Hair Typing: Type 4 Hair

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Type 4 Hair

The hair type system is a curl classification table adopted and modified by many naturals on websites like This system is broken down into 4 types of curls (2, 3, 3c, 4). This post will be one of several that describes the various hair types as well as tips and tricks to care for those curls.


Type 4 hair can be:
  • Very kinky, or very tightly curled with a clearly visible curl pattern
  • Can range from fine/thin hair to super thick hair that is densely packed
  • Very sensitive combing and brushing. Low manipulation to this type of hair is ideal.
  • Known to shrink up to 75% its actual length

There are two subtypes for 4 hair: 
  1. 4a – tightly coiled; when stretched has an “S” pattern like curly hair; tends to hold moisture better than 4b hair; has a definite curl pattern. 
  2. 4B
  3. 4b – has a “Z” pattern when stretched; a less defined curl pattern; instead of curling or coiling, hair bends in sharp angles; has a cotton-feel to it.

Tips for Type 4 Hair
  • Responds best to creams and butters
  • Requires extra moisture and gentle handling; very fragile
  • Must be detangled with a lot of conditioner to prevent breakage and ripping
  • Air dry; limit heat usage as much as possible