Differences Between Curl Types: 4A, 4B, 4C or 3A, 3B, 3C?


Curly hair types, in general, show a lot of similarities and common factors. For those who have type 3 hair or kinky curly hair, it appears to be wavy when it is wet. But as soon as it starts to dry it quickly returns to its curly state. Those with type 3 hair tend to have a lot of body, bounce and shine to their hair. The hair is typically high in luster. The hair is usually easy to style, manipulate and straighten. Little hair products are needed to define these curls.

Those with natural 4a 4b and 4c hair textures have some of the unique and beautiful curl patterns! However, this texture is also one of the most complicated and tricky to care for due to its tight curl patterns.

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.



Those with 3a hair have the loosest curl pattern possible. Any looser it will be wavy and not curly.  This hair texture usually has a high shine to it meaning it has a high luster. 3a hair textures do not typically do well with our lovely natural hair weave, leave in conditioners or heavy curl creams 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 wide 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.

difference between 3a and 3b natural hair. 3a 3b natural hair textures. ombre natural hair.

photo credit IG: taty_froever


Those with 3b hair have similar properties to 3a hair. This hair pattern also typically tends to be high in luster with lots of body and bounce to the hair. The curl pattern of 4b hair is slightly tighter and smaller than that of 3a. The barrel of the curl resembles that of a wide Crayola marker. #b hair is where you may start to see frizz and puffiness within the hair chart. Those with 3b hair textures may need to leave in conditioners and lightweight curl creams to keep the frizz at bay. However, it is still effortless to define curls

3b natural hair. the difference between 3b and 3c hair. my natural hair extensions

photo credit OG: @naturalhairobsessed_


Ladies with textures such as have tightest of the curly categories. Other than the tightness of the curls 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 grown straight out in the direction the hair shaft point to then as the hair gets longer and has weight to it it will start to fall creating a rounded shape of the hair. A “curly fro.” Corbin Bleu is an excellent example of this texture.  3b will require some lightweight water-based hair care products to help define the curls and keep frizz at a minimum.

3c natural hair textures. The difference between 3c and 4a hair. My natural hair extensions

photo credit IG: curlgoalz




how often to wash 4a natural hair

The misconception with the general public is that type 4 hair,

especially 4b and 4c hair is not curly its “nappy” or “kinky”. However, we naturalistas know better! Type 4 naturals do actual hair curly hair it’s just that the curls tiny so we define them as coils. A coil is just a tighter type of curl.

Type 4 natural hair textures are harder to manipulate and may require some advanced planning and a little work to change from one style to another.

It has a little body in its natural wash and state and typically appears to have little to no shine or luster without the help of some oil based hair care products.

Generally, type 4 hair have a fair amount of sheen, is soft, and has a good level of elasticity when adequately moisturized.


Those with 4a hair are known to have a tight curly or coily hair. A curl pattern is still clearly visible, and the hair needs products to keep the curls defined and moisturized. Be sure to see the afro kinky curly clip ins for this texture!

3c natural hair textures. The difference between 3c and 4a hair.

photo credit IG: naptural85


Those with 4b hair may or may not have a hard time defining their curls. It depends on their knowledge of their unique hair. 4b hair is also very soft, fragile, and tightly coiled, those with 4b typically have less defined curls and red to add extra moisture to their hair to keep it healthy. Twists, Bantu knots, and braid are easily achievable with this hair texture.  4b hair for black women with curly hair types photo credit IG: exclusive_afros


Those who have 4c hair will have a hard time finding their curl pattern. It is hard to get the hair to hand due to the tightness of the coils and extreme shrinkage this hair has. Those with this texture will have to do things that stretch out the length of the hair to style it for example twist outs and braid outs. 4c hair works well with products, because and more onerous the products, the more the hair will elongate and show off the curls. 4c hair loves moisture and water based products. Water-based products work very well when it comes to hydrating the hair. However, oil-based products work well to seal that moisture in and are also great for style manipulation. We now offer the best product for those with this texture will have to do things that stretch out the length of the hair to style it, For example, twist outs and braid outs. This hair texture loves products.  4c hair loves moisture and water based products. Water-based products work very well when it comes to hydrating; however, oil-based products work well to seal that moisture in and are also great for style manipulation


difference between 4a 4b and 4c hair textures. my natural hair extensions

photo credit IG: bubsbee


natural hair

Things To Consider


Hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb moisture and retain moisture. When dealing with hair, porosity is describing the number of openings or gaps in each hair shaft. A hair strand can naturally be porous and chemically processing the hair with color or perms will also make the hair strands more porous as well.

Hair porosity is broken down into categories: low, normal or medium, and high porosity. An easy way to find out the porosity level of your 4a 4b or 4c hair (or any hair texture in general) is to take a clean strand of hair preferably shed hair from a comb or brush (don’t go plucking out healthy hair strands LOL) and put it inside of a clear glass of distilled or purified water.  If it floats and lingers towards the top, you have low porosity hair. If it slowly starts to sink and floats somewhere in the middle, then your hair has normal porosity. If your strands quickly fall to the bottom of the glass, then you have high porosity hair.  The higher the porosity, the easier it is for moisture to penetrate and saturate the hair strand4c Low Porosity Hair chart

  • Those with low porosity hair will have a harder time moisturizing their hair as moisture and products tend to sit on top of the hair shaft. It is often necessary to deep condition adding heat to help open the hair cuticle to allow moisture in. The plus side about low porosity hair is that once moisturized, it is hard for the hair to lose its moisture due to the same principles. Low porosity hair typically takes longer to dry once saturated.
  • Natural hair that has high porosity absorbs moisture very quickly. This hair snatches every bit of moisture it can find. It tends to say frizzy or poofy because of this. Deep conditioning with heat is always a plus but not entirely necessary to penetrate the hair strand. The downfall with high porosity natural hair is that is losing its moisture just as quickly and fast. So there is a constant battle with keeping the hair moisturized.
  • curl types 4a 4b and 4c hair that has normal porosity are the lucky ones. They fall right in the middle and typically have an easier time moisturizing their hair and battling dryness


To find out what products will work best with your hair it is essential to know and understand the concept of Hair Porosity. Once you know if your hair is at a low, normal or high porosity, then it makes it a lot easier to find the correct products to moisturize your hair.

Water-based moisturizers, leave-in conditioners, and curl creams penetrate the hair shaft much easier than oil-based products.

If you have low porosity hair, this is the best option for you to keep your hair hydrated and moisturized. Heavy, oily products will not help with hydration for those who have low porosity hair although it is good to lock in moisture that is already there and add shine.

For those who have high porosity hair, it is a good idea to moisturize with a water-based product and follow up with an oil or use products that oil based but have hydrating properties and ingredients.

You can tell if a product is water based or oil based by looking at the ingredients. If the first two or three ingredients are water and glycerin than they are water based if the say something like mineral oil or petroleum, shea butter, etc. then they are oil based.  No matter what hair texture you have, we always recommend deep conditioning first.  Finding the right hair products is trial and error but knowing your porosity level will put you on the right track to seeing the best and most beneficial curly hair types.


how to moisturize type 4 hair


When deciding if your hair is thick and beautiful, then or dense it is crucial to know the difference between all the definitions. Knowing this will help you maintain length and know what styles are bad for your hair.


  • The term dense and thin refers to the number of hair follicles you have on your head. The more hair follicles you have, the thicker your hair will be. The fewer follicles you have, the thinner your hair will be.
  • The term fine and thick refer to the individual size of each hair strand. So if your hair strand is very skinny and easily breakable then you hairs are beautiful. If your hair strands are thicker in diameter, then your hairs are thick.

Hair Follicles

So what does this mean? Knowing this information will help you determines if your hair has an overall thicker or thinner appearance and why. There are those lucky individuals who have dense hair (lots of hair follicles) as well as thick strands, and these lucky individuals have a very full and voluminous head of hair. Then there are those who have the complete opposite.

If you’re one of the unlucky ones who’s hair is thin (fewer hair follicles) as well as fine (skinny strands) then even at your hairs healthiest state it will appear to have an overall thin appearance. Having the best clip in human hair extensions for African Americans is a perfect way to add volume to your hair without causing damage.

There are some who fall in the middle making your hair appear neither thick or thin.  You can have fine strands with high density, or you can have thick strands with thin density of follicles. Either of these scenarios will give medium fullness.


Several factors contribute to breakage. Those who have high porosity hair, as well as fine hair, are more prone to damage. Dry hair is also likely to experience breakage. Hair that is rich in nutrient and highly moisturized will have the elasticity to theirs. Elasticity is a measure of how much the hair strand will give or stretch before it breaks. An excellent way to tell if you have flexibility if to hair and use both hands and pull the hair until it is straight between your fingers. Once it is straight slowly and gently pull the hair even further apart. If it breaks immediately, then your hair has little to no elasticity and is highly prone to breakage. However, if the hair stretches slightly and has some give then your hair has passed the elasticity test and is likely very healthy and well moisturized.

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