Curly Hair Types

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Are you a curly girl/boy, who is often confused about several issues regarding the curly hair? The issues might include:

  • How to manage the curly hair? or
  • How to apply modern curly hair styles? or
  • How to select right type curly hair products? Or
  • What are the right ways of curly hair care?

If yes, then, read this piece of writings. This article will help you to understand the type and nature of your curly hair.

Why Is It Essential to Know Your Hair Type?

It is essential to know major features of different curly hair types. Because it will help you to understand the unique attribute and need your curly hair. Therefore, you will be able to take proper care of your curls.

You might know that all types of curly hairs are not similar. The type of curls usually varies on the basis of several indicators, such as hair texture, hair volume, the form of hair-strands, the quantity of cuticle layer, fragility, etc.

Attributes of Different Curly Hair Types

To understand the pattern of your curly hair you can follow an easy system. At first wash your curls. After that, dry the hair in the air without using any product or accessories. At next, look at your curls and try to find out the pattern of waves or curls present in your hair. Then, match your hair with the special attributes of different types of curls mentioned in the following sections and distinguish what your hair textures show. In this way, you can easily decide the right pattern of your curls. If you can understand the type and nature of your curl, you will be able to find out the appropriate curly hair products, curly hair styles, and curly hair care tips. Thus, you can get healthy curly hair.

Considering the patterns of hair textures, all kinds of hairs have been divided into four categories. Those are Type 1, type 2, type 3 and Type 4. Generally, type 1 hair includes the straight hair. In this article, we are going to discuss only the specific features and patterns of different types of curly hair. Therefore, we will exclude type 1 from our discussion.

  • Type 2: Wavy hair
  • Type 3: Curly hair and
  • Type 4: Kinky hair


Type Two: Wavy Hair

This group includes wavy hair textures. The hair waves might range from light waves to very waves. In this pattern, the wavy nature is more visible than the curly form. This type of curly hair is also termed as ‘Type 2’ hair. In ‘type 2’ hair group, the waves, as well as curls, tend to form the shape like an “S”.  Moreover, you will find that usually, this pattern of hair tends to stick closer to the head. Usually, the wavy type of hair never bounces up; even if, it is layered.

Depending on the form of waves the ‘type 2’ hair textures can be further divided into three types. These are as follows:

  • Wavy Swavy

The most significant attribute of this ‘wavy swavy’ hair pattern is fine and thin hair textures. This hair is also classified as ‘Type 2a’ wavy hair. If you see that your curls are gently forming shapes that slightly look like “s” and the hair-waves tend to stick close to your head, then you will understand that your hair belongs to type 2a hair. However, this 2a type, hair does not bounce up, even though it undergoes layered-style. Moreover, this type curly hair is much easier to handle in comparison with the other types of curly hair. Therefore, type 2a hair is compatible to straighten, rebound or curl without much effort. Another attribute of ‘wavy Swavy’ hair pattern is, it tends to bear a shiny texture.

  • Wavy Curvy

You can distinguish this hair type by checking the pattern of waves. If you see that the waves or curls form the shape of the English “s” letter throughout your hair, then be sure that your hair belongs to ‘wavy curvy’ group. This group has been classified as ‘Type 2b’. Like the former type-2a hair, the hair type 2b also sticks closer to the scalp and it does not bounce up, normally or in layered-style. This wavy and curvy hair offers an attractive glossy texture, in general. The most significant distinguishing factor between the curly hair type-2a as well as type-2b is, the later group (type 2b) bears more waves in comparison with the former one (type 2a). Moreover, type 2b hair textures tend to frizz more often. Therefore, this Wavy Curvy hair textures show a little more resistance to styling.

  • Wavy Whirly

This group includes the wavy hair containing much thicker and coarser hair textures. Hair experts have been classified this type curls as ‘Type 2c’. Interestingly, hair textures of 2c  include one or more pattern of curls; rather than just waves. However, these wavy and whirly hair textures show considerable resistance, when you will try to apply any style. Furthermore, this ‘2c hair type’ tends to frizz more easily. Therefore, the waves of type 2c need much care for the styling and managing the frizz. In some cases, this hair type 2c bears an underlying layer of type-1 or straight hair; however, in the rest categories of curly hair, the Wavy Whirly hair contains underlying layers that are more curly or twist form.

Type Three: Curly Hair

If you think that your hair textures bear more curls than waves, then check out this group. And the appearance of type 3 might range from light curls to heavy curls. The most significant attribute of type 3 hair is, the pattern of curls is much more definite as well as springy than the previously mentioned pattern of curly hair. If your hair belongs to this group, then you are much lucky; because the ‘type 3’ Curly hair is more compatible for styling than ‘type 2’ hair. This hair texture includes much space in the body; which makes it compatible for styling easily in its regular or natural state. Moreover, this type curly hair can be straightened without much effort. Despite the curlier appearance, the type 3 hair feels soft as well as finer; rather than being coarse.

Considering the nature of curls, the ‘type 3’ hair textures can be divided into three categories. The main features of these curly hair categories are as follows:

  • Curly Twirly

This type curls bear an explicit looping pattern that looks like the English letter “S”. This curly twirly pattern falls into ‘type 3a’ category. The twirls of this type curly hair are not only explicit, but also springy. A significant attribute of this type curly-hair is, its circumferences are big and bear loose forms in the natural state. Additionally, this type of curly hair bears a more shiny texture compared to other patterns of curly hair. Normally, this ‘type 3a’ category Curly Twirly hair can be straightened without much effort. However, the textures of hair type 3a can be vulnerable to the harsh effect of climate.

  • Curly Spirally

The curly hair that belongs to this group bears springy, voluminous and well-defined curls. The form curls might range from the bouncy ringlet shapes to taut corkscrew shapes. Another major attribute of this hair is, it bears sharpie size circumference. This type spiral curly hair falls into ‘type 3b’. However, you can straighten texture of this hair type 3b; but it bears the form of a chore. This type spiral curly hair do not bear a shiny surface, in general. The texture of this curls can be fairly coarse in comparison with the other types of curly hair.

  • Curly Coily

If you possess a voluminous hair with corkscrew-like tight-shape curls, then your hair certainly belongs to this group. Usually, the circumference of this curly hair can be compared to a regular shape pencil or a piece of straw. This hair has been classified as ‘Type 3c’ by the hair experts. The pattern of curls might vary from person to person. In some cases the curls bear kinky shape. However, in other cases, the curls bear taut form, which can be composed of a bunch of strands.  And, these strands are packed together in a dense form. Though the ‘Type 3c’ curls are taut and dense, they possess a fine texture, in general. The textures of type-3c hair need more effort to be straightened compared to the curly hair type-3a and type-3b.

Type 4: Kinky Hair

If your hair strands bear coil like form, then check out the attributes of ‘type 4’ hair. The nature of hair might bear wiry form with finer and thinner texture. However, the hair texture can also be coarse and contain a bunch of strands that are packed together in a dense form. The type 4 hair is composed of smaller quantities of cuticle layers by nature compared to any other category of curly hair. Therefore, type 4 hair can be damaged easily. On the basis of the nature of the coil or wiry form, the ‘type 4’ hair textures can be subdivided into three curly hair types. Those are:

  • Kinky Springy

If you see that your hair naturally bears a tightly coiled form that looks like the English letter “S” pattern, then your hair belongs to this group. It has been classified as ‘type 4a’ hair. This type 4a hair bears a well-defined curl pattern with a mass hair-strands packed together densely. The spiral-circumference looks like the crochet needle. The texture of this wiry hair is naturally fine. However, this pattern of curls bears comparatively fewer number of cuticle layers than usual patterns of curls. Moreover, this type curly hair textures show more fragility.

  • Kinky Crimpy

The pattern of this type curly hair looks like the English letter “Z”. This coily and crimpy type of hair falls into ‘type 4b’. It is composed of fewer curls compared to a definite curl pattern. The most significant attribute of type 4b hair is the hair-strands bend into sharp angle forms instead of curling, wiring or coiling. The surface of ‘type 4b’ hair textures feels like cotton. The texture of this hair is quite wiry and coiled in a taut pattern. It contains less moisture compared to the hair type-4b and the other previously mentioned hair-patterns. Another major attribute of this hair is, the hair-length often condenses up to 75% of the real length due to the voluminous packs of hair-strands. This type curly hair is also fragile.

  • Kinky Ziggly

If you think that your curly hair bears the composition of more than one type curls, then your hair certainly belongs to this group. This pattern of curly hair can include loose-type curl patterns, which never tends to clump in the natural state. The hair patterns might include fine or thin or super soft texture. This type hair can also bear wiry or coarse texture. Naturally, ‘type 4c’ hair-strands bears a densely packed appearance. The distinguishing attribute between the type 4b and type 4c curly hair types is that the curls are kinked in a tighter form in type 4c. The type 4c coily and ziggly hair textures can be shrunk to over 75%.

On the whole, a little knowledge on the curly hair types may help you to offer the right treatment and care to your precious curls.


  1.  “Hair Types | Healthy Hair Dimensions – Retailer of Natural Hair Products”. Retrieved 2015-01-28.
  2. “Hair type, texture and density | Hairdressing Training”. Retrieved 2015-01-28.

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