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By Chin­we of Hair and Health

When Andre Walker’s hair typ­ing sys­tem was intro­duced, there was no men­tion of a 4C hair type. 4A was described as tight­ly coiled with a more defined curly pat­tern while 4B was described as tight­ly coiled with a “z” shaped, less defined curly pat­tern.

Is 4C a hair type?

Fast for­ward to today. With the growth of the nat­u­ral hair com­mu­ni­ty, new hair typ­ing sys­tems have been cre­at­ed, and at least one includes a 4C type. NaturallyCurly.com builds upon Andre Walker’s sys­tem to describe 4C hair as:

“com­posed of curl pat­terns that will almost nev­er clump with­out doing a speci­fic hair style.  4c hair has been described as a more “chal­leng­ing” ver­sion of 4b hair. Some say 4c looks iden­ti­cal to 4b except that the curls are so tight­ly kinked, there is seem­ing­ly no def­i­n­i­tion. 4c hair can shrink more than 75%.”

… Or is 4C hair just 4B hair that is dry?

Not too long ago, I watched a video in which a nat­u­ral-haired wom­an – who ini­tial­ly appeared to be 4A/4B – described her hair as 4C.  Some of the view­ers dis­put­ed her claim lead­ing her to cre­ate a sec­ond video show­ing her hair in its shrunk­en, un-mois­tur­ized, un-con­di­tioned state.  Low and behold, many of the view­ers were now stat­ing that she was 4C or a mix of 4B and 4C.  Amid­st the audi­ence were a group of view­ers sug­gest­ing that 4C is actu­al­ly 4B hair that has not expe­ri­enced opti­mal hair care, espe­cial­ly when it comes to mois­ture.  This wom­an, to them, was an exam­ple of how a great hair care reg­i­men and ade­quate mois­ture can trans­form what appears to be “4C” hair into 4B.

What say you?

So I pose the ques­tion to you, BGLH read­ers.  What is 4C hair?  With the right hair care reg­i­men can nat­u­rals who claim to be 4C actu­al­ly be 4B? Or is 4C tru­ly a hair type of its own?

What is your def­i­n­i­tion of 4C hair?

Chinwe

Empow­er­ing wom­en of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin. https://cherishthymelanin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cherishthymelanin/

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104 Comments on "Is 4C a Hair Type or Dry 4B Hair?"

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bri
Guys, we have what I call “chameleon hair” as in it can pret­ty much look like any and every type under the sun! My hair, for exam­ple, when styled in a wash n go looks like its firm­ly in the 3’s. Right after I wash it? It looks like a straight type 4 haha~ So why wor­ry about if 4c is actu­al­ly anoth­er hair type but w/o mois­ture? Depend­ing on where you are in your hair jour­ney, your reg­i­men and your UNIQUE hair and body properties(health,scalp con­di­tion, nutri­tion­al deficiencies,moisture lev­els internally,etc), your hair could be any type, but look like all… Read more »
sam

I believe that 4C is an actu­al hair type. I am a new nat­u­ral. How­ev­er, I have curls rang­ing from 3C to 4C. I have a pret­ty good hair reg­i­men, and judg­ing off of my expe­ri­ences w/ fresh­ly washed and con­di­tioned hair, there are front sec­tions of my hair that fit the descrip­tion of 4C. while the rest of my hair will be all curled and clumped up, the front of my hair, even when soak­ing wet, won’t clump up nor show any type of curl pat­tern

Jessica

I am the same way, Sam- Most of my hair has a very defined curl pat­tern, how­ev­er the sides of my head and a ran­dom patch on top of my head ranges from straight to wavy…the sec­tion on the top of my head also has the low­est poros­i­ty, how­ev­er even though I baby it and try to infuse it with as much mois­ture as pos­si­ble, I STILL can­not get it to curl the way the rest of my hair does

Jas

No. I def­i­nite­ly have 4c hair. It nev­er clumps togeth­er even while wet. And I would say that I take care of my hair.

Lexibugg

Sor­ry jas, love that was not­meant as a reply to you my ipad is janky, lol

Lexibugg
I can only speak of my own expe­ri­ence, but what i con­sid­ered my hair type to behas changed over the course of my nat­u­ral hair “jour­ney”!!! Even while relaxed my hair was dense, tight­ly coiled and i could vis­i­bly see it began to shink once it became any­thing less than soak­ing wet. There was no clump­ing and it behaved and appeared as if each strand or two was its own indi­vid­u­al curl they were also about the size of a spring inside of a pen. My hair was stiff, felt wiry and fro’ed with ease.Based on those char­ac­ter­is­tic i assumed… Read more »
Caramelcurls
Does it real­ly mat­ter? There will forever be an end­less debate about what exact­ly is 4a/b/c hair, and in all real­i­ty it doesn’t mat­ter. Even if you can iden­ti­fy a group of wom­en as 4b or 4c, no two heads of hair will be the exact same. There may be sim­i­lar­i­ties, but that’s it. Hair tex­ture has SO much more to do with curl diameter/size; den­si­ty, thick­ness, and so many more fac­tors come into play. The bot­tom line is find­ing the right prod­ucts for YOUR head of hair to keep it healthy and mois­tur­ized, and most impor­tant­ly embrac­ing the hair… Read more »
Jessica

I total­ly agree CaramelCurls.…actual curl pat­tern has noth­ing to do with your hair tex­ture and even less to do with how to care for your hair. THe only time that it is rel­e­vant is if you are con­cerned curl definition…for some it is a mat­ter of just wet­tng and mois­tur­iz­ing, oth­ers stick with braid outs and twist outs…this letter/ num­ber sys­tem is real­ly only help­ful when to styling

au napptural

I think that’s true for some peo­ple, but I have a friend with a beau­ti­ful fro. I always thought she was comb­ing out the def­i­n­i­tion, but as it grows I see there are no curls to define! It’s like straight hair almost, only it grows up. On the oth­er hand, I’m a 4b. My hair can look like it has no curls, but only when it is over-stretched or intense­ly dry. When mois­tur­ized it’s ultra-curly/coily.

Carmelicious
I am not an expert either but I do believe that the more you hydrate and mois­tur­ize the hair, 4C would even­tu­al­ly be 4A. Using the “right” prod­ucts can also turn 4C hair into 4B or even 3C! For instance, if you have to detan­gle your hair for a long peri­od of time after you wash, you are using the wrong sham­poo. If your con­di­tion­er does not give you “slip” (smooth detan­gled hair), you are using the wrong con­di­tion­er. You MUST use prod­ucts for black hair, or prod­ucts that are made for you. For­get the Suave or Mane and Tail, the­se… Read more »
cacey

please don’t tell ppl not to use mane n tail and suave. i swear by suave pro sleek as well as mane n tail con­di­tion­er, as those are the ONLY prod­ucts i’ve ever used that have made my coarse crown hair smooth as but­ter, com­plete­ly dis­solv­ing tan­gles. no sup­pos­ed­ly expen­sive “nat­u­ral” brand of pro­duct has accom­plished for me what those bad-ingre­di­ents-ladled condish­es have.

Vee
All Hair should be mois­tur­ized, and drink­ing (prefer­ably) water, if not it, then liq­uids will keep you hair hydrat­ed. I can say that if your hair has a nat­u­ral curl pat­tern it will ALWAYS have a nat­u­ral curl pat­tern as it grows out. If your hair DOES NOT have a curl pat­tern, no mat­ter what you do no mat­ter how many prod­ucts you lay­er on, no mat­ter how much you pray and tech­niques you use, you WILL NOT have curls if your hair does not come with curls in the first place. No mat­ter how much you mois­tur­ize, 4c hair… Read more »
Mocha Dier

i see ur point, but once u wash ur hair out and no prod­ucts are in it, it will revert to its orig­i­nal state…

Carlyfanjaxfan
I don’t know about all that. Lol I’m 4b with a sprin­kling of 4a and when I was chas­ing curls, I’d do some­thing I called the “curl expos­ing tech­nique” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hzR1ZRSf3c every oth­er day-30 min­utes of pre poo­ing with mini bag­gies all over my head, anoth­er 30 min­utes with mini bag­gies of a dc con­coc­tion, then final­ly the final 30 min­utes with mini bag­gies of my con­di­tion­er. *sigh* And, I will be darned my 4b hair did turn to 4a *with­out* any pro­duct in it BUT when I stopped the tech­nique it was right back to 4b hair!  **Long sto­ry-short, I gave… Read more »
Nicole
I know I am not respond­ing to the ques­tion asked above and quite frankly I just don’t know. I how­ev­er want­ed to make a com­ment on my nat­u­ral hair. I per­son­al­ly can­not cat­e­go­rize my hair as a 4 any­thing. My hair In my opin­ion, in the state that it grows out of my head starts out as a 1. My hair starts out curly kinky straight. How can I then cat­e­go­rize how my hair grows nat­u­ral­ly then as a 4 any­thing? A 4 or some­thing far­ther from that is what my hair would become in an unnat­u­ral state. For exam­ple,… Read more »
LaNeshe

I think there is def­i­nite­ly a dif­fer­ence. I con­sid­er my hair to be 4b but I have friends who are 4c. Their hair even when mois­tur­ized or soft does not have an innate curl pat­tern unless coaxed with gel.

LBell
Seri­ous­ly, guys? It wasn’t that long ago that peo­ple were say­ing 4b hair was unmois­tur­ized 4a hair… I’ve been par­tic­i­pat­ing in online hair dis­cus­sions since before “3c” was a thing so I’ve wit­nessed the evo­lu­tion of both “3c” and “4c” as hair clas­si­fi­ca­tions. They were cre­at­ed pre­cise­ly because the Andre typ­ing sys­tem was so lim­it­ed. Keep in mind that that sys­tem was pseu­do­science to START WITH. The sys­tem that’s com­mon­ly used online now, as lim­it­ing as it is, real­ly shouldn’t have Andre’s name asso­ci­at­ed with it with­out the words “inspired by” and/or “improved upon.” It’s due to our expe­ri­ences and con­tri­bu­tions… Read more »
Jo Somebody
I agree with all of this! It’s fun­ny because I’ve seen a few peo­ple claim their hair pat­tern changed when they learned to look after it prop­er­ly, but that change always seems to go from 4c to 4b, or 4b to 4a. Is there a rea­son why look­ing after hair nev­er appears to make the hair go ‘up’ in num­bers and let­ters? And if not, why not? And what are you there­fore say­ing about the hair at the ‘end’ of the clas­si­fi­ca­tion? That from 4c, with care, hair can only get ‘bet­ter’? Think about it… Here’s my the­o­ry for those that have… Read more »
Emilia

As I read was read­ing this arti­cle, what you men­tioned in the last para­graph was ring­ing in the back of my head. How­ev­er, I think it is healthy that the­se ide­olo­gies are being dis­cussed in the open to pre­vent any sub­lim­i­nal reac­tions that can do more harm than good.

silkynaps
I read a com­ment the oth­er day that stat­ed 4c hair was the most coarse type of hair. I thought, by now, we’d seen enough YouTube videos to learn to stop gen­er­al­iz­ing afro hair. Based on the chart, my pat­tern is pre­dom­i­nate­ly 4c coils. Tight, lit­tle coils. I wear a puff every­day, but there is not a sin­gle curl pat­tern that my hair can’t mim­ic with­out styling. As a mat­ter of fact, I learned to puff my hair using the tech­nique of a 3c curly. As it turns out, we have the sim­i­lar den­si­ty and tex­ture. My curls are just tighter… Read more »
Vee

Exact­ly! I believe that there four ele­ments to your “hair type” tex­ture i.e. coils, curls, waves etc., den­si­ty, poros­i­ty, and tex­ture 2, fine­ness or thick­ness of indi­vid­u­al strands. All of the­se com­bined will help to take care of your hair. Since some­one can have the exact den­si­ty, tex­ture1, den­si­ty, but you have fine hair, and she has medi­um thick hair. So how you take care will be dif­fer­ent than hers because of the strand thick­ness.

My4CHair

4C hair is real! Part of my hair curls a lot when wet and oth­er parts have com­plete­ly NO curl pat­tern what so ever. 4C hair in itself varies and is unique!

Carmelicious

4C hair, in my opin­ion, is not the only hair that varies. All hair types vary which is why hair typ­ing is sort of sil­ly. There are many peo­ple who have dif­fer­ent tex­tures all at once on one head of hair!!!!!!! It is not an exact sci­ence so just remem­ber that.

A.J.

@ neo­chasez how does know­ing your poros­i­ty help you? I think I have low poro hair. I have to use the l.o.c method for my hair to be mois­tured. Any­thing else doesn’t work. That’s the only way know my poros­i­ty helps me. Please share

neochasez
For starters, it took tri­al and error and research on the ins and outs of hair poros­i­ty to real­ize that I can’t sim­ply fol­low a reg­i­men catered to a speci­fic hair cat­e­go­ry (i.e. 4A, etc.). I high­ly sug­gest read­ing “The Sci­ence of Black Hair” to get more infor­ma­tion on top­ics such as water (hard vs. soft and hot vs. cold). I had tried to use apple cider vine­gar (with water as a rin­se) on hair that had been rinsed with cold water to no avail…my hair needs a warm rin­se to keep the cuti­cles open when I still apply my… Read more »
amy

What chelat­ing sham­poo do you use? Bak­ing soda isnt enough? I know some peo­ple use it for clar­i­fy­ing pur­pos­es.

Could you also detail your routine/regimen/products? Please

A.J.

thanks for your input neo­chasez

NenoNaturalDotCom

I find this post a lit­tle rude.

I have 4C hair and it’s not dry! I am also begin­ning to realise that even with­in 4C there dif­fer­ent type of hair. 

One char­ac­ter­is­tic I have found with 4C hair is that it behaves dif­fer­ent­ly to 4A and 4B hair when it is wet, twist­ed or plait­ed so it must be dif­fer­ent. I have 4A hair at the very back so I should know!
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Natasha

I nev­er thought of it in this way before. I am very con­fused about my hair type. I could’ve sworn I was 4z before but then, I looked at some 4b girls, and said, “yes, that’s me!” then I saw some 4c girls and said the same thing! I think, because my hair isn’t very shiny, it can some­times look like it’s 4c. So long sto­ry short, I haven’t got a clue what my hair type is but I think it’s 4c with a hint of 4b.

Kate
I def­i­nite­ly think the hair typ­ing sys­tem is an area where peo­ple should tread care­ful­ly. To be fair, I’d prob­a­bly clas­si­fy myself as a 4C, and I do believe it is a hair type of it’s own, but I don’t think this should be an issue of debate. No two heads of hair are the same! If some­one feels that they need to clas­si­fy their hair in order to look after it, then good for them, and so be it. Hair typ­ing seems to be divi­sive, and while it does enable peo­ple to search for hair care meth­ods suit­ed to a… Read more »
neochasez
I’m going to take a stab at this at the risk of being con­tro­ver­sial. Some peo­ple find hair typ­ing ben­e­fi­cial, some do not. In regards to the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of 4C hair, it — along with 3C hair — was nev­er men­tioned in Andre Walker’s book. Now I know he’s not end-all, be-all hair styl­ist, but per­haps is there is some­thing to be said that it wasn’t includ­ed. Nev­er­the­less, my hair looks and func­tions dif­fer­ent­ly accord­ing to the mois­ture lev­el of my hair. I went nat­u­ral before Mr. Walk­er unveiled his clas­si­fi­ca­tion, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t help­ful in fig­ur­ing… Read more »
Ak

Could you please let me know what vid this is? I’d like to see what her mois­tur­iz­ing rou­tine is.

coffeeandfingernails

Can’t say I’m an expert but since I first went nat­u­ral 3 years ago, as I’ve devel­oped bet­ter habits and dis­cov­ered bet­ter prod­ucts my tex­ture has changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly. More def­i­n­i­tion, less shrinkage–definitely a big enough dif­fer­ence to qual­i­fy as a dif­fer­ent “type” of hair all togeth­er.

Also, when I first saw the video from Nap­tural85 you guys post­ed a few days ago, I thought, cute but my hair is tighter/less man­age­able than hers. Then I saw she describes her­self as 4a/4b, same as me–so clear­ly still have a ways to go reg­i­men-wise.

stephanieb

I hear ya, I feel the same way, I’m a 4a/b/c and I see oth­ers with the same hair types and their hair is so thick, long, healthy, and mois­tur­ized. I know that I do have a ways to go though, since I did the big chop sev­er­al weeks ago, but I can say that I have seen some improve­ment in my hair.

Caramelcurls

cof­fee­andfin­ger­nails: You can “step up” your reg­i­men, and by all the prod­ucts in the world, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t mean that your hair is going to look like Nap­tural 85’s. Just because she describes her hair as 4a/b and you can describe yours the same, doesn’t meant that your tex­ture is going to mim­ic hers. Food for thought…

coffeeandfingernails

Fair point–and I real­ly have no com­plaints with my hair as it is now. But see­ing how dra­mat­ic the dif­fer­ence has been as I’ve tak­en bet­ter care of my hair makes me think I might be able to get a wider range of looks with even bet­ter habits.

Amber

Also keep in mind that the longer our hair gets, the looser our tex­ture can appear. My hair tex­ture feels dif­fer­ent now than it did a year ago and I’m since Nap­tural85 has pret­ty long hair now, hers has loos­ened from the weight as well.

Jesse

Absolute­ly. If one looks at Whitney’s (Nap­turl85) old videos, you can see her short hair had very tight coils. Her long hair still has tight coils, but the added weight and the dif­fer­ent stretched styles makes her hair look elon­gat­ed.

Vee
I was going to add that! My friend has a sim­i­lar hair tex­ture to mine, which are both 4c hair, hers is longer than mine, and most peo­ple would say that she has 4a hair because of her length. It’s past her back almost waist length. Her coils are much looser, and she always wears her hair in braids, so her braid out looks like a wavy slight­ly coily braid out. Mine is only to my nose, so still real­ly coily, but I have noticed that my twist and braid outs are more wavy and coil up more the longer my… Read more »
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