Inside: Understanding your unique curl type is essential for women with naturally curly hair, as it guides the selection of suitable products, the best hydration methods, and optimal styling techniques to enhance the natural beauty of your curls, combat frizz, and promote healthy hair growth.
Embarking on your natural hair journey is like venturing into a beautiful, exciting, and sometimes puzzling new territory. It can be very confusing.
But don’t worry! I’m here to help you decode one of the most crucial aspects of this journey – understanding your curl type.
What’s a Curl Type, Anyway?
Curl type is a system that categorizes hair based on its natural curl pattern.
This categorization ranges from 2A, which denotes loose waves, to 4C, representing tight kinks or coils.
Now, this isn’t a rulebook that you absolutely must abide by, but it certainly serves as a helpful guide on your curl journey.
Curl Type Breakdown
Type 2 – Wavy
2A: These are loose, long waves that are easy to straighten. Your hair might lack volume, and it tends to be fine.
2B: Here, the waves are more pronounced and may start to form the shape of an “S.”
2C: The waves are well-defined and start closer to the roots. Type 2C hair is thicker, and you might notice a few spirals here and there.
Type 3 – Curly
3A: These curls have the circumference of sidewalk chalk and are naturally big, loose, and usually very shiny.
3B: Here, we’re talking about springy curls with the circumference of a Sharpie marker.
3C: These curls are tight corkscrews with the circumference of a pencil or straw.
Type 4 – Coily
4A: Here, the hair forms tight coils with the circumference of a crochet needle.
4B: These strands form a “Z” shape and have a cotton-like feel.
4C: This curl type consists of tight kinks rather than defined curls and can shrink more than 75%.
Remember, having multiple curl types on your head is very common, so don’t worry if you can’t pinpoint just one!
If you don’t know your curl type, the short quiz at the bottom of this post should help.
Why Knowing Your Curl Type Matters
So, you might be asking, “Why do I need to know my curl type?” That’s a great question!
Once you’ve identified your curl type, choosing products suitable for your hair becomes much easier. For example, wavier types might prefer a lightweight mousse, while coily types might lean towards heavier creams or butters.
Different curl types respond differently to various styling techniques. Scrunching might work wonders for Type 2 hair, while another technique might be a game-changer for Type 4 hair.
Hair Care Regimen
Understanding your curl type can also help you determine how often to shampoo, condition, and deep condition your hair.
What Is My Curl Type Quiz
Here’s a simple quiz that can help determine curl type. However, it’s important to note that hair texture can vary greatly even on the same head of hair.
This is meant to be a fun and general guide, not a strict rulebook.
- How would you describe your hair strands?
a) Thin and delicate curls tend to lose definition easily.
b) Medium thickness, prone to frizz.
c) Coarse and strong, curls hold their shape well.
- When your hair is wet and without any product, what does your curl pattern look like?
a) Loose waves.
b) Spiral or ringlet curls.
c) Tight corkscrew curls or zigzag pattern.
- What happens to your hair in humidity?
a) It gets a bit frizzier but mostly stays the same.
b) It tends to frizz and lose its shape.
c) It shrinks and curls even tighter.
- How does your hair respond to heavier styling products like creams and butters?
a) They weigh down your hair and reduce its volume.
b) They help maintain the shape of your curls.
c) They are often necessary to keep your hair moisturized and manageable.
- When you pull out a curl, how does it spring back up?
a) It falls into a gentle wave.
b) It forms a defined curl.
c) It coils tightly back into shape.
Mostly As: Type 2 (Wavy) – Your hair tends to be fine, with a gentle, tousled texture. It can get a bit frizzy but usually holds its shape fairly well in humidity. Lightweight styling products work best for your hair.
Mostly Bs: Type 3 (Curly) – Your hair has a clear, well-defined curl or spiral pattern. It tends to be prone to frizz, especially in humidity. Regular hydration and medium-weight styling products can help maintain the shape and health of your curls.
Mostly Cs: Type 4 (Coily or Kinky) – Your hair is tightly curled with a pattern that might be corkscrew curls or zigzags. It can shrink considerably in humidity and needs a lot of moisture. Heavier styling products are often beneficial to keep your hair manageable and moisturized.
Please remember curl type is not the only thing that matters when it comes to taking care of your hair. Factors such as porosity, density, and scalp health are equally important. Always listen to what your hair needs!
Hair Curl Type Table
Here is a simple table outlining the common hair types:
|Type 1: Straight
|Hair strands grow straight from the scalp without a noticeable bend or curl.
|Use lightweight products and serums to control frizz. Avoid heavy butters and creams, which can weigh hair down.
|Regular washing is necessary to prevent oil buildup. Use lightweight styling products to avoid weighing hair down.
|Type 2: Wavy
|Hair strands form an ‘S’ shape, ranging from loose waves to more defined waves.
|Type 2 hair is prone to frizz, particularly in high humidity. It usually isn’t as shiny as straight hair due to the wave pattern.
|This wavy hair type is thicker and coarser, with a more defined ‘S’ pattern.
|Loose, tousled waves.
|These waves are often fine and thin. The hair tends to lose curl definition easily.
|Use lightweight mousse or gel and avoid heavy products.
|More defined waves that might start to look like loose curls.
|The waves begin to take on a more distinct ‘S’ shape, often starting from the mid-length of the hair.
|Regular hydration is important. Use products designed for wave definition.
|Waves start to curl at the roots, with defined waves throughout.
|Type 3 hair is prone to dryness and frizz and can lose its shape in high humidity.
|Use heavier creams and gels for curl definition and frizz control.
|Type 3: Curly
|Hair forms distinct ringlets or spirals naturally.
|Regular deep conditioning treatments and using products designed for curly hair can help maintain curl shape and health.
|Tight corkscrews or ‘S-shaped curls.
|Loose, large curls.
|Curls are usually the size of sidewalk chalk. Hair can be prone to frizz and lose definition.
|Use curl-enhancing creams or gels. Regular hydration is crucial.
|Medium curls, ranging from ringlets to tight corkscrews.
|Curls are usually the size of a marker pen. Hair can be dry and require more hydration.
|Use curl-defining creams and gels. Regular deep conditioning is beneficial.
|Regular hydration and the use of heavy creams and butters can help maintain moisture.
|Curls are tight and densely packed together. Hair can be quite dry.
|Use heavier creams and butters to moisturize and define curls.
|Type 4: Coily or Kinky
|Hair forms tight coils, curls, or zigzags right from the scalp.
|This hair type tends to be very dry and fragile. It can shrink up to 75% of its actual length when dry.
|Regular deep conditioning and the use of heavy butters and oils are beneficial. Protective styles can help prevent damage.
|Hair forms tight coils that have a visible ‘S’ pattern.
|Coils are usually the size of a crochet needle. Hair can be dry and prone to shrinkage.
|Regular deep conditioning and moisturizing are crucial. Protective styles are beneficial.
|Hair forms a ‘Z’ shape pattern and has less defined curls.
|Hair is densely packed and can be wiry or fine. Significant shrinkage is common.
|Regular deep conditioning, heavy butters and oils use, and protective styling are crucial.
|Hair forms tight kinks rather than defined curls.
|Hair is the most fragile type and has a very tight zigzag pattern that is often not defined.
|Regular deep conditioning, use of heavy butters and oils, and protective styling are crucial.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s hair is unique and may not fit neatly into one category. You can have more than one curl type on your head. The goal should be to understand your hair and treat it according to its specific needs.
Always remember: your curls are beautiful, unique, and entirely your own. Embrace them, love them, and let them shine!