Them: “I like your hair.” “How can I get my hair to look like that?”
Me: “Like what?” “A twist-out?”
Them: “Oh. Will a twist-out make my hair curl like that?”
I don’t know how many times someone has asked me to recommend a product or style, that would allow their hair to mimic my natural hair texture. I usually tell them I’m rocking a twist-out, which is my go-to style, but it’s hard to explain that their twist-out will probably not look exactly like mine with mini coily spirals at the end of each twisted section, because my texture is mostly 4A and theirs is mostly 4C. Sometimes, I don’t feel comfortable trying to explain the difference, because I don’t want to appear offensive when I try to explain that my coily ends is due to heredity and humidity not to any style I’m trying to achieve. Their beautiful zig-zag pattern would find it hard to contort into a coil. I too envied other people’s texture when my hair didn’t cooperate.
But, once I studied my hair texture and the specific products and styles that would compliment it, I began to have a better relationship with my hair and its individual personality. So what type of hair textures do most Africans have? Personally, I have a mixture of the 4s all over my head. I’m mostly 4A with 4 B/C textures around the edges of my head, but I certainly don’t have 3 A/B/C Fulani hair like some suggests. I explained more in my African Hair Typing post. Here is a rundown of the different Type 4 textures.
Type 4A texture is characterized by tight mini spiral coils. It has an “S” shape and a defined curl pattern. What I’ve noticed is that when the coils are stretched in a style, it may still has a noticeable spiral at the ends.
Type 4 hair, in general, has low moisture retention, so it needs a lot of moisture. However, 4A hair tends to have more moisture than 4 B/C hair.
Type 4B texture is characterized by a “Z” pattern and it has less curl definition than Type 4A. When stretched, instead of a spiral pattern, it has an angled “Z” shape.
It feels like cotton to the touch and needs a lot of moisture. It can be referred to as kinky hair. This hair is very wiry and can be very fragile despite popular belief.
Type 4C texture is characterized by an undefined coil pattern. It is very similar to 4B hair texture, but the pattern is more tightly packed together.
This hair texture needs a lot of moisture, but it can definitely hold a style. I really admire Type 4 B/C beauties, because, even though their hair may not be as defined, I feel like it easier for them to maintain their growth. I love my coils, but I’m tired of cutting out fairy knots and tangles because it coils on itself, creating damage.
Every hair texture has its highs and lows. Once we learn about its individual personality and how to maintain it properly, we will be able to better embrace our hair for all its glory.
Which Type 4 African beauty are you?