• What is hair typing? 

The hair typing system describes the most common black hair textures. Whether you think it’s important or not, this can be useful for ladies who are looking to develop and implement hair regimens that specifically work for their hair type, especially if you’re new to the natural hair community.

  • Subcategories of type 4 hair 

In this article we’ll focus on type four hair as it is the most common hair texture for black women. It’s kinky, tightly coiled and like many of us can attest to, can be very fragile. According to Essence.com, type four hair has less cuticle layers than other hair types, meaning it needs protection from manipulation such as combing, brushing and blow drying.

The key to maintaining type four hair is moisture. For this type of hair to be at its healthiest, it needs moisture to seal it.

Type 4A

Often identified by its S shape, people with this hair type have a naturally defined curl pattern much like curly hair. Though 4A hair retains moisture well, it can also be prone to dryness. Wash-and-go styles work well and can be easily achieved with the right products and techniques.

Andy Allo 4A hair

Andy Allo, image from Ebony

  • Due to the naturally looser curl pattern of 4A hair, wash-and-go styles can be done
  • Use a nourishing conditioner to detangle this hair type
  • The use of sulphate-free shampoos is recommended

Type 4B
4B hair bends at sharp Z angles. As this hair has a lot of bends and curves in each strand, moisture may not penetrate so easily. This hair type is thus prone to breakage and dryness. With a fluffy look and feel, ladies with 4B hair are likely to experience shrinkage (when the hair appears to be shorter than it actually is).

Solange 4B

Solange Knowles, image from Maneaddicts 

  • 4B hair needs more moisture than 4A as well as regular deep conditioning
  • Gentle cleansing methods and regular deep conditioning is needed for this hair type
  • The LOC method is recommended (using a water-based product to hydrate the hair, sealing the moisture in with an oil, then finishing with a creme to prevent moisture loss)
  • Do protective styles such as buns and twists, and low-manipulation styles to protect hair from damage

Type 4C

This hair type is tightly coiled thus resulting in hair appearing short when freshly washed. 4C hair doesn’t have a defined curl pattern. It’s similar to 4B, but the curl is much tighter. The tighter the curl, the drier the hair tends to be which is why this hair type thrives on moisture. Stretching the hair is essential for the naturalistas with 4C hair. The hair may be 20cm long but appear to be a TWA (teeny weeny afro).

4C hair,

Image from africantressesandtreats

  • 4C hair is very fragile and should be handled with care
  • Use products with a lot of slip
  • Always use a creamy leave-in conditioner
  • Don’t think negatively about your hair, embrace and learn to work with it
  • Don’t skip your weekly deep-conditioning step, it’ll help keep hair manageable and give it a good slip

Additional reporting: Black Naps, Black Girl With long Hair