The Difference Between 4b vs 4c Hair

July 15, 2022 5 min read

The Difference Between 4b vs 4c Hair

By Toia Barry

When it comes to determining your natural hair type, you may have a lot of questions. And if you’re somewhere on the Type 4 spectrum, you may be wondering what’s the difference between 4b hair vs 4c hair. Although 4b and 4c hair share similarities, they’re distinct from one another in a few important ways. While type 4 hair can commonly be classified as coily hair, there are some distinctions that make 4b and 4c hair slightly different in their curl patterns. 

But the most important question to answer? Which hair type is yours

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to the different types of natural hair. So before you invest in new natural hair products, let’s get started by determining your hair type using a hair typing system we love and know. Once you understand your hair pattern, you can tailor your beauty routine to specifically nurture your curl type so you can work your natural beauty every day.

Distinguishing 4b and 4c Hair

So 4b hair vs 4c—how can you tell the difference? It all comes down to hair strand patterns.

In order to categorize texture more accurately, Andre Walker (Oprah’s hair stylist) developed a system for describing curls. Essentially, bone straight hair ranks as a “1” and has no wave or curl whatsoever. The scale is numerically ordered to represent increased curliness (e.g. 1, 2, 3, and 4) and divided into subcategories (e.g. 2a, 2b, and 2c) to describe curly hair types and other hair texture types with greater accuracy.  

Hair that’s categorized as a 4 represents the curliest, twirliest locks! Type 4 hair is one of the most common Black hair types. However, the curlier the hair, the harder it is for your scalp’s natural oils to make it all the way down the hair strand—Type 4 hair is like Lombard Street in San Francisco, but much hotter. Because type 4 hair is so gorgeous and curly, it often requires greater moisturization to keep strands healthy using a quality conditioner and other hair care products such as coconut oil and rice water for hair 

What is 4b Hair?

4b hair is easily distinguished by its zigzag pattern. Unlike 4a or 4c, 4b has tight “Z” shaped strands with little definition in curl shape. Often, 4b hair is fluffy and can be soft or coarse depending on hair texture. 

Because of the sharp angles of the zigzag strands, 4b hair is prone to dryness as oil from the scalp has trouble traveling to the tips of the hair. Dry hair may have a tendency to break and tangle more easily. This is when a hair product such as a natural hair moisturizer or conditioner comes in! Answering the question "what type of curls do I have" will help you determine just what product is perfect for your curl type.

What is 4c Hair?

Now really - what is 4c hair? 4c hair type has the tightest curl pattern of all the curly hair types. Strands are formed in tight, springy, ringlets. 4c hair tends to clump more at the ends and is even more prone to shrinkage than 4b hair. According to CURLS, 4c hair can shrink up to 75% of its length! 

Like 4b hair, a 4c hair type is also prone to dryness and requires regular moisturization to maintain a consistent pattern and keep hair healthy. 

Tip: Take a few strands of hair from your head and look at the pattern against a light background like a piece of paper. Once you have an up-close view of your hair pattern, it will be easy to distinguish 4b vs 4c hair. 

Hair Care Tips for Radiant Type 4 Curls

The key to healthy hair is some old-fashioned TLC. Regular moisturization, minimal exposure to heat, and protective styles all contribute to healthy, stunning hair. 

Hair Care for 4b Hair Types

Since 4b hair tends to be dry, proper care is all about moisturizer and protection. 

  • Moisturize – Use castor or coconut oil before you wash your hair to give it an extra dose of moisture. 
  • Condition Don’t shampoo your hair every time you shower. Just rinsing with a conditioner might be all you need. Experiment with leave-in conditioners for long-lasting hydration. So once in a while, skip the shampooing—but feel free to keep in the shower karaoke session!
  • Finger-Comb Instead of struggling with a brush, try finger combing your hair. This will minimize breakage and frizz and keep your hair soft and supple. Additionally, you can stretch your hair out while it’s still wet to minimize shrinkage. Pop on a face mask while you’re at it for a full self-care routine!
  • Style Use protective styles like box braids and twists to keep hair secure and tangle-free.

Hair Care for 4c Hair Types

Like 4b hair, a 4c hair type needs a healthy helping of moisture to stay healthy and tangle-free. 

  • Moisturize Before Styling – Wet your hair with water or mild moisturizing spray before you put it in an updo. This keeps strands pliant and decreases breakage.
  • Condition – Try the LOC method (liquid, oil, cream) for prolonged moisturization. After you shower, use coconut or almond oil, followed by a natural curl cream like cocoa or shea butter. You could also try leave in conditioner for curly hair if you don’t have time to style your hair before you leave the house.
  • Wash and Condition in Sections – Instead of tackling your whole head at once, section off small areas to wash individually. This keeps tangles to a minimum and guarantees full cleansing and moisturizing. 

Use Products that Enliven Your Natural Hair & Curls

No matter what hair type or curl pattern you have, the right products make all the difference for shiny, healthy hair. MIELLE Organics offers a wide range of hair products made from high-quality ingredients. Our mission is to empower all women to take care of their hair by offering high-end products at affordable prices.

For personalized hair care, MIELLE offers collections specifically formulated for Type 3 and Type 4 hair. Choose between a wide selection of luxury conditioners, shampoos, oils, and hair butters specifically formulated to cater to your needs.

Hair Care is for everyone, but with MIELLE, you’ll treat your hair like a queen.


  1. CURLS. What’s the Difference Between 4a, 4b and 4c Type Hair?
  2. Curls and Cocoa. 4c Natural Hair: How To Care For It And Grow It Long!
  3. LaToya Ebony. How To Tell The Difference Between 4b And 4c Hair Types.
  4. StyleCraze. All You Need To Know About 4b Hair Type.


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