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Kinky Hair: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining Afro-textured Hair

If your mane is kinky, you should be incredibly proud as it is one of the most beautiful hair types. This hair is versatile and flexible and stands out in a really unique way.

However, it is the most demanding when it comes to maintenance. Without proper care, it can seem like an unruly dog refusing to do what you expect of it. That’s because it is extremely fragile and likely to suffer from dry curl that easily split and break.

If your hair, or that of your loved one, is classified as kinky, this article is for you. Today, we will help you understand kinky hair, as well as cover the tips and tricks to help you take better care of it.

kinky hair

What is Kinky Hair?

A kinky mane is what most African-American women have. This hair is often defined as extremely wiry with tight coils. It’s the driest and most brittle of all.

It has a coarse appearance but is actually very soft, and the strands are densely squeezed in together.

A common misconception that has been peddled around forever is that this hair doesn’t grow long. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Kinky hair has the capability to grow long, just like any other type. The only difference is that it’s more prone to breakage and requires a lot of care.

Types of Kinky Hair

Also known as type 4, this hair type is divided into 3 different curl patterns

-4A

-4B

-4C

Let’s take a closer look at each of the three types: 

Type 4A 

4A is the easiest to identify because of its clearly visible ‘S-shaped’ pattern. When stretched, it forms a well-defined curl pattern with thin spirals.

4A type has two textures: curly and fine.

It also has the lowest amount of cuticle, thus making it the most fragile. However, it is really dense, and that’s why it appears darker and fuller.

It is also prone to becoming dry. However, it has a higher moisture retention capacity than type 4B and 4C.

Because of its moisture retention capability as well as its distinct curl pattern, it looks best on "wash n go" styles.

Maintaining it is not hard either. Experts recommend using sulfate-free shampoo with jojoba and tea tree oil. Products that contain butter and cream are actually the best.

Type 4B

This type has a fluffy look with strands that assume a ‘Z-shaped’ pattern. When stretched out, it does not form a noticeable curl pattern.

Instead, it forms sharp bends and curves akin to the ‘Z’ pattern. It also feels wiry and tightly coiled when touched.

Because of the wiry bends and sharp turns, it’s extremely prone to breakage.

It has a different texture and densities. Some people have softer textures with scarce density, while others have a coarse texture with thinly packed strands.

4B also has a lot of shrinkages (in fact, up to 70%). This makes it look really short.

If you have 4B hair, experts recommend that you embrace protective styles such as braids and buns to protect it from breakage. You should also stay away from manipulative styles like twist outs and ponytail pull-ups.

Because 4B can become really dry, you should moisturize and deep condition regularly. You should also use mild cleansers when washing.

After washing, use a soft towel to dry it to so that you don’t strain the strands.

Type 4C

4C is arguably the curliest of them all. It has no distinct curl pattern. In fact, to identify it, one must either braid or twist the strands.

In addition, 4C does not bundle up easily. If you need to clump it, you’ll have to use some technique to successfully do that.

And just like 4B, it shrinks so much (more than 70%), which makes it look extremely short.

With regards to texture, it ranges from smooth and thinly packed to coarse and dense. If you’re not keen, you may, in fact, mistake this hair with 4B. They are so similar.

The only difference is that 4C is densely packed and has a no-curl pattern at all. It is also the most fragile, which means it breaks a lot and thus requires a lot of care.

If your mane is 4C, you should protect it by all means. Use mild shampoo when washing, do protective styles like buns, and sleep with a satin cap every night.

Tips to Take Care of your Kinky Hair

Below are some tips every kinky naturalista should use to make their hair journey easier and a lot more fun!

a. Moisturize

Moisturizing it often is very important. Make sure to deep condition and moisturize every week. If you still feel some dryness, use natural oils or shea butter to boost moisture levels.

b. Stretch Often

Kinky hair is curly and wiry. Doing braids or twists after moisturizing can help stretch it out so that it absorbs more moisture into the strands.

c. Let it Rest

Taking a break from protective styles allows your scalp to breathe and gives your hair a chance to heal from manipulative and tight styling

d. Clean With Mild Shampoo

You should limit washes to once every two weeks. Reducing the frequency of washes helps avoid unnecessary breakage. Using mild shampoo also limits the amount of breakage.

e. Stay away from Silicone

Silicone is bad. In fact, all types of chemicals are damaging. Avoid using anything that contains sulfates, chlorine, petrochemicals, and all ingredient that ends with ‘onol, and ‘xane.

f. Sleep With a Satin Cap

Covering hair with a satin cap or using a satin pillow is good because it reduces friction and helps retain moisture.

g. Ditch the Comb

You may be guilty of this, but now that you are aware, you should avoid combing, especially when hair is dry. It’s only okay to comb when it is lathered up with conditioner or moisturizer.

Final Word

Taking care of kinky hair requires a lot of patience. Along the way, you’ll discover what works and what doesn’t work. You’ll find a satin cap that stays on and a bonnet that simply doesn’t work.

You’ll come across oils you love and others that you’ll toss away from the word go. The secret is not to throw in the towel, but embrace the kink and have fun while at it!