Everything You Need To Know About Type 4 Hair:

everything you need to know about natural 4a 4b and 4c hair. porosity, density, grow it long.

What’s going on beautiful people? 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 and tricky to care for due to its tight curl patterns.

Those with natural hair in the 4’s my have a hard time retaining length, thickness, breakage issues and many more. My goal of this post is to help you learn everything you can in order to find the best way to grow and maintain long, thick, and a healthy head of hair. These hair tips can be applied to all types although. I will add to this post periodically as my knowledge about this texture continues to grow.

how often to wash 4a natural hair

What’s The Difference In 4a, 4b & 4c? 

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

especially 4b and 4c hair is not curly its “nappy” or “kinky”. However us naturalistas know better! Type 4 naturals do actual hair curly hair its just that the curls very small 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 little body in its natural wash and go 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 properly moisturized. Body and bounce is often seen once the hair has been styled in a twist out, braid out or other stretched styles. 

  • 4a : Those with 4a hair are known to have a tight curly or coily hair texture. A afro kinky pattern is still clearly visible and the hair needs products to keep the curls defined and moisturized. 
  • 4b : Those with 4b hair may or may not have a hard time defining their curls. It depends on their own personal knowledge of their unique hair. 4b hair is also very soft, fragile, and tightly coiled, those with 4b typically have less defined curls  and need to add extra moisture to their hair to keep it healthy. 
  • 4c : Those who have 4c hair will have a hard time finding their curl pattern (however it is there). It is hard to get the hair to drop or hang 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 in order to style it.
  • For example twist outs and braid outs. This hair texture loves products and the heavier 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. 

how to grow 4a natural hair

What is Hair Porosity? 

Hair porosity is your hairs ability to absorb moisture and retain moisture. The term porosity is derived from pores. In reference to hair, porosity is describing the amount of openings or gaps in each individual hair shaft. A hair strand can naturally be porous and chemically processing the hair with color or perms will also make the hair strand more porous as well.

It is described into 3 categories: low, normal or medium, and high porosity.  A popular and 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. Shed hair from a comb or brush is fine (don’t go plucking out healthy hair strands LOL) take a clear glass of distilled or purified water and place your clean strand of hair inside.

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 you strands quickly sink 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 strand.

  • 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 it is moisturized it is hard for the hair to loose 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 easily. This hair snataches 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 quite necessary to penetrate the hair strand. The down fall with high porosity natural hair is that is loses its moisture just as easily and fast. So there is a constant battle with keeping the hair moisturized.
  • Natural 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.

Best Moisturizing Products For 4A, 4B or 4C Hair? how to moisturize 4b natural hair

This is a good question. In order to find out what products will work best with your hair it is important 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 to the hair.

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 ect than they are oil based.  No mater what hair texture you have we always recommend deep conditioning first.  Finding the right hair products is really trial and error but knowing your porosity level will put you on the right track to finding the best and most beneficial curly hair types.

Is your hair thin, thick, fine or dense? 

(New Post: How To Style Thinning Natural Hair)

When deciding if your hair is thick, fine, then or dense it is important 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 terms dense and thin refer to the amount of hair follicles you have on your head. The more hair follicles you have the denser your hair will be. The fewer follicles you have the thinner you 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 fine. If your hair strands are thicker in diameter  then your hairs are thick. We offer the best kinky curly hair for women of color online.

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 one 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. This is due to genetics and not much can be done. afro  clip-Ins are a very good way to instantly 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 a thin density of follicles. Either of these scenarios will give medium fullness.


Is your hair prone to breakage? The elasticity test.

Several factors contribute to breakage. Those who have high porosity hair as will as fine hair are more prone to breakage. Dry hair is also prone to breakage. Hair that is rich in nutrient and highly moisturized will have elasticity to their. Elasticity is a measure of how much the hair strand will give or stretch before it breaks.  A good way to tell if you has has elasticity if to take a piece of shed hair and use both hands and pull the hair until it is straight between your fingers. one 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.IG

Thanks for visiting MNHE. Be sure to checkout afro hair products.

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  1. Pingback: 4A/4B Hair | Afro Natural Hair Types *UPDATE 2018*

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