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Curl Types

Knowing which type of curly hair you have is the first step in your journey to achieving the hair of your dreams. Identifying your curl type is the key first step in the journey to unlock your hair’s potential. Choosing a hair care system designed for your hair type will give you better control of your hair.

Different types of curly hair

There are several ways to categorize hair textures, but the most popular classification divides hair into 4-types. Type 1 is straight, Type 2 is wavy, Type 3 is curly, and Type 4 is coily. Within each type are sub-classifications A, B, and C, which are based on the diameter of the wave or curl. A denotes a wider curl pattern, B being a medium pattern, and C refers to coily hair. For the three curly hair types, you’ll need to take a closer look at your curl pattern. Identifying your curl shape and pattern (or patterns) is best done when your hair is wet.

Wavy hair

Wavy hair, also known as Type 2, sits in between curly and straight hair. It has the loosest curls of all and tends to bend in an ‘S’ shape. Wavy hair normally sits flatter on the head and has less volume at the root than some of the other curly hair types. Depending on how tight the wave pattern is, it can be further divided into 2a, 2b and 2c.

Wavy hair is the least dry of the three curl types, and so the scalp’s natural oils can move down the hair shaft more easily. Because of this, it’s recommended that this hair type be washed more often, using a gentle cleanser. Use conditioner to add moisture without weighing down your hair.

Curly hair

Curly hair, also known as Type 3 hair, is characterized by a springy, corkscrew-like texture. It has tighter curls than wavy hair and tends to be drier, as the scalp’s natural oils struggle to travel down the curls. Depending on how tight the curl pattern is, it can be further divided into 3a, 3b and 3c.

As curly hair tends to be a little drier, it is recommended washing it only two or three times a week. This gives the natural oils time to coat the hair and keep it hydrated. An essential product for curly hair is a hydrating conditioner. Using along with a gentle, sulfate free shampoo will keep this curly hair type feeling soft, and looking healthy.

Coily hair

Coily hair is often referred to as Afro or kinky hair, as well as Type 4. Coily hair can consist of very tight corkscrews or a ‘Z’ shaped pattern that starts right from the root. This type often appears shorter than it actually is due to how tight the curls are – this is referred to as shrinkage. Depending on how tight the curl pattern is, it can be further divided into 3a, 3b and 3c. This is the driest and most fragile curl type, as the tightly wound coils don’t allow natural scalp oils to travel down the hair length.

Being the driest of the hair types, coily hair should be washed only once or twice a week. The best products for coily hair focus on hydration, by using a hydrating conditioner with every wash. Using leave-in conditioners throughout the week to give this curly hair type an extra boost.

Can you have more than one curly hair type?

In most cases, people will have a combination of curl types in different areas of their head, because the hair tends to be curlier on top layers and looser in layers underneath. So, you may have a combination of kinky, coily, wavy, and curly hair. Texture types aren’t one-size-fits-all. Defining curl type is not a perfect science, but it is the best way to identify the routine most suited to your hair.


Posted in: Complete Guide to Curly Hair

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