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Type 4 hair: Unleashing the Beauty of Curly Hair

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curly hair type 4

Having a full head of luscious, curly hair is a dream for many individuals. Type 4 hair, also known as kinky or coily hair, is one of the most unique and beautiful hair textures. This hair type is characterized by tight coils or curls that require special care and attention to keep them healthy and vibrant.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of Type 4 hair and explore its characteristics, care routines, styling techniques, and more. Whether you’re a Type 4 hair veteran or just starting your natural hair journey, this article will help you with the knowledge and expertise to embrace and enhance your curls.

Understanding Type 4 Hair. A Closer Look at the Sub hair Types

Type 4 hair is known for its coily, tightly curled texture. It is the most delicate and fragile of all hair types, requiring special care and attention. Let’s take a closer look at the different subtypes of type 4 hair:

1. Type 4A Hair: S-shaped Coils

Type 4A hair features tightly coiled, S-shaped curls. These curls have a visible curl pattern and a defined structure. They are prone to shrinkage and can be quite springy when well-maintained.

4a hair style


2. Type 4B Hair: Z-shaped Coils

Type 4B hair is characterized by tight, Z-shaped coils. These coils are less defined compared to type 4A curls and tend to shrink significantly. Type 4B hair has a more zigzag pattern, providing a unique and beautiful texture.

4b hair style


3. Type 4C Hair: Coils with Minimal Curl Definition

Type 4C hair has the tightest curl pattern among the type 4 subtypes. It often lacks a distinct curl pattern and may appear more like a dense mass of coils or kinks. Type 4C hair tends to shrink considerably and requires extra care to retain moisture.

4c hair style


Characteristics of Type 4 Hair

Type 4 hair has some unique characteristics that set it apart from other hair types. Understanding these characteristics will help you tailor your hair care routine and embrace the beauty of your natural curls.

  1. Density: Type 4 hair tends to be dense, meaning there is a high number of hair strands per square inch. This density gives Type 4 hair a voluminous appearance when styled.
  2. Texture: Type 4 hair has a coarse texture due to the tightly coiled curls. The texture can range from fine to coarse within the Type 4 hair spectrum.
  3. Dryness: Type 4 hair has a natural tendency to be dry. The tight curl pattern makes it challenging for the natural oils produced by the scalp to travel down the hair shaft, resulting in dryness and potential breakage. Regular moisturization is essential to combat dryness and maintain healthy hair.
  4. Shrinkage: Type 4 hair exhibits significant shrinkage when it dries. This shrinkage can make the hair appear shorter than its actual length. Embracing shrinkage is a crucial aspect of accepting and loving your Type 4 hair.

Caring for Type 4 Hair. Tips and Techniques

To keep your Type 4 hair healthy, vibrant, and manageable, it’s important to establish a consistent and tailored hair care routine. Here are some expert tips and techniques to help you care for your Type 4 hair:

1. Hydration is Key: Moisturize Regularly

Dryness is a common concern for Type 4 hair. Moisturizing your hair regularly is crucial to combat dryness and retain moisture. Opt for water-based leave-in conditioners and moisturizers that penetrate the hair shaft, providing hydration from within. Look for products that contain natural ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, and coconut oil, as these can help nourish and moisturize your Type 4 hair effectively.

2. Gentle Cleansing: Co-washing and Low-poo Techniques

Type 4 hair can be sensitive to harsh cleansers found in traditional shampoos. Consider adopting a co-washing or low-poo technique to cleanse your hair gently. Co-washing involves using a conditioner instead of shampoo to cleanse your hair, while low-poo refers to using sulphate-free or mild shampoos. These methods help retain the natural oils and moisture in your hair, preventing excessive dryness.

3. Deep Conditioning: Nourish and Restore

Deep conditioning is an essential step in any Type 4 hair care routine. It helps nourish, strengthen, and restore moisture to your hair. Look for deep conditioning treatments that contain ingredients like argan oil, olive oil, or avocado oil, as these provide intense hydration and promote hair health. Consider using a steamer or a shower cap to enhance the effectiveness of your deep conditioning treatment.

4. Protective Styling: Minimize Manipulation

Protective styling is a great way to minimize manipulation and reduce damage to your Type 4 hair. Styles like braids, twists, buns, and updos can help protect your hair from environmental factors and prevent breakage. Ensure that your protective styles are not too tight to avoid unnecessary tension on your hair and scalp.

5. Seal in Moisture. The LCO/LOC Method

The LCO (Liquid, Cream, Oil) or LOC (Liquid, Oil, Cream) method is a popular technique among Type 4 hair enthusiasts to maximize moisture retention. Start by applying a water-based leave-in conditioner or moisturizer (liquid) to damp hair, followed by a hair cream (cream) to seal in the moisture. Finally, apply a natural oil (oil) to further lock in the moisture. This method helps keep your Type 4 hair hydrated for an extended period.

6. Gentle Detangling. Finger Detangling and Wide-Tooth Comb

Detangling Type 4 hair requires patience and a gentle approach to prevent breakage. Finger detangling is an effective method that allows you to feel the knots and tangles, minimizing damage. If you prefer using a comb, opt for a wide-tooth comb to minimize pulling and snagging. Start detangling from the ends and work your way up to the roots, section by section.

Top Products for Type 4 Hair

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Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

This curl-enhancing smoothie is formulated with shea butter and hibiscus extracts to moisturize and define your curls.

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Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream:

Cantu’s leave-in conditioner is enriched with shea butter and other natural oils to provide intense moisture and nourishment to your curls.

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Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel

This flaxseed-infused gel is perfect for defining and elongating your curls while providing long-lasting hold.

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Is it possible to change the curl pattern of type 4 hair?

The natural curl pattern of type 4 hair cannot be permanently changed, but certain styling techniques like twist-outs or braid-outs can temporarily alter the appearance of the curls.

How often should I wash my type 4 hair?

The frequency of washing type 4 hair depends on various factors like scalp condition, product buildup, and personal preference. Generally, washing once every 1-2 weeks is recommended to avoid excessive dryness.

Can heat styling be harmful to type 4 hair?

Excessive heat styling can cause damage to type 4 hair. It’s important to use heat-protectant products and limit the use of heat tools. Embrace your natural texture and opt for heat-free styling methods whenever possible.

Are there any specific hairstyles that work well for type 4 hair?

Type 4 hair is versatile and can be styled in a wide range of hairstyles. Protective styles like braids, twists, and buns are popular choices. Experiment with different styles to find what works best for you.

How can I combat shrinkage with type 4 hair?

Shrinkage is a natural characteristic of type 4 hair. To combat shrinkage and showcase your hair’s true length, you can try stretching techniques like twist-outs, and braid-outs, or use hair-stretching tools like flexi rods or African threading.

Are there any specific diet recommendations for healthy type 4 hair?

A well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein is beneficial for overall hair health. Incorporate foods like leafy greens, fruits, lean proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to support healthy hair growth.


Type 4 hair is a beautiful and diverse hair type that deserves to be celebrated. Embracing your natural curls and kinks can be a transformative journey of self-discovery and self-expression. Remember to be patient with your hair, experiment with different products and styles, and most importantly, love and appreciate the unique beauty of your type 4 hair. So, go ahead, rock those coils, and let your natural hair shine!

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