/ / What Are 4A, 4B and 4C Hair Types? Answers & Picture Examples Inside

What Are 4A, 4B and 4C Hair Types? Answers & Picture Examples Inside

What Are 4A, 4B and 4C Hair Types? Answers And Picture Examples Inside

Did you know that not all Afro hair is the same? Depending on the look, feel and texture, their are various groups your hair type can fall into.

We as black women generally have what is called type 4 hair. This is kinky hair, rather than it being straight or with light curls.

In this article we’ll further explore the different kinds of type 4 hair. With this knowledge you’ll be able to make better product choices and better manage your hair.

Please share if useful. 🙂

What Is Type 4 Afro Hair (Kinky)?

Type 4 hair is the hair type that most black women have. This kind of hair is kinky, extremely wiry, has tight coils and is very fragile.

Type 4 hair usually looks coarse but is actually very fine and the hair strands are normally thickly packed together. Type 4 hair is the driest hair type which makes it more fragile.

Generally, Afro hair is type 4.

A common misconception about type 4 hair is that it doesn’t grow long. This isn’t true.

Kinky hair can grow as long as any other hair type. The only difference is the fact that it requires much more care to avoid breakage.

What Type 4 Hair Do I Have? Black Hair Types Listed

Not sure what kind of type 4 hair you have? Well this is what we’ll help you determine here today.

Type 4 hair (also often referred to as the black hair types) is divided into three groups:

  1. Type 4A hair.
  2. 4B hair.
  3. 4C hair type.

Let us take a look at what we mean by 4A, 4B and 4C hair types so we can work out which one you have. The images should also help you determine it.

What Is Type 4A Hair?

4A hair example

4A hair is easy to identify since it has a well-defined “S” shaped pattern when stretched. The hair forms a clearly visible curl pattern with spirals that have a circumference close to that of a regular crochet needle.

This hair type has two textures, fine or wiry.

It also has very few cuticle layers than the other hair types thus breaking easily due to its poor natural protection. Although 4A hair is very fragile, it also has a very high density which makes it appear darker.

How to determine hair type

Like all type 4 hair types, type 4A is prone to dryness. However, its moisture retention capacity is much higher than that of the other type 4’s.

Due to the naturally defined curls and their moisture retention capacity, wash n’ go hairstyles look great on women with 4A hair. All you have to do is use the right technique and products.

4A hair texture when wet

Taking care of this hair type is very important. If your hair is 4A, you should use sulfate-free shampoo to wash your hair.

You should also use shampoos that contain jojoba oil or tee tree oil. Other products that work well for this hair type include butters and products that are rich in cream.

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52 Comments

    1. Hey hun, you can have more than one hair type. My hair is very coily. From what I believe I am both type 4a and 4b.

  1. Awesome article and the information was very helpful. Do you think it is possible to have a combination of 4B & 4C hair?

    1. It has to be possible. I believe I have a mixture of 4B and 4C hair. Based on the above descriptions, that’s where I fall. My hair is fine and only tightly packed going just beyond the crown of my head.

    2. Definitely. I have 4A on the sides and back of my head and 3B on the top of my head. I have to gel out the sides of my hair so that it will blend with the top of my hair….LOL!

  2. This was super helpful, I can honestly say that I was in the dark about my hair. I didn’t know that there are different types of hair for black women. I can proceed with healthy hair care techniques. But I have a mixed child, what do I do with his hair?

  3. I didn’t know about hair types until my friend told me that she had 4C hair and that’s when I decided to look this up.

  4. This was very helpful and now I just need to let this perm grow out and cut most of it off and see what type I have. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone natural and hope to get it to a point of cuteness at least lol!

      1. This was very helpful. I need to work more on protective styles for my daughter and I. But this really helped me understand and a course of action.

  5. I definitely have confused hair – 3a/b/c. I need a product that will not cause the hair to become stiff. I have tried some that make my hair feel like Easter basket grass! Any suggestions?

    1. You’re probably protein sensitive. You should stay away from products that have protein in it. Be careful with that because it can cause breakage over time.

  6. As a white girl I was born with really curly hair that formed tiny ringlets, not the beautiful afros style but the Caucasian style and then it straightened up gradually to become a 2c I guess. Every time I see shows like America’s Next Top Model when they straighten up 4cs and put wigs on the hair of 85% of the African American contestants and shave the rest bald I am like- WOAH! Let her natural beauty shine, I mean, in Greece you are considered to be super special if you have such locks. Embrace your beauty, stay strong. X.

  7. Oh, wow. 👀👀 I did not know the different types of afro-textured hair. I think I am 4a type. Thank you!

  8. I suspect my hair is 4b/4c. It often gets mislabeled as 4c because of the lack of sheen and high frizz but it’s coily like 4b and when it forms into an afro the it’s densely pack. Here’s the thing, even when my hair is short around the edges it coils. My hair grows quickly so I don’t have problems there. The biggest issue is retaining length due to breakage. I notice when I wear it in box braids it keeps it’s length and how much it grows with in the six week period is actually amazing. My hair is coarse and thick and it feels hard when dry. I use oil water and moisturizer for my hair, preferably conditioner for my hair. That helps more. Anyway. I believe my daughter’s hair is a 4c because it’s what I call kinky straight because truth be told, I think b is a tighter coil than 4c because although the coils are smaller, they are not as tight. It’s like cotton puff balls. My daughter hair is cotton puff ball without a tight coil like mine. My youngest daughter I believe hair resembles mine way more and her’s is definitely a 4a/4b. Mostly 4b without medium frizz to it. I think depending on frizz is what most people see when they type people hair, but frizz I believe is just a part of the hair, The way it coils is more important when hair typing from my experience.

  9. This was very informative for me. I’m 43 and had no clue what my hair type was. I only recently found out about the 4a, b, and c black hair types. I’m def a mix of 4a & 4c. I hate it. I don’t know how to keep it up. It’s extremely dry. Does anyone know of any awesome products to keep me moisturized?

    1. Shea butter for the scalp as soon as you’ve dried it. If you can, lightly towel-dry it first. After washing, leave it to air dry up to the point where it’s dry but feels cool when your run your fingers through it. This is when to moisturize the scalp with shea butter, comb it through and let it finish drying, then style.

  10. I was so confused about my hair type for so many years, if I’m being honest, but this article was a life saver. I now know that I have 4b hair. I’ve got to start taking better care of it.

  11. This is a good article for a brief explanation of hair types. Some people have more than one hair type on their heads, and no one curl is the same to the next. Some people stagger in between hair types. For example someone might not quite have 4a but not quite be 4b either, but they have characteristics of both.

  12. Hi, my name is Kayla and I’m 13. I have a hair type mix of 4b and 4c. I don’t know what products would be good for my hair because I want to wear my natural afro or a loose ponytail instead of using gel.

  13. This is great. I’m a Nigerian transitioning my hair for about two years now. It finally turned natural and I think I have a combination of type 4b and 4c. My roots are curly and thick, but the edges are frizzy and dry. I really need to know what product would seem best for this hair type.

  14. I am still a little confused but the article helps. After I stopped relaxing my hair (3.5 years ago) I’ve been trying to learn about my hair and to better take care of it. I believe it has potential but I’m not sure if I’m doing everything right.

  15. I want to know what hair type I have. It doesn’t have much shrinkage, when I sleep it gets pressed down but when I comb it, it looks bigger but when i drag one piece of the hair, it’s not like 4c. People are asking if its relaxed. How to I revert it back to it’s normal stage cause I believe my hair is meant to be 4c.

  16. Thank you for the very informative article. As a white female, I have curly on the bottom half and straight hair on the top . I never really knew about ethnic hair as I was raised in New Hampshire where very few Afro-Americans live. It was a learning lesson, thank you.

  17. I think I have 4A, 4B and 4C hair. They all read the same to me. The top part of my head actually is really tight and has no defined curl pattern. The back half has a defined curl pattern. I’ll take 4C because the shrinkage rate on my head has to be 90%. I need to wear a sign: to shrink, add water! Anyway I love it! I can blow it out in 10 minutes, bump it in 5 and I’m done. It’s not as fragile as the stylists make it out to be. I think people do that to sell products. My hair is strong and I don’t take all of these extra precautions to care for it. I just warn people up front that the way I look going into the pool won’t be the way I look getting out! LOL!!! Life is fun! Let’s enjoy it!

  18. From your write up, I feel I have type 4C hair but the issue is my hair never shrinks. It’s tightly packed and rather than curly it has a very dense tangled pattern. Any ideas on how to make it soft?

  19. I have all three type’s on my head. The top is 4b, the middle is 4c and the bottom is 4a. What a mixture. It used to be all 4b. Difficult I thought, but all fine. Now only the bottom is fine. I want to cut it all off again.

  20. My hair really doesn’t shrink a lot. Massive afro when washed and loose coils. Breaks easily and is frizzy when dry. I am not sure if I am 4a or 4b or a mix.

  21. I still don’t know my hair type after reading this whole article. Could you help me out? I’m really confused.

  22. I think I’m all the hair types. How can I care for my hair? It hasn’t grown long but it is very dense and very hard to comb.

  23. Thank you for this. I definitely have 4B hair. I think all hairs are manageable with prolonged treatment and an occasional use of the flat iron and dryer.

  24. I’m white and I have a mixture of 1-4a hair. I need help fixing it. It’s a big fluffy ball and I hate it. It’s so dry and it brakes easily. My mom is white and I never knew who my dad is and I’m starting to think my daddy was light skinned. How do I fix my hair!! Help.

  25. I think my hair is 4c fine. It grows but I can’t maintain it’s length as the ends gets coarse and trashy, so the hairdresser keeps cutting it and I have a problem with dryness as well .

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