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4B Hair Type: Tips for Styling & Taking Care of Your Hair

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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 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.


How to Care for 4B hair - Moisturize

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

How to Care for 4B hair - 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 

How to Care for 4B hair - 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.

1. Shampoo

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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.


2. Cowash

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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

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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 

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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 

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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.

1. Palm-Rolling 

palm rolling for 4B hair

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

4B Puff Hairstyle

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. 


3. Pixie 

4B Pixie Cut

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

Short 4B 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 

Long 4B 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

4B Pineapple Hairstyle

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

4B Hairstyle

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

4B Hair with Scarf

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

4B Ombre Hair

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

Long 4B Hairstyle

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.