How To Take Care of Curly Hair: The 4 Curly Hair Types

blond woman standing in front of bushes

No matter the type of hair that you have, taking care of it is an important aspect of having good hair. In this article, we will focus on curly hair, how to take care of it, as well as to learn some interesting facts and which hairstyles can be done, and how to do them.

Curly Hair and Its Characteristics

Curly hair can mean having curls that are tightly coiled or curls that are big and loose. This hair type is very complex as each strand can have a unique curl pattern of its own. You should only wash your hair every 2-3 days. Curly hair can also come in a variety of textures such as fine, medium-textured, thick, and coarse.

What makes your hair fall into the curly hair category? The shape of the hair follicle matter keratin (protein) is clustered in the hair shaft. This results in how many curls you will have, the more twisty your hair, the more curls you have. The Curly hair type is prone to frizz.

This is the number one struggle among curly-haired people. Use curl-enhancing creams or gels or mousses to help combat this issue. You need to use the product by applying it to the hair by following the curl pattern of each strand and twirling it from the mid-shaft of the hair.

Table of Contents

Characteristics of Healthy Curly Hair:

  1. Healthy Hair is always soft to the touch – Your curls should not feel dry, brittle, or rough.
  2. Your hair should be strong – Your curls should not snap or break easily. The softer and smoother your hair is, the more elastic it has the stronger it is.
  3. Your hair should have volume and movement – Your hair should not be stiff and hard. It should have the body and be full and voluminous.
  4. Smooth to the touch – By properly conditioning your hair and moisturizing it regularly it will seal the cuticles and make it resistant to snagging, tangling, and creating split ends.  

Curly Hair Types

To determine what hair type you have, the André Walker Hair Typing System can help know which hair type you have. Once you know this, it becomes easier to take care of and treat.

According to this system, hair comes in four categories:

  • Wavy
  • Straight
  • Kinky
  • Curly

Curly hair can be divided further into three categories namely:

  • Curly
  • Wavy
  • Coily

For you to know which hair type you have you should wet your hair. However, if you have used heat or chemicals on your hair recently, it might not show your true curl texture.

Listed below are the variety in the different curl types there are. To consider the hair of fine texture, fineness refers to the strand’s width, and thickness of hair refers to the hair density. If not styled properly, fine hair tends to be lifeless.

TYPE 2 Hair

This type 2 hair has more waves than curls. The strands are an S- Shape more than it does have coils or kinks and its wavy structure is between straight and curly. It also frizzes more and naturally dries with ease, with no struggles of having to dry it.

Type 2A Hair – Fine Hair Type

  • This hair type is the least curly
  • This hair strand is closer to straight hair
  • Fine hair type, it has no volume
  • Can make any hairstyle you want – easy to manage and manipulate

Type 2B – Medium Hair Type

  • This hair type is the beach wave hair type
  • The strands are S-Shaped Waves
  • The way it falls depends on the shape of your head.
  • Roots are straight – only starts to get wavy at Eye level
  • Prone to frizz.

Type 2C – Coarse Hair Type

  • These are tighter waves that are more defined
  • The hair curls from the roots
  • You would have thicker hair strands
  • Difficult to style hair because hair always remains short
  • Avoid tousling – keep it frizz-free.

Well Known Products on Fine Curly Hair

  • Cactus Rosewater lightweight conditioner – This is a sulfate-free shampoo that helps create the body while adding softness to dull, fine hair.
  • Pracaxi Nectar Style and hold foam – This foam prevents frizz and provides a soft hold.
  • Monoi Intense Repair Inner Strength System - Repairs extremely damaged and brittle hair
  • Monoi Ora Flexible Volume Spray – Lightweight, volumizing system is infused with Monoi Oil and coconut water. This adds a veil of moisture to protect against heat.
  • Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum – Lightweight and silicone-free, prevents damage to hair when applying heat or chemicals such as dying your hair.

TYPE 3 Curly Hair

The hair strands of this hair type are light to very curly hair. It is the epitome of real curls, and this type has a soft curl pattern.

People with this hair type usually suffer from dry ends which means you have to cut/trim from time to time. Keep hair hydrated – regulates frizz, as soon as the hair dries out, the frizz starts. Also, don’t use drying agents, this will have a damaging effect on your hair. 

This type also has spiral and ringlet-shaped curls. If you feel like you constantly have to fix hair during the day – don't stay in place. You have this type of hair if your hair dries often/ quick

Type 3A hair

  • These are defined as S-Shaped but are springy
  • If you try to get the hair into a ponytail and it stays, you have Type 3A hair.
  • Out of all the type 3 hair, the 3A hair type can be straightened quickly.
  • This hair type tends to lose its definition and frizz more often

Type 3B Hair

  • These curls are tinier than they are for Type 3A
  • They are also tighter and much denser
  • Frizzes easily

Type 3C

  • These curls are bouncy
  • Tighter ringlet size curls
  • Pencil Straw curls
  • Hair is voluminous
  • Dries often – keep it hydrated

TYPE 4 Hair

This hair type can look shorter than it is, and it has the highest level of shrinkage.  You should focus on moisturizing this hair type. It has different tightness of curls, and these curls are Z-shaped instead of S-Shaped.

This type of hair has a zigzag pattern which has curls sharper and tighter. These zigzag-shaped can be coily and tight and are responsible for up to 70% shrinkage of the hair.

This type of hair tangles more than the other hair types and people often struggles to keep it moisturized – hair dries out more often

Type 4A

  • Hair type comes in tiny coils – crochet needle size
  • Fine Texture and wiry
  • More of an S-Shaped

Type 4B

  • Tight coils with corkscrew shapes
  • Hair is soft and cotton-like – length shrinks
  • Defined coils and thicker

Type 4C

  • This hair type is like 4B
  • It is denser and coarser than 4B
  • Less defined curls
  • 70% shrinkage level
  • Highest level of slippage

Best Products to Use on Coarse Hair Types

Coarse curly hair texture is strong, and wide in width. Tends to be very dry and prone to frizz. Takes longer to dry than fine hair. Type 4 hair falls into the coarse category. Coarse hair can hold more heat and can take harsh chemicals.

  • Wash day delight – This shampoo is made from Aloe. It lifts away from the build-up of dirt on the scalp and hair cleanse.
  • Coco crème curl Quenching Deep Moisture Mask – This mask helps hydrate hair and moistures hair
  • Goddess strength 7 oil blend scalp and hair oil - Sulphate-free shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in
  • Hair Milk Refresher Spray – This product provides moisture, prevents frizz, and improves
  • Mimosa hair honey - This product is parabens, artificial colors, and petroleum-free.

So, we’ve talked about the types of curly hair, but hairstylists would also need to take hair length into consideration. Read our guide on how to get a beautiful long curly hair.

woman with curly hair sitting on the street

Interesting Facts About Curly Hair

The average head of hair has about 120 000 hairs while a curly head only has 100 000 strands. There are many curl types on one head, as there are several different curl patterns among curly hair people.

Curly hair needs less shampoo, they have fewer sebaceous glands which means that their hair isn’t as oily as straight hair. Curly hair grows approximately 6 inches a year. 90% of the curls are in a growing phase while the 10% are in a resting phase. This hair type can also shrink up to 30%.

11 Tips to Keep Your Hair Curly Even After a Long Day

Here are some great tips to help keep your curly hair curly:

1. Avoid Excess Shampoo

Use your shampoo the right way because curly hair dries quickly and using shampoo excessively can lead to losing its natural moisture. When using conditioner, look for one with moisturizing ingredients, this will help seal your hair cuticles against the environment.

2. Use A Pre-Shampoo Treatment

This will help you detangle those curls and remove the frizz from your hair. Use a hair mask or a conditioning oil and leave that on for 20 minutes. Use a shower cap or a towel to add some heat and open your hair cuticles.  Make sure to massage the conditioner properly so that it penetrates your hair well. 

You can also use a conditioner before you use it to wash your hair with shampoos, and it can be used afterward as well. If you have a coarser hair type, using conditioner before using shampoos will help the shampoos not strip away the hair of its natural oils.

3. Choose Your Shampoo’s Wisely

When washing your hair make sure to use a shampoo that is free from chemicals that could damage your hair. Watch out for toxins such as sulfate, silicones, alcohols, and parabens. These ingredients can irritate your scalp.

Parabens are the preservatives added into the shampoo ingredients, and the sulfates are lathering agents which give the shampoo its foamy texture. Rather switch to a milder shampoo that is fragrance-free as well.  Another option you can consider doing is to dilute your shampoo and conditioner with water before you use it.

Here are some of the ingredients that you should look out for: shampoos and conditioners that contain keratin, shea butter, and aloe vera, provitamins, and plant extracts. 

The Best Products for Curly Hair Treatment

  • Meadow form – creates a protective seal over your hair.
  • Conditioning Polymers – These helps create the bounce and define curls
  • Silicone – Apply this to the ends of hair, helps soften the curl pattern, and give it a shine.
  • Humectants – These products hydrate and prevent puffiness.
  • Use Natural oils to smooth curls.

4. Use A Wide-Toothed Comb 

This will help to remove those tangles from your hair. When you comb your hair, do it from the bottom upwards. This method helps remove knots.

5. Never Brush Your Curly Hair

Make sure to use a wide-toothed comb before you use shampoo on your hair. After washing your hair, use your fingers or a wide-toothed comb to get through your hair. Brushing wet hair is prone to breakage and damage. 

You should also invest in a high-quality brush that has natural bristles instead of using one that has plastic. Using a boar bristle brush can help spread natural oils from your scalp all the way to the ends of your hair. 

6. Always Rinse in Cold Water

Using hot water strips your hair and scalp from its natural oils. This can also damage hair by making it prone to frizz and breakage. Use cold water to avoid causing these damages to your hair.

Using cold water helps retain moisture and strength.

7. Try Using Natural Treatments for Your Hair

When you use hair masks, try making them from natural ingredients such as olive oil, eggs, vinegar, and mayonnaise. These can be mixed and applied to the hair and rinsed off with a mild shampoo after 30 minutes. Eggs are rich in protein. Mayonnaise helps give hair a shine and acts as a moisturizer.  

Avocados are another healthy choice to use on your hair, and they are rich in vitamins. Using a tablespoon of honey, two tablespoons of olive oil and a mashed avocado can be applied as a hair mask.

8. Use Homemade Oils for Your Curly Hair

By using oil on your hair, you increase the blood circulation to your scalp, and this promotes healthy hair growth. There are different types of natural oils you can use.

Coconut oil – Use light and non-greasy coconut oil. Massage it into your scalp with your fingertips. You can use this oil before bedtime and wash it off in the morning. 

Olive oil – This oil adds moisture to your curls. Use 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat it up in a bowl for a minute. Then, apply it evenly to your scalp using your fingertips. After doing that, wrap a warm towel over your head and rinse the oil off with a mild shampoo after 45 minutes to an hour.

You can also use Castor oil if you don’t have Olive oil. Other oils that can be used are jojoba oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, rose oil,

9. Trim Your Hair to Avoid Split Ends

Trim your hair every 6-8 weeks to ensure that you have no split ends.

10. Sleep Routine for Curly Hair

Pile your hair on top of your head in a bun, such as a pineapple. This ensures less friction of your hair rubbing against the pillowcase when sleeping. Also ensure that you do not sleep on a cotton pillowcase, instead switch to a satin or silk one. Sleeping on your bed can damage your hair follicles by putting on them. Wrap your hair in a bonnet or headscarf to protect it.

11. Hair Styles Using Moderate Heat

Using hair styling equipment that needs heat can change the natural texture of your hair. This can make your curls dull and limp. When using heat, make sure to use a protectant spray.

Using a blow-dryer can enhance frizzes and damage your hair strands. Also, keep hair 6 inches or more away from the hairdryer. You should also try to avoid split ends, although this is difficult to do. Use a detangler when brushing or combing your hair to avoid the brush or comb yanking or pulling on your hair. Don’t wear your hair in tight ponytails or buns, use a wide-tooth comb instead of a narrow one.

woman having her hair colored at the salon

Methods You Can Use to Keep Your Hair Curly

  • Occasionally you can skip using conditioner – this will keep curls intact.
  • Use a curl activating cream to help define curls
  • Don’t use too many hair products on your hair as it can weigh it down.
  • Use sponge rollers and hairpins to pin your hair up and keep the curls.
  • Use holding sprays and gels to keep your hairstyles in place.

Styles You Can Use for Curly Hair

Instead of having the normal frizz and wear, here are some other curly hairstyles you can try to get the most of your hair.

1. The Ultra-High Ponytail

Apply a curl defining cream onto your hair, then pull your hair together at the crown of your head and tie it in place with a hair tie. On the sides of the ponytail, you can pin in bobby pins to help keep the hair in place.

2. Messy Half-Buns

Make a ponytail using the section of your hair near your ears. Then, twist the ponytail until you have coiled the hair into a bun. Secure it with bobby pins.

The messier the coil, the messier the bun.

3. Side Braid

Section your hair into three parts on the side of your head, then braid them and tie them with an elastic band.

You can even do a French-style braid or a French twist.

4. Classic Updo Hairstyle

Make sure that hair has been air-dried first, then apply a serum to your curls. Tie your hair into a ponytail in the middle of the nape of your neck and the crown of your head. Wrap the ponytail around the base of the hair and tie it to form a hair bun.

By using bobby pins you can secure the updo firmly.

woman with curly graying hair at the park

Things To Avoid for Curly Hair

Here are a few more tips to follow to ensure that you keep your hair curly.

  • Do not wash curly hair every day – it removes the natural oils.
  • Do not sleep on a cotton pillowcase – this causes friction and can damage your hair.
  • Do not use any heat when styling hair – strip away moisture
  • Use products made for your hair type
  • Don’t compare hair types.

How To Get Curls as You Sleep

Here are some tips you can use to get curls if you don’t have naturally curly hair.

1. Use Hair Rollers

You can use traditional or plastic rollers, but they can become uncomfortable and can push against the skin when sleeping.

There are some softer “sleep-in” curlers that are flex rods. These won’t be uncomfortable when you sleep in.

2. Wet Your Hair in Braids

After washing your hair, braid it. You can put on some leave-in conditioner to keep the braids in place.

A French braid means that your curls can start at the crown. You can brush it out in the morning and style it.

3. Plopping

After washing you can infuse it with some curling gel. Then flip your hair onto a cotton t-shirt. All your hair must be centered on the shirt, fold the flap of fabric behind your neck over your head, and secure the arms of the shirt in a knot.

Key Takeaways!

It is important to know your hair type so that it can help you figure out your hair care routine, as well as to guide you in the type of products to use for your hair. Knowing your hair type also makes styling your hair easier and helps you in the maintenance of your hair.

To gently care for your hair, make sure to limit the amount of heat used when styling. Get your hands on some of the best hair products, extensions, and more through the JuvaBun catalog!