How to Care for Your Natural 4B Hair

Need help identifying and caring for your 4B hair type? This article will adequately explain all the detailed information and care tips you’ll need.

The hair typing chart initially comprised straight, wavy, and curly. Further research extended and categorized the hair types into three subclasses, A to C, gauged by the width and diameter of their curl pattern. The type four hair category is the kinky hair type, the highest and densest in the hair typing system.

The shape of the hair follicle determines your curl type; straight hair, categorized as 1s, has a circular shape, while curly-haired has an oval-shaped hair follicle; the more oval it is, the curlier the curls. That accounts for type 4 topping the charts. 

The shape of the curls also categorizes the curl type. Do they curve, kink, or wound around each other? The follicle shape makes it harder for the hair’s natural oils to travel down the hair shaft, which results in dryness and hair breakage for type 4 hair.

Type 1s are for straight hair with no curl in sight; type 2s are the wavy type, type 3 are the curly, and type 4 are the coily. Subclasses A to C represents the loosest to the tightest curls.

There have been several misconceptions with categorizing hair type, especially in the type four category, with the majority thinking they share the same curl type because they are black; that isn’t exactly the case. It is possible to have a combination of two or more hair types.

What is 4B Hair?

4B Hair
Instagram / @candicesabiduria

4B hair falls between the 4C and 4A, it can be confused for either, but that doesn’t signify that they can’t be told apart. 

4B hair is tightly coiled and has a little less defined kink pattern. It grows horizontally, which accounts for its voluminous nature, and has more of a Z-shaped pattern, with the curls’ circumference being about the width of a pen. 

Type 4B differs from 4C in that it has some definition, which cannot be said for 4C without adding products and styling techniques. Simply put, if there’s no curl in sight after a wash, that’s a 4C, while a 4A has a softer and noticeably looser coil type.

The inability of the hair strands to be provided with the moisture needed causes the strands to have a dry and frizzy looking; and also highly fragile and, if not adequately cared for, prone to hair breakage and tangling. The tightly and dense coils cause an incredible amount of shrinkage, causing it to be much shorter than it is; you’ll realize this by pulling on the strands its actual length will be revealed.

The key to maximizing your hair’s potential and, for definition, is giving your moisture and more moisture! And combining them with the proper styling techniques and a good hair care routine should keep the dryness and frizz at bay.   

Care Tips for Type 4B Hair.

Caring for 4B Hair
Instagram / @blackbeautymag

Type 4B hair is unique and can be unyielding and overwhelming if you do not adequately care for it. Knowing your hair type sets you on the right path; the next best thing is getting acquainted with the basic dos and don’ts to get you started and the right products to use.

1. Do a Hot Oil Treatment Before a Wash

Hot oil treatment is a great way to repair damaged hair and keep hair moisturized after a wash. For type 4 hair, this should come first every wash day. Shampoos are too stripping the hair’s natural oils; a hot oil treatment would serve as a layer of protection. 

Any treatment done before a wash is called a pre-poo. To perform a hot oil treatment, pour several varieties of oils or oil into a bowl and heat it. Once the oil is warmed, apply it to your hair working in sections, and give your scalp a good massage. Massaging the scalp aids blood circulation, which encourages hair growth. You could also gently detangle and let your hair sit for 30 minutes to two hours.

This would ensure the hair stays moisturized.

2. What is your Hair Porosity

Knowing your hair type is not enough; you also need to understand your porosity, which determines how much moisture your hair absorbs. The porosity of your hair determines how well it retains and absorbs moisture.

Three categories of hair porosity—low, normal, and high—are recognized. Curly hair with low porosity has difficulty absorbing moisture, yet it may hold it well. The hair becomes more porous with more damage from heat treatment, UV exposure, chemical processing, and excessive manipulation like over brushing or combing.

High porosity can swiftly absorb moisture yet release it just as quickly; normal porous hair has suffered minor damage and can still appropriately absorb and retain moisture.

3. Use a Sulfate free Shampoo

Sulfates are harsh surfactants, and those found in shampoo overly strip the hair of its natural oils. Since 4B hair is already prone to dryness, increasing the amount of sulfates wouldn’t be beneficial to the hair. For 4B hair, the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo works wonders.

Use a shampoo with a milder surfactant for the hair strands, and avoid vigorous rubbing and scrubbing when shampooing because wet hair is incredibly fragile. 

After lathering your palms with a good amount of shampoo, rub them together and massage the scalp. Use your fingertips to rub away any buildup and give a good rinse afterwards. Before shampooing low porosity hair, thoroughly wet the hair with warm water to lift the cuticle gently.

4. Deep Condition Frequently 

The health of the coils is greatly improved by deep conditioners, which provide moisture. Compared to a typical conditioner, they function three times better and help prevent split ends. Doing a weekly deep conditioning treatment can completely shift the game because dryness is a major issue for 4B types.

To use a deep conditioner, divide your hair into four quadrants first to ensure all the strands are covered, and then apply the conditioner from the mid-lengths to the tips. Then, you either don a shower cap or sit in front of a hooded dryer, primarily for low porosity hair. Depending on the product directions, allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes before giving it a good rinse. The Adwoa Beauty Baomint Deep Conditioning Treatment might be something you want to give a try. It works wonders for 4B hair and is vegan and cruelty-free!

5. Detangle Regularly 

Make detangling your hair a regular habit because tangling promotes breakage and slows hair growth. Use a wide-toothed comb and be gentle while working in sections. The best way to detangle hair is using a conditioner since it glides and makes detangling much easier.

Add a leave-in conditioner or detangling spray when you aren’t washing your hair; a kinky curl knot today is a terrific option and reasonably priced. Instead of yanking the knots out, use your fingertips.

6.  Avoid Overstyling!

Hair breakage, weight down, and dryness are all effects of styling products. Avoid over-touching and over-styling your hair, and refrain from excessive physical manipulation.

Alternate between some protective hairstyles and using fewer products; these protective hairstyles protect your hair, especially its ends, which are more exposed to mechanical and environmental damage, promoting hair growth while also making you look good. Do-it-yourself-friendly protective hairstyles include twists, single plaits, and Bantu knots.

7. Maintain a Hair Trimming Schedule 

Cut out split ends as they may impede hair growth and signify hair damage. Split ends are noticeable when the hair strand splits; you should be able to tell if you have them. Split ends make hair more prone to tangling because they are weak and get tangled easily.

Trimming hair should be done when stretched since the 4B hair type is prone to significant shrinking. Your hair’s general appearance would improve,e and breakage would be decreased. Getting a trim every six weeks is advised, but adherence to the plan is crucial.

8. Wear a Protective Head Wrap to Bed

A protective head cover is essential if you use cotton sheets while sleeping. The cotton fabric’s surface rubs against the hair strands, creating friction or increased strain, especially as you toss and turn, which causes the cotton material to absorb moisture from the hair strands.

Therefore, if you apply an overnight hair treatment and then go to sleep, it all goes away, and you wake up with hair that is dry and frizzy-looking. Sleep with a bonnet or scarf made of silk or satin to avoid that. Because of their smooth surface, there is less stress and friction, maintaining the moisture in the hair and allowing you to wake up with healthy coils.

It’s really simple to wrap your hair in silk or satin; take your selected piece, join the opposite ends to form a triangle, making sure the silkier side is facing out, bend forward, and drape the scarf over your neck with the middle point aimed at your forehead. The remaining pieces should be tucked into the sides of the wrap. Take the ends hanging at the sides and tie them in a knot above the middle piece at the top hairline.

9. Clarifying Treatment 

Regular use of hairstyle and care products can leave behind residues that can damage hair and cause it to appear weighed down. You’ll need a clarifying treatment to eliminate the buildup, and home remedies are also available.

However, using a clarifying shampoo is a quick and easy solution. If you live in an area with hard water, you should use a chelating shampoo because you may have mineral buildup. A chelating shampoo functions similarly to a clarifying shampoo but also contains EDTA agents that bind to minerals, allowing them to be washed away.

If you don’t have a clarifying shampoo, a basic shampoo with sulfates will do; an acid vinegar rinse also works, and baking soda in a regular shampoo works too.

10. Provide the Moisture it needs!

Moisturizing 4B Hair
Instagram / @hydrabarsalon

It cannot be emphasized enough that 4C hair is prone to dryness and needs hydration support. Given that 4 hairs have the tightest curl pattern and an oval-shaped follicle, it is more difficult for natural oils to penetrate the hair shaft.

After shampooing, apply your moisturizing products, including a leave-in conditioner that is appropriate for your hair type and porosity, gel, curl cream, hair oils, and serum using the LCO or LOC method, which stands for leave-in (liquid), cream, and oils or leaves in, oils, and creams. Find the approach that suits you the best.

Emollients and humectants are frequently included in creams and oils, and they function to lock in moisture by forming an oily coating. I suggest choosing a cream or oil based on the hair’s porousness. 

Products with less weight are best for hair types with low porosity and density; products with more weight are better for hair types with higher porosity and contain substances like oils and butter. To define curls, rake the styling products through the hair. When applying these products, pay particular attention to areas more prone to dryness.

11. Ditch your Terry towel!

After washing your hair, grab a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt; these materials are gentler to the hair strands and less likely to result in frizz, tangles, or hair breaking.

A microfiber towel is lint-free and absorbs a ton of water. In contrast, a terry towel puts tension on the hair strands because of its rough surface and the hair’s fragility when wet. Patting your hair dry will work just as well as frantically rubbing it dry. Instead, you can also use these items to plop curls; it gives them great definition and speeds up drying.


4B hair is nothing short of exquisite and can be challenging to understand, like all things beautiful. Even if you have the same hair type as everyone else, your hair is unique to you, just like the skin is, so don’t rush the process; experiment with products until you find what works for you. Eventually, you’ll fall into a comfortable hair care routine.

Leave a comment