will strip it of natural oils and moisture. That’s why your hands usually become moist and oily when you touch your hair. If you are fond of touching your hair often, then you should moisturize it more often.
- Drink plenty of water
Try to drink at least six glasses of water daily. Besides ensuring that your hair is moisturized, water can also promote optimal hair growth.
- Coldwater rinse
Rinsing your hair with cold water helps to seal the cuticle, preventing moisture loss. For best results, consider mixing the water with apple cider vinegar, which is useful in bringing out the hair’s natural shine.
It’s also worth noting that your hair needs moisture even when it is up in twists and braids. If you don’t moisturize your hair during this time, they may break when you unravel them. With the above tips, it is easy to keep your Type 4 hair moisturized and healthy.
Hair Care Tip: Best Products for Shampooing, Conditioning, and Styling Type 3 Hair
Rummaging the shelves in a hair products store if you’re not sure what you are looking for, can be frustrating. To make things easier for you next time you go shopping for Type 3 hair products, here are some of the best products to add to your list.
- Moroccan Oil Curl Defining Cream
This cream not only makes your hair smell nice, but it will also help refresh your curls when they are dry, leaving your hair happy and healthy.
- Curly Hair Solutions H2O Water Bottle
This is one of the best hair refreshers on the market. Costing between $10 and $15, this water bottle offers excellent value for the money. You can use it to refresh your curls every morning.
- Hairstory Hair Balm
This styling balm will help your wash last up to 7 days and make your curls impressively defined without weighing them down.
- Mielle Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner
This is one of the best leave-in conditioners for Type 3 hair. Many people love it for its fabulous fragrance.
- Eco Styler Gel
When it comes to holding, it would be difficult to find a gel that offers a better value for your money than Eco Styler Gel. It will keep your curls defined without weighing them down.
The first step in caring for your natural hair is to determine your hair type. If you have either of these textures, this article has answered virtually every question you might have.
By following these recommendations: from how to care for your specific type of hair, tips, and tricks for styling to the best products to use for the best results, you’ll be sure to care for hair properly.
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