If you have 4b natural hair, you might be wondering how to best take care of it. You’re probably ready to throw in the towel when it gets unmanageable and tangled, but there are crucial steps you can take to make your hair healthy and loveable.
In this article, you’ll find useful tips on how to care for your hair so you can have the beautiful, healthy curls you’ve always wanted. You’ll also see some cute hairstyles for your 4b natural hair.
There are four main hair families, and each family contains three types of hair. Family 1 is the straightest, and family 2 is the waviest.
Textures from 3 and 4 hair families are most common to people with African ancestry. Type 3a women have defined, loose curls that can become frizzy. They do not need heavy moisturizing products.
Type 3b is slightly coarser and dense. 3b curls are tighter than 3a curls but do not need heavy products either.
3c curls are shaped like corkscrews and are tighter than both 3a and 3b. All hair in the type 3 family do best with light products to moisturize locks.
Type 4 hair consists of 4a, 4b, and 4c. These hair types are fluffier and have the tightest curls of all four families.
4a curls form an “s”. This type is the best at holding moisture compared to the other two type 4 curls, but can still become dry. These curls are usually defined and do not need a lot of manipulation.
4b curls form a “z”, and the curls are tighter and have more volume than type 4a hair.
All type 4 hair must be handled very gently, so wearing low-manipulation styles are essential for hair health.
Queens with 4b natural hair can have up to 70 % shrinkage, and the curls are prone to dryness. You’ll need to avoid heat with all type 4 hair to keep damage to a minimum. It is best to stretch your hair without using heat if you don’t like the shrinkage.
Type 4b natural hair can be thick and course, or thin and fine. The hair strands are “z” shaped and highly susceptible to damage and dryness.
Caring for type 4b hair is critical to growing long, healthy locks. You have a choice of hairstyles. You can do a higher maintenance style like a braid-out or a wash and go, or you can opt for a protective style like a natural hair weave or box braids.
Adding a layer of oil or water-based conditioner to the hair and allowing it to sit for at least 30 minutes before a shampoo will protect your hair from drying out. Use this pre-poo suggestion for your hair before you wash if your hair is usually dry after shampooing. Typically if you are using a sulfate free shampoo this should not occur.
Cleansers need to be moisturizing and not hinder the scalp’s natural oil production. Always deep condition, and add leave-in moisture to your hair after a wash.
Best pre-poo oils for natural 4b hair:
- Coconut oil – This oil reduces frizz and damage. It contains vitamin E, a great component that improves the overall health of hair.
- Argan oil – This oil locks in moisture and is an effective heat protectant. It will prevent breakage while shampooing.
- Castor oil – is known to improve the blood circulation of the scalp, allowing hair to grow at a faster pace. It will also prevent hair breakage and split ends.
- Olive oil – This oil reduces dandruff and frizz. It seals in moisture and protects hair from drying shampoos.
- Avocado oil – is helpful for moisturizing and strengthening the hair while protecting it from damage. It also stimulates blood flow to promote new hair growth.
Best shampoo for natural 4b hair:
Look for shampoos that contain the oils listed above or other moisturizing ingredients. They should be sulfate and paraben-free to prevent hair from drying.
If you still find that shampoos cause your hair to become dry and brittle, you should switch to co-washing. Co-wash stands for conditioner-wash and means that you can add moisture to your hair during the cleanse.
Best moisturizer for 4b natural hair:
The best way to moisturize hair is the L.O.C. method. Start by applying water or a water-based leave-in conditioner. Then layer a beneficial oil, and a cream to lock in moisture as the last step. We love using Natural Hair Queen’s Butta Butta Cream as it moisturizes the hair for up to 7 days. We use the Butta Butta Cream as the “O” in the LOC method as it’s an oil packed with Grade A shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, castor oil, and jojoba oil. Everything your hair needs to stay moisturized and to combat breakage.
One of the biggest misconceptions about type 4 hair is that it doesn’t grow as fast as other hair types. This is not true. All hair types grow at the same rate, but type 4 hair breaks more than other hair types.
You can achieve hair growth by taking care of your ends and preventing breakage.
Best short 4b natural hair styles
There are 4b natural hairstyles for every hair length. Here are some of the best short 4b natural hair styles:
This is an obvious choice, and it has looked gorgeous since its major debut in the 70s. Afro hair can become easily tangled though, so be sure to moisturize daily and finger-comb it when it is damp and oiled.
Twisted or braided up-do
Updos work well for people who want to give the illusion that their hair is longer. Twists are a natural way to stretch hair and will give it a longer appearance. Updos are perfect for women who need a protective style because you can tuck the ends.
Long 4b Natural Hair
Here are some styles for long 4b natural hair.
Flat twists or Braids with loose ends
The twists or braids can go toward the front, or toward the back. Use flexi-rods or hair rollers to moisturize and curl the loose ends.
This style is simple because it just requires a few large twists, twisted into a bun. It is a low-maintenance and fast style that can last a few days.
There are many ways to stretch hair without heat. You can put your hair in 2-4 buns and leave it overnight, or use braids, twists, flexi-rods, or hair rollers to stretch it out. Updos are a great way to protect your delicate strands from damage.
If you want to stretch it quickly, then you can blow dry your hair. However, excessive heat use will lead to damage, so it’s best to have patience and use a no-heat method.
Tapered hair is an afro with shorter sides and back than the front. It’s an effective way to get rid of damaged edges without losing most of your length.
4B Protective Styles
There are many options if you want to use a protective style by using extensions. Try one of these:
Sew-ins are popular because you can have the hair you want by choosing the length, color, and texture. They last about three months, but you’ll need to oil and moisturize your hair underneath and take care of the weave hair too.
Box braids can be one of the most time-consuming hairstyles to install, but they also have the lowest maintenance. They can feel heavy depending on how many packs of hair you use, so you may want to keep them in a bun to minimize the weight on your neck. Avoid braiding the fine hair along your edges. It can lead to balding.
Crotchet twists or braids
Crochet extensions are the fastest and easiest to install. Many people install them by themselves at home because they only require 6-10 cornrows and a crochet needle. You can keep the hair twisted/braided out or unravel them for a faux braid-out.
These are time-consuming to install but look natural and last a long time. Faux locs are perfect for women who are considering getting dreads but want to see how they look beforehand or wait until their hair is longer to start twisting.
Having 4b natural hair is hard to maintain, but using the right products and protective styles will grow and strengthen your delicate tresses. You’ll fall in love with your curls when they are healthy, moisturized, and easier to manage.
Now it’s your turn to discuss. Do you have 4b natural hair, and what are some ways you’ve taken care of it?
Hey Curl Friend, I’m Patrina Haupt the creator and author of Natural Hair Queen. I hope you find my healthy hair care tips helpful in your hair journey. Healthy hair care practices are definitely, what helped me to achieve waist length hair.
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