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What’s My Curl Type – and Why Does it Matter?

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

What’s My Curl Type – and Why Does it Matter?

Do you have curly hair but aren’t quite sure what kind of curls they are or how to care for them? If so, you’re not alone. There are several different types of textured hair, and it’s important to know your type so that you can best nurture and maintain it between visits to the salon.

Your curl type is determined by the shape of the follicles in your scalp from which your hair grows. It’s identified by the shape that the strands of hair make, whether they kink, curve, or wind around themselves into spirals. The type of curl you have dictates the hair styling products and methods you should be using to properly care for your hair and help your curls look and feel their best.

Hair patterns are broken down into four categories: Type 1 is straight; Type 2 is wavy; Type 3 is curly; and Type 4 is coily. Most people with textured hair have more than one type of pattern on their head,

There are also sub-classifications of A to C that are based on the width or diameter of your wave, curl, or coil. Type As have a wider pattern size, Type Bs medium, and Type Cs the smallest of the three. In this post we’ll focus on the three types of textured hair and its variations.

Type 2 (Wavy)

Type 2 waves are bendable, Usually fine to medium texture and have a definitive S pattern that lays closer to the head.

Those with hair type 2A have a fine, barely-there tousled texture (think beach waves!). Wavy curls need more lightweight styling products to retain their shape. People with this texture must be wary of using heavy styling products that can easily weigh their strands down, as Type 2A waves, typically lack volume at the root.

Type 2B hair lies flatter at the crown with defined S-shaped waves starting from the mid-length, Strands are thicker in diameter than those with Type 2A. For this hair type I recommend using a styling foam or mousse, a volumizing lotion or sea salt wave spray.

Type 2C waves are medium to thick and more susceptible to frizz and oiliness. The S-bends are well-defined and begin at the roots (Shakira Shakira!) I recommend using a foam at the roots followed by a styling cream all over leaving it a good inch off the scalp followed by a light weight gel .

Type 3 (Curly)

Type 3 curly hair can range from loose, buoyant loops to tight, springy corkscrews which have some sheen but are prone to frizz.

Type 3A features wide, bouncy, spiral-shaped curls that travel from root to tip. These curls are also known as Botticelli curls.

3A strands, like Julia Garner’s, tend to be shiny with large, loose curls.

Type 3B types have springy ringlets . This texture can get dry, so look for curl gels that have humectants in them to attract moisture to strands.

Type 3C curls are tight corkscrews Strands are densely packed together, giving way to lots of natural volume. Frizziness is common with this type. For type 3 texture hair I recommend always using a denman brush to work the conditioner into the hair and smooth down the cuticle layer of the hair this will help define the curls. remember to keep the condition an inch off the scalp to maintain volume . Styling products like the briogeo curl charisma cream or the quiet calm curl control followed by a gel are the perfect combination.

Type 4 (Coily)

If you have coily hair, your curls are the tightest of the bunch. Coily hair is naturally very dry and spongy in texture and can be soft and fine or coarse and wiry. Strands form very tight, small curls of zig-zags right from the scalp and are prone to major shrinkage. Coily curls need deep hydration to retain definition and shine.

People with type 4A hair have dense springy, S-patterned coils. Type 4 hair types usually lack moisture which leads to frizz once the hair is dry. Remember the curlier the hair, the harder it is for your natural oils to make it all the way down the hair strand therefore requiring you to use products to help boost moisture heavier creams and conditioners and oils are perfect for type 4 hair textures.

Type 4B strands are densely packed and can bend in sharp angles like the letter Z

Type 4C textures are similar to 4B textures, but the tightly-coiled strands are more fragile and have a very tight zig-zag pattern This hair type experiences the greatest amount of shrinkage — about 75 percent or more — than the other textures. Shrinkage is when water is applied to the hair the cuticle layer of the hair is lifted and the water is absorbed. when the curls get wet they go from stretched out form to your natural curl, which is often a tighter curl. The tighter the curls the more shrinkage you will experience.

Each type of curly hair is unique, with its own set of challenges and maintenance needs. Feel free to message me on Instagram at @astoriabeautybar with a photo of your hair, and I can offer you some quick tips on how to keep those curls happy and healthy!

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