4C Natural Hair Guide | 4C Hair Type
“Hair type” is a popular, but somewhat ambiguous term. Different people use it in different ways to describe certain characteristics of their hair. But most often, it’s used to describe curl pattern, particularly when referring to the hair typing system created by Andre Walker. This system uses a series of numbers and letters to describe the shape and tightness of one’s curls. Type 1 is at one end of the spectrum, and refers to straight hair, and type 4 is at the other end of the spectrum, describing the most tightly coiled strands. Keep reading to learn more about 4C hair, including how to best care for this hair type.
1What Is 4C Hair?
It’s important to note that 4C hair is not included in Andre Walker’s well-known hair typing system, only 4A and 4B. In fact, Walker’s classification system is somewhat controversial because many people think it’s not the most inclusive way to classify different hair types. However, if you take a look at most modern hair typing charts, you’ll notice that 4C hair has been added because it’s a common curl pattern that’s distinctly different from 4A and 4B hair types.
2Characteristics Of 4C Hair
As you can see from the chart, 4C hair has a tightly coiled shape. It often appears to have no defined curl pattern at all when it’s dry, but it does – it just takes the right products and technique to bring it out. For this reason, 4C hair is arguably the most versatile hair type. It holds many styles well and its appearance varies significantly depending on how it’s styled. Because 4C hair is so tightly coiled, it’s particularly prone to dryness and tangles. When it dries, 4C hair also tends to shrink significantly, which can be frustrating for some and ideal for others.
34C Hair Care – Choosing Products For 4C Hair
All curly and coily hair craves moisture, but 4C hair, in particular, can have a hard time retaining moisture because all the bends and curves in each strand make it difficult for your scalp’s natural oils to coat the entire length of your strands. In fact, most of the challenges associated with maintaining natural hair can be solved by making sure your hair is properly moisturized. That being said, when choosing products, look for formulas that include water as the first ingredient, followed by other moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera juice, jojoba oil, and mango butter. While oils and butters alone won’t moisturize your hair, a good moisturizer will include oils and butters to help seal in moisture.
4Best Products for 4C Hair
The ”best” products for 4C hair are relative. When choosing products, hair type/curl pattern isn’t the only factor to consider. It’s also important to think about your hair’s porosity, how prone it is to product build-up, and your strand thickness, among other things. With that being said, moisture is the foundation of a good hair care routine, so ideally, you want to look for products that contain moisturizing ingredients and steer clear of drying alcohols and harsh ingredients like sulfates. Keep reading to learn about some products that tend to work best on 4C hair.
5Best Cleansers for 4C Hair
The trick to finding a good shampoo is finding one that removes all the build-up from your hair without drying it out too much. It’s a good idea to invest in both a moisturizing cleanser and a clarifying shampoo for when you need a deep cleanse. TGIN’s Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo. is a great option for 4C hair because it contains gentle, natural ingredients that leave your hair feeling clean. As I Am’s Curl Clarity Shampoo is a great clarifying shampoo for 4C hair. It’s specifically formulated for natural hair types so it’s a lot gentler than many other clarifying shampoos. Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea Cleansing Cowash is a great cowash for 4C hair because it makes detangling easy and leaves your strands feeling soft and moisturized.
6Best Conditioners for 4C Hair
If you have 4C hair, you’ll want to invest in a good rinse out conditioner with a lot of slip that will help make detangling easier. You also want to find a good deep conditioner to give yourself that extra surge of moisture that 4C hair craves. Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Conditioner contains ingredients like castor oil, shea butter, and aloe vera juice, which all help moisturize and strengthen 4C hair. TGIN Honey Miracle Mask is a great deep conditioner for 4C hair. Honey is a humectant, which helps your hair draw moisture from the air around you. Aloe, olive oil, and jojoba oil help deeply hydrate thirsty strands.
7Best Moisturizers for 4C Hair
In general, creamy moisturizers and leave-in conditioners are the best options for 4C hair because they tend to penetrate and hydrate your strands more deeply. But liquid moisturizers are also great for helping refresh your hair throughout the day and give it a little extra moisture any time without having to worry about buildup. Jane Carter Solution’s Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner is a great example of a liquid moisturizer that works for 4C hair. However, if you want a thicker conditioner that will provide long-lasting moisture, Oyin Handmade’s Hair Dew is a great option; it’s made with coily hair textures in mind and it’s suitable for daily use. Taliah Waajid’s Curly Curl Cream is another great moisturizer for 4C hair; it can also double as a styler.
8Best Stylers for 4C Hair
If you’re doing a style like a twist out, braid out, or Bantu knot out, then a twisting butter or cream will usually do the trick. If you want stronger hold, opt for a gel. You can also layer a cream-based styler and gel, just be careful because not all products work well together and may leave residue on your hair or cause flaking. Look for botanical gels that do not contain drying alcohols. Jane Carter Solution’s Curls To Go line is specifically designed for type 4 hair. The Curls To Go Curl Cocktail is a versatile styling cream that can be used for styles like twist outs as well as wash and wear styles. Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter is perfect for 4C hair because it provides lots of moisture and soft definition.
94C Natural Hair Regimen
4C hair can be very fragile, so it’s important to handle it with care to avoid breakage. Because it’s so tightly coiled, 4C hair can get tangled very easily. Fortunately, there are ways to combat dryness and tangles. Use a moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo and wash your hair in sections to prevent further tangling. Always follow up with a hydrating conditioner and never detangle your hair when it’s dry. Detangling your hair in the shower while it’s wet and saturated with conditioner is one of the easiest ways to get tangles out fast. However, depending on how tangled your hair is, you may want to detangle before you shampoo it. You can still use a conditioner to do this, or you can also use a natural oil if you prefer. In fact, detangling after pre-pooing is one of the safest detangling methods for 4C hair. Experiment a little until you find the exact technique that works best for your hair.
10Best Styles for 4C Hair
As previously mentioned, 4C has great styling versatility. Updos, frohawks, and afros are just a few styles that are especially suited for 4C hair. However, due to shrinkage and breakage, many people with 4C hair also enjoy styles that keep their strands stretched: this helps prevent tangles and takes advantage of the length that shrinkage often conceals. Styles like perm rod sets and twist outs are great options for 4C hair. For maximum elongation, you can also do a blowout before styling or stretch your hair using a heartless method like banding. Braiding your hair while it’s damp can also help stretch your hair as it dries. Using curl formers is a great way to create uniform, stretched curls on 4C hair, and they don’t even require heat! Just make sure you give your hair ample time to dry before removing the curl formers.
11Wash and Go on 4C Hair
One of the most prominent myths about 4C hair is that it is not wash and go compatible. The truth is, you can, in fact, do a wash and go on 4C hair, but if you follow methods used by those with much looser curl patterns, your results are not likely to be favorable. The key to a successful wash and go on 4C hair is moisture. Start on clean, soaking wet hair, and apply a moisturizing leave-in conditioner and a styling product with hold, preferably a botanical gel like Kinky Curly Curling Custard or Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker. You can use the rake and shake method (where you rake the products through your hair in small sections, then bend forward and shake your head back and forth vigorously) or use a Denman brush or your fingers to help evenly distribute the products through your hair and define your natural curl pattern. What’s most important is that you always work in small sections and make sure your hair is wet.
124C Hair – Summary
To sum it all up, 4C hair is an extremely versatile hair type. There’s an array of different styles and looks you can achieve with 4C hair. The most important part of taking care of 4C is making sure that it’s properly moisturized. It’s also important to handle it with care and use the right types of products and styling tools. Low-manipulation styles like rod sets and twist outs and the occasional protective style can help you avoid breakage caused by daily styling. There are a lot of myths out there about 4C hair, but just like any other hair type, you just have to experiment a little to find the right products and methods to care for it.