The primary two textures, type 3 and 4A, 4B, 4C hair for women of color have a lot of similarities, differences, and common factors. For instance, those who have type 3, it appears to be wavy when it is wet. But as soon as it starts to dry it quickly returns to its curly state. Type 4 natural hair will remain curly when it is damp and have tighter curls or coils when it is dry. I love all different types of natural hair, and I am so happy that more women are starting to embrace their natural textures. I have been natural since May of 2009, and I did my big chop Jan 3, 2010. I am going to share with you some of the significant distinctions between the different hair textures and some great tips to take care of your hair.
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Those with natural 4a 4b and 4c hair textures have some of the most unique and beautiful curl patterns! However, this texture is also one of the most complicated due to its tight curl patterns. Most people like to say type for hair has ringlets or coils instead or curls. Ringlets or coils are just very tight curls where the diameter of the curl is only a few millimeters wide. My goal of this post is to help you learn everything you can to find the best way to grow and maintain long, thick, and a healthy head of hair no matter what texture you are.
WHAT IS TYPE 3 HAIR?
Those with type 3 hair tend to have a lot of body, bounce and shine to their hair. The nose is typically high in luster. Luster is referring to the way light reflects off of the hair shaft. The hair is usually easy to style, manipulate, and straighten. Little hair products are needed to define these curls. I’m going to break down the differences between 3A 3B and 3C.
Those with 3a hair have the loosest curl pattern possible. Anything looser than 3A will fall into the two categories. Those with the hair types 2a-2c will have waves and not curls. 3a natural hair types usually have a high shine to it, meaning it has a high luster. 3a curly hair does not typically do well heavy curl creams, oils, leave-in conditioners or heavy curl products in general as this will way down the hair and make it appear wavy instead of curly. This hair texture does best with water-based lightweight leave-in conditioners. These curls have a full barrel sized curl. As the hair gets longer curls to drop into an “S” shape due to the weight of the hair, making it appear to be more wavy than curly. An excellent way to avoid using the wrong product on your hair is to look at the ingredients. If the first 1-3 ingredients are mineral oil or petroleum, then more than likely, the product will be to heave or oily for your natural hair. From my experience of being a natural hair influencer, I see that this curl pattern is predominant in those who are Hispanic. To define these curls a simple wash and go with a light spray leave-in works best. Then allow the hair to air dry. MNHE curly collection offers extensions and clip-ins that blend amazingly with this curl pattern for clip-in on weave for natural hair.
Those with 3b hair have similar properties to 3a hair. This hair pattern also typically tends to be high in luster with lots of bodies and bounce to the hair. The curl pattern of 3b hair is slightly tighter and smaller than that of 3a. The barrel of the curl resembles that of a wide Crayola marker. 3b hair is where you may start to see frizz and puffiness within the hair chart. Those with 3b natural textures may need to use leave-in conditioners and some lightweight curl creams to keep the frizz at bay. However, it is still straightforward and quite effortless to define 3b natural hair.
Wash and goes are ubiquitous and a trendy style for those who have 3b texture. If this is your hair then the less you manipulate the hair, the more defined the curls will be. Great products to use on this type of hair are similar to those of 3A. Products that have glycerine in it work great as it is a water-based oil and will give high definition without weighing the hair down. Although anyone and any ethnicity can have 3b curly hair, it is commonly seen in mixed or biracial individuals. People who are black or African American mixed with another ethnicity that typically tends to have straighter hair will usually have a looser curl. However, you do not have to be biracial to have a 3B curl pattern. Wash and go’s are very common and popular with those who have 3B hair.
3c hair has a unique feature that 3a and 3b do not have. 3b hair starts to grow up instead of down. Meaning that it will begin to grow straight out in the direction of the hair shaft, then as the hair gets longer and has weight to it, it will start to fall creating a rounded shape called the curly fro. Corbin Bleu is an excellent example of this texture. 3c will require a mix between heaver curl cream and some lightweight water-based products as well. This is a product-loving texture. Most of my clients who have 3c hair can use almost any product. It is a happy medium between loos curly and tight coily hair. This hair can get frizzy, and hair care products are needed to help define the curls and keep frizz at a minimum.
Those with 3c hair will start to do less wash and go’s and incorporate more stying into their routine. The most common way to define 3c curls is twisted outs as wash and go’s require more time and product. A great curl defining tool for 3c hair is the Denman brush. There is a lot of other curls defining brushes on the market to choose from now. Many ladies who have 3c hair are considered to have the best of both worlds when it comes to density and thickness. Density meaning how many hair strands you have and depth referring to how thick each hair strand is and creating a full head of curly natural hair!
WHAT IS TYPE 4 HAIR?
Hello, my type 4 Natural divas! If you’ve made it to this post, you’re probably looking for everything on Type 4 hair. Well, we’ve got you covered. This Ultimate Guide on Type 4 Hair covers everything on how to determine if you have Type 4 hair to taking care of your hair for protective styles. Let’s jump right in.
Type 4 hair is often referred to as nappy or kinky, but in fact, this is the curliest hair type. The curls are so tight that hair professionals see to it as coily. Coily natural hair grows up and out. It will require a lot of product and manipulation to get it to hang. Type 4 natural hair is soft and fluffy. It has a low luster with little bounce unless the hair is defined into a style. Type 4 natural hair can hold it’s shaped and it loves moisture.
4A hair is one of three patterns of the Type 4 spectrum. This hair type creates a tights-curl that looks like a spiral or small coil. This definition shows through when adequately moisturized. My ladies who fall into this category may have more than one curl pattern. But 4a will be the majority. 4a hair has small curls or coils. The size of the curl may be that of a pencil when fully hydrated. This curl pattern does well with twist outs, braid outs, Bantu knots, and many other styles.
Although a wash and go is possible with this texture, most ladies opt not to do that style because of the shrinkage. Due to the curly nature of 4a hair is has extreme shrinkage and does not show off its exact length well without stretching, it is a style. 4a hair does well with glycerin-based products. Depending on the porosity of the hair strands, you may need a heavier curl cream to seal in moisture.
If you’re having a hard time determining if your hair is an S-shaped curl or a tight z-curl you’re probably a 4B, also known as right in the middle. This hair type has a mix of really tights-curls or loose z-curls. 4b hair is often more flexible than 4C hair and can elongate a little further and stay elongated a bit longer than 4C hair. My divas with 4b hair have thick hair with a cotton appearance when not defined. It takes a little more effort to make the curls pop.
This hair has a mix of coils and ringlets The majority of 4b ladies and shapes and styles their hair any anyway. 4b stands are usually excellent and easy to break and require constant moisture. Low manipulation styles are a great way to grow and maintain length. MNHE Coily Collection, as well as the Afro Kinky Collection, offers extensions and clip-ins that blend amazingly with this curl pattern.
4C hair is densely packed and similar to a 4b, but this hair type typically has less definition and experiences the highest amount of shrinkage. The ringlets are so tight the curl on each other. Some people say that 4c hair has a z pattern, but that is incorrect. The hair does not make sharp points and kink back instead of it just curls around on itself. But it is still a curl! For instance, someone with 4c hair can have 12 inches of hair when it is stretched, but it may only appear to be 3-4 inches long in its natural wash and state.
Most 4c naturals do not like to wear wash and goes. The most popular way to style 4c hair is with twist outs and braid outs as they show a little more length and keep the hair stretched and manageable. The tight ringlets range from super fine and soft to wiry and coarse. 4C hair usually has a high level of porosity, making it easy to absorb moisture but just as easy to lose it. Oil-based products work well to seal that moisture in and are also great for style manipulation. Check out our blog on the LOC method!
Hair Care & Best Products:
These products are ideal for helping keep 4C moisturized without the build-up. These products also aim to stay 4C hair manageable and soft.
- Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil Extra Dark
- CURLS Blueberry Bliss Control Paste
- Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream
You should use a daily moisturizer to revitalize your curls. It will also make it easier to manage for quick styling in the morning. Use one of the recommended styling products above to create your desired style.
SHAMPOO & CONDITIONING
Depending on how active you are, you may find that your Type 4 hair only requires washing every 1-2 weeks.
- Use a detangler on damp hair before washing your hair to comb your knots out, without rushing. You’d be surprised at what slow detangling can do for your hair.
- Use a co-wash after rinsing out your detangler. Focus on the scalp to remove build-up.
- Use a cleansing shampoo. One of our favorites is Shea Moisture Jamaican Castor Oil Shampoo. This shampoo cleans without stripping the hair.
- Finish off with a deep leave-in conditioner. Let this sit in your hair for 15 minutes under a cap or in a steamer for best results.
What makes the “Type 4 LOC Method” different than the conventional LOC method? The process is the same. However, the products used for Type 4 hair should all be oil-based.
Your leave-in should be primarily oil-based vs. water-based, your oil should be castor oil or coconut oil, and for the styling cream using one of the suggestions above.
Silk or satin, ladies! Keep those beautiful tresses covered at night with a scarf or bonnet. If you have time, you may want to twist your hair before sleeping to stretch your curls for the next day.
- Natural Flat Twist Styles – This is our favorite goddess look. Ideal for fancy affairs, special occasions or a no-hassle hair-do for the workweek. Also, be sure to use our best straight crochet hair to add additional length.
- Crochet Braids – These are quickly becoming the most popular protective style to lengthen your hair without glue or wigs. With crochet human hair, you can use hair like the coarse yaki crochet hair for styling. Crochet braids are super simple, and you can watch a great tutorial on that here.