A common trait with Afro textured hair is its twists and bends and the various textures it comes in. It is possible for hair types 4 to have different textures and curl patterns on one head of hair. Type 4 hair is the curliest type of hair but also the driest which makes it the most fragile. It has fewer cuticle layers than any other hair type, which means less natural protection from the damage that can be inflicted by the weather, combs brushes and heating tools. If afro textured hair isn’t well cleansed, conditioned and moisturised it can convey a dry or matte appearance. You tend to find that because type 4 hair is the most fragile, it breaks more easily than any other hair type giving the impression that type 4 hair doesn’t grow.
A common trait with afro hair type 4A hair is that the strands lie flat with no apparent curves or bends in it. This type of hair can be quite wiry and or even silky.
Type 4B hair tends to have a similar structure to those with wavy hair. The only difference is the hair texture, which tends to be coarser and of a more afro textured nature.
Type 4C is tightly coiled afro textured hair, that when stretched has an S shape
This hair type is again afro textured but unlike the other sub types, it has more of a Z pattern and sometimes an L pattern (where the strands bend at sharp angles with little to no curvature). Type 4D tends not to have as much moisture as 4A or even 4B due to the curl pattern.
HAIR CARE TIPS:
- Type 4 hair should be cleansed a minimum of once a week. It should be moisturised with water or a water based product every day. Moisture is the key to hydrated afro textured hair.
- The biggest misconception about kinky hair is that it is rough, ‘nappy’ and not very pliable. On the contrary, if taken care of, it can be extremely pliable, soft and easy to work with. It is the most fragile texture on the texture spectrum of hair and should be cared for like your favourite cashmere jumper. Kinky hair needs to be conditioned and moisturised at every step of your hair care routine to look its best. A common trait of afro textured hair is its tendency to tangle and lock. If your goal is to grow your hair (and not to lock it), then preventing it from tangling is crucial. The more you condition, moisturise and protectively style your hair, the more you prevent hair from drying out and breaking off. Remember, healthy, well-maintained hair, allows you the freedom to wear your hair however you choose, be it kinky, curly or straight.
- Avoid shampoos that dry out or strip the hair of its natural oils. It is recommended that you use sulphate-free ph balanced moisturising shampoos.
- Type 4 hair should try to avoid products that contain petrolatum and mineral oils, that coat the hair to give it a temporary moisturised healthy look but does nothing to moisturise the hair. It can also cause build up on the hair, which in turn can aggravate dryness.
- Water is the ultimate moisturiser and natural butters such as shea butter and creams are great sealants to keep the water (moisture) locked into your hair.
- Clarifying the hair with a clarifying shampoo is also very important. Do this regularly to avoid product build up. It removes build up and returns life and shine back to your hair.
- Use styling creams, butters and oils for type 4 hair.
- When detangling hair, be sure to do it with some kind of oil or conditioner in your hair so as not to cause damage to your hair in the form of breakage. Use your fingers first to detangle and then comb through the hair with a wide-tooth comb or detangling brush. Never use a brush or comb on dry curls. See videos for more information.
- Many curlies have found that using a satin pillowcase helps to keep their curls in ‘top form’. The smoothness of the fabric allows your hair to glide softly across it, helping to keep the curls well formed and frizz to a minimum! Failing that you can cover your head before bedtime with a satin or silk scarf to protect your delicate curls.