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Not all four hair types are the same. In fact, 4B hair is quite different from the rest due to its highly unique structure. This means that caring for 4B hair requires a special set of rules and tips for bringing out the best of your beautiful curly hair.
What is 4B hair?
4B indicates kinky, Afro-textured hair. Each strand has a sharp-angled curl with a Z, zig-zag shape. This means that the curl shape is less defined than others, giving hair a sponge-like texture that typically runs very dry.
4B hair is also defined by curls that shrink up drastically when dry, making curls that feel longer look rather short. This hair type can also tangle more often than 4A and 4C hair due to its unique Z shape, so detangling hair carefully and seeking moisturizing products is key. Celebrities like Solange, Willow Smith, and Issa Rae possess this texture.
How to Care for 4B Hair
Caring for 4B hair type isn’t necessarily a challenge, but rather an effort that requires you pay attention to the health and condition of your curls on a daily basis.
Babes with 4B curls know that this hair type tends to run super dry. The nature of these tight curls make it tougher for the oils on the scalp to move down the hair shaft and deliver proper moisture needed for healthy hair. While the matte look is certainly in, overly dry hair isn’t good for anybody.
If you are dealing with particularly dry 4B hair, invest in a cleansing conditioner or cowash. Over-washing can dry hair out even further, but a cleansing conditioner removes dirt and oils while infusing hair with essential moisture. You’ll also need to use a deep cleaning shampoo every once in a while, but it definitely doesn’t have to be for regular use.
If you have low porosity 4B hair, heat will be your best bet when applying conditioners and oil treatments. Focus on lightweight products and avoid ones that boast of added protein.
Use Coconut Oil
While certain hair types cannot handle coconut oil, this oil seems to be made for 4B hair types. Coconut oil is versatile can be used to treat your scalp, condition your hair, and help with styling.
To avoid dryness at the scalp that can affect the rest of your hair, oil your scalp twice a week. This involves parting your hair into 6 or 7 separate sections and gently massaging coconut oil there for maximum hydration and health.
For the ultimate hair conditioning, the LOC method can be very helpful. First, wet hair so that the coconut oil can absorb properly. Then apply coconut oil for the perfect hit of moisture, and then follow it up with curl-defining creme for styling.
Finally, you can use coconut oil as a refresher on your 4B hair. Mix it into a spray bottle with water and spray it onto your hair as needed. It can wake up locks in the morning or provide the perfect start to switching up your hairstyle.
Deep Condition Hair
Most hair types can use a deep conditioner once a week, but 4B is prone to excessive dryness and babes with this hair type should use a deep conditioner each time they wash.
Once you have applied your favorite deep conditioner (we will share our favorite below) detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb. Hair is more fragile when wet, but there is no better time to straighten out your curls than when coated with a healthy, nourishing conditioner.
Be sure to rinse with cold water to help seal the cuticle and prevent any damage from heat. Follow it up with your favorite leave-in conditioner or creme, so long as the product is hydrating.
Best Products for 4B hair
Contrary to what you might think, less is usually better when it comes to beauty routines. The most important thing is finding a solid product in each category of shampoo, deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner, and styling creme, serum, or gel.
- HYDRATION SHAMPOO: Lift away impurities and re-hydrate hair with this gentle, sulfate free shampoo
- CLEANSE & NOURISH: Moisture shampoo that helps provide renewed hydration, manageability and shine
- USAGE: Apply to wet hair and gently massage shampoo into a rich lather. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if necessary. For best...
This sulfate-free shampoo guarantees to be gentle enough on your 4B hair while natural almond and Argan oil hydrate hair while it cleanses. This shampoo is also known to simultaneously tame frizz.
- Cleansing Conditioner. Enjoy a Fresh New Start. Remove Product Residue.
- Preserves Moisture. Adds more Moisture and helps hair retain moisture until your next cleanse.
- Contains a special blend of natural ingredients that work to promote healthy hair growth from the follicular level.
This product acts as both a daily cleanser and a conditioner. Unlike regular shampoo, a cowash can be left on the hair for 10-15 minutes and can be used while detangling hair. This cowash removes residue while deeply moisturizing hair.
3. Conditioning Mask
- PROVEN HAIR CARE - African Pride Moisture Miracle Moroccan Clay & Shea Butter Heat Activated Masque detoxes & restores hair...
- FEATURED INGREDIENTS - Enriched with Moroccan Clay: Naturally clarifies and improves hair elasticity; Shea Butter: Deeply...
- NATURALLY FORMULATED - The ingredients within African Pride products are free of harmful components, including parabens,...
Babes with 4B hair should be using hair masks much more often than other hair types. This deep conditioner uses moroccan clay to detoxify the hair while moisturizing elements like shea butter leave hair soft and hydrated.
4. Leave-in Conditioner
- Plant-derived ingredients help reconstruct dry and damaged hair.
- Paraben-, gluten- and sulphate-free fortifying Shampoo to naturally revitalize your hair.
- Gentle formula makes it ideal for everyday use.
Specifically designed with dry hair in mind, this leave-in conditioner is plant derived to give you the softest and most manageable curls that you’ve ever had. Free of harsh chemicals like sulfates, this product has a spray-on feature that makes it super easy to use.
5. Styling Creme
- Color safe, sulfate free,phosphate free, paraben free
- Hair remains smooth and frizz free with great movement
- Apply 1 2 pumps of Moroccanoil curl defining cream to towel dried hair, distribute product throughout hair and diffuse to...
Curling cremes are an obvious choice to hydrate and define curls. This product was created for curly and kinky textures. It smoothes frizz, maintains hold, and promotes that bounce that healthy curls need. This cream is free of sulfates and parabens, plus it comes in recycled packaging.
How To Style 4B hair
How you choose to style your 4B hair is up to you, but there is a helpful technique for overall styling. As for the look, below are 10 different hairstyles that compliment 4B hair texture perfectly.
Because 4B hair is less defined than other hair types, using techniques that specifically distribute product and define texture is ideal. The palm-rolling or shingling method does exactly that.
First, apply the styling cream, mousse, or gel to your hands. Work with a small section of hair and roll it in between your fingertips, gently pulling downwards as you do so. This will stretch your coils out so that they appear longer and will stick hair together to create definition.
2. Puff Hair Style
Embrace the fluffy nature of your 4B hair and rock a simple yet chic puff hair style. Using a hair tie, stretch it over your forehead and pull it up so that it sits on the top of your head so that hair puffs up and outwards.
Pixie cuts are perfect for showing off a beautiful face and cheekbones. Plus, it can be tough to grow 4B hair without a lot of work, so a pixie accepts your natural hair texture as is and works with the beauty that you’ve got.
4. Short Afro
Growing out 4B hair can be tough because of its naturally dry nature. The best way to rock 4B is with a short and sweet Afro style. Keep hair beautifully moisturized and add clips and barrettes for dressier occasions.
5. Long Afro
If your 4B hair is long enough to wear in a lengthy Afro, then congratulations! Growing out this hair type can be tough, but given the proper care, hair can grow out and be styled into a beautifully rounded shape. Don’t be afraid to tease some of those curls for frizzy texture. Frizz is all the rage these days.
6. Pineapple Hair
Similar to a puff, pineapple style requires that all of the hair be gathered into a ponytail on top of the head. However, a pineapple style ties hair at the front of the forehead and hair should be displayed off to one side. No style lets 4B curly hair shine front and center quite like a pineapple ‘do.
7. Picked Curls
Picked out curls is all about sexy volume. To create this style, flip over washed and moisturized hair. Pick hair with a comb at the nape of the neck, then flip hair back over. Next, move section by section through the hair, combing through curls from the ends to the root.
8. Scarf Style
Rest and rock a pretty up-do with a scarf accessory. Scarves are not only pretty but functional too, as they help to stretch out the time between washings to keep moisture locked in.
9. Curly Ombre
Dye hair with a pop of color, like ombre, for an interesting twist. Whether you choose a bright hue or a bold blonde, just remember that coloring hair can dry it out, so take care to properly hydrate hair before, during, and after dyeing.
10. Long Locks
As many babes with this kinky, coily hair know, growing hair long enough can be a challenge. If you’ve got the length to prove that you’ve done the proper work in growing out 4B hair, choose a long and luxurious style that flows over your shoulders.
How To Grow 4B Hair
The key to growing out your 4B hair is constantly maintaining moisture. If you follow the tips listed above and invest in good products that will deliver moisture and strength, then you will notice your hair growing more than it ever has before.
Rock a Scarf
Wearing a scarf is not only cute but it preserves your hairline. Avoid over-styling and try a protective look a few days out of the week.
Never Use a Brush
Bristles can be too harsh on this delicate and dry hair type. Always use a wide-tooth comb and a conditioner or leave-in when gently detangling hair.
4B hair may present unique challenges in care, but once the rules are applied and followed, you’ll enjoy your zig-zag curls like never before. Be sure to moisturize and care for your hair with a gentle hand to encourage growth.