Sunday, May 12, 2013

Body of Hair Tips for Type Four Hair

There are four different hair types, most African hair types being type four.

 We appreciate the versatility of our hair but sometimes we limit our styles to what we are familiar with just because we aren’t sure how to maintain and manage other hair types. With the increasing popularity of hair extensions, we have the opportunity to try out different hair types or textures to determine what suits us not only in terms of styles but also the ease of maintenance.  I hope this series of posts allows you not only to be bold and experiment more with different hair types, but also to discover how to care for your own hair (grown or bought) but also find what suits you.

There are four hair types or categories of Hair. Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 hair. 2, 3 and 4 have sub classes of A,B and C depending on the tightness of the curls. We shall start with a type closest to home which is type 4 hair as going natural tends to be a recent and popular  trend.

Type 4 hair is described as kinky/course hair with a definition of curls. It is very tightly coiled and fragile which means it breaks easily. It has tendency to be dry as sebum from your scalp does not reach the tips of your hair because it cannot work its way to the ends due to the extreme coils. Type 4 hair is also well known to shrink up to about 75% of the actual hair length. There are three types of Type 4 subtypes: 4A, 4B and 4C.

4A                                              4B                                                        4C


As you move from A to C the hair gets courser and kinkier. The courser the hair, the more likely for the hair to be dry and brittle.

 For my sisters who have decided to go natural or are contemplating the big chop, it is important to note that natural hair doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier to maintain. It requires a lot of work to keep it moisturized, healthy and growing too. Once you develop a routine, you’re good to go. Once you know your hair, it’s easy to love it. Let’s look at little suggestions and tips that hopefully help you figure this hair thing out.

The first thing to throw out the window is trying to take care of kinky hair like you do straight hair. It’s just different hair. Once you let that go and allow yourself the time to discover your hair, you are on the right track.

Do not comb your hair when it’s dry.
Since the hair type is brittle, it’s more likely to break away when the hair has no moisture. Combing it while dry also transforms your defined curls into a huge fuzz ball.

Do not separate your hair with your hands as a means to detangle or get knots out
Curls naturally tangle and that’s their nature. It is advised to part hair only after combing when wet or detangling your curls otherwise you encourage breakage and loss of hair. Always start from the tips working your way up to the roots.

The less the breakage and damage, the more the growth   
It is simple, gentleness when handling your fragile hair goes a long way.

Kinky hair requires time and effort unlike straight hair. Take time to detangle your hair as it will tangle and do not rip your hair off your scalp in the name of combing. Work in small sections. The moment it hurts, that is hair lost.

Friction is not your friend Friction causes your hair to tangle, cover your hair in a satin wrap or use satin pillow cases to avoid this. Uncovered hair gets caught in fabric as you sleep and this causes breakage and hair fall.

Use correct tools
We all know the combs that will hurt if we attempted to glide through our natural hair. The wider the better as you begin to detangle prior to a wash and after a wash. To stretch or straighten your hair even when using heat, work your way to smaller spaced combs and brushes.


 1st Step detangle                             2nd Step detangle                                 Final curl defining brush  
Live off Conditioner and Moisture
The drier your kink is, the more the breakage. Formulate a moisture regime for your hair with either a leave in conditioner or natural oil or both. Moisture prevents breakage and allows for fewer tangles. Try and stay away from products with sulphate as they tend to dry the hair. Co-washing rather than a shampoo will do your hair good as it promotes moisture retention. Detangling is best done when hair is saturated with oil and moisture. If tangles are really bad, steaming hair with a hot oil or/and conditioner prior to the detangling task can save you hair fall.

The products that I would recommend and that I currently use on my kinky curl mane are the new life curls defining shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo has some sulphate so I would only recommend one wash a month and a fortnightly Co-wash (wash with conditioner). For daily moisture I recommend the very affordable soft and free curl moisturizing spray. It is light weight but oil based so it keeps the hair moist all day. I would use it prior to a set or twist out when hair is damp to ensure that moisture is retained when hair finally dries. All products available at Super Duper cosmetics at the Green House on Ngong road

Heat protection is important
When styling your type 4 hair, always use some heat protection prior to applying heat. Ideally, the less the heat you use the better. Always detangle before using heat and start heat application from damp and not dry or wet hair.

I hope sharing my tips has helped you figure your way about the kinks and knots of type4 hair. I am not a hair stylist but a hair enthusiast, the best way to learn is through experience. I love kinky hair; I would recommend the texture as a look for the rainy season because like I said, moisture is good for the hair and if you happen to get rained on, smile its all moisture. It is a fun playful and natural look when worn healthy. Besides the fortnightly routine it does not require everyday care apart from moisturizing.  If you are looking for protective styles and want to try kinky curl extensions or wigs. You can find genuine human hair products at

                                                      Written by Nempiris Lesiit

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