How to Identify Your Curl Type and Why Every Curly Girl Should Know It

Jul. 26
Although curly hair is generally used as an umbrella term – it doesn’t account for every curl type. Determining your curl type can be quite difficult as there are a number of different curl patterns ranging from 2a – 4c. Each hair type comes with its own unique set of challenges and characteristics and it is actually very important to know your curl type. When it comes to identifying your specific curl type, there can be some confusion as one head may have multiple different curl patterns and textures. So, how can you find out which of the 9 curl types match your hair? It takes an understanding of your hair, the numerous curl patterns and a whole lot of patience. 
Why is Knowing Curl Type Important?
Curl type plays a huge role in the health of your curly hair and the types of products you choose to use. Most of the time you can identify your curl type just by looking in the mirror, but this is the easy part. Identifying your curl pattern can be simple but listening to that curl type can be a bit more challenging. If you have kinkier curls, then you can assume you’ll need thicker creams and conditioners in order to keep your hydrate and looking healthy. If you have finer wavy hair then you may only need a few lighter products that won’t leave your hair feeling oily or greasy. Once you understand your curl type, the easier it will be for you to choose styling products that work best for your hair. 
The Curl Types
  • 2A – Those with type 2a hair tend to have “s”-waved hair that stays fairly close to the head and is very thin. This hair texture is very easy to straighten, but if you have this texture be careful with styling tools as they can cause long term damage. 
  • 2B – This hair type lies flat at the crown and features a defined “s”-wave shape towards the middle of the hair shaft. These strands tend to be thicker than type 2a and is a little more difficult to straighten. 2b also tends to be a bit frizzier than 2a and can lose curl definition quite easily. 
  • 2C – This is the thickest of the wave types and is more susceptible to frizz. Unlike the previous hair types, the “s”-wave pattern begins at the root and continues down the length of the hair. This hair type requires more hydration and care. 
  • 3A – Type 3 hair is curly. 3A hair tends to be a looser curl with a definitive loop pattern that is usually bouncy. These curls are about the same size as a piece of sidewalk chalk. This hair can frizz easily if manipulated too often. 
  • 3B – These curls are much more voluminous and have a smaller circumference than 3a curls – typically the size of a Sharpie marker. This hair texture is more prone to dryness and frizz, so it’s important to keep these curls hydrated. 
  • 3C – The 3c curl resembles a corkscrew and is the circumference of a straw or pencil. This hair type is usually a much higher density and feels coarser than type 2 or 3 hair. The hair strands tend to be packed together tightly giving this hair type tons of volume and frizz. 
  • 4A – This hair is tightly coiled and has an “s” pattern with the circumference of a crochet needle. This coily hair type has a more visible curl pattern and needs to be moisturized more often. 
  • 4B – These strands have less of a curl pattern and more of a “z” shaped pattern. This hair type does not curl or coil, rather it bends sharply like the letter “z”. This hair type can feel wiry and should be styled using thicker creams and conditioners. 
  • 4C – This hair type similar to 4b but has strands that are very fragile with a tight zigzag pattern. This hair type shrinks the most out of any other hair type. The strands of this hair type can range from fine to thin to coarse. As the most fragile and dry of all the hair types, it’s important to keep 4c hair moisturized and use as little manipulation as possible. 
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