Can you distinguish hair types 4b and 4c apart? In the video above, I discuss the different hair types and compare them. In particular, determining the difference between type 4b and 4c hair types. Then I’ll take my research and look at the strands of my own hair to determine my hair type. For the comparison, I’ve used the modified Andre Walker hair typing chart (below). I’ve also included photos of each hair type and video footage of my hair strands against the hair chart. Some of the photos are sourced from Naturally Curly and Kenny Olapade

what's the difference between type 4a 4b and 4c hair?

This is the Andre Walker hair typing system. Who is he and why do we know him? He was Oprah’s hair stylist for years on her show. He won many Emmys for his work and he became well known because of his expertise.  When looking at the chart, you’ll notice there’s not 3c or 4c hair types represented. The hierarchal structure of the chart and omission of hair types got him a lot of heat. Many people in the natural hair community were upset and felt excluded.

Andre Walker
Andre Walker and Oprah

When was hair type 3c & 4c introduced? It seems that Naturally Curly heard the outcry and created a modified chart that included the missing hair types. Now we have 3c and 4c naturals represented.

hair typing system


Hair type 1 is the easiest to spot. It’s bone straight naturally. Below are the remaining hair types.

hair type 2
hair type 3
hair type 4

Type 4a appears to have larger visible coils.

4b can shrink up to 70% (left), however when wet and dry the coils appear to clump together throughout the hair shaft. 4c hair (right) clumps only at the ends and usually shrinks more than 4b hair. It also seems to have a slightly more cottony appearance wet and dry. When deciphering between the two, I tend to look at the amount of shrinkage and how the coils clump when wet or dry to tell the difference.

Here are the textures side by side. They are very identical and can get mixed up easily.

wet 4b hair
wet 4c hair
4b hair
4c hair


Based on my hair being soaking wet and the photos I chose for reference, I’d say my hair is mostly 4c with traces of 4b in the front, and 4a on the sides above my side burns. I encourage you to watch my video until the end for reference. 

what's the difference between type 4a 4b and 4c hair?
easy wash day routine 4c hair



If this was helpful for you, share it with your friends. Comment below and tell us, what your hair type is.

Also, check my Youtube natural hairstyles playlist for more tutorials. I’ve also got a youtube tab here on the navigation bar at the top of this page where you can see all of my videos that upload every thursday. Subscribe to my newsletter, so you don’t miss any of my content. See ya in your inbox soon!

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