Hair typing is can be a useful resource when understanding how to best care for your hair. If you don’t already know your individual hair type, you can read more about hair typing and how to determine yours in Allure’s How to Figure Out Your Curl Type. Today, we’re talking about 3C, 4A, 4B & 4C hair types. These hair types on in the “curly” and “kinky” categories, which means they’re more often than not natural hair. Here’s how you define 3C, 4A, 4B & 4C hair types.
What is Type 3C?
In general, Type 3 curly hair is defined by having an “S” shaped curl pattern. Additionally, because the cuticle doesn’t lay as flat as Type 1 or Type 2 hair, the hair also isn’t as shiny.
Now, depending on what hair typing system you look at, you’ll see Type 3A and Type 3B…what about Type 3C? Not every system includes it, and thus it’s a “forgotten” hair type. Not to worry though! This curly hair type is sure to stand out. It’s made up of tight coils, many strands, and lots of volume. The hair is packed together to create unbelievably beautiful texture.
Type 3C was created because it was clear there was a type missing between Type 3B and Type 4A. Women who have Type 3C hair often don’t know what to do with their hair because it’s a tad overlooked in the haircare world.
How do you know if you might be a Type 3C? You would have very curly hair that held on to its S or Z-curve shape even after being stretched out. You still retain a definite curl pattern and the texture isn’t a frizzy coil.
What is Type 4A?
Type 4 hair is known as kinky or coily. The sub-classifications from A to C are based on the width or diameter of your wave, curl or coil pattern. Type As have the widest pattern, Type Bs are in the middle, and Type Cs have the smallest of the three. Hair shape and texture are best determined when your hair is soaking wet.
Primarily Black women have type 4A hair, and it takes a tight coil shape. Type 4 hair can be easily dehydrated and damaged, which means it’s essential that your hair care routine helps to address this. Using thicker natural emollients like mango or shea butter can help to style it after washing.
What is Type 4B?
Rather than forming a tight coil, Type 4B bends into sharp angles like the letter Z. This curl is tighter but less defined. Its circumference is about the width of a pen, and the strands of hair may be anywhere from fine and thin to wiry and coarse depending on the woman rocking these curls.
A haircare tip: Treat your hair before shampooing with coconut or castor oil to help them maintain their natural oils!
What is Type 4C?
The final hair type is 4C, which is similar to 4B in the way that the hair is densely packed. However, this type of hair experiences less definition and more shrinkage. Your strands will be so tightly coiled that they’re incredibly delicate. Again, like Type 4B hair, the texture may range from super fine and thin to wiry and coarse.
Protect 4C hair from the elements at all costs. A creamy humectant can be a great leave-in to use to protect your delicate curls. Read here for Everything You Need to Know About Protective Styles for Natural Hair.
What types of products should I use on my curly/coily hair?
One of the benefits of learning your hair type is discovering the best ways to take care of your hair. You can tailor the products you use specifically to your curls or coils to enhance and protect them. Here are some of our favorite products to help maximize your good hair days.
- Shea-Coco Natural Hair Style Cream 8 oz for 3C – 4C Hair: This non-greasy styling cream can soften even the thickest natural curls and twists. Feel free to use daily when styling.
- 4C Tangle-Free, Conditioning Regime: All the 4C ladies out there are rejoicing! This product will be your lifesaver when you’re conditioning. Use once a week and watch your tangles disappear!
Final thoughtsAnd there you have it! The last four beautiful, natural hair types that are uniquely their own. Learn how to properly care for them and enhance them with the right products.
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i am a 4b
Hi, I read your Hair blog, it’s useful for 4c curly hair and I gained more information. The blog is so informative and helped me break so many of the myths I had about my hair. The language is so easy to read and understand. Thanks for the update.
Hi Tina! So glad the information was useful! I appreciate your feedback!
So glad you were able to find the information useful. I appreciate your feedback!
4a-4b Hair is soft but not as kinky as 4c hair. The curl patterns are not as tight or coily as the 4b curls.