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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Figure Out Your Curl Type: Such as Typical 3A Hair

Coils and curls are actually two different terms if you dig deeper. But it’s all about the degrees to which the hair is bent. 

We feel you. Decoding the type of your curl can be confusing. Various textures can exist on a head of curly hair, which all need to look cohesive when styled. 

It’s simple to give up in frustration and consider shaving it all off when the hair in your crown area is looser than on your sides and much more different from the hair at the back. This is entirely possible!

There are many terms when discussing curl types, such as 3A, 1b, 1a, 4c, etc. But don’t worry if that’s not really your thing. Because of the curls, knowing and embracing your texture may be windy, but it need not be difficult.

Most people use a particular curl typing system initially developed by hairstylist Andre Walker. 

We won’t lie to you: The question of whether the type system is divisive or even overly limited has generated some discussion. Thanks to curly community members, it has even undergone a small amount of alteration throughout time. Power to the people.

Despite the controversy, many individuals have discovered that even though this particular set of instructions isn’t ideal, it can be beneficial at least assist you in identifying your curl pattern. Hence, you know where to start when shopping for hair-care products.

You should at least be able to enter a store knowing roughly what you’re searching for to treat your priceless crown and the general guidelines for the most incredible hairstyles.

Fortunately, we have learned from two business professionals who work with texture to explain some subtler aspects of the type categories. 

There is a simple way to tell exactly what’s happening on top, regardless of whether you have gentle bends pouring down your back or tight coils blooming upward. 

You can quickly become an expert in curl typing by following the simple advice provided below, which includes suggestions for your hair care supplies.

Brown curly hair on woman in black tank

Where to Start?

According to hairstylist Vernon François, “Your curl type is influenced by the follicle shape your hair grows out of from your scalp.” 

Your hair will be curlier if the follicle is flatter or more oval-shaped and straighter if the cross-section is more circular. 

How your hair strands are shaped—whether they kink, curve, or wind around one another in spirals—will also reveal your curl pattern. 

Most people with textured hair have multiple patterns on their heads, so you might have a mix of, for example, kinky, coily, wavy, and curly.

It is preferable to determine your curl shape and pattern(s) when your hair is completely damp.

An easy decomposition: The four hair types are straight (Type 1), wavy (Type 2), curly (Type 3), and coily (Type 4). Simple, right?

The diameter of your wave, curl, or coil determines which subclassification, from A to C, it belongs to. 

In pattern size, type As has the most significance, Type B the middle, and Type C the lowest. 

According to Anthony Dickey, the curl whiz behind the Hair Rules salon and business, “the actual beauty of knowing your hair type is that you become better at understanding how to take care of your texture so you can have more adaptability.”

Drawing of waves on pink background

Type 2. (Wavy)

Type 2 waves have a distinct S pattern that sits closer to the head, are budge-able, and range in size from fine to coarse.

Laura Dern on the red carpet. her hair is slightly wavy and parted in the middle

Type 2A 

A delicate, barely-there tousled texture that is relatively simple to straighten characterizes people with hair type 2A. 

Heavy-style products should be avoided by those with this texture because they can easily weigh their strands down and make them limp and lifeless. 

Make sure the items you’re looking for are made with a lightweight consistency if you have this type of hair texture.

Like Laura Dern’s, 2A waves often have the little volume at the root. 

Dickey advises adding a little extra oomph at the base to make the hair appear fluffier and fuller by using a water-based mousse.

Salma Hayek with curly brown hair

Type 2B

Salma Hayek’s 2B hair has definite S-shaped waves that start at the midlength and lie flattered near the crown. 

The diameter of the strands is more significant than a 2A; getting them straight will require a little more effort. 

Use a texturizing mist to accentuate your natural surfer-babe waves.

Shakira with curly hair walking down the street

Type 2C

The waves of a 2C are substantial and more prone to frizz. The roots mark the beginning of the clearly defined S-bends. The epitome of this hairstyle is Shakira. 

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Use a non-lathering, sulfate-free co-wash between shampoos to avoid robbing strands of vital moisture. 

If you have brown curly hair, you may add volume by getting extra height and tighter curls and holding hair with a curling iron for 20 seconds.

Dickey also advises layering a leave-in conditioner under a mousse to hydrate your hair while maintaining its natural wave pattern. 

Spirals and coils on light yellow background

Type 3 (Curly)

Both loose, buoyant loops and tight, springy corkscrews with some gloss, but a propensity for frizz can be seen in type 3 curly hair.

Julia Garner on the red carpet with short curly hair

Type 3A

3A hair tends to be lustrous with massive, loose curls that have a diameter similar to that of a piece of sidewalk chalk, like Julia Garner’s hair in the photo. 

To help highlight the curl texture, work the SGX NYC Curl Power Nourishing Curl Cream—a 2019 Allure Best of Beauty winner—into your dry hair. 

Afterward, avoid touching your curls with your hands (or a brush or comb, for that matter) to avoid having a halo of frizz. 

Simply sprinkle your hair with a curl refresher when it needs a push to preserve those luscious springs.

Closeup selfie of H.E.R. with curly hair. she is wearing yellow tinted sunglasses

Type 3B

H.E.R. and other 3B varieties have springy ringlets with an approximate Sharpie marker-like circumference. 

Look for curl gels with humectants to draw moisture to strands because this texture can dry. You should try the Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel. 

Dickey offers this advice: “Apply when [your hair is] damp so you’ll get definition without frizz.”

Nathalie Emmanuel on the red carpet with sideparted curly hair

Type 3C

As seen on Nathalie Emmanuel, 3C curls are corkscrews with circumferences that ranges from a straw to a pencil. Because the strands are closely knit together, a large number of natural volume results. 

Dickey also recommends applying a mousse over a styling cream. At the same time, the hair is drenched in water to help curls cluster together and dry more quickly, such as the Best of Beauty-winning Rucker Roots Texture Styling Mousse. 

According to Dickey, Your co-wash reveals your curl pattern, while your style product captures.”

Spirals and coils on blue background

Type 4 (Coily)

Coily hair, also known as kinky or Afro hair, can be smooth and fine or coarse and wiry and has an arid, spongy feel by nature. Straight from the scalp, strands produce tiny, zig-zag curls that are incredibly tight and prone to significant shrinking.

Portrait photo of Megan Thee Stallion with Kinky Curly hair

Type 4A 

Hair type 4A individuals have dense, springy, S-shaped coils around the same diameter as a crochet needle. Here, consider the texture of Megan Thee Stallion. 

If you enjoy wash-and-go styles, styling should be done more frequently to maintain the coily texture’s burst of supple, bendable strands.

For daily wash-and-go styling, a curling cream with a leave-in moisturizer is necessary. 

Photo of Teyonah Parris. It's a sefie she took of herself with a Bantu Knotout

Type 4B

Densely packed 4B strands can bend at acute angles, much like the letter Z. François explains, “I love that it can be fashioned in so many various ways. 

“My Mist Nourishing Water is one of my favorite products for all kinks, coils, curls, and waves. It works great as a primer before styling in a non-aerosol spray, and hair instantly appears moisturized.”

On the other hand, Dickey prefers using styling creams for this type, as they are thicker and great for palm-rolling or shingling, two product distribution techniques that stretch out coils and clump them for more excellent texture definition and elongation. One such styling cream is the Crème of Nature Coconut Milk Curl Hydrating Curling Cream.

Kiki Layne on the red carpe with a circle Afro and two small braids in front

Type 4C 

4C textures are comparable to 4B textures. Still, the tightly-coiled strands are more delicate and have a minimal, often imperceptible zig-zag pattern. 

Compared to the other textures, this hair type sees the most shrinking, at least by 75%. Take style inspiration from Kiki Layne if you are a 4C. François remarks, “I adore how adaptable it is.”

To maximize the length of those strands, use a liberal amount of a leave-in moisturizer, such as the SheaMoisture Red Palm Oil & Cocoa Butter Curl Stretch Pudding, since shrinkage and dryness are significant concerns for this type. 

Castor oil is also a fantastic hydrator and sealer for this dry condition. 

Final Words

It is crucial to determine our curl type if you have a full head of curly hair, such as 3A hair, 1A or 1B hair, etc. There are also ways to help you achieve your desired curls or coils. 
If you lack length or volume, click here for top-notch hair toppers, wigs, and extensions to give you instant length and volume. All hair can be customized or pre-permed to your desired coils or curls.

Jaxson henry
Jaxson henry
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