You’re gonna get errrthang you need right here, my heavenly-melanated sista from anotha mista!
So let’s get into it.
First, let’s get the answer to a commonly asked question about this kinky-curly blessed-by-god, hair type. And that question is,,,
What is Type 4B Hair?
Many type 4 naturals are crown with multiple texture types on the very same beautiful head. It’s common to see 4B type hair along with some type 4C hair in areas as well. All type 4 hair is considered kinky on varying levels.
And while all type 4 coarse hair is considered “kinky” or, more appropriately, full of tight coils (tightly-curled hair).
What is type 4B hair...
As far as type 4B hair specifically, this luscious hair-type has a less defined pattern of curls than 4A hair and its texture looks more like a “Z” shape while the hair strands bend at sharper angles.
Depending on your hair porosity level, 4B hair has a propensity to drying out because afro-textured hair doesn’t get as oily as less kinky-curly hair types.
And as you may already know, the shrinkage is realer than “real deal Holyfield”, lol.
4B hair texture tends to show alot of shrinkage and can hide your length. Although, the shrinkage should be embraced because it gives you access to hairstyles that so many other women could only dream of.
Don’t wait for Kim Kardashian to figure out a way to appropriate shrinkage on her type 2 hair before you start embracing your blessing!
Taking good care of your 4B hair requires an effective TLC regimen to maintain its health, vitality and growth. So here’s what you need to do to take care of type 4B hair:
As you and I both know very well, 4B hair has a strong tendency to dry out quickly because of its tightly coiled texture.
With that being the case...
CONSISTENT hydration and moisturizing are key to 4B hair health, beauty, growth and length-retention . You might think moisture and hydration of 4B hair is the same thing, they are not the same.
Don’t worry, this is a VERY common misunderstanding in the natural hair community. Fortunately for you, you found NHP for a REAL hair education!
While these hydrating and moisturizing 4B hair are similar concepts, in reality, they are more interdependent (Meaning: you can't have one without the other) than interchangeable (Meaning: same concept, different name).
Hydrating 4B Hair
To understand how hydration and moisture for 4B hair work hand-in-hand, we need to look at the multiple layers that form to make your hair. Human hair consists of 3 separate layers:
The Cuticle – the outermost, thinnest layer of hair (this layer protects the other layers).
The Cortex – middle layer, covers the medulla (this layer gives you hair color, thickness and hair texture).
The Medulla – the innermost, deepest layer of hair (you can’t see this layer with the naked eye).
So, I hope you understand this, when I talk your ear off about “hydration”, I’m telling you the needs of your hair’s internal layers...
...and when I preach from the NHP pulpit about “moisture”, I’m telling you what the outermost (outside) layer of your hair needs.
Aren’t you glad you found so much BOMB info here at NHP?!?!
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So, how do you actually get hydration into the inner layers of your 4B hair? You need to get water molecules directly into your strand cuticles. Your hair needs to be infused with water to truly be hydrated.
This can be done by spritzing your hair, using a hair steamer for an H2O infusion and there are even some products that help hydrate deeply into your strands.
Check out this video for more hydration vs moisture info...
Condition your hair every time you wash it and go for a deep conditioner at least twice a month to add and retain moisture in your hair.
Products aren’t the end-all-be-all way for truly hydrating 4B hair though.
Think of this concept the same way you think of nourishing your physical body internally...what you put into your body plays the biggest role in achieving and maintaining optimal health. Likewise, another important factor in having well-hydrated hair, is maintaining a healthy diet and ample water intake.
Moisturizing 4B Hair
So, while the primary focus of your hair care routine needs to be hydration, you also need to focus on restoring and retaining moisture in your 4B hair. (Also applies to 4c to 3C hair types as well)
NHP Pro Tip: REMEMBER, Hydration comes 1st, maintaining moisture comes 2nd.
Now, washing your hair with a premium-grade moisturizing shampoo will help greatly in add moisture to your 4B locks. Along with the proper hydration, this will help protect your hair and prevent damage and breakage.
Here are more 4B hair care regimen methods for you to practice:
Treat your hair to a hot oil treatment massage with high-quality argan oil, castor oil, almond oil or coconut oil at least once a week to deeply nourish it with a vitamin-infusion. Just leave the oil in for a couple of hours before washing it off.
Pamper your hair with a leave-in conditioner after stepping out of the shower and keep applying it every morning to give your hair that extra boost of moisture.
Detangle with fingers: There’s nothing worse than struggling painfully with a comb/brush to detangle your hair only to see it come away with a clump of your hair. Since 4B hair type can be somewhat quite delicate, the best way to detangle it is with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb right after you have washed it as your hair is more pliable when damp.
Wash your hair in sections: This little tip may sound a bit strange to some of you, but it truly makes life easier for anyone with 4B hair. Wash your hair in sections to prevent it from getting tangled up and breaking. This also helps in stretching out your hair and retaining its length. It may help to section your 4B hair in fat twists or chunky braids and using sectioning clips is a life-saver too (or atleast a time-saver, ha!)..
Stretch out your hair: Perm rods, Bantu knots and twistouts work wonders for stretching out 4B coily hair and making it look as long as it truly is. It also prevents your hair from getting too tangled up and breaking. You can stretch out your hair when it’s damp right after you’ve washed it or spritz some water on it to dampen it.
Take advantage of protective hairstyles: When you have 4B hair, the less you manipulate it, the better. That way you don’t risk tangling or breaking it. The best way to follow this low-touch, low-manipulation approach to maintaining healthy and growing 4B hair is by doing it up in a protective style. Natural Hairstyles like Bantu knots, cornrows, twists, updos and box braids protect your tresses from breakage and manipulation friction-damage. On top of that, they are super-cute! Protective styles give you the option of showing off your 4B hair in chic and gorgeous elegance or in funky and colorful styles with your choice of premium hair extensions.
Don’t sleep on your nighttime hair protection routine: Your 4B hair care regimen doesn’t end at bedtime. Not if you’re serious about looking amazing in the morning! It’s critically important NOT to let your luscious 4B hair touch moisture-zapping cotton. Be sure to switch out your cotton pillowcases because they dry out your hair like nobody’s dang business. Instead, use a moisture-guarding satin or silk pillowcase. It’s also smart to tie your 4B hair up in a pineapple and tie it in a silk/satin bonnet before you go to bed.
Great Natural Hair Products for 4B Hair
Here are some of the best products for Afro-textured type 4B natural hair, you can click on any of the links below to see reviews and prices. (I don’t post prices because they tend to change frequently.)
What products are good for 4B hair? Here your answer...
And these are only a few of the best 4B hair products, check out our other product descriptions and reviews all throughout the NHP natural hair blog.
FAQs People Also Ask About 4B Hair
So let's answer some questions about 4B hair that people frequently ask about, I hope this helps...
Question: What's the difference between 4B and 4C hair?
Answer: The difference between 4B and 4C hair is that 4C hair has the tightest curl pattern of all kinky-curly hair types. 4C hair tends to clump more at the ends and is even more prone to shrinkage than 4B hair, 4C hair strands are formed in tight, springy, ringlets and can shrink up to 75% of its true length! 4B hair texture pattern is sharply angled and loosely defined kinky hair. Unlike 4C hair, type 4B hair follows a Z-shaped pattern.
Question: What is 4B type hair?
Answer: Type 4B hair texture has a less defined pattern of curls and looks more like a “Z” as the hair bends with very sharp angles.It can range from fine/thin to coarse/wiry with bunches of hair strands densely packed together. Depending on how it’s maintained and styled, type 4B hair can have a cotton-like feel.
Question: How do you know if you have Type 4 hair?
Answer: Type 4 hair is coiled/kinky due to the very tight curl pattern. It helps to see videos of other naturals with 4B type hair to know if you have the same hair type. 4B Afro-textured hair ranges from fine to coarse, and it may be soft or wiry. Curls are very small, defined by a coily S-shape or Z-shaped zigzag pattern. Because of its tightness, the 4B hair type is extremely prone to dryness and requires lots of hydration and moisture.