The 5 Curl Types and the Perfect Styling Products

Type 1:    STRAIGHT HAIR
Type 2:    WAVY HAIR
Priority: wave definition (gel)
Recommended products for Type 2a: Fine Hair

  • DevaCurl No-Poo – zero lather conditioning cleanser
  • DevaCurl One Condition – ultra creamy daily conditioner
  • DevaCurl B’Leave-In – curl booster and volumizer that adds luster and body to your curls
  • DevaCare ArcAngel – curl defining gel with medium to firm hold without feeling stiff or sticky

 

Recommended products for Type 2b: Medium Hair and Type 2c: Coarse Hair

  • DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser
  • DevaCurl One Condition
  • DevaCare ArcAngel – curl defining gel with medium to firm hold without feeling stiff or sticky
  • DevaCurl Set Up and Above! – pomade for optimum hold, lift and shine

 

Type 2 hair falls into the great divide between Type 1 (straight hair) and Type 3 (curly hair). A relatively unusual type, wavy hair tends to have a definite “S” pattern to it. By that I mean the wave forms throughout the hair in the shape of the letter “S.” Your hair is wavy, or Type 2, if it curves in the “S” shape while laying flat against the scalp, instead of standing away from the head the way curly hair does. Type 2s are often confused with Type 3s because it is easy to get curly hair to lay flat and look wavy. But don’t be fooled: you can’t get Type 2 hair to look like Type 3 without a lot of work. Why? The hallmark of wavy hair is that it sticks close to the head: even if you cut it in layers, it won’t bounce up. There are three Type 2 subtypes: a (fine and thin); b, (medium-textured); and c (thick and coarse). Type a is very easy to handle, pliantly blowing out into a straighter style or taking on curlier looks with relative ease. Types 2b and 2c are a little more resistant to styling and have a tendency to frizz.

Tips: This hair type needs lighter products that enhance curls. Use a diffuser for lift at the scalp and duckbill clips on the crown of your head to lift top curls as needed. Once your curls are dry, rub a little pomade into the palm of your hands and smooth over your hair. Please do not use a brush or comb on your dry curls. Sleeping on a satin pillowcase is recommended to reduce tangles.

Type 3:    CURLY HAIR
Priority: extra hydration for frizz prevention (gel, cream, pomade)

Recommended products for Type 3a: Fine Hair

  • DevaCurl No-Poo – zero lather conditioning cleanser
  • DevaCurl One Condition – ultra creamy daily conditioner
  • DevaCurl AnGel – lightweight curl defining gel that holds without feeling stiff or sticky
  • DevaCurl Set Up and Above! – pomade for optimum hold, lift and shine

 

Recommended products for Type 3b: Medium Hair and Type 3c: Corkscrew Hair

  • DevaCurl No-Poo – zero lather conditioning cleanser
  • DevaCurl One Condition – ultra creamy daily conditioner (leave in)
  • DevaCurl AnGel – lightweight curl defining gel that holds without feeling stiff or sticky
  • DevaCurl Set It Free – 24-48 hour moisture lock for maximum frizz prevention and hold. Made with Beeswax and Olive Oil
  • DevaCurl MirrorCurls – the first ever silicone-free, water soluble, botanically infused, 99% naturally derived shine serum

 

With curly hair, there is a definite loopy “S” pattern. Pluck out a hair, stretch it out. Notice the curvy lines. Looks like s stretched-out Slinky, doesn’t it? Most people think curly hair is coarse, but actually it is usually baby soft and very fine in texture – there’s just a lot of it. Because the cuticle layers don’t like as flat, curly hair isn’t as shiny as straight or wavy hair. The hair doesn’t have a very smooth surface, so light doesn’t reflect off of it as much. When curly hair is wet, is usually straightens out. As it dries, it absorbs the water and contracts to its curliest state. Those of you with Type 3 hair know all too well that humidity makes curly hair even curlier, or even frizzier.

Type 3, your hair has a lot of body and is easily styled in its natural state, or it can be easily straightened with a blow-dryer into a smoother style. Healthy Type 3 hair is shiny, with soft, smooth curls and strong elasticity. The curls are well-defined and springy: pull out a strand of hair and stretch it; it won’t snap in two. Damaged Type 3 hair is usually frizzy, dull, hard and dry to the touch, with fuzzy, ill-defined curls.

There are three subtypes of curly hair. Type 3a, hair that is very loosely curled like Julia Robert’s or Susan Sarandon’s is usually very shiny with big curls. The shorter the hair, the straighter it gets. The longer the hair the more defined the curl. Type 3b, on the other hand, is hair with a medium amount of curl in bouncy ringlets – think of Shirley Temple  Type 3c, is hair with tight curls in corkscrews. The curls can be either kinky, or very tightly curled, with lots and lots of strands densely packed together. Some people refer to this as “big hair.” Getting this type of hair to blow dry straight is more challenging than for 3a or 3b, but it usually can be done. This includes those with very tight curls but finer hair, as well as coarser hair. 3c has really really tight curls, like pencil or straw circumference. 3B is like sidewalk chalk or salt shaker circumference, and 4a is like coffee stirrer circumference.

TYPE 4:    KINKY HAIR

Priority: maximum hydration (cream and butter)

Recommended products for type 4a medium and 4b corkscrew hair:

  • DevaCurl No-poo – zero lather conditioning cleanser
  • DevaCurl One Condition – ultra creamy daily conditioner (leave in)
  • DevaCurl AnGel – lightweight curl defining gel that holds without feeling stiff or sticky
  • DevaCurl Set It Free – 24-48 hour moisture lock for maximum frizz prevention and hold. Made with Beeswax and Olive Oil
  • Blended Beauty Curl Styling Butter

 

If your hair falls into the Type 4 category, then it is kinky, or very tightly curled. Generally, Type 4 hair is very wiry, very tightly coiled and very, very fragile. Like Type 3 hair, Type 4 hair appears to be coarse, but it is actually quite fine, with lots and lots of this strands densely packed together. Healthy Type 4 hair won’t shine, but it will have sheen. It will be soft to the touch and will pass the strand test with ease. It will feel more silky than it will look shiny. Oprah, Whoopi Goldberg and the actress Angela Bassett are all Type 4s.

Type 4 hairs looks tough and durable, but looks can be deceiving. If you have Type 4 hair, you already know that it is the most fragile hair around. Why? Type 4 hair has fewer cuticle layers than any other hair type, which means that it has less natural protection from the damage you inflict by combing, brushing, curling, blow-drying and straightening it. The more cuticle layers in a single strand of hair, the more protection it has from damage. Each time you damage your hair — fire up the curling iron, fry it with chemicals – you break down a cuticle layer, robbing your hair of much-needed moisture. I cannot emphasize this enough. It’s like taking a wire and bending it again and again. Eventually, it’s going to snap and break.

Many women with Type 4 hair rely on chemical relaxers to make hair easier to control. In its natural states, sometimes Type 4 hair doesn’t grow very long because every time you comb it, it breaks. (Of course, if you have dreadlocks and never comb them or keep them braided, your hair can and does grow quite long.)

There are two subtypes of Type 4 hair: Type 4a, tightly coiled hair that, when stretched, has an “S” pattern, much like curly hair; and Type 4b, which has a “Z” pattern, less of a defined curl pattern (instead of curling or coiling, the hair bends in sharp angles like the letter “Z”). Type 4a tends to have more moisture than Type 4b, which will have a wiry texture. But what if your hair has been chemically straightened? How can you tell which subtype you belong to if your hair is relaxed? You’ll need at least one inch of new growth to tell. Pull at the roots. If you can see a definite curl pattern, then it’s an a, if not, then it’s a b.

ADDENDUM:

Type 4 hair can range from fine/thin to wiry/coarse strand texture.  Generally, this hair is densely packed to give the appearance of very thick but fragile hair.  4a hair has a clearly visible curl and wave pattern that ranges from pen size curls to pen spring size coils.  4b hair has a tighter wave pattern and kinks of various size.  This texture does not exhibit the shine or silkiness of looser type curls, but instead has sheen, and a soft, almost cotton-like feel. As with other types of curly hair, showing the true length can be an extra challenge, as the hair may grow “up” or “out” before starting to hang down. In its unlocked/unbraided state, type 4 hair is known to shrink up to 75% of the actual hair length.  With the proper care and technique, type 4 hair is indeed resilient, manageable, durable, growable and easy to control.