If there’s one word we’d have to choose to describe 4B hair it would be bombshell. It’s springy. It’s juicy. It’s got bounce, verve & beauty written all over it.
4B curls are so divine & gorgeous that it’s no wonder they invite envy & commands attention. But like all hair, the 4B curl pattern requires your love & attention so they can maintain their enchantress status.
This is precisely why we’ve compiled a guide for this low porosity hair type. We’ll help you pinpoint if you indeed have 4B hair, the steps you can take to nourish its health & integrity & the styles best suited for this breathtaking, one-of-a-kind curl type.
What is 4B Hair Type & What Does It Look Like?
Typing hair has historically (& presently) stirred up some controversy & we get that, for sure.1
But knowing the natural porosity, density & shape of your textured hair can be enormously valuable when it comes time to selecting products, taking exceptional care of it & choosing luscious & protective styles (or, ideally, luscious protective styles)—much in the same way identifying our skin type helps us pin down the most effective cleansers, night creams, moisturizers & serums.
So, what is 4B hair?
4B hair is the stunning middle sister who sits—or rather, shines—right between 4A hair’s tight, S-shaped curls & 4C hair’s super tight, zigzag coils.2 It’s chiefly defined by:3
- Tightly-packed strands
- Z-pattern curls
- Bends and flares with sharp edges
- Varied, non-uniform texture, with everything from slender spirals to taut curls
- Cloud-like & voluminous
One of the beauties of 4B hair is that it can be shaped into a ton of tantalizing styles, whether you choose a sleek, wet look or a half-up, half-down ensemble with a chic headwrap.
That said, it also tends towards the fragile side & easily gets dehydrated. This brings us to our next point…
How Should 4B Hair Be Cared For?
Does the description of 4B natural hair sound like you? Perfect! Knowing how to maximize your natural hair texture can guarantee you rock a gravity-defying mane from dawn to dusk.
According to Byrdie, 4B hair texture is inclined towards shrinkage (as in, between 50% to 75%) &, as we said, dryness—which means it’s also liable to breakage. This is due to 4B hair’s high density & the fact that your scalp’s natural oils might have some trouble reaching your curls’ ends because of their innate zigzagged shape.
To defy this, your primary aims should focus on retaining your curls’ moisture, limiting your use of heat & employing specific products & techniques. The following steps may help your hair downright dazzle:
1. Be Extra-Gentle With Your Wet Curls
Your hair is often at its most vulnerable when it’s wet & while you may be tempted to comb through your coils quickly—especially if you’re just about to fly out the door—the health of your mane starts with how you treat it the second you step out of the shower.
With this in mind, apply a detangling product that will allow you to glide through your strands with ease. PATTERN’s Detangling Nectar is plush with hydrating & strengthening ingredients that penetrate & fortify your curls without any residual stickiness or simply “sitting” on your curls. It’s also rich in soothing ingredients such as:
You can use your fingers to detangle your curls or you can reach for PATTERN’s Wide Tooth Comb, which amps up separation with heavyweight but gentle teeth.
2. Use a Superior Styling Cream
You could wash & go without doing much to your hair at all because that’s how fantastic 4B natural hair is, which looks as awesome in a pulled-together protective style as it does in a bedhead-y look that you didn’t style at all.
But you can also make the most of your tight coils with natural hair styling products that do triple duty. PATTERN’s Styling Cream abounds with nutrients that act as humectants to help you hold onto that oh-so-critical moisture, like:
- Shea butter
- Cacay oil
- Sweet almond oil
At the same time, dodge styling creams (& all products) that contain harsh, moisture-robbing ingredients like sulfates, parabens, phthalates, alcohols, waxes & formaldehyde (yes, some hair care products use this icky agent).7
3. Exercise Discernment With Your Heat-Styling Tools
4B natural hair may look incredibly powerful but these curls are actually more delicate than the world realizes. While you may want to consider using a light hand with heat styling tools, you should also elect tools that were designed to nourish & leverage curls, not blast them out of existence.
This is where PATTERN’s new, expertly crafted Blow Dryer comes in. This high-performing wonder boasts the following facets:
Caring For 4B Hair: Your Frequently Asked Questions
Just as you would shy away from using an alcohol-based toner if you’re prone to dry skin or refrain from throwing your cropped cashmere sweater in the washing machine with your towels, caring for 4B hair requires a regime specifically designed for this particular texture.
In addition to the recommendations above, you may want to look at the answers to your most FAQs for guidance.
How Often Should You Wash 4B Hair?
Because 4B hair is vulnerable to dryness, you don’t want to wash your hair more than necessary & strip it of its natural, nourishing oils. Overwashing can also heighten your risk of hair loss, especially once you take into account chemical treatments, heating tools & too-tight styles that yank at your strands.
Instead, experts suggest washing 4B hair once a week or once every other week.8 When you do gear up for a wash, use a gentle but clarifying shampoo and conditioner for curly hair like PATTERN’s Cleansing Shampoo, which is jam-packed with ingredients that organically encourage hair strength like:
- Matcha green tea
- Aloe vera
Post-wash, follow up with an ultra-moisturizing and deep conditioning hair product like PATTERN’s Intensive Conditioner. The 2020 Glamour Beauty Award winner has a wealth of potent ingredients, such as avocado oil & safflower oil, while the inclusion of neroli & rose gives hair a lovely scent that lingers but doesn’t overpower.
What Are the Best Protective Styles for 4B Hair?
A variety of easy protective hairstyles can be a boon for those who’ve been blessed with curls & coils. Give any one—or all of these—a try to highlight your hair’s natural magnificence while shielding it from excessive heat & environmental harm:
How Should You Apply Products to Type 4B Hair?
It isn’t just the products you choose that are important; it’s also the care with which you apply them.
4B hair can benefit dramatically from the LOC method, a layering routine that helps you achieve stop-in-your-tracks radiance:9
- L – Leave-in conditioner
- O – Oil
- C – Cream (as in styling cream, such as the one we mentioned above)
This can be an excellent & expeditious way to douse your curls with glow-boosting moisture & help them stay there.
Amplify the Beauty of 4B Hair with PATTERN
4B curly hair evokes awe. If you’re fortunate enough to have been born with this swoon-worthy hair texture, you don’t want to use random curl products & techniques & pray for the best. No, you want the stuff that’s specifically geared to your 4B hair type & will promote juicy, beautiful strands.
PATTERN’s collection of curly hair products is your solution. From our Tight Texture Starter Bundle to our coily curly hair mousses, gels, hydrating masks & more, we have everything you need to look & feel fantastic on a daily (and nightly) basis.
Celebrate your coily hair and every other natural hair type with the PATTERN family.
- Simeon, Aimee. "The controversial history of the hair typing system." Byrdie. Updated 25 October, 2021. https://www.byrdie.com/hair-typing-system-history-5205750
- Radhakrishnan, Rohini. "What are the four types of hair?" Medicine.net. 25 February, 2021. https://www.medicinenet.com/what_are_the_four_types_of_hair/article.htm
Amay, Joane. "Curly hair types chart: how to find your curl pattern." Allure. 31 December 2021. https://www.allure.com/gallery/curl-hair-type-guide
- Jackson, Amy Elisa. "The top 4 benefits of sea moss for hair." Pattern Beauty. 10 August, 2022. https://patternbeauty.com/blogs/news/the-top-4-benefits-of-sea-moss-for-curly-hair
- Watson, Kathryn. "Aloe vera for your hair: what are the benefits?" Healthline. Updated 15 October, 2020. https://ahoy-stage.healthline.com/health/aloe-vera-for-hair
- Stevens, Cara J. "Can I use grapeseed oil for hair growth?" Healthline. Updated 16 December, 2016 https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/can-i-use-grapeseed-oil-for-hair-growth#Can-It-Make-Your-Hair-Vibrant
- Timmons, Jessica. "What’s in your shampoo? Check for these ingredients before you lather up." Healthline. 21 October, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/shampoo-ingredients-to-avoid
- Ferreira, Mandy. "How often should you wash your hair?" Healthline. Updated 19 June, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/how-often-should-you-wash-your-hair
- Jackson, Amy Elisa. "Everything to know about the LOC method." Pattern Beauty. 9 June, 2021. https://patternbeauty.com/blogs/news/everything-to-know-about-the-loc-method