Got coarse, fluffy coils that zigzag all over? You’re probably rocking the 4B hair type. But how does 4B hair differ from the other types in this category? We’ll help you differentiate your 4B curls and show you everything you need to know about caring for 4B hair so you can help your mane reach its full potential.
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What Is the 4B Hair Type?
The 4B hair type is the second in the type 4 category of Andre Walker’s hair typing system. 4B curls are associated with the Black community and are characterized by very tight, “Z”-shaped coils. 4B coils are usually coarse and fluffy with the width of a ballpoint pen. And though 4B curls have a sharp zigzag pattern, they may lack definition and experience heavy shrinkage when wet.
4B curls are associated with the Black community and are characterized by very tight, “Z”-shaped coils. 4B coils are usually coarse and fluffy with the width of a ballpoint pen.
Because of their sharp angles, 4B curls are usually very dry, leaving them more prone to damage, breakage, and frizz. A gentle, hydrating hair care routine with products formulated specifically for coarse, curly hair will ensure your coils stay soft and healthy.
Caring for the 4B Hair Type
Caring for the 4B hair type is all about adopting a gentle routine that preserves your scalp’s natural oils for softer, more moisturized curls. Here are a few of our best tips for the 4B hair type.
- Shampoo once a week. The sharp zigzags formed by 4B coils make it hard for your scalp’s natural oils to travel down the hair shaft. Shampooing just once a week with a hydrating, sulfate-free formula can help your 4B curls retain as much natural moisture as possible. However, please feel free to experiment with a number that matches the needs of your curls.
- Do a pre-shampoo treatment. Before your weekly shampoo, coat your coils in a thick, deeply moisturizing hair conditioner, or even a hydrating oil like coconut. Let sit for about 30 minutes, then wash and condition like normal.
- Deep condition often. 4B coils need tons of moisture. Give them an extra dose whenever they’re feeling a little dry with a deep conditioning treatment.
- Spray it throughout the day. Give your coils a drink by spritzing them throughout the day with a moisturizing leave-in conditioner or a bottle of water mixed with hair oil.
- Avoid heat. Your 4B curls are fragile. Use moisturizing, curl-defining products to style your mane, and avoid blow dryers and heat tools.
- Detangle gently. It’s easiest to detangle 4B curls when wet. Work in small sections and use a curl cream or oil to make your coils more manageable while you detangle and separate with your fingers or a wide tooth comb.
- Sleep in a satin bonnet or scarf. Protect your curls at night by wrapping them in a protective, frizz-fighting bonnet or scarf.
- Be protective. Get frequent trims to minimize breakage, and go for protective hairstyles that enhance your 4B hair’s natural texture without damaging it.
Styles to Try with 4B Hair
Rock your 4B curls with these four hairstyles.
- Wash n’ Go: Natural and effortless is sometimes best. Just be sure to use plenty of moisturizing, frizz-fighting, curl-enhancing products to keep your coils looking their best all day long.
- Box Braids: Cute and protective. Need we say more?
- Pixie: A coily pixie is way cool.
- Highlights: Give your coils some extra dimension with highlights.
Key Takeaways for 4B Hair
- The 4B hair type is attributed to the Black community and is characterized by tight, zigzag coils the width of a ballpoint pen. These coils are dry, coarse, and form sharp angles.
- 4B curls are very dry and fragile, so a gentle, moisturizing hair care routine is key.
- Protective styles that enhance the 4B hair type’s natural texture are perfect. Try box braids, a pixie cut, or down and loose.