Afro-textured hair, also known as Type 4 hair is the most delicate hair texture that exists. Caring for type 4 hair requires gentle handling and should be styled with as little manipulation as possible in order to promote length retention, volume, and growth. Natural type 4 hair should be well maintained due to its fragile state and with a little TLC and a delicate touch, your natural hair will grow longer, stronger and healthier.
Discovering how to care for your natural hair can be easily determined by your hair texture. There are some hair textures that will hold certain styles longer and some textures that will require less manipulation in order to achieve a style. Type 4 natural hair is characterized by having tight, densely packed curls, coils or kinks that fall within 3 categories; 4A, 4B, and 4C natural hair.
Type 4A natural hair textures usually consist of highly defined afro-textured hair that is coiled with strong curl definition. 4A hair textures can be fine or wiry and have been described as having a “cottony-soft” texture. The hair strands of a type 4A natural will closely resemble the letter “s” and are densely packed together giving the hair a thicker appearance. Although 4A hair is better at retaining moisture than the other type 4 hair textures it still requires moisture. Some naturals with Type 4A are considered to have a kinky-curly hair texture.
Caring for 4a hair begins with your wash method. It’s best to use a sulfate-free shampoo to cleanse your hair followed by a moisturizing conditioner to keep your 4A curls hydrated and to prevent the hair from becoming dry. Sulfates can be drying to natural hair and should only be used periodically for deep cleaning the hair when needed. Be sure to handle your hair delicately to avoid damage or breakage, remember your hair is already delicate but it is especially fragile once it becomes wet.
Once natural hair gets wet it becomes more prone to tangles which of course could lead to breakage. When shampooing, concentrate on just the scalp and not the hair itself. Allow the water and lather to wash away any dirt or buildup from the hair strands. After cleansing the hair, follow-up with a moisturizing conditioner to rehydrate your hair and soften your curls.
A deep bi-weekly deep conditioner will help to strengthen and fortify your hair to give you fabulous curls. Type 4A hair requires frequent moisturizing after washing and as a part of your daily hair care routine. Apply a lightweight leave-in conditioner to ensure that your curls remain soft, hydrated, and voluminous from day to day. It is also a good idea to use all-natural oils or light moisturizers to help reduce frizz and to enhance the natural luster of your hair.
Protective styling with natural hair extensions will give your hair a much-needed break from daily styling and tension on the hair. The key to growing natural hair is to retain as much length as possible without encouraging breakage from styling and manipulating the hair regularly. Tucked hairstyles are a quick and easy protective style that you can achieve at any hair length.
Clip-in extensions are an innovative method for protective styling depending on how you choose to style them. Remember, that a protective style simply requires that the ends of your hair are put away and not exposed.
Type 4B hair textures are very similar to 4A hair but this texture has less curl definition and can shrink up to 70 percent of its true length. For example, your hair could be 22-inches long but only appear to be 8 inches long once it is fully dry.
If you have 4B hair, you may notice that your hair strands are more coily than curly. The hair strands will closely resemble the letter “z’ and have a cotton-like feeling. Type 4B hair can also range in thickness and requires lots of conditioning and hydration as part of your daily natural hair care routine.
After washing the hair, apply a moisturizing conditioner to restore hydration. If your hair feels weak or lacks elasticity, use a protein conditioner to strengthen the hair follicles and prevent breakage. Protein conditioners should not be used regularly only when needed. Deep conditioners can be used once a week or when needed to repair any damage or provide maximum moisture for your natural tresses.
Natural hair wigs is a definite way to retain length and give your hair a break. Some naturals have even opted to use frontal hair pieces as a method of protective styling. Frontals make great protective styles because they can be worn with natural hair extensions or alone. Women who may suffer from alopecia or thinning edges can greatly benefit from protective styling with frontal hair pieces because they completely cover the perimeter of the hair.
Like all type 4 hair textures, 4C hair is extremely fragile and easily susceptible to breakage if not properly handled. This texture has very little to no curl definition and can be resistant to moisture. Type 4C hair textures can also shrink up to 75 percent of its true length. Daily conditioning is required in order to prevent the hair from becoming too dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. 4C hair also becomes tangled easily and should be handled as if you are handling a delicate cashmere sweater.
When cleansing 4c hair, it is best to focus on the scalp and avoid agitation to prevent the hair from becoming tangled or knotted. Use a sulfate-free shampoo and follow with a creamy moisturizing conditioner for restoring moisture and also help with detangling the hair. Use a wide-tooth comb while in the shower to remove tangles starting from the ends of the hair and working upwards.
Type 4C hair should be moisturized and conditioned regularly to prevent the hair from appearing dull. Because the hair strands of 4C are so tightly compacted, this texture is more prone to breakage than any other hair texture. A deep conditioner can be utilized once a week or as often as needed to soften, strengthen, and moisturize the hair. Type 4C hair loves creamy butters, moisturizing products, and natural oils and butters to hydrate the hair and retain moisture.
Wearing protective styles such as wigs, twists, braids, locs, and tucked hairstyles will prevent the hair from shedding faster than it can grow. Afro Kinky wigs can also be considered as a protective styling option.
Sew-in extensions are also a popular protective style for women with natural 4C hair because the hair is braided and hidden while wearing the style. Sew-ins can last for several weeks before needing to be retouched which will allow your hair time to rest. Our Afro Curly hair bundles match perfectly with 4C hair textures and the hair can be washed and reused as long as you care for it properly.