Not all African hair is the same. Yes, you heard me right! There are three different types of African hair, and they fall under the type 4 hair category. Type 4 hair, also known as kinky hair, is the curliest hair there is. There are three sub-types of Type 4 hair – 4A, 4B, and 4C.
4A hair has a well-defined curl structure.
4B hair is tightly coiled but also appears fluffy. It has a zig-zag curl pattern.
And 4C kinky hair has the tightest coils curly hair can have.
In this article, we’ll tell you all about 4A hair, how to take care of it, and the different ways you can style it. Let’s begin!
What Is 4A Hair?
4A hair has an ‘S’ shape and is tightly coiled. These cylindrical coils are quite defined and are the width of a pencil. They are also stretchy. 4A hair has a cork-screw texture that retains moisture well but is still prone to dryness. It is tighter than 3C hair though the two get mixed up more often than not. This is because, sometimes, 4A opens and seems looser than it is, thus looking like 3C hair.
Caring for kinky hair takes time, and it is imperative to have a regular hair care regimen. 4A hair has a well-defined curl pattern, which is why most women choose a wash n’ go look. But you need to maintain your hair to be able to flaunt it. Here are a few tips to get the best out of your luscious curly locks.
How To Take Care Of 4A Hair
- Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize!
This cannot be stressed enough. If you have kinky hair, moisturization is a priority. Your hair can be prone to dryness, which leads to hair breakage and damage. The natural oil from your scalp cannot coat the entire hair strand due to its shape. So, moisturize your hair regularly.
Don’t wash your kinky hair every day. Shampooing every day can strip your hair of its natural oils. Use a cleansing conditioner to cleanse your hair without stripping it of its moisture. Additionally, deep condition your hair. Your hair health depends on it.
Keep some clean water in a spray canister to spritz on your hair from time to time.
- Heat Protectant
Your hair gets damaged easily from heat. So, use a heat protectant whenever you are heat styling your hair. Apply it just before you curl or straighten it. Also, let your hair air dry sometimes or blow dry your hair on a low setting.
If you use a blow dryer, use a diffuser with it. It spreads the heat evenly through your hair and defines your curls.
If you keep straightening your hair, over a period, it will lose its natural curly texture.
- Shampoo And Conditioner
Use a cleansing shampoo. These shampoos make sure that your hair is clean without stripping it of moisture. You can also use sulfate-free shampoos.
Use shampoos that are specially made for damaged hair as curly hair dries out fast.
Limit the number of times you wash your hair in a week. Try not to wash it more than twice a week. Also, wash your hair with cold water as it locks in the moisture from the conditioner.
Conditioning your hair is critical. Use a deep cleansing conditioner if you have too much build-up on your scalp and hair.
Deep condition your hair. Curly hair gets dry faster than straight hair due to its coils. Deep conditioning your hair helps moisturize your hair. Apply conditioner to your hair just before you get into the shower and cover it with a shower cap. The steam produced from the hot water will help keep the moisture in your hair. Rinse afterwards with water.
- Combing Hair
Comb your hair in sections – this prevents breakage and damage.
Detangle your hair by running your fingers through it. If you want to comb your hair, use a wide-toothed comb to do so. Detangle your hair when it is wet as it’s easier. Brushing can lead to hair loss.
Avoid hairstyles that add tension or pressure to the roots and scalp, like tight high ponytails. When using protective hairstyles like braids, make sure you don’t keep them on for too long as this can lead to hair loss.
- Leave-In Conditioner
Leave-in conditioner is your savior that keeps your hair moisturized and fresh until the next time you wash your hair. Use a natural leave-in conditioner as it is good for your curls.
- Use Apple Cider Vinegar
If you use extensions, dip them in apple cider vinegar and water. This will remove lye from the extensions that can make your scalp itch.
The acetic acid in ACV removes the build-up of hair products from your hair and imparts shine to it. Use it after shampooing and before conditioning your hair.
Mix equal parts of water and ACV and rinse your hair with it. ACV has antifungal and antibacterial qualities that can keep scalp infections and dandruff away.
- Twist-Out Hair
This is one of the best ways to get 4A curls to look their best. Twist your hair, cover it in a scarf, and keep it on overnight. Remove the twists in the morning, and you’ll have amazing curls.
- Oil Your Hair
Apply cream or oil that not only helps moisturize your hair but also seals the moisture in your roots. You can also use moisture hair gel, edge control cream, and mousse, but they are mainly used to style your hair.
The best oils for 4A hair are coconut, jojoba, Jamaican black castor, avocado, and almond oils as they contain tons of nutrients that kinky hair requires.
- Coconut Oil
Massaging coconut oil on your hair can help boost scalp circulation. More oxygen and nutrients are sent to hair follicles which, in turn, helps stimulate growth. Coconut oil has natural antioxidants and nutrients, such as vitamin E, vitamin K, and iron.
- Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil moisturizes your hair follicles without leaving behind any residue. It also helps the hair cells reproduce and is a great hair conditioner. It contains vitamins B and E and minerals such as silicon, copper, and zinc. It is antibacterial and antifungal, which keep dandruff at bay.
- Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Castor oil contains omega-9 and omega-6 fatty acids that improve blood circulation to the scalp and encourage hair growth. They also strengthen roots and nourish thinning hair.
- Avocado Oil
Avocado oil improves hair growth. It contains oleic acid that moisturizes the scalp and vitamin D that is crucial for new hair follicles. It also provides deep moisturization and fights dandruff – thanks to the monounsaturated acids.
- Almond Oil
Almond oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, vitamin E, and magnesium. It nourishes and strengthens your hair and is optimal for treating hair loss and damaged hair. It also imparts silkiness and shine to your hair.
While applying any oil on your hair, massage your roots as this will stimulate growth in the follicles.
- Protein Masks
Protein masks contain high levels of nutrients and proteins that help to strengthen and restore curls. You can get protein hair masks at a pharmacy or a local beauty store.
- Drying Your Hair
Allow your hair to air dry rather than using heating tools. When using a towel, pat your hair dry instead of rubbing it vigorously. This prevents hair breakage.
- Care At Night
Make sure you cover your hair with a scarf at night to protect it from damage. Use a silk or satin bonnet or pillowcase. This prevents frizz and lengthens the lifespan of braids.
Now that you know how to give your 4A hair the care it needs, here are some great ways to style it.
5 Stunning Ways To Style Your 4A Hair
1. Mohawk Curls
Mohawks are badass, but this curly mohawk is so much more! This is one of the best hairstyles because it’s so stylish yet easy to maintain.
2. Bantu Knot Curls
Why leave your hair loose when you can get playful with it and celebrate African culture? This double Bantu knot hairstyle is easy to do. Divide your hair into two sections and tie them into half buns, leaving the ends to hang down.
3. High Bun With Curly Bangs
This uber-stylish hairstyle is perfect for any occasion. Bun up your hair, leaving out some hair in front to fall like bangs.
4. One Side Clipped Hair
Yes! This hairstyle is as easy as it sounds! Pin up a little hair on the side, leaving the rest of your hair free.
5. Threaded Twists And Colored Ends
Accessorizing your hair is one of the best ways to style it. Take some hair on one side and divide it into four sections (or as many as you wish). Twist each section while adding threads to them. You can use the threads to tie a knot to keep the twists from unraveling. The colored ends help with face framing and make your jawline appear lean.
There you have it – all you need to know about 4A hair! Try any of these styles leave a comment below to let us know how it went.
- All You Need To Know About 4b Hair Type
- Natural 4c Hair: All You Need To Know About It
- Different Types Of Curls – Curly Hair Type Guide