Curly Hair Types-Comprehensive Guide

A few years ago, women with curly hair weren’t given much attention as the ones with straight and wavy hair.

I’m glad that the hair industry has opened its doors to different hair textures but especially the curly ones.

We are either born with straight, wavy, or curly hair. All these hair textures are beautiful in their way. I like that unlike the past where curly women hid their hair today, we flaunt it all over. More women have embraced the natural hair movement.

With that said, I know you may be a curly or a straight girl who wants to understand the texture. We are here to guide you with it.

Cracking the Code of Curly Hair types

Curly Hair typesAndre walker invented the hair typing system to make it easy to know where your hair falls. The essence of the Andre Walker hair typing system was to not only understand the type but also make it easy to identify the products to use.

Generally, according to Andre system, we have straight, wavy, curly, or kinky hair. Notice that this is the most general method of classifying the hair types. You can still have more subdivisions to know your hair types concerning other characteristics.

Moreover, we can divide the curly hair into three categories; we can have curly hair, wavy hair and coily. Although there are people who want to tell you that some hair types aren’t curly enough this is not always true.

You are all curly hair only different in texture, and besides Andre’s system wasn’t meant to be divisive it was to make you understand the hair better.

What to Know

Most women in these categories often have different types of hair textures. You can have both type 3 and 4 on the same head. This goes to say that you may want to treat the different sections differently if they are very different.

If you want to identify your curly hair, you will need to study it when it’s at its healthiest level. Ensure the hair is moisturized but also free of damage.

You won’t tell the kind of hair you have if say you have been straightening the hair for years or even months because the heat may have damaged the strands. If you, for example, notice that your roots are curly than the ends, that shows heat damage.

Types of Curly Hair

There are different types of curly hair as there are other kinds of hair, and trying to figure out your curly type may be a challenge, but you can if you know the characteristics of the different curly hair types.

What Type of Hair Do I Have?

Generally, when you want to identify your curl type, you should first wet the hair then study the strand structure. Remember, if you have recently used the heat or chemicals on the hair, then it may not show you the right curl texture.

You will quickly know your hair texture by checking the pictures below, together with the characteristics.

hair type chart

Type 2 hair

Type 2 hairWell, with this type, we have more waves than curly hair. The type 2 hair comes in an S shape more than it does the coils and kinks. It’s effortless to know the difference when you check the diagram above.

You should know that the wavy hair is often the hair between your curly and straight hair. The principal characteristic of it is that it frizzes more, and it has a lesser sheen. Therefore, you should keep it hydrated as you make sure the products you use don’t weigh the hair down.

Your hair is a type 2 hair if you have the following

  • If the hair is wavy or S-shaped and it has either loose or tighter waves.
  • You don’t struggle with having to dry your hair, and it naturally dries with ease.
  • One thing you have to struggle with, though, is the frizz; thus, you must use the right products.
  • Know the right styling products for the hair.

Type 2A-Fine

This is the least curly hair we have. In fact, its closer to the straight hair than it is to the curly one. Often, it’s the fine type of hair, but it lacks the essential volume. The pro to that is that you can manipulate it however you wish.

Type 2B – Medium

This is more like the beach wave hair type. So, it has the S waves, which is more defined, and it will lie entirely on any of the head shapes.

It’s often straight at the roots and starts to get wavy at the eye level. Like the type 2A, it does suffer from the frizz more often.

Type 2C-coarse

This is the coarsest of all the hair types on this level. Here we have even tighter waves that are more defined. For this hair, you will have the S curls starting from the roots, not like the two types above. A significant characteristic is that the hair strands are thicker.

It’s more difficult to style the hair since the hair remains short. You should avoid tousling it all the time to keep it free of frizz.

Type 3 curly hair

This features the light to very curly hair. It’s the epitome of real curls. You will especially have an actual curl pattern that is further soft. I like that it always gives you the volume and bounce but also looks beautiful.

Those with curly hair will usually suffer from dry ends, so you have to cut them out from time to time. You would understand why this happens as the natural oils can’t reach the ends with ease.

Remember, you should keep your hair hydrated to regulate the frizz. Also, stay away from any drying agents.

You are a type 3 if:

  • Your curls appear in the form of spirals and ringlets. It further often ranges from the width of the sidewalk chalk to the straw width.
  • If you have to check that your curls are perfectly defined through the day and frizz is another one of the significant features.
  • If your hair dries more often, you most likely have type 3 too.

type3 vs type4 hairType 3A hair

Here you have the hair showing its defined S shapes but with springs. Also, check to see if you hold the hair to a ponytail, and it can reach only 2 inches ponytail size. Also, of all the type 3 hair you can quickly straighten the type 3A hair than you can other curly hair types.

The hair type tends to lose its definition, and it frizzes more often.

Type 3B

Here the curls are tinier than they are for type 3A. They are also tighter curls, but it’s also denser. On the downer side it frizzes more often.

Type 3C

Although some people don’t want to classify the type 3C hair, some stylists have found ways to make you understand the hairstyle.

This hair has bouncy curls but with tighter ringlet size curls. You will have the curls looking like the pencil’s straw curls. I like that the hair is more voluminous, but the major problem with this hair type is that it often dries, so you should keep it hydrated.

Type 4

One of the significant characteristics of the type 4 hair is that it can look shorter than it is. It has the highest level of shrinkage. For this hair type, you should focus on moisturizing it more often.

Although most people don’t want to classify this hair type under the curly hair, it features the different tightness of curls.

The hair features the Z shaped curls but not the S shape like the other types above. It tends to have the zigzag pattern where the curls are tighter and sharper.

Your hair is type 4 if

  • The hair si zigzag-shaped, coily and tight.
  • You experience up to 70% shrinkage of the hair. It further tangles more than the other hair types.
  • The hair dries out more often, and you, therefore, have to struggle to make it moisturized.

Type 4A

This hairstyle comes in tiny coils in the size of a crotchet needle. It often has a fine texture, and it’s also wiry. For this hair, it’s more of S-shaped curls than the other types 4 hair types.

This hair looks so much like the type 3C hair; only its curls are slightly smaller.

Type 4B

This one has very tight coils with corkscrews shapes. The hair is often soft and cotton-like but its length shrinks more. A major characteristic is that the hair has more defined coils, but it’s also thicker.

Type 4C

Generally, this hair si similar to 4B hair, although its denser and coarser than the 4B. It further has less definition with its curls. This is the hair that has about a 70% shrinkage level. It has the highest level of slippage.

Reasons Why Its Important to Know Your Hair Type

  • Figuring your routine

Although you may assume the essence of knowing your hair curl type, it’s quite essential. It will guide you in using the right products. Remember, you can’t use the same products as those with straight hair.

Some of the problems you may have to deal with include the frizz and dry hair. So, with the right products, you will be able to combat the issues.

  • Styling the hair

You won’t style the hair the same way you do with the other hair textures. Therefore, in knowing your hair type, you will find it easy to style it too. For example, if you use too many straightening tools then you damage your curly tresses; thus, you should avoid them.

  • Maintenance

In knowing the hair type too, you will know what to do for its maintenance. The only thing that will make you maintain the healthy strands is if you maintain it right.

The Important Tips to Maintain the Different Types of Curly Hair

If you don’t have curly hair, you may not know what it is like to struggle with the tangles and dryness. We all envy our straight girls, but trust me, they too have some challenges they face.

  • Detangling and combing

Before you can start to wash your hair, you will need to detangle it. Remember, we have told you that curls suffer from tangles dryness and frizz. This means that you can use the right combs and detangling products to control the tangles.

Be gentle when detangling the hair and use the wide-toothed comb or brush. Start to comb the hair from the bottom going all the way to the roots.

  • Adopt a pre-shampoo routine

I know you would ask what that is, and it means the exact word literary. It’s the step you will perform before you begin the shampooing process. This step you use to soften, condition and detangle the hair right before you begin shampooing.

If your hair is so tangled, then it will prevent damage and roughness.

So, here you use the conditioner or the conditioning oil for the process. Just divide the hair into sections, then apply the oils and let the hair rest with it for at least 20 minutes. For better results, cover it with a plastic cap.

  • Use the right shampoos

Type 3s and 4s never need shampoos that will dry their tresses because we suffer from the dry ends. Instead, we should use the nourishing shampoos that will keep your hair from frizz and not weigh it down.

With the right shampoo, the hair remains manageable. Don’t use harsh shampoo for your natural hair, as that will continue to damage it. Forget about sulfate shampoo, thus stay away from the regular shampoos as they may end up drying your hair.

  • Deep condition

Remember, we have said that the hair tends to dry, and therefore, the conditioning will keep it moisturized. However, we don’t want it to be over moisturized or to weigh it down. So, you should find the right deep conditioner and condition the hair at least once in two weeks.

  • Trim it

Yes, trim the dry ends regularly because if you don’t trim it, then it affects the other parts of the strands. For your hair to be healthy and bouncy, you will need to trim them.

  • Change your regimen

Even when you have found a regimen that works for your curls, keep changing the style every once in a while, to nourish your hair with different products. Coconut oil is my favorite one in this.

  • Take care of the ends

When washing the hair, concentrate on the ends by applying the conditioner to the ends. Remember, you shouldn’t weigh the strands down with many products, but you should use the right conditioner on the ends.

  • You shouldn’t wash the hair with shampoo every day

Those with curly hair don’t need to wash their hair every day as that will strip the strands of its natural oils. Too much shampoo will further stress the already fragile strands. You can, however, regularly apply the leave-in conditioner to your hair strands.

  • For the night hold your hair to pineapple curly style

The pineapple style is where you hold all the hair strands to the crown of your head. But you do so loosely just before you go to bed. It will make the hair maintain the curls and volume at the same time.

  • Sleeping

One thing that you will suffer from with the curly hair is the dryness, so you should make sure that even when you go to bed, you retain the moisture. Sleep on either a satin or silk pillowcase. Also, cover your hair with the satin headwrap.

  • Only use warm water

When it’s your wash day, remember only to use the warm water. I don’t know how one can use hot water because I believe it can burn your scalp. Hot water will also dry the hair strands, so you shouldn’t use them. Don’t even use cold water as it won’t give you the power cleanse.

  • Use a curling iron when necessary

On some days, you will need to use the curling iron to define the curls even more. Sometimes the curls get saggy and unruly, and this is when the curling iron is necessary.

Remember though; you shouldn’t have to use heat every time with the curly hair as it will keep drying the strands. When you wash the hair, you can sometimes dry it naturally.

The Common Misconceptions

Sadly, most people have these misguided ideas about their hair, which makes it hard to take care of the curly hair. If you believe in the following ideas start forgetting them.

  • Some hairs are better than others.

There’s no truth in this idea. Yes, there are hair types that we favor more than others, but it’s all unnecessary. Different hair types have their pros and cons, so it’s only fair to embrace your hair. The major question is whether your hair is healthy.

  • Knowing the hair type is enough for caring for your hair

Although we mostly believe this, it’s not true. We have other factors that determine which products to use on the hair. The porosity level is one of the most important ones.

  • You should have only one curl pattern

And no, this is not true most of the people have about two curl patterns on the same head. Sometimes you could even have three curl types but rarely is it one.

Curly Hair Vs. Wavy Hair

With this article, I expect that you have learned the definition of the two hair types. There’s a clear difference between them. The primary difference is in the tightness of the curls but also the texture.

  • Misconceived ideals

Most people use the term curly and wavy hair interchangeably even though the two kinds of hair are different. In a nutshell, curly hair contains wavy hair, curly hair, and kinky hair. This means type 2s, 3s and 4s are all under the category of curly hair.

Contrary to what most people believe curly hair isn’t coarse in texture, rather, it’s soft. We can have both fine and thick curly hair, as well.

  • The structure of the hair

The curly hair often takes on the corkscrew shape. While the wavy hair takes on the S shape. The wavy hair is between the straight and curls.

You then have the kinky hair, which often takes the undefined Z shaped. It’s more prevalent among people who have their origin in Africa.

  • To identify the hair

For the curly hair, you will find the curls starting on the scalp. Often, the hair will appear thick even though it may be fine. It will begin its shape at the scalp to the ends. The wavy hair, on the other hand, is flat at the root close to the scalp and wavy at the bottom.

Kinky curls, though, are curly from the scalp or roots to the ends.

  • Warning

If you have curly hair, you should never comb it when dry as that will lead to too much breakage. The hair is at its weakest when dry. To revitalize the hair, though, you can spritz it with some hair spray together with the hydrating water.

On the contrary, you can comb the wavy hair even when it’s dry.

  • Styling

It’s easier to style the wavy hair than it is to style the curly ones. You will fight with more frizz and dryness if you have curly hair than wavy ones. But through the day, you must also confirm that your natural curls are in place.

Albeit, when you style your wavy hair in the morning, you are good to go for the whole day.

Is It Important Anyway?

I know there are so many articles online about the different products to use on the different hair types. However, you should know the exact products that work for you.

Remember, there will be similarities in different features of the hair, but they all work to show you the exact hair texture you have. There’s nothing wrong with being a curly hair person. You can enjoy all the goodness that comes with it.

But, remember when it comes to the identification of the texture, being curly is just one part of the identification. There are other factors like the porosity that you should know about in regards to the classification.

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