What is 4c Hair?

October 20, 2020 4 min read

What is 4c Hair?

 By Tiffany Walker

What is 4c Hair Type?

Black hair is not a one-size-fits-all type of deal. It comes in various shades, textures, and lengths, and can be described using important descriptors most people don’t know about (like porosity, density, and width, which we’ll cover a bit later). 4c natural hair is one of the most common Black hair types. But for some reason, few people know how to define, much less take care of, 4c hair. 

So, what is 4c hair type, and what natural hair products should you use on it? 

If you’re ready to answer the question, “What type of curls do I have?”, read on for your go-to guide to discovering and enhancing the beauty of your hair texture.

What is 4c Hair?

4c hair is everywhere

When people think of this curly hair type, they typically think of Lupita Nyong’o, Teyonah Parris, or one of the 2 Dope Queens herself, Jessica Williams. However, there’s an easier way to find out if you have 4c hair than comparing yourself to red carpet photos (use those for styling inspiration later). And that is through a well-known hair typing system!

Here’s how to narrow down your type 4 hair:

  • 4a – While type 4a hair and 4c both follow an ‘s’ curl pattern, 4a curls form into tight spirals that fall a bit flatter than its type 4 cousins. 
  • 4b – 4b hair holds more of a ‘z’ shape and looks fluffy and undefined before styling. There’s a lot you can do with this hair type, including rocking an afro hairstyle or stretching your locks to reveal its length.
  • 4c – 4c hair forms curls, but with much tighter coils than 4b hair. While it’s prone to tangles and breakage, it maintains shape and a defined curlvery easily. 

Note: Even if your hair is mostly 4a or 4b, you could still have 4c hair, especially near your scalp. In that case, keep reading—you’ll still want to take care of those areas using a 4c hair care regime! 

But before you go buying every hair product meant for 4c curls, define your texture a bit more to come up with the ideal regimen. Do you want to accentuate your natural, healthy hair? Or are you looking for products to help you achieve that red carpet ready hairstyle? Either way, proper hair care and finding the right products for all hair texture types is an essential part of maintaining healthy hair. 


Curl Pattern Isn’t Everything

When it comes to hair care based on 4b hair vs 4c, curl pattern is just one part of the equation. There are many different types of natural hair, so knowing more than just your curl pattern will help you achieve your desired style!

Hair porosity, or the way in which your hair absorbs and holds moisture, is one of the most important—yet, least discussed—hair characteristics when it comes to taking care of your gorgeous tresses. Different porosity is what can make one 4c girl’s hair routine completely different from another’s. 

It’s a must-know detail if you want to nail your hair routine and keep your gorgeous hair as beautiful as you are. 

For that reason, we’re diving deep into this one.

What’s the difference?

  • Hair with a lower porosity doesn’t absorb moisture easily, so it requires products that really penetrate the cuticle layer for ultimate hydration. However, once it’s moisturized, it stays that way. 
  • Higher porosity hair sucks up moisture easily, but can’t keep it as long, leaving it dry and prone to breakage and frizz. 

Here’s how you determine your hair porosity:

Place a strand of hair that you found on a brush or comb (don’t go plucking it out of your head!) into a glass of water. Then watch to see what it does.

  • If it floats, your hair has low porosity.
  • If the strand sinks, it has high porosity.

How to care for your hair based on its porosity:

  • High – The challenge here isn’t absorbing moisture—it’s locking it in. To combat dryness, use a moisturizing shampoo like MIELLE’s Hawaiian Ginger Moisturizing & Anti-Breakage Shampoo and top it off with a leave-in conditioner for curly hair, or other deep conditioning productthat smells great and keeps your strands hydrated. 

Plenty of 4c girls will have hair with different porosities, densities, and width, even if they all share the same defined curl pattern. So, before you jump to any conclusions, grab a glass of water and figure out your porosity for yourself!

Your Starter 4c Hair Routine

For 4c hair that really shines, try out this basic hair routine to keep it happy, healthy, and beautiful:

  1. Break up your tangles and knots with your fingers or a flexible brush, working from your roots to your ends. Mist with water.
  2. Work shampoo into your scalp using your fingers or a flexible massaging brush.
  3. Use a detangling brush to carefully separate the strands and avoid breakage and frizz.
  4. Put your hair into two-strand twists to make it easier to wash out in the shower. 
  5. Gently untwist and apply a deep conditioner, putting it back in twists as you go. Place a plastic cap over your hair. Then, sit under the dryer or wear a heated cap and relax for a few minutes. 
  6. Gently dry your hair with a t-shirt or a microfiber towel.
  7. Use any serums or leave-in spray conditioners that you want to keep your hair soft and lustrous throughout the day!

Rock Your Curls With Confidence

Good hair isn’t any one type of texture—it’s hair that’s well-loved and well taken care of. This means that whether you have a kinky curl, afro, straight hair, or wavy hair, good hair is the hair you have on your head. 

With a little time and a little care, you can replace your curl envy with curl confidence. 

Show your hair (and yourself) the love you deserve and desire through a careful hair care regimen, like this one. For hair products with 4c texture in mind, check out MIELLE’s all-natural, high-quality products today. 


  1. Allure. How to Figure Out Your Curl Type. https://www.allure.com/gallery/curl-hair-type-guide
  2. ThatSister. What Are 4a, 4b, and 4c Hair Types?  https://www.thatsister.com/what-are-4a-4b-and-4c-hair-types-answers-and-picture-examples-inside/
  3. Tomi Alisha. How To: 4C Natural Hair Tutorial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ0zon-MnCI&ab_channel=TomiAlisha

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