Unravelling Type 4C Hair: A comprehensive guide

Ask anyone with curly hair and they will tell you that not all curls are the same. Everyone’s hair is as unique as they are, and curls are no different. There are four main types of hair texture: type 1 – straight, type 2 – wavy, type 3 – curly to type 4 – tightly coiled. The hair type and texture can be further broken down into a, b and c based on the hair's:

  • Curl pattern
  • Density
  • Porosity
  • Width
  • Length

If you’re in the type 4c club, your hair is an abundance of tightly kinked, less defined curls that are fragile – making them more susceptible to damage than other hair types. Your hair craves moisture and requires TLC to keep it looking shiny, defined, and healthy. Not all 4c hair is the same. Styling techniques will depend on whether your coils are bleached, coloured or natural. That’s where this guide comes in, offering hints and tips for caring for your 4c locks.


  • What is type 4c hair?
  • How to care for 4c hair
  • Best styles for type 4c hair
  • Best styling products for type 4c hair
  • Type 4c hair: frequently asked questions


4c curls are the curliest of curls on the spectrum. Often described as tight, springy, ‘Z’ shaped ringlets, 4c hair tends to clump more at the ends and is even more prone to shrinkage than other curl types. 4c coils are so springy that they can shrink up to 75% of their length.

Your 4c hair is likely to be delicate, frizz-prone, and easily tangled and matted. So, it’s even more important to find the right 4c hair products and hair routine to help nourish and moisturise your coils.


Despite the undeniable beauty of 4c curls, they are also extremely delicate and require maintenance. Here are some tips for maximising the health of your 4c coils:

  • Keep your curls moisturised: Use the LCO method – Start with a liquid conditioner (L), then apply a crème (C) followed by an oil (O) to lock in moisture.
  • Shampoo every two to four weeks: 4c curls are particularly dry. Over-washing can strip away the natural oils that keep your curls healthy and hydrated. Use a gentle, hydrating, sulphate-free shampoo. Follow with a moisturising, detangling conditioner to help prevent dryness.
  • Use conditioner frequently: In between washes, use a thick moisturising conditioner to help soften and detangle stubborn coils. A weekly hot-oil conditioning treatment or nourishing hair mask will also keep the dryness at bay.
  • Use water to detangle: For best results, run a wide tooth comb through wet or damp hair. Work in small sections and start at the ends, working your way up towards the roots. Keep a spray bottle handy to spritz extra water on your hair if needed.
  • Avoid too much heat: To preserve the strength of your curls, it’s best to reduce the heat of your hair straighteners, dryer, or curler (use our Temperature Calculator to discover your ideal heat setting). 
  • Protect your curls at night: Sleep on a silk or satin pillow to reduce breakage as you move in your sleep. Consider wrapping your curls in a silk scarf or bonnet to preserve your curls for the next day.
  • Choose curl-friendly hair accessories: If you need to tie up your hair, use satin or silk ribbons or scrunchies to gently grip your curls – silk scrunchies are perfect and come in a range of colours. 
  • Have frequent trims: Regular trims by your hairdresser will help reduce breakage and preserve the condition of your hair.
  • Nourish from the inside out: Eat a well-balanced diet packed with vitamins and minerals, and drink plenty of water too.


The best hair styles for type 4c curls are ones that require low manipulation, meaning they require minimal handling to minimise frizz. We’ve rounded up five styles perfect for showcasing your beautiful 4c coils.

Protective styles

Twists (or twist-outs) are a great protective hairstyle and, when you unravel them, you get gorgeous, perfect corkscrews every time. Experiment with two-strand twists, flat twists, and even box braids for a different look.

The natural look
Enjoy your beautiful natural corkscrews by letting nature take over. Apply a leave-in conditioner or curl gel to moisturise your curls, then wear them down and loose.


Space buns
Braid your coils before twisting them up into buns and add some face-framing twists to add an extra dimension.

Bantu knots
Like buns, Bantu knots are a fun way to tame your coils. To get the look, part your hair into small sections, then twist and wrap around your finger to form knots. Add knots to your whole head or for a less labour-intensive style, just knot a few sections, leaving the rest of your curls loose and free.

Short hairstyles

Wash and go
For a low manipulation look, just wash your hair with your normal 4c cleansing products and leave your coils to do their natural thing. Finish off with a silk headscarf or edge scarf for a splash of colour and some gentle control.

This fun, edgy style is super easy to achieve and looks fantastic with gorgeous 4c curls. If you don’t want to commit to a cut, simply pin or braid both sides of your hair up and leave the middle free.

Long hairstyles

Knotless braids
Unlike box braids, knotless braids are created without tying huge knots at the root of your hair. This reduces tension on your hair and scalp, which can significantly reduce hair loss or breakage. On average, knotless braids can be left in your hair for around six weeks but can last longer if cared for.

Simple high puff ponytail
If you’ve got long 4c locks, a simple high ponytail will keep your hair off your face, while adding drama to your silhouette. Depending on preference or the length of your hair, you can style your puffball pony low down or high up. We recommend using silk scrunchies to prevent snagging or damage.


Type 4c hair tends to be thirsty, so it's all about finding products that deliver that moisture punch without weighing your strands down. 

  • Heat protection: As 4c hair is prone to breakage, it is vital that you use heat protectants before styling your hair with any heated tools. Our Magical Potion does just that whilst also locking in moisture, reducing frizz and ensuring your style lasts longer.
  • Silk: Wearing a silk hair bonnet to bed or using a Silk Pillowcase helps to prevent matting and protects your 4C curls.
  • Curl-friendly styling products: When it comes to styling, reach for creams and gels specially crafted for curly textures, helping to define your coils and keep frizz at bay.
  • Hot brush: If you want to style 4c hair to be sleek and smooth, the CLOUD NINE Original Hot Brush is the perfect way to do so. Use on dry hair and style with ease, the Hot Brush has bristles that are engineered with Hair Tame Tessellation™, so you can smooth down strays and reduce frizz quickly with the correct amount of pull to reduce hair breakage.  
  • Conditioners: Use creamy, nourishing leave-in conditioners that feel like a spa day for your hair.
  • Hair masks: Hydrating masks moisturise your curls and can revitalise dry hair.
  • Sulphate-free shampoos: Gentle cleansers with natural ingredients care for your hair without stripping away precious moisture and oils. 
  • Natural oils: Let's not forget the magic of natural oils like coconut, shea butter, and olive oil – they're like little drops of heaven for your locks, sealing in hydration and keeping your coils healthy and shiny.

Be mindful of the amount of products you apply to your hair to avoid buildup. A little can go a long way.


What’s the difference between 4b and 4c curls?

4b and 4c are the curliest of curls, but 4c curls are the tightest of the two, which makes it more challenging to maintain. 4c hair is typically more prone to frizz, denser and less bouncy than 4b curls.

How do I define my 4c curls?

To define 4c curls:

  1. Start with moisturising shampoos and deep conditioners to prevent dryness.
  2. Detangle gently
  3. Apply leave-in conditioner
  4. Use curl-specific styling products
  5. Try twist-outs or braid-outs for definition
  6. Use low heat when styling
  7. Protect your curls with satin or silk wraps at night

How do I relax my 4c curls?

Relaxing 4c curls typically involves chemical treatments like relaxers. However, these can cause damage and alter your hair’s natural texture. Instead, consider stretching techniques like banding or braiding for temporary straightening. Embrace your natural curls and focus on moisture, gentle handling, and protective styling for healthy hair maintenance.

How do I slick my 4C hair?

For a slick look, the best tools are an edge control brush (a toothbrush will do), and edge scarf. An edge scarf focuses only on laying down the edges of your edges of your hair and not the whole style, so if you have a style that would be ruined by a whole scarf, an edge scarf is the next best thing.

Love your curls
Embrace your beautiful, bouncy 4c curls by taking the time to experiment with different products and styles. Remember to pack in the moisture to your hair care routine and be sure to use gentle and low manipulation styling methods to keep your coils healthy and frizz-free. Try heat-free twists, space buns, or Bantu knots or embrace your curls’ gorgeous natural texture and go au naturale.

Share your type 4c hair care tips or questions with us on TikTok, Instagram or Facebook.