From beach-babe wavy hair to coily hair mysteries or a combination of both, all types of curls are stunning in their own way and have so much potential within them. Knowing your curl pattern family and learning the features that make them unique is the first step to unlocking your natural hair's full potential. But then "what type of hair do I have?" and "how do I know how to style my curl pattern?-- don't worry! We've got you covered. In this blog article, we will dive into the 9 types of curls (according to the Naturally Curly hair type system) and the right styling process to accentuate your wavy, curly or coily hair with no hair damage or breakage involved!
Before we dive right in, a quick disclaimer. To accurately identify your true curl pattern, your crown has to be free from the impacts of heat or chemical stylings like perming, straightening, bleaching and color damage, etc.
Type 2 hair (Wavy Hair)
What is type 2 hair?
These types of curls usually take a loose-S-shape curl pattern and vary from fine delicate strands to thick ones. It lies in between straight and curly hair, so it's not too oily nor is it dry. There are three types of wavy hair: 2A, 2B, and 2C, all with soft beach babe waves.
If your hair has beautifully tousled (untidy) waves starting from eye-length, that take a very loose-S-shape pattern and are delicate (fine) - your hair is under the 2a hair type. This type of wavy hair is easy to straighten and doesn't frizz as much as other type 2 hair textures.
The 2b hair type is a more intensified version of 2a wavy hair. Its curl pattern lies straight and close to the head till midlength when it tumbles down in a more defined S shape. Its strands are thicker in diameter and entertain more frizz. This means you might need a little more effort to straighten those 2b hair waves.
Unlike the other types of type 2 hair types, 2c hair has a very defined-S-shaped curl pattern that starts from the roots down to the tips. Your strands are thick and entertain frizz easily, especially in damp weather
How to Style Wavy Hair
The best curl creams for type 2 hair (Wavy hair) are usually light-weight and not creamy or thick. This is because heavy products can weigh down those soft waves to disform them and make them lifeless. 2a wavy hair for instance doesn't hold onto curls so well because of its fine texture, that is why the best 2a hair products are usually mousses and gels – these products don't weigh down on your hair and so keep your soft waves alive! You can also go in with hair powder on your roots and water-based mousse to the ends to add volume to your crown. To maintain frizz, especially for 2c hair, you have to be a fan of anti-humidity products and stylers, i.e, products that protect your hair from the impact of humidity. To lock in your curls, apply mousse after applying leave-in-conditioner.
Type 3 hair (Curly hair)
What is type 3 hair?
If you have naturally curly hair from loose spiral loops to bouncy corkscrews, then you may fall under the type 3 hair family. Type 3 curly hair has soft luster and is very prone to frizz and damage, especially in harsh climates. They are majorly thick in texture and are blessed with natural volume. They also tend to get dry easily.
3a hair type doesn't have a tight curls pattern, rather it bounces in a loose spiral and has more sheen than the other curly hair types.
This type of curly hair springs like ringlets from the roots and tumbles down in a bouncy mane of shine.
3c natural hair is made up of tight highly textured corkscrews that are densely packed. 3c hair types naturally curl around a pencil or drinking straw and aren't as smooth as the other two curly hair types. If you have 3c hair the biggest battle you would have to fight is dryness but with the right care, your naturally curly hair will be a bouncy crown of juice.
How to style curly hair
To reach the full potential of your curl pattern, your hair needs moisture, especially for 3c and 3b hair. Because of your curls, your natural hair oils don't reach down the whole length of the hair strands and so the ends tend to lack moisture, frizz up and eventually break off.
To maintain your buoyant layers, don't go in with a brush or have a habit of playing with your curls – that will only cause your hair to frizz.
Avoid Nanny McPhee's tight buns as well. Apart from causing your natural curls to lose formation, the strain on your front hair can lead to hair loss and breakage.
Use sulfate-free shampoos and replace them with co-washing when you can.
Specifically to style 3b hair, invest in curl gels that have humectants, i.e hygroscopic substances used to keep things moist. Also, apply products when the hair is damp.
Make leave-in-conditioners your 3c hair's bestie and make sure to seal the moisture in with gel or your favorite styling product. Frequent blow-drying and heat styling isn't the best routine for your natural hair -- chemical styling isn't exempted either. If you wish to use heat on your hair, go in with a heat-protectant spray or cream and if you intend to dye your hair, seek professional assistance or go in with non-damaging hair makeup from Curlfit. They are super-pigmented, so will definitely give your hair color a vibrant pop of color.
Type 4 hair (Coily hair)
What is type 4 hair?
Very commonly known as kinky hair, afro-textured hair, or coily hair, type 4 hair is popular for its delicate (if not the most delicate) texture. Coily hair is naturally very dry, and springy and can either be soft or coarse. The type 4 hair curl pattern looks like small zig-zagged tight curls that spring from the roots. If you have coily hair, you may notice the major shrinkage when you wet your crown – this happens because it has fewer cuticle layers than other curl patterns. Because of this, type 4 hair is very prone to damage and breakage.
If you stretch a strand of your coily kinky hair and it becomes an "S" pattern, then springs right back when you release – you probably have 4a hair. The curl pattern of 4a hair is more defined than the other two types of 4 hair textures and is naturally very voluminous.
4b hair strands are a dense, crispy "Z" pattern,i.e they bend in sharp angles. The ends show this pattern more clearly than the roots. This type of coily hair is popular for using the shingling method, a product distribution method that stretches out coils and clumps them together for elongation and to accentuate its curl pattern. To do this, simply use a substantial amount of leave-in-conditioner to detangle your natural hair with your fingertips. After, gently part your hair into four sections and work your favorite 4b hair curling cream or gel through each section, twisting the strands as you go.
What is 4c hair? This is the tightest curl pattern among the nine different types of curls. It consists of a zig-zagged curl with little to no definition. When dry, 4c hair tends to shrink more than half its length when it is wet. This type of coily also hair needs a lot of attention and nourishment because of its fragile nature.
How to style Coily Kinky hair
Type 4 hair is very fragile, so always take your time to gently style your crown. To achieve the famous wash-and-go look, you first have to ensure your curls are at their full potential. Because of its highly textured and tight curls pattern, natural hair oils produced at the scalp don't reach even half the hair strand. So you need to always ensure your hair is moisturized by using deep conditioning masques, leave-in-conditioners, butter and creams, and embracing protective hairstyles. The best protective hairstyles for type 4 hair are the ones that you can continue to moisturize like natural twists. Your favorite 4c hair products should be natural oils like coconut oil and Shea butter.
Avoid chemical or heat styling and bleaching as well. Since type 4 hair is fragile and has fewer cuticle layers, it is more prone to color damage.
FAQs on Curl Pattern
Can one change the texture or curl pattern of your hair?
You cannot change your curl pattern permanently, but you can style it to look like another hair type. Your hair texture is imprinted in your DNA from birth, and it is not possible to change your genes, right? Sometimes you may notice your hair switch from wavy to curly hair as you grow or curly to coily, especially after puberty. Don't fret, it's completely normal. In fact, a lot of people experience a combination of curl patterns -- 3c/4a hair, 2c/3a hair, etc. To care for this type of hair fully, it is good to identify the different types of curls on your head and where they grow, so that you know how to specialize care and styling to that area.
Can anyone with any particular hair type grow long hair?
With the right care and attention for your curl pattern (plus patience), your hair can grow to the moon and back. It may take a while,especially for type 4 hair textures, and you may bump into several annoying hair situations like shedding, breakage, split ends, etc. But just like all problems, with the right approach, it will be out of your way in no time.