How to Manage Type 4 (Coily, Kinky) Hair

The pictures in magazines, the films in theaters, and the shows on television often show women with voluminous, springy, perfectly coiled locks of hair. Women with less defined curls and people of color with afros don’t get as much shine in the media. Representation issues aside, one reason type 4 hair is less popular is that without proper care, kinky curly hair becomes coarse, fragile, and wiry. Learning your hair type’s specific needs is the key to unlocking beautiful, healthy, and luscious locks.

1. Understand Your Type 4 Hair

Type 4 hair falls into three subtypes as defined by Andre Walker, a celebrity hairstylist who worked with Oprah for more than 20 years.

  • Type 4A hair has distinctly S pattern curls and is somewhat stretchy.
  • Type 4B hair has Z pattern coils that are not very defined.
  • Type 4C hair has tight, dense coils with almost no definition and quite a bit of shrinkage.

    The optimal time to find your curl pattern is when your hair is dry, healthy, and moisturized.

    2. Moisturize Your Hair

    Managing type 4 hair is quite a challenge. The dry, coarse nature of type 4 hair makes its densely packed coils vulnerable to breakage. Moisturizing is the best thing you can do for your type 4 natural curls. How you choose to moisturize depends on your hair’s unique needs.

    No matter what type 4 hair you have, avoid products with sulfates or parabens. Sulfates are drying, especially for natural hair, and can cause flakes on your scalp. Start with a daily spritz of water and a quality leave-in conditioner like Daily Dose™ Miracle Moisture to keep your hair moisturized throughout the day.

    A weekly deep condition is also essential. Sit under the dryer for about 20 to 30 minutes to allow the deep conditioner to really penetrate your curls. Leaving it in too long will make your hair oily and greasy, so be sure to rinse it out after half an hour.

    3. Get Regular Haircuts

    Since type 4 hair is prone to breakage, regular haircuts are essential maintenance. Get your hair cut every four to six months to reduce tangles and breakage. Going too long between haircuts leads to split ends which travel up the hair shaft and break the hair off. The Deva Cut is a great option for type 4 natural hair. During a Deva Cut, your stylist will cut your hair in its natural dry state to optimize each curl. You may need to go for more frequent haircuts if your hair grows quickly or if you wear a lot of protective styles throughout the year.

    4. Choose Protective Styles

    Type 4 hair is naturally more fragile and delicate, making low-maintenance styles a good choice. These styles empower you to have stylish locks without the need for a blow dryer or curling iron. In fact, avoiding heat styling is the second-best thing to moisturizing in terms of achieving healthy hair. When you do style your type 4 hair with heat, use a high-quality thermal hair protectant.

    Styles like box braids and crochet braids protect the ends of your hair, especially for longer type 4 hair. However, you should only wear protective styles for a maximum of about eight weeks. Wearing these braided styles longer than two months can actually do more harm than good. Giving your hair a break to rest between protective styles is also a smart move.

    5. Give Your Hair Daily Dose

    Navigating your type 4 hair care journey can be a challenging yet rewarding journey. Using the best products for your hair ensures that your kinky curly hair is ready for whatever life throws at you. Daily Dose™ Miracle Moisture Leave-In Conditioner is the lightweight, cruelty-free way to boost your type 4 hair’s natural beauty. 

    Related Hair Type Articles and TIPS

    Type 4 Hair (Coily, Kinky) Overview

    Type 3 Hair (Curly) Overview and How to Manage Type 3 (Curly)

    Type 2 Hair (Wavy) Overview

    Type 1 Hair (Straight) Overview

     

    Author: Leah Taylor

    Leah Taylor - Hair Type 3

    Leah is a health policy consultant living in Herndon, VA. Her natural hair has been an unexpected passion since she started her journey two and a half years ago. Leah enjoys watching movies, exercising, cooking, running her consulting business, and exploring the DC area. Admittedly, she spends way too much time tweeting and tagging her friends in Internet memes.

     

    Sources referenced: Naturally Curly: Curly Hair Guide: What’s YOUR Curl Pattern?
    https://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/learn/curly-hair-guide-whats-your-curl-pattern-hi

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