The Ultimate Guide to Type 4C Hair

4C Hair Bible

Your hair is as individual as you and there’s a variety of hair types that differ in texture, curl patterns and strength. Knowing your hair type is important because it can help you to take care of it properly, keeping it as healthy and strong as possible, allowing it to grow and shine. 

This is an expert guide to 4C hair, where we will explain the characteristics and how to take care of this hair type from washing to drying.

What is 4C hair?

Hair types are categorised by numbers 1-4 (the curl pattern) and letters A-C (thickness). Type 4C hair is the thickest and curliest of hair and commonly has the following characteristics:

  • Tight natural curls - these can be coily or springy 
  • The coil will be a zig-zag shape rather than an ‘S’
  • Prone to breakage and dryness, due to natural oils being unable to travel down the tight coils
  • Lots of volume - as the hair is so dense the curls are inseparable
  • Tangles easily and shrinks in length when wet

If the above applies to you, congratulations - you have 4C hair. Although this hair type is the weakest for breakage and dryness, the incredible volume allows for a range of hairstyles that will last for days, as well as holding protective hairstyles for months.

How to take care of 4C hair

Due to the tightness of the curls and coils in 4C hair, protein and natural oils are unable to travel down as easily, leaving the hair dry. However, there are a number of things you can do and add to your hair routine to combat this issue and leave those voluminous coils looking healthier than ever.

Washing 4C hair

4C hair does not need to be washed too often, the most ideal time frame being no more than once a week. This is because overly washing your hair can cause it to dry out and as 4C hair is naturally prone to dryness due to the tight curl pattern, you need to let the coils retain moisture for as long as possible.

When washing 4C hair it is best to do so in sections making sure your hair is thoroughly detangled, this allows you to get all of the shampoo and conditioner distributed evenly. It’s best to use lukewarm water on 4C hair when washing as the colder the water, the more moisture retained and less frizz.

Drying 4C hair

After washing your hair, it is best to towel dry using cotton-based material. This is because regular towels can cause a lot of friction leading to breakage, whereas a softer cotton material is much gentler on 4C hair. 

You can opt to let your hair naturally dry, however, if you wish to style your hair or need it to dry quickly using the CLOUD NINE Airshot Pro on a low temperature is a great way to style your hair whilst keeping the natural curls without having excessive heat cause breakage. 

The Airshot Pro features innovative technology that locks in moisture thanks to our duo of moisture-locking minerals, this is ideal for 4C hair as moisture is key to preventing dryness and breakage. 

Brushing 4C hair

4C hair tangles easily as the hair follicles lay so close together, so it’s important to invest in a quality wide-tooth comb. Also, brushing 4C hair when it’s dry can lead to excess frizz so you should brush your hair when wet (so the hair has slip) to avoid this. Brushing 4C hair when dry can cause breakage as there is no slip, meaning that more force is required to brush through the coils.

4C hair does not need brushing more than every 2-3 days as you do not want to add any unnecessary stress to the hair follicles.

If you want to style your hair to be sleek and smooth, the CLOUD NINE The Original Hot Brush is the perfect way to do so. Use on dry hair and style with ease, the Hot Brush has bristles that are engineered with Hair Tame Tessellation™, so you can smooth down strays and reduce frizz quickly with the correct amount of pull to reduce hair breakage.  

The The Original Hot Brush also features Variable Temperature Control, so you can use a lower heat setting to protect your natural coils and keep them healthy. Find out more about styling 4C hair with The Original Hot Brush, here. 

Products for 4C hair

Due to the dryness and weakness of the hair follicles in 4C hair, there are a number of products you will need as part of your hair care routine to give your curls the TLC they deserve.

  • Leave-in conditioner - conditioner is a 4C girl’s best friend, after washing your hair with conditioner use a leave-in conditioning spray to add and lock in moisture to your curls.
  • Water - after a day or two since washing your hair, simply spritz your hair with some good old H20. Water allows you to comb your hair more easily and can revive your curls after a couple of days of sleeping on them. 
  • Hair oil - To keep your curls nourished, use hair oil every 2-3 days, particularly focusing on the ends. Oil also helps to soften the hair, meaning the hair’s elasticity is kept healthy.
  • Moisturising hair products - as well as oil, you can use other moisture-retaining hair products to keep your curls as healthy as possible, the CLOUD NINE Magical Remedy repairs, protects and strengthens hair, making it a great option for 4C hair types as the lightweight product also deeply conditions the follicles.
  • Heat protection - As 4C hair is prone to breakage, it is vital that you use heat protectants before styling your hair with any heated tools. Our Magical Potion does just that whilst also locking in moisture, reducing frizz and ensuring your style lasts longer.
  • Sleep on silk - Wearing a silk hair bonnet to bed or using a silk pillowcase helps to prevent matting and protects your 4C curls.