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What is 4c Hair? A complete Guide!

4c hair type explained

I know this website is called However, if there is one thing that I still am trying to figure out, then it’s when hair typing became a thing. Seriously?

Growing up my hair had never been put into a category. All I knew was that I have kinky/curly hair. But in the last few years, simultaneously with the natural hair movement, people started categorizing the different curl patterns

And next thing you know having 4c hair is a thing. 

Now, whether you are like me and simply use the category to identify YouTubers and Blogs that provide great tutorials on protective hairstyles, as this one does. Or if you believe categorizing your hair is unnecessary, in this post, I am answering the burning question “What is 4c hair and how do you identify it?“. 

different hair types

What is 4c natural hair?

Type 4 hair is commonly referred to as afro-textured kinky hair. Because of the dense curl pattern type 4c hair is naturally very dry and spongy in texture. However, just because the strands are very tight, doesn’t mean the hair cannot be soft. While 4a hair can be soft and fine, 4c hair tends to be coarse and wiry. 

4c hair to many looks like an afro, however, if you take a closer look you will see very tight small coils or springs throughout the hair. While a curl is a lot wider and easier to identify, the diameter of a coil is much smaller and harder to see. 

Compared to the other hair types, 4c hair is known to break easily. This is due to the density of the coils which makes it harder for its natural hair oil to move through the hair. Because of the dryness of 4c hair, it is important to use oils and hair butter to maintain a healthy level of elasticity. 

How do you know you have 4c hair?

As mentioned above, to find out if you have 4c hair, you want to look at your curl pattern. Do you have wider curls or tight small coils? Once you identify the pattern, you can tell if your hair is 4c by observing the width of the coils. 

Another obvious sign that you have 4c hair is to look at the shrinkage of your hair. 4c hair in its dry form only shows 25% of your length, unless you straighten it. 

When identifying your hair, remember that most people have a mix of different hair types. Therefore, it is very common that you will notice your hair being in-between 4b and 4c hair. 

How do you know you have 4c hair

The different type 4 curl patterns 

When determining your hair type you want to look at 2 different factors. The curl type and the curl pattern. The curl type is determined by the shape of the follicle that your hair grows out of. And the curl pattern is identified by the shape that your hair strands make. 

If your follicles are flat and more oval-shaped, your hair is curlier. If your follicles are more circular then your hair is more straight. 

And depending on whether your hair strands kink, curve, or wind around themselves you can determine what curl pattern you have.

In the hair community, the hair is broken down into 4 different types. Type 1 is for straight hair, type 2 is for wavy hair, type 3 is for curly hair, and type 4 is for coily hair. 

In addition to the 4 different hair types, we add sub-classifications that differentiate the width or diameter of your wave, curl, or coil pattern. From type A, the widest pattern size, to type C, the smallest one. 

When identifying your hair type it is important to remember that no hair type exceeds another. The reason why you want to identify your hair type is to better understand how to take care of your hair texture and identify products or hairstyles that best suit you

4c hair density

4c hair density

When we talk about hair density, there are two categories you differentiate between. Thick hair and thin hair. Your hair density is determined by the number of active hair follicles per square inch on your scalp. Who knew! 

Hair density is usually used to visually explain how easy it is to see your scalp. The best way to assess your hair density is by looking at it in its natural state without parting it. Can you see your scalp very clearly? If you can, then you most likely have thin-density hair. If it is difficult to see your scalp, you have thick-density hair. 

Identifying your hair density will help you make decisions when choosing color mixtures or other products to apply to your hair. If your hair is on the lower density side you want to avoid thick creams and hair gels, as they will weigh down your hair. 

4c hair porosity

4c hair porosity

When it comes to the 4c hair type there is one specific piece of information that is not communicated enough and that is hair porosity. Porosity refers to how well your hair can absorb and hold moisture. 4c hair comes in all three porosity types which each have their challenges and advantages and require specific hair regimens. 

Low porosity 4c hair 

Low porosity stems from very tight bound cuticle layers, which make it harder for moisture and oils to pass in and out of your hair. The hair takes a lot longer to fully feel saturated with water and hair products tend to sit on your hair instead of being absorbed. When you have low porosity 4c hair, you want to use heavy creams and butter that are rich in emollients.

Medium porosity 4c hair

Medium porosity hair has a great balance when it comes to holding moisture. Due to the looser cuticle layer, you have a steady but moderate flow of moisture. It is easier for water to go in and out of the hair, which means that it wets and drys much quicker than low porosity hair. If you have medium porosity 4c hair you want to lock in the moisture with lighter oils and creams.

High porosity 4c hair

High porosity hair is the complete opposite of low porosity hair. It has gaps and holes in its cuticle layers which lets too much moisture in and out of your hair. Meaning it is prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather and therefore more likely to break or damage. It dries very fast, which means you lose a lot of moisture. If you have high-porosity 4c hair you want to use light oils and leave-in conditioners

Once you know your 4c hair porosity, you know what products work for you but also how to moisturize it. For example, you will know whether to apply the LOC method or LCO method.

I hope this article helped you answer your question of “What is 4c hair and the 4c hair type”. Now that you know how to categorize your hair, you should be able to take good care of it and grow it faster and longer

high porosity 4c hair

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