Hair can be challenging to understand, but it can unlock a new world of opportunities once you do. Surprisingly enough, most people don’t know their hair type, texture, porosity, or elasticity which can explain how to take care of their hair.
Do you find your hair to be puffy, frizzy, too voluminous, dry, or lackluster? There could be a chance you aren’t caring for your hair the right way, and that it could very well be curly. But, like the cult-classic movie Mean Girls, “that’s why her hair is big, it’s full of secrets.”
However, your hair type can tell you precisely what you need to care for your strands. Your hair doesn’t want to keep secrets from you and instead wants to be nurtured. Curly hair can be difficult to identify, especially when you’re caring for it as if it were straight.
How do you know if you have curly hair? Thankfully, some significant indicators point to curly hair types, including a wave in your wet hair, loose or tight curls after air drying, constantly dealing with frizz, voluminous roots, and more.
How can you determine if your hair is wavy or curly? Wavy hair is tricky because it can react like straight hair types, or it can react like curly hair types. Thankfully, there are various methods and routines to determine your hair type.
Curly Hair Vs. Wavy Hair
Wavy hair can function like curly hair, or it can act like straight hair types. It can go either way and can make it confusing for many individuals to understand their true hair type. Curly hair can also take on a mind of its own.
Unfortunately, there are people out there damaging their hair that think they have straight hair when in reality, it’s curly. Well, if wavy and curly hair can be similar, what makes them different? For each hair type, there are three subcategories that your hair can fit into.
Hair Type Guide:
- Straight: 1A, 1B, 1C
- Wavy: 2A, 2B, 2C
- Curly: 3A, 3B, 3C
- Coily: 4A, 4B, 4C
According to Allure’s hair type guide, “Wavy hair is bendable, from fine to coarse, that has a definitive S pattern but lays closer to the head.” A big indicator of wavy or curly hair is how it looks both when it’s wet and when it’s dry.
Wet hair can help you view your curl pattern. If it’s in a soft “S” shape, chances are you have 2A or 2B hair types. These hair types can have more in common with straight hair types than curly hair types. If you are in between, you’re a true wavy.
If you notice while your hair is wet that it has a strong “S” pattern, and it even has a few spirals throughout your scalp, chances are you have a 2C hair type. This hair type can have similar characteristics to type 3 curly hair types.
According to Wavy Hair Care, signs that your hair is wavy can include “your strands are wavy when wet, but they dry straight, it’s thick and puffy when you go for a haircut, your hair is frizzy when there is rain or humidity, among other characteristics.”
Wavy hair can go either way, and through personal preference and experimentation, you’ll be able to decipher what other hair type you relate to, either straight or curly. As long as you have patience, you’ll be able to learn about your hair and offer adequate care.
Allure’s hair type guide also defines that Curly hair “can range from loose, buoyant loops to tight, springy corkscrews which have some sheen but are prone to frizz.” Unfortunately, Curly or Coily hair types are often the most misunderstood hair types.
Which Curly Hair Type Are You?
3A: This hair type has loose spirals or ringlets. It’s often shiny, and is comparable to the diameter of a cork from a wine bottle or sidewalk chalk. The scalp can get dry from time to time, and frequent deep conditioning treatments can benefit your curls.
3B: The next curly hair type is most often described to have “springy ringlets.” The diameter of these ringlets is similar to the width of a Sharpie or your fingers. This curl pattern will also be more voluminous and dry. Deep conditioning can help!
3C: The last curly hair type can even share multiple similarities with type 4, Coily hair types. This hair type has tight ringlets like the diameter of a pencil and an increased amount of volume. This hair type can benefit from using a co-wash in your routine.
Curly Girl Life shares the five biggest signs you have curly hair:
- Humidity increases the amount of volume and frizz your hair has.
- Your hair has waves, curls, or ringlets, even when it’s wet.
- Frizz and static are your worst enemy.
- Your hair can hold a curl for days on end.
- You never know how to style your hair.
People often ignore these indicators and still continue to treat their hair like it’s straight. However, if you flat iron your hair usually every week to eliminate frizz and puffy ends, it may be time to care for hair that has curls or waves.
In addition, there are various other indicators that your hair is, in fact, curly. For starters, when you go in for a haircut, does the stylist cut it wet or dry? Curly and Coily hair types can benefit from dry cutting to see where your curls will lay daily.
If you have had your hair cut while it’s wet, have you noticed that it dries down much shorter than anticipated after your cut? This is because cutting curly hair while it’s wet is misleading since once your hair dries and takes its pattern, it looks much shorter.
Still feeling unsure? See a licensed hairstylist who specializes in curly and coily hair types. They will be able to assess your hair and guide you through a proper hair care routine.
Do you style your hair as if it were straight? What products or hot tools do you use? Another indicator that your hair can be curly is watching how your strands react when forced into a straight hair type.
Straightened curly hair can result in an unflattering look. For example, you may notice your roots are less voluminous or defined, and your ends are frizzy and poofy. As a result, your hair takes on the shape of a triangle.
If you can’t handle the frizziness of your strands while it’s straight, it may be time to switch up your routine. Curly hair can be challenging to care for, but you’ll instantly achieve bouncy, smooth, and voluminous locks with the correct products and methods.
How To Care For Curly Hair
Curls need enough moisture throughout the week to keep your ringlets soft and defined. In addition, Curly and Coily hair types have differently shaped hair follicles than wavy and straight hair, making it challenging for your scalp’s oils to reach your ends.
Leave-in conditioners and treatments, in addition to oils, masks, and moisturizing sprays, can keep your curls fresh and full of life all week long. Keeping your hair moisturized can also combat frizzy strands.
What is co-washing, and why is it beneficial for curly or coily hair types?
According to Byrdie, “A co-wash is the use of a specifically formulated cream cleanser to remove buildup and cleanse the hair without the lathering or harsh ingredients…Co-washing is using conditioner to wash and cleanse your hair.”
Ditch the shampoo and opt to cleanse your scalp with a conditioner. Byrdie also states that “the process is especially good for those with textured and natural hair because it doesn’t strip the hair and scalp of natural oils.”
Curly and Coily hair typically tend to have drier scalps. This is because the scalp needs moisture to promote healthy hair growth, and the natural oils need to travel down the shaft. In addition, a co-wash eliminates the need for harsh shampoo.
3. Deep Condition
Deep conditioning is another method to ensure your curls retain enough moisture. Use a deep conditioning mask for about 30 min to an hour and follow up with the rest of your hair routine.
For those who are extra dry or have low porosity hair, leaving a deep conditioning mask in your hair overnight can provide hydrating benefits to keep your locks bouncy and smooth.
4. Define Your Curls
A curl-defining cream or mousse can give the definition of your hair that you have always desired. Your curls can be separate, piecey, defined, and smooth with the help of a curl-defining cream. This is an essential styling product for many curly girls.
A mousse can amp up your volume at the roots so your beautiful ringlets will never have to fall flat. A curl-defining cream and mousse can be the ultimate styling duo, especially if you don’t heat style your hair.
If you do heat style your hair, opt for a heat protectant. Not only will a heat protectant save you from hot tools, but they can also protect against UV rays from the sun. So it’s recommended to invest in your styling products to keep your hair full of life.
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