The Ultimate Guide To Caring For 4B Curly Hair

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Wouldn't we all want to have a good hair day every day? If your hair is straight and fine, you probably want a little body, and if your hair is dry and curly, you want a little extra hydration. Thankfully, the beauty aisles are filled with hair products that are especially catered for your specific hair type. Hair inclusivity has made it easier for people with all hair types to find what their hair needs, which wasn't always the case. But first, you need to find out what kind of hair you really have. According to Allure, hair types can be divided into four primary groups, and they are straight (Type 1s), wavy (Type 2s), curly (Type 3s), and coily (Type 4s). Types 2 through 4 all fall under the general curly hair category depending on how tight your curls naturally are. Hairstylist Vernon François told the outlet, "The flatter or more oval-shaped the follicle [your hair grows out of], the curlier your hair." How interesting is that? 

We can thank our genetics for the kind of hair we are born with. Another factor that affects hair type is the angle at which hair follicles tunnel into the scalp because, in the case of straight hair, the follicles tunnel straight down (via Kurlee Belle). This angle influences the hair to grow in a curve, thus creating curls. If you happen to have type 4B curly hair, you might be wondering how to properly take care of your hair to get the best curls of your life.

What is 4B curly hair?

Now that you know how the shape of the follicle and the angle at which your hair grows can give you curly hair, let's find out how the system of classifying curls came about. Celebrity hairstylist Andre Walker is the genius who created "a basic system of curl classification," which was later expanded into what it is today, per Allure. According to Allure, Type 4 is the curliest hair, often called coily. This hair type tends to have a dry texture, and each individual strand forms "very tight, small curls of zig-zags" from the root. 4B curly is a subcategory where your hair strands are tightly wrapped and turn into "sharp angles like the letter Z." 

People tend to confuse 4B with 4A and 4C as they are similar, but an easy way to differentiate 4B, according to celebrity hairstylist Michelle Sultan, is the curls are "less defined than" 4A and more "fluffy looking," per mindbodygreen. 4B curly hair can also be much longer than it actually looks. That's due to the shrinkage that can happen when your hair is dry (via Get Good Head). While these are general traits of 4B hair, the individual strands can be thick, thin, or coarse, depending on the individual. Once you have identified whether or not you actually have 4B hair, you can take care of it much better.

4B curly hair needs extra moisture

Curly hair tends to be drier. If you think about it, the natural oils on your scalp have more of a journey to go on to reach the tips of your hair due to the curls, so the dryness makes sense (via mindbodygreen). As a result, you'll need to take care of your curls more by giving it the moisture it needs. If you let your hair get too dry, you run the risk of damaging your hair or having your curls less defined. No one wants that. 

It is a great idea to spritz your hair with a curl refresher throughout the day to keep it looking good and hydrated. Overnight moisturizing treatments are also great to keep the hair moisturized as well. Hairstylist Vernon François told Allure, "I love that [4B hair] can be shaped in many different ways," but before he does anything to the curls, he likes to add Mist Nourishing Water as a primer. Get Good Head recommends using leave-in conditioners to help your hair texture stay glossy and nourished.

4B curly hair can have varying porosity

4B curly hair can struggle to retain moisture because of its porosity as well, per mindbodygreen. Hair with low porosity has a difficult time holding onto water as the cuticles are too tight, making it a challenge to keep your hair hydrated. An easy trick to find the porosity of hair is the float test. Place a strand of your hair in some water. If your hair has low porosity, it will float, and if it has high porosity, it will sink (via Salon Worthy Hair). 

If you fall into the low porosity category, you should only be washing your hair once a week, so you do not lose too much natural oil from the hair. According to Insider, even if you have high porosity hair, you shouldn't have to wash your hair too often either. "Two to three times a week" is what hairstylist Sarah Klein tells the publication. However, if you do need to wash your hair more often, Natural Hair has a great hair hack for keeping your natural oils intact. Just apply some coconut or castor oil before you shampoo and it should prevent your strands from drying out. 

4B curly hair types need some scalp love

Most people neglect the scalp when it comes to hair care, but it is essential to care for the scalp as that is where your hair grows from. The less care your scalp gets, the more prone to build-up it may be. GoodBody Salon stylist, Monique Jackson, told mindbodygreen, "any oil that you apply to the scalp will travel to the rest of the hair [ensuring] needed moisture throughout the ends." As a result, "You should be oiling your scalp at least once a day or as necessary ... especially while wearing hair in protective styles." 

So, while you know your ends need more oil, your scalp does too. Don't forget to moisturize it as well, especially since 4B curly hair tends to be dry and is prone to more breakage. Oiling your scalp with oils like coconut or almond can help reduce hair loss, strengthen each strand, and make your hair thicker, per HairFlair.

Best products for 4B curly hair

Once you have identified that you have 4B curly hair and how to take care of it, we have compiled the best hair products for your hair type to show off your gorgeous curls. Co-washing — aka washing with just a conditioner — is great for hair with tight curls, like the 4B type, as it will clean your hair without stripping the natural oils and moistures. Get Good Head recommends Aunt Jackie's Flaxseed Recipes Purify Me Frizz-Fighting Moisturizing Co-Wash Hair Cleanser because it has moisturizing avocado and coconut oils for hydration and flaxseed to prevent hair loss and breakage. It also has omega fatty acids, which are perfect for textured hair.

If you are looking for a styling cream, Allure recommends Crème of Nature Coconut Milk Hydrating Cream for 4B curly hair. The thick texture of the styling cream makes it super easy for "palm-rolling or shingling," so you can easy section the curls to give them more definition and make them look longer. According to Crème of Nature, this curling cream adds moisture and shine to natural hair and provides excellent hold as well. You can use it for braids and even right after washing your hair. For those looking for multitasking hair products, mindbodygreen recommends Mielle Pomegranate & Honey Coil Sculpting Custard. It is great for styling, but it also is enriched with hydrating "sweet almond, macadamia, castor oil, sesame seed oil, and olive oil" to give your thirsty strands all the hydration they need.