Does it really matter what type of curl you have? So many of my curly-girl friends always talk about this, and I’m here to tell you guys that your curl type doesn’t matter at all.
Why doesn’t your curl type matter?
Your curl type is capable of change and will likely change at some point. Your curly hair is also made up of different types of curls. When you treat your hair by the curl pattern you have, you’re not thinking about all the other aspects of it that need attention.
It’s only one-sided, which means you have to change the way you think.
By reading onward, you’ll find out exactly why your curl type doesn’t matter, plus what you can do to ensure you always look your best.
Why your curl type doesn’t matter
As I just mentioned, your curl type doesn’t matter because it changes, and you can even have different types of curls on the same head. I like to think of it in a relatable way. Like shopping for clothes.
Have you ever tried on a pair of jeans by one brand, and you were a size 4, but then you grab a size 4 of another brand, and it’s too tight? It’s pretty much the same thing.
Even being a size 4 is no guarantee you look your best in those jeans either. If you’re taking care of your health with diet, exercise, and minding your stress levels, it stands to reason you’re just going to look better overall than a friend who also fits a size for but slugs back milkshakes and donuts every chance she gets.
Thus, your curls change too. So you could have 2a waves and then use curly-girl ways of boosting them from my other posts and get 3c ringlets. What a dream!
Before I get ahead of myself, I just want to circle back to what I said before about having different curl types on the same head. My friend Jeanine is like this with type 2 and type 3 on her head.
It’s kind of like combination skin. One size fits all is never the best approach. So, let’s talk about all the curls there are, and then I’ll get into what to do to have you looking your most effortless curly-girl best!
Different types of curls
Understanding more about your curls will help you to gain control of those curls in a way that others will envy. Read on to learn all about the different types of curls!
– Wavy Hair (Type 2)
If your hair has a bit of a relaxed S-shape to it, these waves are known as loose curls. They are straight on the crown, wavy in the middle, and often frizzy as heck at the end.
Your hair isn’t straight, but it isn’t curly either. It’s kind of in the middle, like my brother, who does a half-butt job on the dishes. Blah.
But you can turn your wavy hair into a beautiful thing if you know what to do. It reflects less sheen than straight hair, but it’s shinier than curly hair, so you have an advantage. You just have to learn to control that frizz.
For your hair type, I recommend grabbing some lightweight serums, gels, or mousses to help fight the frizz without bogging your hair down. Additionally, I’d invest in a diffuser if I were you. It adds more volume.
But this isn’t where the story ends for wavy hair. There are 3 smaller categories:
- 2A – it’s fine, thin, and a bit tousled, so it’s easier to manage. You can wear it straight or curly and have the best of both worlds, you lucky girl!
- 2B – your hair is straight on the crown and then curls up a bit gradually at the ends. Heat styling is a bit more difficult for you than 2A girls, but you can make it happen with more effort.
- 2C – if waves start right at your roots, you’ve got more definition than the other types of wavy hair. Your hair is also thicker and even more prone to frizz, so watch out!
– Curly Hair (Type 3)
Your curls have very defined spiral patterns that start from the roots and go all the way to the tips.
You get good volume, but your hair is drier because those nourishing natural oils from your scalp can’t get past the shape of your hair to coat it from top to bottom.
To combat your hair type, you will want to deep condition often and take your conditioning seriously. Using curl creams, gels, and natural oils will all serve your hair very well, giving it more moisture and love.
Unfortunately, though, heat styling is not your friend. Please don’t do it unless you’re doing it right, or else you’ll damage your beautiful hair.
Like wavy hair, curly hair also has some subsections:
- 3A – your hair has large and shiny curls that are looser in texture. They make perfect ringlets right at the roots, but you’re constantly battling frizz, which can make you lose definition and bounce. The key is more hydration and moisture from your hair care products.
- 3B – your hair is coarse and textured with ringlets from top to bottom. It’s really tightly wound and has zero shine. You have loads of volume though, and you need to lock in more moisture to get the best out of your bounty of curls.
- 3C – spiral curls, or corkscrews, have tons of volume. But they are a fine texture, so they get frizzy. They also shrink o working with some hair stretching techniques can help give them more length.
– Kinky and Coiled Hair (Type 4)
If your hair is very kinky and coiled, it’s the toughest of all to manage. The texture is the roughest too, but it is very fine, so it is easier to break. Every strand of your hair is Z-shaped.
You also have the most shrinkage, so you need to work with it through deep conditioning, regular conditioning, gels, curl creams, and natural oils to soothe it and keep it looking beautiful.
And yes, there are different types of kinky hair too:
- 4A – your curls are wiry and very tightly wound. You need thick creams, particularly with star ingredient shea butter, to really help them lock in moisturization.
- 4B – your hair is a total Z-shape and can be fine or coarse to the touch. You’ll get your best response from your hair by doing a pre-poo (read my post on Why Do You Need to Pre-Poo).
- 4C – your hair is very similar in texture to 4B, but yours leaves definition to be desired and has more frizz. You also have more shrinkage with your hair, so it looks way shorter. It tangles easily, so using something creamy as a humectant will really help.
So, how to choose the best products for your hair type?
If your curl type doesn’t matter though, then HOW do you find the best products for your hair? That makes sense to ask.
I know you’re curious, but it really comes down to one very key, very essential slice of knowledge that I have gained from my curly-girl friends.
And now, I’m letting you in on this little secret.
That is the #1 element of what you need to look for when handling your curly hair.
So that’s the top thing. But there are 2 other things I want to tell you about too:
- Curl variance
Let me tell you why each of these things matter, but curl type doesn’t.
– Porosity of your hair
Remember what I said about hair being like skin in that it has different types, right? If I have dry skin, I’m not going to use an oily skin formulation, right? Right!
The same is true for your hair. You have low porosity, medium porosity (which means your hair is healthy), and high porosity. This facet of your hair changes depending on you.
If you color your hair or use chemicals in it, you’re going to have high porosity hair. You want to repair hair that has high porosity so that it can behave with medium porosity.
Healthy hair opens up the cuticles to absorb hydration and moisture and then closes up to protect your hair.
If it’s not healthy, porosity can be a big problem. So you need to figure out the porosity of your hair. How easily does it suck up any liquid?
You’re probably looking at this wondering how to figure that out, but that’s easy.
Go grab a cup of water and dunk the end of a lock of hair into it. If your hair floats, it’s not porous and has trouble soaking up products. You will want something that is creamier and heavier.
If your hair sinks in that cup, it absorbs better, so go with water-based products that have a lighter texture. This little trick will definitely help your hair be its best!
– Elasticity of your hair
The way your hair snaps back when you stretch out a curl is the elasticity. If it really doesn’t coil back to the starting point, it is missing the next element of beautiful curls…elasticity! And you need to give it more moisture.
Oils are a natural choice, but if you’re putting them on wet hair, you’re making a big old mess for yourself.
Oil and water are 2 substances that don’t mix if you remember from science class in elementary school. Oily products are not effective on wet hair. The water will push the oil out of the hair and leave the oil on the surface.
This means you get dry and brittle hair. Break this cycle, and you’ll get better results.
– Curl variance of your hair
And if you have 2 different types of curls on your head, what are you to do? For one, don’t worry.
Most people can straddle the line between multiple patterns. To look your best, apply more of your chosen product where the curls are strongest and go easier in the other sections.
How to keep moisturized, defined curls
Now that you know more about your curls, here are some tips to help you keep them moisturized and defined so everyone will gush over them!
– Keep a light touch with oils
Oils are great, but if you use too much, you’ll wind up with limp hair. It will look weighted, and it will also keep water from going to the oils on your scalp and hair. You’ll want to take care to use them sparingly.
– Avoid products with residue
Product buildup is even more problematic for curly girls. Make sure you look for styling products that are easier to remove.
If you keep having trouble washing them out when it’s time to shower, it’s time to rethink what you’re using and find something less difficult to deal with.
– Don’t be cruel to your curls
When you go nuts with your heat stylers or use harsh chemicals like relaxers, you can permanently change your curl pattern. You’ll regret it, so use a gentle touch. Also, be careful with braiding.
Some of my friends have learned the hard way to improper braiding can also be a cruel way to damage those curls.
I have a post on how to tighten curls, so you should read that if you’ve been guilty of burdening your curls and destroying the pattern. I’ll help you fix them up!
Whatever you do, just remember that your curls are beautiful. You likely have a mixture of types of curls up there, but the key element is how porous your hair is, how you handle its elasticity, and noting where you have curl variance so you can add more or less product to those places.
Once you get that down, you’ll be on your way to really rocking those curls. It all comes down to the moisture your hair retains. Show it the right kind of love, and you’ll soon see your curls are so gorgeous!