January 4, 2023
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Last Updated on April 9, 2023 by Verna Meachum
Despite the debate surrounding hair typing, recognizing your curl pattern can be incredibly beneficial in terms of discovering which products are suitable for you.
Without knowledge of your hair type, it is both time-consuming and troublesome to identify what works best with your strands.
4B hair type is a unique curl pattern that requires specific care and styling techniques. Hair textures falling in the 4 range (4A, 4B, 4C) are often deemed as unmanageable or difficult to care for.
Nevertheless, contrary to this belief these types of hair can be incredibly versatile and easy to style with the right products and techniques!
Whether this is all brand new to you or something that’s already second nature for you, no worries; we’ve got it all sorted out!
Our ultimate guide to 4B hair type is here to give you all the care tips, styling techniques, and product suggestions you need to love and care for your beautiful, natural locks.
Though we understand that every head is unique, this guide can be a great starting point in helping you figure out the best methods and products for 4B hair. Even if your texture and porosity are similar to someone else’s, our guide will assist you in finding what works best for YOU!
It’s all about getting started then experimenting to find out what works best for you!
Out of the several hair typing systems out there, the Andre Walker Hair Typing System is undoubtedly one of the best ways to categorize all distinctive textures.
The modern hair charting system may help identify how a person’s hair responds to styling. Hair types help predict and describe how different chemicals and processes might interact with hair. This system also helps us set expectations surrounding hair health, but it’s important not to confuse hair type and hair health.
The hair typing system is an effective tool to understand how a person’s mane reacts to styling aids. Knowing your hair type can help you predict the impact of chemical processes and styling methods — although it shouldn’t be confused with the hair’s actual condition or overall hair health. This system can only support in creating realistic expectations for each individual’s mane!
The Andre Walker Hair-Typing System, which goes from 1A (straight hair) to 4C (tightest coils), has made it easy to understand and care for your exact hair type.
Considering texture, it is impossible to leave out an essential element – hair porosity. Knowing your hair’s porosity can be the key to maximizing its health. It can also help you determine which products to use and what techniques will give optimal results.
In simple terms, porosity refers to the hair’s capacity for absorbing and retaining moisture. Elasticity is another way to measure your hair’s overall strength. It refers to how well your strands can stretch without breaking.
Imagine an elastic band stretched to its limit and then released; it will rebound right back into its original shape. This same concept applies when it comes to the elasticity of your hair — the ability for it to stretch without sacrificing strength or definition.
Hair can be classified into three levels of porosity:
Understanding your hair porosity is key to knowing what types of products and techniques to use for 4B hair.
4B hair is a form of coily hair that falls within the Andre Walker hair categorization system’s Type 4 group. It’s right between 4A (with defined “o” shaped coils) and 4C (with less defined “z” shaped pattern).
4B hair type is often described as being a mix between 4A (coily) and 4C (kinky). 4B textures are also more prone to shrinkage and require special attention when it comes to styling, conditioning, and detangling.
The coils in 4B hair are less defined because the hair bends at a sharp angle, giving it a spiky, Z-shaped look. It is also highly dense, and when a strand is tugged, it appears to double in length, thanks to shrinkage!
Due to its tight kinks, this type of hair is susceptible to becoming dry and frizzy. The bends in the hair make it difficult for natural oils to coat each strand evenly.
You can, however, maximize the shine and definition of this distinctively patterned hair type with the correct care routine and styling techniques.
4B hair is easy to spot because it is Z-shaped in pattern, has a lot of volume, and grows in a horizontal direction. This type of hair is also different because its coils are not all the same. Instead, they have sharply bent angles and a zigzag pattern.
As a result, 4B hair may appear fluffy and uneven.
It’s crucial to remember that not all 4B hair is the same, and some people’s hair may have a combination of 4A and 4C textures.
It’s easy to tell type 4 hair from other hair types, but it can be hard to tell the difference between types 4A, 4B, and 4C within the three main families. Pay close attention to the curl pattern to distinguish between these three types of coily hair.
4A hair has curls that are more defined and are usually in the shape of an O. It is more soft and loose than 4B hair.
4B hair, on the other hand, has a bent structure rather than a distinct curl pattern, which gives it a Z-shaped look. It is also more prone to shrinkage, which can give it a voluminous and fluffy appearance.
The curl pattern on 4C hair is the tightest of the three varieties, but it is less pronounced than on 4B hair. The strands are more springy and may shrink up to 75-80%. Of all curly hair types, it is the most fragile.
To begin, it’s important to keep your 4B hair nourished by using a good conditioner or oil. This will help seal in moisture and leave you with hydrated locks that lasts for days.
Look for products that are lightweight and contain natural oils and humectants, such as shea butter, olive oil, honey, and aloe vera.
Avoid heavy oils and products that can weigh hair down and make it appear greasy. Use light, gel-based styling products to help 4B hair stay moisturized and well-defined.
Since 4B hair is prone to frizz, invest in a good leave-in conditioner and use it to add moisture. Make sure to avoid products with too much alcohol, which can dry 4B hair out.
Lastly, 4B hair needs trimming to keep it healthy and free of split ends. I know we like to hang onto our hair and not get it snipped, but regular trims, about 4-6 weeks apart (or as needed), will make sure your 4B hair stays healthy.
When it comes to high-porosity hair, the cause can range from genetics to cumulative damage brought on by heat and chemical treatments. Additionally, as strands turn silver over time due to aging they may become more porous.
Although high-porosity hair is often linked with damaged strands, it is not always the case. Be sure to keep that in mind as you nurture your locks.
High porosity hair has the ability to quickly absorb moisture, but that same capacity for taking in water can also be a liability because it tends to lose moisture just as fast.
To combat this, 4B hair with high porosity should be maintained with a more intense moisturizing and hydrating regimen.
Here are some 4B hair tips for high porosity hair:
✓ Deep condition regularly to help strengthen and moisturize your hair.
✓ Use natural oils like coconut, olive, and avocado to nourish 4B hair.
✓ Employ the LOC method (Leave-in Conditioner, Oil, Cream)
✓ Use a satin pillowcase or scarf to reduce friction while you sleep.
✓ Avoid over-manipulation and mechanical damage.
✓ Avoid heat styling as much as possible.
✓ Use protein treatments to repair and strengthen your hair.
✓ Trim your 4B hair regularly to keep split ends at bay.
To ensure the utmost level of hydration and nourishment for 4B hair, it is essential to use a combination of treatments – both on the surface and deep within.
Proper maintenance is required to keep 4B hair healthy and vivid. Because this hair is fragile and prone to frizz and dryness, it takes special care to maintain it looking its best.
Here are some recommendations for general tip for your 4B hair:
When it comes to 4B hair, its tightly coiled texture often leads to dryness. To combat this issue and get the most out of your hair care routine, moisture retention and hydration should be the top priority.
Hydrating and moisturizing hair requires combining two strategies that work together in perfect harmony to not only bring water molecules into the strands, but also shield existing ones.
This can be achieved by using oils and butter on the surface of your hair to lubricate it and lock in the moisture.
If you want to keep your hair hydrated and moisturized, using emollients and humectants is key. These special ingredients are designed to provide water molecules that will help revive dull locks while locking in moisture so your hair remains healthy.
This method entails adding liquid (or leave-in conditioner), oil, and cream products to your hair in a specific sequence to promote maximum hydration and moisture retention.
Here’s how to go about it:
1. Start by applying a leave-in conditioner to your hair for thorough moisturization.
2. Next, add a layer of oil to lock in that moisture.
3. Finish off with a styling cream that will provide hold to your locks.
By following the LOC method, you can avoid dryness and maintain healthy, moisturized 4B hair.
Aside from sulfates, another chemical you may want to avoid in hair products is silicone.
Although silicones are not bad, its lubricating properties can form a coating on your hair over time and make it feel heavy. If you apply silicone-based products often, you may find your hair becoming dry and experiencing build up–especially if you have low porosity hair, which may become difficult to remove.
If your mane is prone to being weighed down, you don’t use a shampoo in your hair routine, and the texture of silicones doesn’t feel right for you, then it’s best to avoid them entirely.
Look for silicone-free products or use natural ingredients instead to avoid this.
Perm rods, braids, twist outs and bantu knots provide a fantastic way to stretch it out and make your locks look as lengthy as they truly are.
Not only do these technique keep your strands from getting overly tangled up or breaking off, but there’s no need for any additional styling products either! Just make sure that the styles are never tight!
You can do it with damp freshly washed hair after its been saturated in water or just spritz some water on them if needed.
Wash your 4B hair only when necessary to help it retain its natural oils and stay healthy.
For example, you might want to shampoo your hair to get rid of too much oil or to make your scalp feel better, but use products that are suitable for your hair to keep it from getting damaged.
If your scalp is starts to feel itchy or you start seeing flakes, then it’s time for a wash. A healthy scalp equals healthy hair.
Washing 4B hair can be challenging due to its dense and coarse texture.
Divide your hair into parts before shampooing to make the process easier and more effective. This will allow you to properly clean your scalp and hair, as well as reduce tangles and unnecessary damage.
Plus, shampooing your hair in sections can help stretch out your strands and preserve their length.
Overall, this is a simple but effective method that can make a big difference in how you care for your 4B hair.
Tangling is more common in curly hair than in straight hair, and the dryness and fragility of 4B hair can make it even more prone to tangles.
To avoid breakage and split ends, detangle your hair while it is still damp and use a gentle approach.
The best way to detangle Type 4B hair is with your fingers rather than a brush or wide-tooth comb.
You can also use oils to help lubricate the strands and make it easier to separate them. When working through tangles, be careful and patient; your hair will thank you!
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to detangle 4B hair:
Heat styling may be appealing, but it can damage 4B hair if not done properly.
To get the sleek, 4B hairstyle you’re after without damaging your hair, we recommend investing in a heat protectant. This way, you can enjoy styling your hair, but still take care of it at the same time.
If you do need to blow dry your hair, use a diffuser to reduce damage.
If you want to preserve your 4B hair, the best way is by avoiding excessive combing or brushing. Using a protective style can help reduce the risk of split ends and tangles while maintaining its natural beauty. This low manipulation approach will ensure that your locks remain healthy, strong, and help retain length!
By opting for protective styles like box braids, bantu knots, twists, and updos you can keep your hair from becoming damaged or broken.
Here are a couple of tutorials on protective styles.
For 4B hair to look and feel its best, it’s essential that you opt for products with moisturizing ingredients and natural oils.
SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Shampoo
Camille Rose Naturals Clean Rinse Shampoo
Ouidad Coil Infusion Like New Gentle Clarifying Shampoo
As I Am Long and Luxe GroWash Cleansing Creme Conditioner
Righteous Roots Clarifying Shampoo
EDEN BodyWorks Lavender Aloe Moisturizing Cowash
TGIN Rose Water Sulfate Free Hydrating Shampoo
SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Conditioner
Righteous Roots 2 in 1 Conditioner
Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Protein-Free Hydrating Conditioner
Cantu Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream
Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Conditioner
TPH By Taraji Make It Rain Conditioner
Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Original Leave-In Moisturizer
Righteous Roots 2 in 1 Conditioner
Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner
Naturelle Grow Hibiscus & Honey Leave In
SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Multi-Action Leave-In Treatment
Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Treatment Masque
Soultanicals Hair Sorrell Knappylicious Kink Drink
Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave In Conditioner
Soultanicals Knot Sauce Coil Detangler
Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Ultra Shield Pre-Shampoo Treatment
Black Vanilla 4-in-1 Combing Creme
OBIA Naturals Babassu Oil Therapy Hair Mask
Soultanicals Afrotastic Curl Elastic
EDEN BodyWorks JoJoba Monoi Deep Conditioner
As I Am Hydration Elation Conditioner
Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioner
Miche Beauty Warm Sugar Cookie Deep Conditioner
TPH by Taraji Real Love Hair Mask
Alodia Deep Conditioning Masque
Soultanicals Marula- Muru Moisture Guru
Soultanicals Cant Believe Its Knot Butta
Camille Rose Black Castor Oil & Chebe Buttercream Texture Butter
CurlMix Pure Avocado Moisturizer
Miss Jessie’s Honey Curls Enhancer
Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter
Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Flaxseed Recipes Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel
Soultanicals Clump & Curl Afro Vegan Styling Custard
OBIA Naturals Hair Care Curl Enhancing Custard
Cantu Moisturizing Twist and Lock Gel
African Pride Curl Defining Gel
Revlon Black Seed Oil Twisting Pudding
Eco Style Gel Olive Oil Styling Gel
Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil
Melanin Haircare Multi-Use Pure Oil Blend
Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil
PATTERN Beauty Wide Tooth Comb
You can keep your 4B hair healthy, nourished, and gorgeous by following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide.
To stretch and define your 4B hair, try styles like twists, braids, knots, and updos. Use satin scarves and pillows to keep your hair from getting frizzy and to keep it in good shape.
Your 4B hair can thrive and become a source of pride and beauty with the proper care and attention. Embrace your natural curls and coils, and don’t be hesitant to try new styles and products to see what works best for you.
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