15 Best 4b Hairstyle Ideas and Protective Styles of 2021

Ready for the biggest understatement of all time? Hairstyling ruts are not fun. It takes a lot of motivation to play around with your hair and find a new style, and with many people spending their time at home right now, the rut is almost inevitable. But if you’re tired of doing the same ol’ thing to your 4b hair every week and need a lil inspiration, we’ve gotchu covered with a bunch of easy—and super-pretty—hair ideas from New York City-based hairstylist Jazzee Santiago, whose entire life’s mission is basically curing blah hair days.

Keep reading to find 15 protective styles, twist-outs, and wash-and-gos for your natural hair, whether you’re working with strict 4b coils or a mix of all three. Highly recommend screenshotting your faves for later when you try to recreate…all of them.

1

These Bantu Knots for 4b Hair

One of Santiago’s go-to protective styles for 4b hair? Bantu knots. “You can really have fun customizing your knots, especially when it comes to the parting,” she says. Her fav: zig-zag and triangle parts. Before you start your Bantu knots, Santiago suggests loading up your hair with leave-in conditioners and oils, then gently stretching it out with a blow-dryer attachment on low heat to help lock in moisture.

2

This Bantu Knot “Takedown” for Type 4 Hair

Another reason Santiago loves Bantu knots is because you can technically get two styles out of them. “Once you take out your Bantu knots, you’ll be left with a chunky, kinda wavy curl,” she says. Need a visual? Click here to see how hair influencer Jaila (pictured here) gets it done on her type 4 hair. Spoiler: You’re gonna need a hydrating oil and a wide-tooth comb.

3

These Two-Strand Twists for 4b Hair

“Two-strand twists are another style that, depending on the length of your hair, you can get two styles out,” says Santiago. This look from Valene is made extra pretty with a few gold accessories. Before you start twisting, make sure your hair is as soft and moisturized as possible (think: leave-in conditioner and oil).

4

This Wash-and-Go for Type 4 Hair

This wash-and-go style is a great lowkey option for type 4 hair. “Everyone wants to look good without a lot of work, and wash and gos are really the ultimate, quick style that keeps your hair super healthy when it’s all said and done,” Anthony Dickey, hairstylist and founder of Hair Rules, has told Cosmo. Psst: This YouTube tutorial is a great place to start if you’re still nailing down your routine.

5

This Bobby Pin Hairstyle for Type 4 Hair

When in doubt, Santiago says hair accessories are always a great add-on to your 4b hairstyles. Whether you go for shiny bobby pins along your hairline or glitzy clips on the side of your ponytail, you can’t really go wrong—just have fun with it.

6

These Double Buns for 4b Hair

A bit easier than Bantu knots but just as cute, these high double buns look great when placed at the crown of your head. A lightweight styling gel will help make this 4b hairstyle super seamlesshere’s how Valene (pictured here) works it out.

7

This Half-Up Half-Down Twist-Out for Type 4 Hair

Whether you’re working with a twist-out or not, half-up half-down hairstyles are always a great look for type 4 hair. Megan Lynn (pictured above) shares in her caption that she likes to finger-coil the ends of her twists for extra definition.

8

This Box-Braid Bob for Type 4 Hair

Santiago says protective hairstyles like box braids are excellent for type 4 hair, but she does emphasize the importance of starting with a healthy base to avoid damage. “A protective style is only as good as the condition of your hair going into the protective style,” she says. She recommends your hair be “soft to the touch” and free of any split ends or breakage prior to braiding.

9

This Easy Updo for 4b Hair

Perfect for day two or three of your wash and go, Santiago loves the idea of “smoothing your type 4 hair into a giant puff at the top of your head,” she says. “Let all of your hair fall over the top of your head and finish it off with a scrunchie—it’s a great style for days when you don’t feel like washing your hair just yet.”

10

This Faux Hawk for Type 4 Hair

11

This Ponytail for Type 4 Hair

Who said hair accessories had to be basic? This inspo-worthy bubble ponytail is made complete with hair pins and flowers. It might not be the most practical type 4 hairstyle, but it’ll at least look really effing pretty on your feed.

12

This Scarf Hairstyle for Type 4 Hair

Click through to see how influencer Jurelma styles her hair with a headscarf in two cute ways: long and loose at the base of her bun, and wrapped and secured at the top of her head. This is another option that you can totally play around with, btw.

13

These Buns and Braids for 4b Hair

Down to recreate this double-bun hairstyle with face-framing braids? Grab an edge tool, edge control, and watch this easy-to-follow tutorial from Adri2curly. (Don’t be intimidated—it looks more complicated than it actually is!).

14

This Blowout for Type 4 Hair

Blowouts are super helpful for prepping for braids or protective hairstyles, but they’re also a nice way to wear your type 4 hair. “You can wear your blowout as is, or you can run a flat iron or curling wand through it at the end to smooth and style the stretched-out hair,” Santiago has told Cosmo.

15

This Double-Bun Updo for 4b Hair

Um, can we take a quick sec to admire this pretty-AF hairstyle from Maybel Ama Carl? This look is great for twist-outs, and it’s super easy to accessorize and make your own (isn’t her hair slide a cute addition?).

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