The Ultimate Guide to 4A Hair: Features, Haircare, and Styles

Aug. 3
4A hair is the curliest type of African tresses. We share how to take care of 4A hair and the best styles for you to try.
The right hair care strategy and styles for your 4A curls can help you achieve locks that look healthy and lit.
Find out if you’re a 4A girl and educate yourself about the three types of African hair. 


Types of Natural Hair: Identify Yours 
To start with, let’s break down the four different hair types. It’s pretty simple—each variety is classed according to the texture.
Types 1 and 2 are straight and wavy: think Billie Eilish for the former and Blake Lively for the latter. Types 3 and 4 are curly and kinky, like Nathalie Emmanuel or Willow Smith, respectively.
Now, within types 3 and 4, there are three different subsets: A, B, and C. Each letter represents a distinct type of curl.
If this is starting to sound like college algebra, bear with us—you’ll understand your curls better, which is important. 
Before we dive into classifications, bear in mind that you can have more than one hair type. For example, some strands might be different from the rest—and that’s totally normal.
Here are the basics about 4A, 4B, and 4C hair:


What is Type 4A Hair?
4A natural hair has characteristically defined curls that hold their shape without styling. Tresses are tightly coiled in an S-pattern, like spirals.
Your locks likely don’t have much trouble retaining moisture. Still, as with the majority of curly or kinky hair, dryness can pose an issue. 
What’s the Difference between 4A, 4B, and 4C Hair?
4B curls tend to hold a Z-pattern rather than an S-pattern. These tresses are usually more prone to dryness and breakage. Shrinkage can make your locks appear a lot shorter than they are. 
As with 4B hair, 4C hair is prone to shrinkage. It usually doesn’t have a visible curl pattern. It’s the most fragile out of the three and requires extra care to avoid damage.
How to Care for 4A Hair
Now that you know what your hair type let’s discuss how to treat it. Achieve bouncy, lush curls with these tips:
Condition and Moisturize 
We can’t emphasize this enough—a gentle approach is essential. 4A hair isn’t quite as fragile as 4B and 4C, but it still requires a light touch.
Due to the texture of your hair, your scalp’s natural oils won’t distribute well through your tresses. That means going heavy on the leave-in conditioners, using hair masks, and moisturizing daily. 
Be Super-GentleWe know you know, but we have to mention it: avoid heat styling if you can. If that’s not an option for you, use protective products when you straighten or blowdry. 
You should also steer clear of styles that put pressure on your stands. High, tight ponytails are cute every so often, but shouldn’t be your daily go-to. 
Avoid Overwashing 
Conditioners are a must-have, but overwashing with shampoo can destroy your hard work. If you’re in need of a refresher, opt for a cleansing conditioner rather than shampoo.
Sleep Silky-Smooth
Tossing and turning your pillow all night can be rough on your strands. Wear a satin or silk bonnet to protect your curls, or invest in a luxurious silk pillowcase.
Oil it Up 
Natural oils can work wonders on your hair as well as your skin. Look for nutrient-packed oils such as almond and jojoba oil that are ultra-hydrating and can penetrate the hair shaft.
Comb Carefully
If you have kinky hair, allowing tangles and mats to form isn’t an option. Gently comb your hair when it’s wet with a comb built for kinky manes. Brushing is a no-no, as you can damage your curls.
Use 4A-Friendly Products
Always use products that are 4A-friendly. Look for labels that read hydrating, moisturizing, and gentle.For instance, shampoos for natural hair or damaged hair. Products for fragile tresses aren’t usually as harsh as regular shampoos.You can also invest in a quality protein mask to treat your curls.
Don’t Forget Your Scalp
A healthy scalp equals healthy hair. When you’re applying your oils and conditioners, take the time to massage your head. You can help promote thickness and growth!
Best Hairstyles for 4A Hair 
Since these curls already have definition, the best styles for 4A hair are low-maintenance looks. You don’t need to go overboard here: less is more to accentuate your tresses.


You can have fun with a versatile bun—add a cute accessory or leave your bangs out to make a statement!


Chic, elegant, and a simple way to show off your gorgeous curls—what’s not to love?
If you’re searching for a cute, feminine look that you can whip up in a flash try pigtails:


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