Not all people are blessed with natural, beautiful curly hair. You are lucky if you are born with curls so make sure to always take care of them to keep them looking gorgeous. But did you know that not all Afro hair is the same? Yeah, there are various types of curls, and knowing your curl pattern is the key to maintaining healthy hair. You know how sensitive and fragile curly hair is, and different types of it also need different types of routines in order to keep them in good condition.
As a black woman, you probably have a type 4 hair-- the most common type of black hair and the most fragile and prone to breakage. What, really? So are we still "lucky" for having natural afro hair? The answer to that is a big YES! Afro hair is so stunning, you just have to discover the right way of taking care of it! I know, decoding your curl type is really confusing. I feel you. So let's go ahead and find out the three categories under Type 4 hair so you know where to begin when you are shopping for hair care products.
What’s the Difference Between 4A, 4B, and 4C Type Hair?
4A Curl Type
Okay, let's start with the one that is the easiest to identify. This type of curl has a defined pattern like an "S" shape when stretched. It forms a clear cul pattern with spirals that have a circumference similar to a crochet needle. And because 4A hair type has a naturally defined curl pattern, wash-and-go styles are easily achieved. But just like all type 4 curl types, 4A is also prone to dryness. The good thing is, its moisture retention capacity is higher than that of 4B or 4c. If you have this type of hair, be sure to use sulfate-free shampoo when washing your hair to avoid it from getting damaged.
4B Curl Type
Next, the "Z" shape patterned hair type that has a fluffier and cottony appearance. 4B curl type shrinks up to 70%, appearing shorter than it actually is. This hair type is also susceptible to dryness and breakage due to the curves and bends in the hair strand. This hair type ranges from a fine texture to coarse and densely packed hair strands. The best hairstyles you can do if you have this curl type are braids and twists because these hairstyles can protect your hair from damage. Also, keep in mind to avoid roller sets and ponytail puffs. After you wash your hair, dry it using a cotton t-shirt to avoid tension on the hair strands that a rough towel can cause.
4C Curl Type
This type of curl is a bit similar to the 4B type, only it is more tightly coiled. It does not have a defined curl pattern in its natural state. You can define coils by braiding, twisting, or shingling through the strands. This hair type also shrinks up to 70%, just like the 4B type. And since it is the most fragile hair type, you have to be very careful and gentle in taking care of it. 4C hair strands do not clump easily so you have to apply styling techniques. This hair type ranges from soft and fine to coarse and densely packed hair strands. You can wrap your hair with satin covering such as cap or bonnet before going to bed or sleeping on a satin pillowcase to protect it from getting twisted and tangled.
There you go. I'm assuming that by now you know what your curl type is. If you are still unsure, don't worry, maybe you have more than one texture in your hair. Yes, that's possible. Some women have 4A type but their hair's edges are 4B. Knowing your hair texture and type is really good for learning how to properly take care of it.
We would love to know your thoughts! Share your hair type and some tips and tricks on how you take care of it.
If you want to get more beauty advice and some hair care tips for dark-skinned women, check out Black Lifestyle.