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All You Need to Know About 4С Hair and Your Coily Locs

Serena Piper

It goes without saying that 4c hair is absolutely beautiful. Worn long or short, the tight and dense coils that characterize the 4c hair type are intriguing to behold.

Of course, this unique beauty comes with a price. In a nutshell, those tight coils need care and maintenance. Now don’t run off and start throwing your hair products off the shelf. All your lovely curls need is some basic, but very important, hair care routine.

When you understand your 4c hair, you’ll begin to cherish this not less versatile than other hair types. Read on to learn everything there is to know about 4c hair, 4c hair care, products you should use or not use on your hair, and much more. We even included a good number of fascinating 4C hairstyles and haircuts. Isn’t that exciting?

What Is Type 4C Hair?

Generally, hair is classified into types according to how straight, wavy, curly, or coily it is. Type 4 hair is basically coily hair, and it is further segmented into subtypes 4a, 4b, and 4c.

Type 4c hair has a very tight coil pattern, and the curls are less defined. The strands of this kinky hair type are mostly tightly zigzag or ‘S’ in shape, and this makes the 4c hair texture dense and springy.

It’s common to hear people ask “What does the C mean in 4C hair?” The letter C simply refers to the tightness of the coil pattern. Due to this tight pattern, 4c hair is prone to shrinkage. It also doesn’t retain much moisture.

The 4c texture is common with African or Afro-textured hair.

Characteristics of 4C Hair

Some general characteristics of 4C hair include tightly curled strands with less defined curl pattern in contrast to other hair types, densely packed curls that shrink almost double in length compared to their stretched-out state; it feels dry and spongy to the touch and remains prone to breakage and frizz.

However, it’s important to note that 4c hair can defer from one person to another. Heredity, lifestyle, health status, etc. could determine how your 4c hair appears.

What’s the Difference Between 4a, 4b, and 4c Curl Types

Although 4a, 4b, and 4c hair types share some similarities, the difference between them is glaringly clear.

4a hair naturally has a defined S-shaped curl pattern. Its curls are packed in a spiral pattern, and it can retain moisture better than other type 4 hair subtypes.

4b hair, in its turn, has a fluffier appearance than type 4a hair. The strands are Z-shaped, and the curls are more defined than 4c coils.

4c hair, even though it looks similar to 4b hair, doesn’t have a defined curl pattern. The strands are more tightly coiled (tight zigzag shape) and densely packed. 4c hair isn’t as shiny and it shrinks the most compared to other subtypes of 4 hair.

In case your curious mind is asking – is there the 5c hair type? Yes, there is. Though not as popular as the 4c hair type, 5c hair is real. It is characterized by very curly S-shaped curls with good curl definition. One remarkable fact about 5c hair is that, unlike other curly hair types, it doesn’t get frizzy easily.

Is Your Hair 4C Type?

This is how to identify the 4c hair type and confirm if your hair falls within this subtype. Stand before a mirror and take a close look at your hair. Are the strands densely packed and feel dry and coarse?

Try stretching out the length of your hair with your fingers. 4c tresses would stretch out really long and then shrink back in place when released.

Now pull out a strand or two of your hair and examine the curl pattern closely. If the coils are very tight, have a zigzag shape, and no curl definition, then you probably have 4c hair type.

How to Care for 4C Hair

For this hair type, proper care is everything. The 4c hair’s unique nature means you can’t just treat it like every other curly hair type out there.

Three important facts to note about 4c hair is that number one, it’s always dry and thirsty. Number two is that due to this dryness, 4c locks are brittle and frizz-prone. Number three, it needs adequate oiling as the natural hair oil can’t travel down the length of the hair shaft due to the zigzag pattern.

Therefore, a good 4c hair care routine should include:

Moisturizing your hair adequately. Make sure you hydrate your hair regularly to avoid dryness. Your 4c locks desperately need moisture all day long. Incorporate the LOC method in your hair care routine to ensure your hair gets the chance to retain enough moisture. LOC which stands for Liquid-Oil-Cream is indispensable for healthy 4c hair.

Protecting your hair. 4c hair is brittle, treat your hair delicately. Constantly combing and manipulating your hair will lead to massive hair breakage. This is where 4c protective hairstyles come in useful. Natural hairstyles like twists, cornrows, bantu knots, etc. protect your coils and give them a chance to breathe.

In addition, either sleep on a silk/satin pillowcase or cover your hair with a silk or satin scarf/bonnet at bedtime. Doing so protects your hair from drying out. Friction between your hair and a rough pillowcase could cause your hair to break and get frizzy. Develop a nighttime routine of braiding your hair before going to bed to protect it from matting up. Braiding your hair overnight also helps in defining your curls. Likewise, try to avoid subjecting your hair to frequent heat treatment.

Detangling gently. Your 4c tresses will tangle from time to time. Make sure you detangle your hair only when wet and do so gently with a wide tooth comb.

Washing your hair regularly. Regularly in this context doesn’t mean every other day. Depending on your hairstyle, even twice in a month can be enough, as you don’t want to strip your hair of its natural sebum. Use a suitable shampoo formulated for the 4c hair type and deep condition your hair to help trap moisture.

Pay special attention to your scalp. Cleanse, moisturize, and oil it regularly to keep it from going dry and itchy. When drying your hair, use a soft towel to pat your hair dry. Do not rub your hair vigorously to avoid damaging your hair cuticles. Brush your hair when it is still wet.

Trimming the ends. Trim off the split ends of your hair. This may sound counterproductive but trimming 4c hair every 6 – 8 weeks helps your hair grow healthier and longer.

Using suitable products meant for the 4c hair. Choose suitability over everything else when selecting products for your 4c hair. Try not to overload your hair with too many products.

The Best Products for 4C Hair

4c hair needs good quality hydrating shampoo, cleansing conditioners also known as co-washes, and hair oils. For the best care, it’s advisable to look for products with as many natural ingredients as possible to avoid chemical damage to your hair. Such ingredients that are great for 4c hair include water, coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, shea butter, etc. Avoid paraben on your hair. Keep off alcohol-based products as they cause more dryness to your hair. You may find other styling products like curling cream and styling gel useful for styling your 4c hair.

How to choose the products? There isn’t a one-fit-all option. You will need to try and test different products on YOUR locks. It is always a good idea to consult your hairstylist, as they see, touch, and style your hair in reality and can notice the difference and advise you to cancel or continue using this or that product.

20 Haircuts and Hairstyles for 4C Hair

Whether your 4c hair is long or short, you can rock it in any fashionable style of your choice. See a selection of our favorite natural styles for 4c hair to help you get your hair game on point.

1. Short Defined Afro Curls. Every girl desires well-defined curls, you know that type of bouncy 4C curls you see on the TV screen. Copy this hairstyle if you want to feel super gorgeous.

2. Braids and Afro. 4c natural hair styles are versatile. Stitch-braid your afro halfway and let the back spread out in a flamboyant, disconnected ponytail.

3. Box Braids. The list of hairstyles for natural 4c hair is incomplete without box braids hairstyles. Pick-and-drop braids in your natural hair color are dope.

4. Traditional Locs. Her hair is doing its thing. Locs are popular among black queens for a reason. They are unique and captivating natural hairstyles for 4c hair that both look good and are low-maintenance.

5. Curly Crochet Hair. You can rock your favorite 4c hairstyle as a weave. Crochet styles look natural and close to the real thing.

6. Long 4C Hair. Voluminous and flowing 4c locks never fail to capture attention. Tame the crown with cornrows for a chic and flawless finish.

7. Short 4C Natural Hair Style. Her mane is goals. This is a funky 4c haircut to rock all year round, especially for naturally curly 4c hair.

8. Twist Out 4c Hair. Just before bedtime, saturate your hair with curling cream and twist it in small portions. Twist out the braids in the morning to unveil breathtaking curls.

9. Sleek Bun. To recreate this stunning 4c hairstyle, tie your hair into a high bun, neatly tuck in the end, and slick down with gel.

10. Bubble Ponytail. In addition to an elegant look fit for a queen, using bands to tie the length of your hair in this manner helps to keep it straightened. Great way to stop your 4c tresses from shrinking.

11. Faux Mohawk. Curly 4c hair makes the sassiest mohawk hairstyles. Braid or shave the sides and leave the top untouched.

12. Bantu Knots. A creative 4c hairstyle that yields double-fold benefits. Rock the style all week and then unravel the knots to reveal the cutest and fluffiest curls.

13. Two-Strand Twist Braids. This 4c hair style protects your curls and gives them better definition. And let’s add that it allows your hair to take a break from all that combing.

14. Afro Puff Ponytail. Switch up your black girl magic with this classic favorite. Pairs well with chunky earrings.

15. Two Buns for Locs. Dreads offer more versatility, less manipulation, and less styling stress. Decorate your locs with beads and shells for a head full of magical vibes.

16. Scalp Braids and Curls. Spice up those bomb curls with braids and beads. Cornrows highlight your face shape.

17. Twisted Dreadlocks. Try twist dreadlocks for a natural hairstyle that slays. Twist the individual dreads into twist braids, and style as preferred.

18. Curly Afro Bob. Give your 4c curls good definition, moisturize to avoid dryness, and style into a curly bob. Finger-coiling your wet 4c hair can get your curls this popping.

19. Faux Locs. If length is one of your hair goals, consider faking it till you make it. Going faux will add the desired length to your locs and earn you more styling options.

20. Classic Afro. A trusted go-to natural hairstyle for 4c hair loved by all black and bold girls with natural hair. Moisturize your 4c afro generously to avoid frizz.

Now you know what your 4c hair type needs and how to care for it, go ahead and give your 4c hair the right TLC it requires, and watch it reward you with luscious curls like never before.