Kinky Hair: What it is and How to Take Care of it

Apart from the color of our skin, one other thing peculiar about black women (both in Africa and in diaspora) is our kinky hair. 

It may not be as long or sleek as our Caucasian and Asian sisters but it sure is unique and easy to recognize anywhere in the world.

From time immemorial to the days of slavery, and even this present moment, this hair has served as a means of identity for us black folks.

It has helped us find solace in a world surrounded by racism and segregation. And now, as black girl magic continues to rule and the natural hair movement keeps waxing stronger, kinky hair isn’t losing its glory.

Not even in the next century.

But there’s something you must know: afro-textured hair is of different types.

Just because you and a friend are naturalistas doesn’t mean you both fall in the same category.

Wanna know more about afro-textured hair so you can better take care of yours? Great. Keep reading to stay enlightened.

What is Kinky Hair?

lady rocking afro textured kinky hair

The word kinky has different interpretations. While it refers to hair with kinks or twists, it also refers to afro-textured hair that grows in a tiny, angle-like helix shape. 

Hairs in this category are denser than relaxed hair, coarse, and often require more maintenance.

Afro kinky hair is thicker than other types of hair yet remains the most delicate. One little mistake and you’ll have your hair breaking all over the place. 

This makes it very important to adopt a haircare routine and only go for protective hairstyles for your natural hair.

 However, how you take care of your hair depends on its texture. 

So. to avoid making mistakes when you go shopping for natural hair products, let’s check out the…

Types of Afro Kinky Hair

lady showing side of her kinky hair

Afro-textured hair falls into three categories. Let’s look at them in detail.

Type 4C Hair

lady with type 4a hair

Otherwise known as kinky-coily, this hair type has tight coils with no defined pattern. It resists moisture and can shrink up to 75% of its actual length. Meaning that even if your hair is really long, it’ll still look short when dry until you pull a strand out or stretch it.

Type 4C hair is denser and more fragile than other types of kinky hair. It even gets dry faster than other afro-textured hair types. And as such, it requires adequate care to prevent breakage. 

To keep your 4 hair from looking dull or frizzy, moisturize often with natural oils, sulfate-fee shampoo, etc., use healthy styling products to seal in moisture, and wear protective natural hairstyles too.

Type 4A

lady with type 4c hair

When this hair is clean and void of products, it looks like the letter S. It also has defined coils. 

And if this is your hair type, rest assured it retains moisture more than other hair types. But this shouldn’t stop you from moisturizing it often for it to grow well. 

Type 4B

lady with type 4b hair

A strand of this hair looks like the letter Z. Instead of curves, this hair type has sharp angles. It also has a less defined curl pattern than the type  4A hair. 

Type 4B hair can also shrink up to 70% of its actual length.  Like type 4C, it’ll look shorter when dry.

How to Care for Your Afro Kinky Hair

lady with brown kinky hair

To prevent your afro-textured hair from looking unhealthy, use these tips:

1. Moisturize Regularly

Kinky hair needs moisture to stay healthy. Apart from shampooing and conditioning, you should also apply styling products and natural oils like shea butter, coconut oil, almond oil, etc., to seal in and retain moisture.

See moisturizing as a priority if you don’t want your hair to get dry and break.

2. Detangle with Your Fingers

Got knots all over? Oops!

Don’t comb your hair yet. Apply conditioner on your hair and finger-comb it. You’ll find and untangle knots easier and gentler than with a comb

3. Comb from Bottom to Top

One painful part about being a naturalista is the pain that comes when combing your hair. And this isn’t your fault. It’s the nature of the afro kinky type of hair.

Your hair is thick and coarse. So, when you want to comb, to avoid feeling pain or losing strands, use a wide-tooth comb from the ends to the roots.

This will ensure you detangle each knot instead of trying to yank your hair off your head with your comb.

4. Steam Your Hair

Apart from shampooing, steaming your hair at least once a month helps to keep it in shape. 

And if your hair has low porosity, frequent steam treatments will open up your hair shaft so your hairstyling products can easily penetrate. 

5. Wear Protective Hairstyles

From wigs to cornrows, Bantu knots, knotless braids, bounce twists,  etc., protective hairstyles should be your best bet.

They’re chic and versatile. And you can always switch ‘em up to style in different ways, colors, or hair extensions.

6. Trim to Get Rid of Split Ends

Sounds counterintuitive, right? But trimming your hair helps to correct split ends and keeps your kinky hair looking fresh.

You don’t have to do this often though.

7. Apply Less Heat

Heat styling tools may enhance the beauty of your hair. But the downside to it is that they also damage your hair.

So, instead of using a flat iron on your natural hair, use the African threading technique to straighten your hair. But if you must heat-style, do it less often and keep the tool at low heat.

8. Retain Moisture with a Satin Bonnet

When you want to sleep, wear a satin bonnet or tie a silk scarf around your hair.

It’ll stop your cotton pillowcases from stripping your hair of its moisture and causing breakage.

9. Eat the Foods for Hair Growth

Hair growth isn’t dependent on external factors alone. What you take into your body also matters.

So, for quick effects, don’t just apply hair products. Eat the foods for hair growth, too.

You’ll get that long, shiny, and healthy kinky hair you’ve always wanted

Above all, avoid making your afro-textured hair go through tough manipulations. Opt for protective styling and remember to drink water often.

Water keeps you hydrated inside and this reflects outward too, thereby giving you a well-moisturized kinky hair. 

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting.

That aside, when I'm not writing copy or SEO content, I'm designing statement pieces for my fashion brand, Ria Kosher, crushing on Lucious Lyon, and writing wild stories that always come with a twist.

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