Caring for curly hair has come a long way since the days when we only had wet-look gel, a blob of mousse and a diffuser at our disposal. Nowadays, the beauty shelves are brimming with all manner of creams, lotions and potions to accentuate our natural curl pattern. But as we know, curly hair comes in many forms, and what works for one type may not work for another. Identifying the type of curls you have can give you a better idea about how to care for them.
The common classification system groups hair texture into types ranging from 1-4 (where ‘1’ is straight). Each of these groups has subcategories A-C depending on how tight your curls are. Read on to find out which one best describes your spirals…
Type 2 - Wavy
This describes hair that isn’t necessarily ‘curly’ but isn’t poker straight (i.e. Type 1). This can range from having a slight ripple at the ends of the hair (2A) to loose beach waves (2B) or hair that forms an ‘S’ shape (2C) but doesn’t form spirals or twists in the way curly or coily hair does.
Type 2 hair can benefit from products that add volume and definition to the hair’s natural wave. Try Cantu Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream. 2C types can be most prone to frizz, so keep it nourished with a conditioning mist such as Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Leave-In Conditioning Mist.
Type 3 – Curly
This is the classic ‘corkscrew’ shaped curl. This can be fine, medium or coarse hair (and can even be combined with coily hair). Spirals usually start at the crown and can vary in size, from large and bouncy (3A) to medium ‘party streamer’ style curls (3B) to tightly wound – like a vintage telephone receiver cord (3B).
This type of hair is best left to dry naturally or with a diffuser – tousling through some Creme of Nature Argan Oil Style & Shine Foaming Mousse beforehand to accentuate the curl shape. Too much brushing or rough blow-drying can make Type 3 curls look ‘fluffy’ or frizzy (unless you’re straightening it with a flat iron or a blow-dry brush).
Look for products formulated to care for curls and reduce breakage. Try Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Coconut Shampoo to nourish and detangle curls as it cleanses, Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Repairing Conditioner (especially if you’re 3B or 3C), while 3C types might benefit from Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream.
Type 4 – Coily
Rather than curls that spiral around themselves, this hair pattern features very small S-shaped (4A) or zigzag-shaped (4B) kinks or tightly wound coils often invisible to the naked eye (4C) that shrink when dried.
Type 4 hair can be very fragile (rinsing and shampooing should be kept to a minimum), and it needs to be frequently moisturised with deep conditioners and hot oil treatments. A non-drying shampoo is a must, such as OGX Hydrate + Defrizz Kukui Oil Shampoo, followed by Creme of Nature Argan Oil Intensive Hair Treatment to replenish shine. 4B curls can be vulnerable when wet, so try a leave-in treatment after washing, such as Pantene Gold Series Leave-On Detangling Milk.
4C types are the most prone to breakage, so you want to top up with Cantu Shea Butter Tea Tree & Jojoba Hair & Scalp Oil throughout the week, in-between washes to lock in moisture.
Sleeping on a silk pillowcase can also further protect the hair’s condition and prevent breakage.