What You Need to Know about Type 4 Hair
Type 4 hair can range from fine/thin to wiry and coarse with lots and lots of strands densely packed together. It visually looks like fluffy clumped hair. Coily hair has fewer cuticle layers than any other hair type, which means that it has less protection from the damage inflicted by combing, brushing, curling, blow-drying and straightening.
Providing Care for Afro Type Hair
Afro-textured hair, also known as Type 4 hair is the most delicate hair texture that exists. Caring for type 4 hair requires gentle handling and should be styled with as little manipulation as possible in order to promote length retention, volume, and growth. Natural type 4 hair should be well maintained due to its fragile state and with a little TLC and a delicate touch, your natural hair will grow longer, stronger and healthier.
Not all hair is the same! In a multicultural world, it’s not uncommon to find many textures and a mixture of textures.
Recognize the Different Types
Type 4A: Afro Kinky Curly This hair is tightly coiled hair that has an “S” pattern. It has more moisture than Type 4b coils and has a visible curl pattern. The circumference of the spirals is close to that of a crochet needle. The hair can be wiry or fine-textured. It is usually fragile with high density. Type 4a hair has fewer cuticle layers than other hair types, which means it has less natural protection from damage.
Type 4B: Kinky Coily- These strands have a “Z” shape and a less defined curl pattern. Instead of curling or coiling, the hair bends in sharp angles like the letter “Z.” Type 4b hair is tightly coiled and can feel wiry to the touch. Type 4b hair can range from fine and thin to wiry and coarse with many strands packed densely together. This hair type often experiences shrinkage up to 75% of its actual hair length. Type 4b coils can hold altered styles well in comparison to Types 2, 3, or 4a hair.
Type 4C: Afro Kinky- This type is the most fragile type of hair. This hair is composed of strands that will almost never separate without the use of styling techniques. Type 4c hair can range from fine, thin, soft to coarse with densely packed strands. Some say Type 4c coils look identical to 4b except that the curls are tightly kinked with less definition. Tighter coiled hair can shrink more than 75%.
KINKY HAIR CARE TIP: Because kinky hair is dry by nature, and therefore breaks easily, it needs added moisture, daily. Dry hair breaks…well moisturized hair is supple and has elasticity. The key to keeping these natural locks healthy, shiny, and beautiful is to moisturize every step of the way. Start with a creamy, sulfate free, moisturizing cleanser, follow suit with a super hydrating conditioner, prep with a rich moisturizer and style with a rich cream, full of natural oils and rich butters. Look for moisturizing humectants, natural conditioning agents, and exotic extracts to add moisture to these locks. Avoid mineral, and petrolatum oil and heavy waxes.
Product Tips for Type 4 Hair
- Use a creamy humectant as a leave-in to maximize protection from the elements
- A curl defining custard or gelee can stretch the coil safely for twist-outs and braid-outs. Try homemade flax seed gel.
- Cover your hair at night with a silk or satin cap to protect your hair and prevent breakage
- Use a detangling co-wash with slippery elm or marshmallow root
- Practice the LOC or LCO Method to keep coils moisturized
- Pre-poo with coconut oil or castor oil to help retain natural oils in your scalp. Adding essential oils will help your curls.
- Create a heat-free style on stretched hair with perm rods, Curlformers, or flexi-rods for maximum definition and less frizz
- Use a t-shirt or microfiber towel to dry hair after washing; terry cloth will strip its natural moisture and cause tension on the strands
- Co-wash with a moisturizing sulfate-free cleanser. Learn about the benefits of clay washing.
- Clarify your scalp with shampoos containing tea tree or jojoba oil.
- Use thicker natural emollients like mango and shea butter to maximize your wash-and-go, twist-out, or Bantu knot-out style after washing