4B v 4C Type Hair - What Is The Difference And How Best To Care For Each

Last updated on : August 02 2021

Category 4 hair type

Category Four Hair Types

There seems to be confusion in the category four hair types, specifically about telling the difference between 4B and 4C natural hair and the best way to take care of each. 

So many women cannot tell where they fall between these two categories and what exactly to do with their hair. 

If you have questions about knowing your natural hair type and are on the type 4 spectrum, this article is for you. We discuss the differences and the best way to take care of your hair.  

Although 4B and 4C hair have some similarities, there are a few key differences between them. While type 4 hair is usually referred to as coily, several distinctions distinguish 4B and 4C hair in curl patterns.

Let's start with understanding how hair types are measured or classified. Then we'll get into the differences in more detail and the care requirements. 

Understanding Hair Types, In Particular Type 4 

Black hair types

Andre Walker (Oprah's hairstylist) devised a methodology for classifying curls to identify texture better. 

To describe curly hair types and other hair texture kinds more accurately, he devised a numerical scale ranked to represent curliness (e.g., 1, 2, 3, and 4). Then he separated them into subcategories (e.g., 2A, 2B, and 2C). 

Bone straight hair is classified as a "1" because it lacks any wave or curl. And the curliest, twirliest coils are those with a type 4 classification, one of the most frequent Black hair types. 

Hair type 4 has densely packed coils and is fine and thin or wiry and coarse. Although coily hair appears tough-looking, it is the most delicate hair type due to the lack of cuticle layers to protect it from drying.

Since type 4 hair is so beautiful and curly, it frequently needs more moisturizing with a good conditioner and other hair care products like coconut oil and rice water to maintain strands healthy.

Let's look at 4B and 4C individually and in more detail. 

What Is 4B Hair?

4B Hair

The zigzag pattern on 4B hair makes it easy to identify. 4B, unlike 4A or 4C, has tight "Z" shaped strands with little curl definition. 

4B hair is often fluffy, and depending on hair structure, it can be soft or coarse. 4B hair bends with really sharp angles. It has Z-shaped zigzag curls. 

This type of hair is fragile and is prone to dryness because of the steep angles of the zigzag strands, which prevent oil from the scalp from reaching the tips of the hair. 

Dry hair has a higher tendency for breaking and tangling. Here's where a hair product like a natural hair moisturizer or conditioner might help.

Ways To Take Care Of 4B Hair

4B hair needs the following tender care.


Since 4B hair is so tightly coiled, it is prone to dryness and hence needs a lot of moisture to thrive. 

It's not just about moisturizing your hair. It's also about putting in the extra effort to keep the moisture that your hair does get.

There are a few things you'll need to add to your hair care routine to accomplish this:

  • A treatment using hot oil. A hot oil treatment will keep your hair nourished for a long time.  
  • Use a leave-in conditioner every day to give your hair an extra dose of moisture.
  • And every two weeks, deep condition your hair when you wash it.
  • Lastly, Use satin bonnets or scarves at night to keep the moisture in your hair. For maximum moisture retention, switch to silk pillowcases as well. 


To stretch out your 4B hair, use Bantu knots, twists, and African threading. When your hair is moist or wet, it is better to extend it.


Instead of using a clarifying shampoo, use a moisturizing shampoo. While cleansing, hydrating shampoos provide moisture to your hair.


Since 4B hair has a fragile texture, it's essential to finger detangle it before washing or styling to avoid breaking. 

And try Senegalese twists, box braids, Bantu knots, and high puffs because these styles need only minor adjustments. 

Best Products For 4B Hair

The best products for 4b hair include hydrating shampoos, deep conditioners, creamy curl enhancers, leave-ins, and oils like castor and coconut oil.  

Avoid products that deprive your hair of moisture and natural oils.

What Is 4C Hair?

4C Hair

So, what exactly is 4C hair?  

The curl pattern on 4C hair is the tightest of all the curly hair types, with ringlets of tight, springy strands created. The texture makes it hard to comb it, and it has the most shrinkage out of all hair types.

Additionally, 4C hair tends to clump more at the ends than 4B hair and can shrink up to 75% of its length. 

A 4C hair type, like 4B hair, is prone to dryness and must be moisturized regularly to maintain a constant hair development pattern and keep the hair healthy.  

However, 4C hair is one of a kind, and with it, you can create shapes and styles that many other hair textures can't. 

Ways To Take Care Of 4C Hair

The key to rocking healthy 4C hair, much like 4B natural hair, is in how you care for it. However, 4C hair is the hardest to take care of and style because it doesn't have a definite curl pattern.  

Unlike 4A and 4B hair, it has no definition after being washed unless specifically treated. And without the use of styling techniques like predatory hands, twisting, braiding, or shingling, the strands will rarely cluster together.

With 4C hair, your key objectives are keeping the moisture, preventing knots, and preventing shrinking.

Here's how you can do it, in addition to the steps you would take for 4B hair.


Detangle your 4C hair with a wide-tooth comb or your fingers. 

Detangling should be done after every wash, before and after styling, and applying a protective style. To keep knots to a minimum, keep your 4C hair detangled at all times. 

One of the most common causes of hair breakage in 4C is tangling.

Moisture Is Essential For 4C Hair.

Invest in moisture-adding products and avoid sulfates and other chemicals that dehydrate your hair, just like you would with 4b hair.

The Key Differences Between 4B And 4C Hair

To understand your hair type, take a few strands of your hair and examine the pattern against a light background, such as a piece of paper. It will be simple to tell the difference between 4B and 4C hair once you carefully look at the hair pattern.

The zigzag pattern on 4B hair makes it easy to identify. 4B, unlike 4A or 4C, has tight "Z" shaped strands with little curl definition.

Additionally, 4C hair is ideal for those who wish to develop long-term protective styling as it allows the hair to grow. 4C hair texture is perfect for creating and maintaining long-lasting twists and braids.  

Due to the nature of 4B hair, it cannot pull off braid-outs and twist-outs, and it also does not last or cause the hair to knot. Some say this very reason makes 4C hair better than 4B hair. 

For a simple solution, you can try a curly hair weave as a great way to get a voluminous hairstyle despite your hair type.


Black hair

Knowing which hair type you fall under will help you understand your curls better and treat them accordingly.

The only difference between 4B and 4C natural hair is the curl pattern and the tightness of the coils. 

Both have a high level of shrinkage, and both require a lot of moisture, as they both dry up quickly. So be sure to select the appropriate products and adhere to a regular hair regimen. 

Contrary to popular belief, both hair types are easy to manage and can grow very long with proper care, although 4C might be simpler to control in this respect. 

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