Type 4 Hair: What the A, B, and C Means and How to Care for Them All

Alyssa François | 22 June 2018
type 4 hair: long and short hair

What you really need to know about your hair type.

Without the proper knowledge about your type 4 natural hair type, things can become a little challenging when it comes to caring for and styling your hair. Type 4 hair, which consists of 4A, 4B and 4C hair, tends to be the driest of all hair types for many. Many women become so frustrated when caring for their type 4 hair as one of their main concerns is retaining moisture.

There are so many products on the market that promises hydrated hair (some even say long lasting hydration) but it seems as though this hair type becomes quite thirsty even after moisturizing. How can one find the right products and retain moisture all while sporting juicy, defined curls? We’ve got answers. Read on as we break down what you should be using on your hair by hair type:

Type 4 Hair: How to Care for it All

type 4 hair: twist out
Use styles like twist outs and braid outs to help elongate your curl pattern.

Type 4A Hair: The curl pattern you’ll notice is a wiry, coily curl. The hair tends to shrink about 50-60% of the actual length when wet.

Caring for 4A Hair: If shrinkage is a major issue for you, look for products and styling techniques that help elongate your curls. After washing your hair, be sure to follow up with a cream based leave in conditioner for added moisture and conditioning. Suave Professionals Honey Infusion 10-in-1 Leave In Conditioner is a great option to try. It not only leaves your have soft, it preps your hair for your styling process whether that involves using a blowdryer to dry or creating curly styles as it protects hair from heat and helps prevent frizz.

type 4 hair
Embrace your afro! Photo credit: Allyson Alapont

Type 4B Hair: Super coily coils. Hair shrinks about 50% or more when wet.

Caring for 4B Hair: Very often, women with 4B hair tend to worry the most about lack of moisture. As this hair type has a tighter curl that 4A types, the natural sebum has an even harder traveling down your strands which leaves you with dry hair. While all curly hair types should deep condition regularly for moisture, you shouldn’t consider skipping an opportunity. If you can, opt for deep conditioning with a conditioner or masque like Nexxus Humectress Moisture Restoring Masque once a week if you’re experiencing super dry hair. After rinsing your hair, you can use an oil like coconut oil on damp hair. Coconut oil has the ability to penetrate your strands allowing it to condition from within. If you want to seal in moisture, lock it in with a sealant oil like castor oil which sits on top of the hair strand.

type 4 hair: long and short hair
Type 4C hair in different lengths. Photo credit: Allyson Alapont

Type 4C Hair: Extremely tight curls. Some women with curly hair often describe their 4C hair as hair that doesn’t curl at all. It does, it’s just a really tight coil. You can also have a mixture of 4b/4c hair.

Caring for 4C Hair: This hair type has a coarse feeling. Moisture, of course, is your friend; however the styling tools you use in your hair also play an important part. Be sure to only comb through your hair when it’s moisturized to avoid breakage. The best time to detangle is while a conditioner is in your hair. Use a conditioner like Suave Professionals Coconut Milk Infusion Deep Moisture Conditioner to hydrate and create slip in your hair so it’s easy to detangle.


Read more