Different Afro Hair Types: 4A/4B/4C – Complete Guide

Afros are a great way of making life difficult but absolutely beautiful. Afro hair types have a different kind of routine and a rather lengthy one! The best way to understand your hair type is to follow the hair chart. The types of afro hair that are there they generally come in the 4A-4C category.


4 min read

Afros are a great way of making life difficult but beautiful. Afro hair types have a different kind of routine and a rather lengthy one! The best way to understand your hair texture from different hair textures is to follow the hair chart. The types of afro hair that are there generally come in the 4A-4C category.

What are those you ask? They are the kind of curls you have on your head. They become ‘tighter’ as the alphabets progress. What does tighter mean? Tighter in the curl community means how tightly wound or close to your head your curls are. This type of hair is mostly seen in black women.

This curl category is called kinky coily. This kinky hair is generally in a Z pattern or no pattern at all. They are quite dry as well. So, what is it that you can do and determine your hair type? This will help you understand which type of hair do you have. There is a hair guide.

How Do You Find Out Your Hair Type?

  1. Take a strand of your hair and pull it
  2. Once you leave it, see the pattern it makes.
  3. That is your hair type.

A word of advice, many times you will have your hair pattern or type come in more than one category, do not fret because that is normal.

Category 1: Straight Hair

It is the hair that doesn’t have any curl or wave pattern. More likely than not this hair is easy to handle and doesn’t have too many problems of dryness or brittle hair unless it has been coloured or damaged a lot. It is quite resilient hair and pretty hard to curl. This type of hair reflects the most amount of shine.

Try Our Below Products for Your Straight Hair:

Category 2: Wavy Hair Types

This category has 3 subtypes

2A: This is a large wave kind of a pattern. Loose waves make up this category. They can alternate between straight and wavy hair and this hair type has the best styling retention properties. It also has the second-best shine.

2B: These are more like beach waves. Have a sort of a tighter wave pattern. These can be achieved even with a nice salty mist that is developed especially for your hair to have a beach wave pattern. This kind of hair is mostly big and kind of resilient to styling.

2C: These are large S-shaped waves that mostly around the head and then open up towards the end. They are very prone to frizzing and if you want to style them, you will need to put in some serious elbow grease. They are also dry and need to be washed less frequently. A cowash between washes would be a great idea to retain the moisture and help your hair retain its elasticity.

Category 3: Curly Hair Type

Again, this category has 3 subtypes

3A: Large, bouncy and loose curls. This is what the 3A curl type is. These are generally the size of a jumbo crayon or probably 4 pens bundled together. This curl pattern can be mostly tamed but too much fiddling with your hair can result in the hair becoming extremely frizzy. So, use a spray-on leave-in to refresh those curls.

3B: These are the size of sharpies! And more often than not many women come in between these two categories. Frizz prone and extremely dry. Apply gels that have a humectant in and on wet hair, that way they reduce frizz and make better-defined curls.

3C: More like tighter corkscrews the size of a pencil. These have beautiful volumes and many black women have such hair compared to different textures. These can look dry so to make them have a beautiful softness, try a sulphate free shampoo. The As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo is a lovely sulphate free shampoo that can clean out your hair without drying it and deep conditioning your hair quite often is a must.

Read: How to Style and Care for 3C Hair?

Category 4: Kinky/Coily

This category has the African human hair type because it is largely seen in black people. This category can also be referred to as types of afro hair because it has a lot of people showcasing a fro! This is naturally very dry and wiry or soft and fine hair. This hair type experiences severe shrinkage too! The curl patterns are bifurcated into three subcategories for any black woman & man.

4A: A tight S pattern and with the width of a knitting needle or a slim pencil. It is most dense and has a lot of volumes. This type of afro hair can be styled in a wash and go method. The best way to keep this or any other type 4 hair moisturized is to use the Creme Of Nature Argan Oil Moisturiser before a hair wash. This will help your black hair retain more moisture than usual and also help you detangle easily. The best way to style this hair is to use lightweight hair-care products and the right styling technique.

4B: This is an almost Z pattern hair and is pretty prone to having breakage. With about 70% shrinkage you need to be sure of managing your hair properly. Do not stretch it while dry, it can result in severe brittleness and breaking. Use moisturizing oils such as coconut & castor oil, that way you can help your hair become more pliable and less difficult to manage. Make sure you detangle this type of afro hair by using a wide-tooth comb and a whole lot of water and conditioner.

4C: More often than not this type of hair has almost no curl pattern. It is a mixture of an S or a Z. They are even more compactly packed and have about 75% shrinkage. The hair is wiry and coarse mostly. It is important to note yet again that this type of hair needs a lot of moisture and conditioner to not break the hair. The best way to deal with such hair is to have protective hairstyles such as twists.

Read: Best Protein Treatments For 4C Hair


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