Different Types of Curly Hair
Hair is complex. Let’s start there. Even the shape of your hair follicle makes a difference! Other characteristics like porosity, density and even width play a big role! Curly hair is a diverse category that is often overlooked. There are many types of curly hair and your curl type has a scale rating.
What’s your curl type?
The ‘curliness’ of curly hair is called the curl type and it is determined by the shape of the hair follicle on your scalp. People with oval-shaped follicles have curly hair and the more oval the follicle, the curlier the hair and the higher the curl type. Curly hair also has a curl pattern which is the shape that the strands of hair make. These can be kinks, curves or winds that form the curl spiral. However, most textured curly hair has more than one type of pattern on their head.
Finding out your curl type can help you identify and use the proper hair care products that you need! Here’s how. There are 3 large categories of curls, namely wavy, curly and coiled. Within these 3 categories are smaller subsets of curl types.
Type 2 (Wavy)
Type 2 waves are essentially that tousled beach look. Regardless of texture, type 2 hair has a definitive S pattern and lays close to the head.
This curl type has a fine texture and a very slight curve. Therefore, it’s important to weigh this type of curly hair down with heavy products. Organic products or products that maximise the volume at the roots are recommended.
People with this type of curly hair have defined S-shaped waves starting from the mid-length. While they rarely have very thick curly hair, strands are thicker in diameter.
These curly hair waves are thick, coarse and can seem to be constantly frizzy. Their curly hair begins at their roots. It’s important to wash this kind of hair with something organic and moisturizing. This curly hair type also benefits from a good leave-in conditioner.
Type 3 (Curly)
Type 2C and 3 are quite similar types of curly hair. While curls can be loose and bouncy or tight and springy, this type is prone to frizz.
3A curly hair is often shiny with large bouncy curls. While leave-in conditioners are good, playing with your hair can cause errant frizz. Keep those curls bouncy with a revitaliser when it needs a pick-me-up.
This curly hair is made up of coarse medium-sized curls. Moisturizing this type of hair is especially important to get curl definition without frizzing.
These curls are tight corkscrews that are densely packed together, creating tons of volume. Again, this curly hair is plagued by frizz. Using a good mousse or conditioner with styling cream on wet hair can help the curls come together.
Type 4 (Coily)
Coily hair, often called ‘the natural, has a dry and spongy texture. That said, coily hair can be soft and thin or coarse. There is usually a mix of patterns which are susceptible to shrinkage.
Characteristics of this curly hair are dense, springy and small-sized S-patterned coils. Therefore, regular styling is needed to keep the coily texture soft and bendable. Mix up a curling cream with your leave-in moisturizer to keep your hair healthy.
These curls are dense and yet, bend sharply like a zig-zag. This curly hair type is thicker and with a combination of moisturisers are best for palm-rolling, which stretches out the coils and collates them for texture definition.
4C hair is very much like 4B curly hair except that the strands are much more fragile. Therefore, they suffer the most shrinkage at 75%. For this hair type, castor oil is a great hydrating component and sealant for this very dry texture.
Now that you’ve found out your hair type, you can get the products you need. May your hair always be on fleek!