Your Complete Guide to 4C Hair

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We’re all about giving the people want they want here at Mane Addicts. But more than that, we love to give you what you need. And that is a fundamental understanding of your hair type. Every type of hair is different and deserves proper care so that it can be the mane attraction it should be. For those with the 4C hair type, we’re here to walk you through everything there is to know about your coils. From the best hair products to the best hairstyles, learn all about your 4C hair type below!

4c hair guide | Mane Addicts
(via Getty)

What Is 4C Hair?

You may think you have 4C hair, but do you really? Even if you’re sure, it doesn’t hurt to double-check. This hair type is the last remaining hair type in the type 4 coils. Try saying that three times fast. These ringlets tend to not have a curl pattern and are prone to being fairly tangly. Shrinkage and dryness tend to also be pretty major problems for this hair type.

“It ranges from fine to thin, and it can be very soft but can also be really coarse with densely packed strands,” Dove hairstylist Cynthia Alvarez tells Popsugar. Your curls are also incredibly delicate so it’s critical you care for them properly. We’ll get into all of that and then some below!

4B vs 4C Hair

But first, let’s get into the differences between 4B and 4C hair types. If you’re unsure if you have B or C, there are some things to pay attention to. Type 4B hair does have a noticeable Z shape to its ringlets, whereas 4C doesn’t have a defined pattern to the naked eye. The latter also experiences far more shrinkage than the 4B hair type. If your coils don’t appear to have a defined pattern and shrink a ton, you very likely have type 4C hair.

4b vs 4c hair | Mane Addicts
(via Getty)

4C Hair Routine Tips

Time to get into the routine. Once you have what works down, your coils will always look gorgeous. We have a few tips below, though know this is only the beginning. You may need to play around with your routine and products a bit more to find what works for your unique curls.

1. Section your hair when washing it.

Even if you don’t have a ton of hair, ensuring that the product is evenly distributed is important. To do that, we recommend sectioning your hair for wash day. This will make things so much easier on you. Plus, it can also help prevent tangles from forming. You don’t need to struggle with that any more than you already do.

2. Focus on hydration and moisture.

Your coils tend to be about as dry as the Sahara Desert on a good day. The key for you is to focus on hydration and moisture. Utilize creamy leave-in treatments and nourishing conditioners to give your strands the moisture they crave. There is no such thing as over-moisturizing your ringlets, we promise. And they need a lot more than you’d think so don’t skimp when it comes to slathering on the products.

3. Avoid over-washing.

You don’t need to wash your hair as often as you’ve been led to believe. When you wash your hair too often, all that moisture you worked so hard to put in is stripped. To avoid this, try washing your hair once every two weeks or so. If you need to wash it more, do it with only a conditioner. You can use a sulfate-free shampoo, but even that can be too harsh for your ringlets. Again, focus on moisturizing your coils.

4. Detangle with your fingers.

Brushes and even combs can be a bit too harsh for your delicate curls. Instead, use your fingers to gently detangle any knots you may have in your tresses. Always be sure to add in some slip too, which can be a leave-in treatment or even some water.

5. Give your scalp some love.

It’s not just your hair that needs attention, so does your scalp. Be sure to use oils and other products that help protect it so it can aid in your hair growth journey. Even a well-deserved massage will do the trick some days. As we always say, if you want healthy hair, it starts with a healthy scalp.

How to Style 4C Hair

When it comes to styling 4C hair, the trick is to always use some sort of moisturizing product beforehand to ensure it doesn’t dry out on you. This could be a styling cream or a leave-in conditioner, it all depends on the hairstyle you’re hoping to achieve and also your own personal preference.

You’re also lucky in that your hair texture tends to be fairly versatile so you can sport a number of hairstyles. You can opt for the natural look one day and pop on a lace front wig the next. Again, it all comes down to you. Protective styles tend to be your best bet as they can help, you know, protect your coils.

As always, be gentle with your hair. The more nurture and care you give it, the better it will fare. Being to rough with it can lead to breakage and damage that might not ever be fully repaired.

The Best Hairstyles for 4C Hair

We want to stress that this list is brief for a reason. We could go on and on with all the best hairstyles for 4C hair but we’d never be able to stop. So, we limited ourselves to some of our favorites. Just don’t let this limit your hairstyle exploration.

1. Afro

Your texture and hair type is perfect for an afro. When your ringlets are fully picked out, they look immaculate. Not many people can pull off this look so we strongly advise you to try it at least once. Who knows? Maybe it’ll end up becoming your go-to style?

2. Goddess Braids

One of our favorite protective styles, goddess braids look great on everyone. They can be worn anywhere and at any length. Plus, they’re super easy to style so you can wear them down one day and in a ponytail the next. The possibilities are endless.

3. Locs

If you want to grow out your 4C hair, locs can help you get there. This protective style is also fairly easy to maintain. Not a ton of care is required for them, so they’re perfect for those who want to almost set it and forget it. That being said, they do require some upkeep, so don’t completely forget about your locs.

4. The Twist-Out

Because your curls don’t look like they have a defined pattern, you can always make one. The easiest way to do that is with a twist-out style. After you take it down, you’ll be left with more defined, voluminous coils.

5. Cornrows With Beads

Cornrows can be created in a million different ways and styled as you wish. There is no shortage of options with how this protective style can look in your natural hair. We are quite fond of the cornrows and beads combo, though you can attach any accessory you feel is fit.

The Best Products for 4C Hair

And now we round out our 4C hair guide with the best products for your hair type. Another reminder, these products are more staple-focused. You may need more, you may need less. It all depends on your needs.

4C Only was in fact designed for 4C hair. Every single product works specifically to nourish and hydrate your coils. Their deep conditioner comes highly recommended by everyone who has used it. Grape seed oil and glycerin work together to leave your coils soft, juicy, and shiny.

4C Only Too Thicke Deep Conditioner
(via 4C Only)

You don’t need to use shampoo too often, though when you do, we recommend trying a sulfate-free shampoo. This gentle cleanser will help remove any excess buildup on the scalp, giving your coils the foundation they need to grow. It also adds in moisture and won’t strip the strands like other sudsers. The rose water also provides a refreshing scent.

Carol's Daughter Wash Day Delight Sulfate-Free Shampoo With Rose Water
(via Carol’s Daughter)

Formulated with black castor oil and biotin, this hair mask locks in moisture and repairs years of damage. Your coils will never feel softer, nor will they appear healthier after using this mask. The main ingredients can also aid you on your hair growth journey and even support length retention.

tgin Miracle RepaiRx Deep Hydrating Hair Mask
(via Ulta)

A good leave-in conditioner is crucial for your 4C haircare routine. This one from The Mane Choice was formulated with type 4 hair types in mind. Made with clove oil, flaxseed oil, and aloe vera, it softens, hydrates, and revitalizes dry hair. Your coils will drink it up.

The Mane Choice Hair Type 4 Leaf Clover Leave-In Spray
(via The Mane Choice)

Before creating all your 4C hairstyles, you’ll want to utilize the powers of this cream. Fortified with vitamin B5, it repairs and strengthens your curls, while also delivering a blast of moisture to dehydrated strands. Setting your twist-outs has never been more nourishing.

As I Am DoubleButter Cream
(via As I Am)

Hey, mane muse! We wanted to give you a heads up that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that Mane Addicts will collect a small share of the sale from any purchase you make from the products we recommend.