Is 4b Hair Simply Dry Unmoisturized 4a Hair?

Monique Coleman 4b Yaya Dacosta 4a

We don’t get too caught up in the number and letter hair typing system here, we prefer simply to dispense advice based on the texture of the hair (fine, coarse etc). But did you know that 4B hair is actually naturally dryer than any other hair type? The reason for this is because of the unique structure of the hair strand it just does not allow for moisture to be held or distributed throughout the hair as it would be in comparison to ‘S’ curls or loose curls, but more about that later.

Lately the chatter in the forums and around the blogosphere have produced insinuations that the 4B category of hair is actually 4A hair when it is dry, un-moisturized and overall not healthy. A shockingly inaccurate and offensive statement if there ever was one.

There are distinct differences between the 4A and the 4B curl pattern which can lead to all sorts of confusion, so lets set the record straight once and for all about what is means exactly to have dry hair, what it means when you fall into the 4 category of hair curl patterns, and the differences between 4A and 4B curls.

What exactly is Dry Hair?

Dry hair is hair that lacks enough moisture and oil to maintain its structural integrity despite what hair category you may fall in. You can identify dry hair when it’s texture feels brittle and the hair is fragile. In this state the hair is very prone to breakage and it is very difficult to retain length as it will eventually break if the dryness is not rectified.

The causes of dry hair are varied and range from poor health such as malnutrition and anorexia to excessive heat styling, dry air in the summer, medications or even excessive washing with harsh products that strip the hair of its healthy oils and natural moisturizers. All curl patterns behave in the same manner when dry and the ultimate consequence is hair loss.

The Kinky 4 Curl Pattern Category
The 4 category is known for having very tightly curled structure, this hair type has been described as very wirey and kinky, cottony or fluffy with or without a visible curl pattern. It is also considered coarse and very fragile with tons of strands densely packed together . What makes the four category scientifically unique is that the hair has less cuticle layers in comparison to other hair types.

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About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


  1. 1

    hmm intrestting………………….. apart from Curl Assurance smoothing lotion what other hair moisturizer or leave in contains slippery elm my hair loves it but smoothing loition is too expensive

    I did find a similar product in Kinky Curly Knot Today but i do not consider this a moistrizer as its is NOT water based

  2. 3
    Mission4800 says:

    Thank u 4 this interesting article; it’s very welcoming.

  3. 4

    4a and 4b hair are diff. hair types on its own. 4b hair is not a dry unmoisturized 4a hair. The diameter of curls of 4b hair will never be like 4a hair (which is kinda bigger & looser) no matter how moisturized it is. 4c hair is actually the driest & fragile of all hair types not 4b.

  4. 5
    BlueCornMoon says:

    I don’t worry about this nit picking over 4a & 4b because we black folks have a million textures of hair ! The “type” can often depend on what you put in it. KinkyCurly makes my fine hair look just like a lot of little 4a penspring curls a little smaller than the ones in the photo , & so do different shampoos & conditioners . Sitting under my new Huetiful Hair steamer also does the same thing. HOWEVER, if I use different products that might not agree with it & may cause it to shrink up really tight it can look more 4b like a fuzzy “hair cloud” afro like we wore in the 70s. None of my hair strands have a z pattern either, so I just call mine type 4 & call it a day.

  5. 6

    I’m not going to lie, I always thought I was 4B. I put too much shea butter in it one night while doing my nightly routine and, in the morning, had 4A.

    • 7
      NubianPrize says:

      Same thing here. I let my hair dry or use a clarifying shampoo that strips oils & I have 4b; Wet,well conditioned hair, or Kinky Curly with or without Knot Today & I have all these little 4a curls. That’s why hair typing can be picky & crazy ; African Americans have a zillion textures.

  6. 8
    Sharon Floyd Wright says:

    Could you send me all the info on the 3 year plan

  7. 9

    Gotcha thanx I’m definitely 4b

  8. 10

    Im a 4b but I have some 4a in me lol

  9. 11

    This is interesting because i notice my fair cuts all the way up when its dry but oohhhhh baby when its super most and hydrated its like 2c or 3a but wen dry its 3c4a for sure…hire do you determine wat you really have?! How do you ever find out wat your true texture is???!

    • 12

      Go by when it’s moisturize

    • 13

      Your suppose to go by when its dry because that is what your hair want to naturally do. Product it to tame and moisturize hair, so typing hair when it has product in it doesn’t make sense. Typing your hair is how it looks when it grow out of your head and your hair don’t grow out of it head with product on it. My hair looks wavy while wet/moisturized to, but I’m a 3c/4a.

  10. 14

    ….. well i think I’m 4a when wet but when fully dried i am definitely 4b :)

  11. 15

    im 4xyz…lol

  12. 16

    Lol I’m 5

  13. 17


  14. 18

    I’m definitely a 4b

  15. 19

    Well from that pic then im definitely 4b also. Lisa Muhammad check this pic.oh with some 4a random curls at times

  16. 20


  17. 21

    The pics are super helpful! Finally, I know that I am 4b!!!

  18. 22

    I can finally declare myself a mixed chick… 4a and 4b lol

  19. 23

    No pictures of 4c hair?

  20. 24

    but not only is it different textures its also different colours. not convinced!! unless the brown is before she washed it…lol.

  21. 25

    Even think my hair is 4c dry and 4b wet lol

  22. 26

    im 4b and i have a 4a friend…totally different!!!
    dry or wet!!!!!!!

  23. 27

    I’m. 4b

  24. 28

    I’m mixed all up mainly 4B, my nap is 4A which seems to be so backwards from the majority. and my front left going up towards the top and center crown I believe is 4C it stays dry and does not grow with the rest of my hair.

  25. 29

    4B,today.lol4a last

  26. 30

    and they say 4C hair is unmoisturized 4B hair

  27. 31

    YES! When hair is well moisturized and use of good products it really does change the texture !

  28. 32

    I’m both I been getting relaxers since I has three and I been natural for a year and my grade has been ruined but I embrace my 4a/4b hair love the twist outs and all just have to find a product that keeps e hydrated for hours..

  29. 33

    is this a joke? one just looks better taken care of that’s all

  30. 34

    I’m 4b but my daughter is 4a! Lucky her

  31. 35

    When hair is wet &moisturized it shrinks becomes more compact & therefore looks darker.People don’t be so quick to dispute what somebody post if you havnt researched it yourself.

  32. 36

    Nooo I’m 4b and my hair never looks like 4a air, moisturized or not

  33. 37

    I have a mixture of both. Front edges 4b everything else 4a when moisturized

  34. 38
    Aliyah Morrison says:

    I’m 3c/4a more 3c in my crown and back of my hair 4a in my edges a course 4a in the middle back of my hair and a mix of 3c/4a through out my hair . Even when my hair is dry I have tight curls and coils . I can only achieve a 4b/4c Afro if I blow dry which I don’t do that anymore too much heat damage . I now braid then flat iron only if I want it straight .

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