4b Natural Hair Guide: 4b Hair Type
Hair typing is a way of classifying your hair based on the shape of your strands (or curl pattern). But the term “hair type” can be confusing. Some people use it to describe the coarseness of one’s hair or the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture (also known as porosity). But one of the most common is the Andre Walker hair typing system. In this system, a series of letters and numbers are used to describe the tightness and the shape of one’s curls; Type 1 refers to straight hair, type 2 is wavy, type 3 is curly, and type 4 is coily. Read on and learn more about 4B hair type, and find out more about the right products and how to best care for this hair type.
1What Is 4B Hair?
4B hair is one of the most difficult hair types to distinguish because it shares some of the same characteristics as its neighbors, 4A and 4C. Not to mention, most people have more than one curl pattern, which makes the whole process even more confusing. Type 4 hair, in general, has many different looks depending on the moisture level in the hair and how the hair is styled. But 4B hair naturally has a tightly coiled z-shaped pattern that distinguishes itself from 4A and 4C hair. 4B hair is often densely packed, giving it a full, thick appearance.
2Characteristics Of 4B Hair
4B hair often appears to have no defined curl pattern, but when it’s moisturized, its z-shape is most noticeable. 4B hair is extremely versatile and it holds many styles very well. Like all type 4 hair, the biggest challenge with 4B hair is usually moisture retention. The shape of coily hair makes it difficult for the scalp’s natural oils (sebum) to coat the entire length of the strand, which means those with 4B hair have to be extra diligent about keeping their hair moisturized. Another characteristic of 4B hair is every natural’s best friend and worst enemy: shrinkage. Shrinkage is often a sign of healthy hair, indicating that your strands have not been subjected to heat damage and your hair has a nice amount of elasticity. However, shrinkage also makes your hair look much shorter than it actually is, which can be frustrating for some; it can also cause the hair to tangle easily.
3Best Products for 4B Hair
There are no specific products that work best on all 4B hair, but there are definitely products that tend to work better than others. When choosing products, keep in mind that your hair type is just one piece of the puzzle. You should also think about how you want to style your hair, how well your hair retains moisture, and your strand thickness, just to name a few. When it comes to 4B hair, you want to look for products that contain moisturizing ingredients that will help define your natural curl pattern and make it easier to detangle and style. A conditioner is a must-have product for every natural. If you have 4B hair, a good conditioner will help replenish your hair with moisture, help get out tangles and make your hair easier to style. But conditioner is just one key to maintaining healthy hair. Keep reading to learn about some products that tend to work best on 4B hair.
4Best Cleansers for 4B Hair
Because 4B hair is so prone to dryness, you want to steer clear of harsh surfactants like sulfates. Instead, opt for a sulfate-free moisturizing shampoo or cowash. It’s also a good idea to keep a clarifying shampoo on hand for when you need a deep cleanse. Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Shampoo is a great moisturizing shampoo for 4B hair. The As I Am Coconut Cowash is another great choice for 4B hair. It gently cleanses the hair and makes it easy to detangle. When it’s time to clarify, Kinky Curly Come Clean is a great clarifying shampoo that’s specifically made with type 4 hair in mind.
5Best Conditioners for 4B Hair
There are two main types of conditioners: rinse-out conditioners and deep conditioners. Rinse out conditioners are meant to be left on the hair for only a few minutes and deep conditioners take a little more time to fully penetrate and hydrate the hair. It’s always a good idea to have both on hand. Shea Moisture’s Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil Intense Hydration Treatment Masque is a great deep conditioner for 4B hair. It contains lots of botanical extracts that deeply hydrate your hair, as well as honey, which is a humectant. Camille Rose Naturals Algae Renew Deep Conditioner is another great option for 4B hair. It’s made with ingredients that soften, moisturize, and strengthen your hair in one step. DevaCurl’s OneCondition Decadence is a rinse-out conditioner made for “super curly” hair types, which includes 4B hair. It has lots of slip for detangling and it leaves your hair feeling soft and moisturized. As a bonus, it can also double as a leave-in.
6Best Moisturizers for 4B Hair
As I Am’s Double Butter Rich Daily Moisturizer is a great option for 4B hair because it contains moisturizing ingredients as well and oils and butters that help lock moisture into the hair. You can use it immediately after washing or anytime your hair needs a moisture boost. Mielle Organics Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk is another great moisturizer for 4B hair. You can use it daily without worrying about build-up, which is great for those who have a hard time retaining moisture. Alikay Naturals Shea Yogurt Moisturizer is also great for 4B hair; it works best on damp hair, helping seal in moisture and nourish the hair with natural ingredients.
7Best Styling Products For 4B Hair
No matter what style you choose, you should always look for products that will give you hold, definition, and moisture. Butters and creams work best for styles like braid outs and twist outs. But if you’re doing a style like a rod set or a wash and go, you may want something with stronger hold like a gel. Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter is a great styler for 4B hair. It gives your styles great definition and it’s made with ingredients that are great for your hair. Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie is another great product for styles that require a soft hold. It provides moisture and great definition for 4B hair. Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel is great for all styles, but especially for styles that require more hold, like a wash and go or a perm rod set.
8Hair Regimen for 4B Hair
As previously mentioned, 4B hair is prone to dryness and dry hair is more prone to breakage. Therefore, dryness and breakage are two of the biggest challenges associated with 4B hair. Establishing a healthy hair routine is the best way to overcome both of these challenges. It may take some trial and error to find the exact products and methods that work for your hair, but once you do, it will be easy to stick to your routine. Regular trims can also help keep breakage at bay. Always handle 4B hair with care; use conditioner or a natural oil to help detangle and never detangle your hair when it’s dry. If you find that your hair needs extra moisture, try deep conditioning or pre-pooing weekly. You can also try the LOC method (or LCO method) for improved moisture retention. Moisturized hair always looks and feels better. Also, keep in mind that daily styling can lead to breakage, so try to incorporate low-manipulation styles and protective styles into your routine.
9Best Styles for 4B Hair
4B hair is very versatile so your styling options are plentiful. Some styles that are especially suited for 4B hair include twist outs, frohawks, Bantu knots, and of course, the classic afro. Braids, twists, flexi rod sets, straw sets, and finger coils are all great options for 4B hair. Because 4B hair shrinks so much, you may want to incorporate stretched styles into your regular routine. The good news is most styles (with the exception of the wash and go and the afro) will stretch your hair at least a little bit. Always make sure your hair is completely dry before taking it down, otherwise, you’ll end up with frizzy hair. If you don’t have the time (or patience) to air dry, you can use a hooded dryer to help dry many of your styles.
104B Hair Type – Summary
To sum it all up, 4B hair is extremely versatile. Once you find the right products and methods to use on your 4B hair, it will thrive. Remember that sometimes less is more – stick with styles you can wear for days at a time and moisturize your hair as often as necessary. Shrinkage may seem like your enemy, but if you learn to work with (instead of against) what your hair wants to do naturally, you’ll have a much easier time managing it. Luckily, there are so many gorgeous ways to style 4B hair, you’ll never get bored.