Is It 4c Or 4d Hair? Ways To Tell for Sure 

 September 18, 2020

Are you wondering what your hair type is and how you can deal with the curls?

If you are shopping for hair care products, it would be good to know your hair type for significant results. It can be challenging to identify your hair type when you don't know what to look for.

The hair type varies with the color, hair curl pattern, hair growth, and hair texture. Use these factors to identify whether you have a 4c or 4d hair. Hair health also plays a part in determining types of hair. Other factors include hair density, elasticity, oilyness, and hair color.

Common hair types include 4a hair, 4b hair pattern, 4c hair, and hair 4d. All these hairs have different curl patterns, hair shrinkage, elasticity, density, and diameter.

Type 4 hair is usually known as afro kinky since it appears in a kinky style. These hairs have an afro pattern, and for natural hair it's easy to braid them. At times type 4 appears as if it has been braided and has a visible braid sheen.

If this question has been bothering you for a long time, here is an extensive description of 4c vs. 4d hair types. You will have a clear insight on what to look for and understand how to tell the difference and we will recommend some great products for type 4d hair. 

What is 4c Hair Type?

4c hair type is a common hair type within the 4-range of other hair types. Its easily recognized since it's very tightly curled. Understand that each head of hair varies, and for this reason, the curl definition will help you differentiate one from the other.
If you have a thin curl definition, then you are likely to have the 4c type hair, but to be sure, you must consider other factors. This type of tightly coiled hair curl pattern has a delicate texture and can be coarse. The texture can also be soft and acceptable; therefore, when you touch and feel this fine touch, identify your hair as type 4c.
It's also important to check the hair density. In most cases, type 4c hair has the same density as 4b hair, but it has more shrinkage. 4c natural hairs have up to 70% shrinkage; therefore, you need to buy products to reduce these shrinkages. Great conditioners for 4c hair often allows the hair to relax a bit and the curl pattern to become more defined and elongated.

What does 4c hair feel like?

In general, 4c hair type is soft and may have a cottony feel.  Each strand may be thin and fine or thick or coarse; it also shrinks much more than other hair types so it will feel fluffy and plush.  The hair will often look stronger and more resistant than it really is.  Often it is quite delicate and susceptible to damage if overprocessed or mistreated. This information will help you when purchasing hair care products or considering style options. Additionally, the hair will feel different depending on how long is has been since it was washed and moisturized.  Recently washed hair will fel soft but week old hair may feel crisp and crunchy.  Purchase hair care products that are right for your curl pattern, dryness and that help remove the shrinkage.

If you have a 4c hair type, you will realize that if you have 3 inches of hair it will look like you have 1 inch. You will realize that your hair looks wavier, a classic look when maintained and taken care of. The thin texture makes this hair type easy to break, thus the need for adequate care products and gentle manipulation. Often what is perceived as difficulty in growing long 4c hair is really a challenge in length retention for black hair. As the hair is detangled or syled it can break.  This hair loss makes it a challenge to grow long 4c or 4d hair.

All about 4d Hair Type

Many people of African decent have 4d type hair and, at times, are mistaken for people with short hair. This hair has a rough touch when dry and not conditioned but can be softer with the right 4d hair products. If you have a 4d hair type, you will realize that it has extreme shrinkage.
4d hair curls are also extreme, and at the time, you may think the person has short hair only to find its shoulder-length or even longer. The curl pattern for this hair type at times is defined as a Z pattern. 4d hair is mostly coiled and has a spring-like pattern. It's hard to realize this feature unless you pull a single strand.
This hair type is beautiful and healthy hair that gives you a great look when you use the right hair care products. It's delicate and breaks if you don't use natural products. For this reason, take your time reading through what ingredients are used for hair care products.
If you wonder whether 4d natural hair exists, then here are facts to look for and remove any shred of doubt. This hair has a firm texture and doesn't break easily; however, it shrinks fast when exposed to water and needs to be straightened regularly.

What is the 4d curl pattern?

If this question has been bothering you, then here is how you find out about this. 4d hair type shows significant shrinkage and is commonly known as kinky. It maintains a specific curly shape when you use the right products for proper maintenance.

How can I soften my 4d hair?  

This is a common question. 4d hair is often quite soft but the tightly coiled hair doesn't move or bounce.  In order to soften the hair and create bounce, we may have to elongate the curls a bit.  This will require using techniques that allow the hair to dry while stretched or to use products that allow the hair to relax a bit so that the curls can be more defined. It is important to use a  natural hair product that hydrate hair and a deep conditioner that is designed for the type 4c 4d hair curl pattern. 

Best Hair Products for 4d Curls

Deep Conditioner for 4c & 4d hair

Detangling Hair Product

Shea butters for 4D Hair

To Grow 4d Hair

Is it 4c or 4d hair?

  • Porosity
    4c hair type has a higher ability to soak up moisture as compared to 4d hair type. It means that you will use less moisturizing products if you have type 4c hair. However, for 4d hair type, you need more moisturizing products as the porosity is low.
    Test your porosity by soaking your hair in a bowl of water and looking after a few minutes. Floating hair has low porosity and vice versa.
    Also, if the water is dramatically reduced in the bowl when you remove your hair, it has high porosity.
  • Density
    4d hair type is denser than 4c hairstyle; this means that with 4d, you will have more strands in your hair. With 4c, you can easily see the scalp, but this isn't the case with the 4d type.
  • Texture
    4c hair has a thin and soft texture when you touch, unlike 4d, which is rough but can be made softer when you apply certain products. In the sense of texture, you need a lot of hair care softening products for type 4d and less for type c.
    This fact on texture allows you to purchase the right maintenance products and save yourself a lot of trouble and money. 4c indeed has a fine texture, but for 4d, it has a wiry texture to differentiate the two.
  • Curly
    Natural 4c hair type appears much straight than type 4d. People usually confuse type 4d with short hair as it has dense shrinkage and curls. This hair can be long past the shoulders but remains in the same shape always unless straightened.
    4c natural hair curl pattern is different from that of 4d hair type. This curliness is one of the ways to note the difference between the two. 4d looks similar to 4a hair type only that one is more curled than the other.
  • Hair Shrinkage
    4c hair is straighter, unlike 4d, which is wavy and curly. Identifying your hair type is all about the hair curls pattern and the curls' number in your hair determined by your hair follicle. If you have more asymmetrical or oval, then your hair will be curlier.  This hair shrinkage makes it look like there is little to no hair growth with 4d hair.  But the hair is growing but the shrinkage is so dramatic that the afro pattern just gets denser and denser.  Only when you strethc the strands can you see the difference.

What determines the Hair Type and can You Alter It?

Your hair type is also defined by your genetics, which is inheritable. It's possible to find people in a home with the same hair type. However, it's possible to alter the curl pattern using heat, chemicals, and other natural hair care products. You can also decide to use medications prescribed by experts to alter hormones. However, note that basic hair curl is in your DNA.  At My4cnaturalhair.com, we believe that the best thing that you can do is to learn to love your 4c or 4d hair and then you will open up a whole new appreciation for what it can do and be.

When differentiating type 4c and 4d hairs, you must have a clear insight on all hair types.
It's possible to have 4c at the crown and 4a at the temples to be wise choosing hair care products. Moreover, your hair can be curled at the edges and straight at the root. Ensure you have healthier hair by determining the difference.

4a hair has a natural curl pattern S-shaped which can wrap around a chopstick. You have to be gentle with such hairs and make sure you use moisturizing products.4b hair, on the other hand, is zig zag, and the curls retain their shape when the hair is wet or dry.
For this hair you need liberal amounts of moisturizing and conditioning products to detangle it. Also, twist the strands around the index finder to achieve a unique and natural curly pattern.


Loving the journey and the adventure of my 4c hair. I believe that we are not defined by our hair but when it's poppin', it sure feels good.

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