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Understanding Your Hair: Type 4B


Type 4B Hair


This is the third part in a series that aims to help you understand your hair more deeply and completely in order to aid you when shopping for and seeking out products, tools and process to take care of your hair. This part will address type 4b hair that is kinky in texture and that has a “z” curl pattern. This article uses the visual typing system present on Naturally Curly.

Is your hair kinky? Is it full of curls that are not very defined? When you stretch out each strand does it look like less of an s-curl and more of z-shape with the majority of your hair possessing hair strands with sharp angles? If so then your hair is likely hair type 4b. Having 4b hair means that your hair:

  • Has a z-curl pattern: If you have type 4b hair you will notice that when you take a strand of your hair it has fewer curves and more angles. Any visible curl pattern will be less defined than that of 4a hair, but they do clump together. The “curls” are tight which encourage shrinkage (of sometimes up to 75%), but because of the angles the hair strands tend to be fragile.
  • Has high porosity: This hair is typically very porous leading to breakage when washing, shampooing, etc. This is because the cuticle layer around the hair follicles is loose, causing the hair to absorbing too much water when it becomes wet. It also does not retain moisture easily and because of this 4b hair needs to be conditioned regularly in order to limit breakage and keep it moisturized.
  • Often has a wiry texture but can vary between fine and wiry.
  • Is usually very dense and full.


Naturalistas with this hair type

Esperanza Spalding

Jill Scot

Lauryn Hill

Willow Smith

Solange Knowles


Things to remember when caring for your 4B hair:

  1. Take the time to finger detangle your hair as much as possible before styling or combing to prevent breakage because the Z curl pattern encourages breakage.
  2. Limit the use of heat in order to prevent heat damage. If you do use heat on your hair, consider using some heat protectant to protect your hair cuticle layer.
  3. If you are struggling with achieving the length you desire, reduce the amount of manipulation your hair undergoes by keeping it in protective styles.
  4. Regular conditioning and moisturising of your hair is important to the health of your hair. Use a spray bottle to mist it during the week if you find that your hair has dried out in between co-washes. After spritzing, you can cover it with a plastic cap to allow it to absorb the moisture.

Products recommended for Type 4b Hair


Comment below to tell us how Understanding Type 4b hair worked for you. If you have any hair style tips and advice, contact us here and share it on Hey Naturals website.


Frances Uhomoibhi
I am a 20-something Naturalista with a love for all things Black. I love writing, spoken word, and doing social justice work. Living in London, I hope to help young black girls to love their beauty inside and out.

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