What is my curly girl hair type?
If you would like to start the curly girl method, it is important that you know your hair characteristics. We can help you on your way in just three short articles. In addition to your curl type, hair thickness and density, we also explain in detail everything about your hair proprietary and the elasticity. And give you some styling tips.
In this article:
Different hair types
Each type of hair is different, with its own characteristics. That is why it is important to determine your own hair properties, so that you can see which hair care is best for your curls.
Curly hair can be divided into different curl types: wavy, curly and coily. If you know your curl type, you can adjust your routine, products and hairstyles accordingly.
With this knowledge you can provide a more beautiful and healthier curl.
Get to know your hair characteristics
Is this all new to you? Then it can be quite a challenge to determine which curl type you have. Maybe you have heard of curl type 2A and 3C, for example?
This image below shows what curl types there are. Can you recognize yours?
To find out which type best resembles yours, you may want to sacrifice a few hair strands by plucking them out off your head while your hair strand is still wet.
When your hair is wet it easier to compare them with the curl type chart.
About your curl type, first this
Curl type can be difficult to determine, because your natural curls are still hidden under a damaged or over-treated layer.
So, it is best to determine your curl type if your curls come out all natural if you have optimized your hair routine.
Your ‘real’ and healthier curls will then show themselves gently, allowing you to better judge whether you are a wavy, curly or perhaps coily type.
The different curl types from 2A to 4C
The numbers 2, 3 and 4 (1 is straight hair, let’s not consider this) identify your curl, while the letters A, B and C indicate how tightly curled your curls are.
You can have a combination of two curl types that are close together.
Hair type: 2A
Type 2A hair grows straight at the crown and creases toward the end. Curlheads with hair type 2A have a fine texture that is very easy to straighten and requires a minimal amount of styling.
People with this texture have to be wary of using heavy styling products that can easily weigh their strands down, rendering them limp and lifeless.
If you’ve got this hair texture, be sure the products you’re looking for are formulated with a lightweight consistency. We recommend to apply a volumizing mousse to freshly washed wet hair.
The waves form naturally when air-dried.
Look for shampoos and conditioners that won’t make your hair limp, but instead add a little bit of volume.
Hair type: 2B
2B hair waves lies flatter at the crown with defined S-shaped waves starting from the midlength. The wavy hair is more defined, but begin a few inches down from root with slight volume.
The wave usually forms throughout the hair in the shape of an “S” like Type 2a, but the hair sticks closer to the scalp. Type 2b waves might be slightly frizzier on the crown of the head and tend to lose curl definition easily.
Strands are thicker in diameter than a 2A, and you’ll have to put a bit more elbow grease into getting it straight.
Hair type: 2C
Type 2C can be described as a deep wave, is very well defined, or “a true definition of S-waves,” says celebrity hairstylist Marcus Francis.
These waves are the coarsest of wavy hair patterns. To take care for 2c hair, decrease frequent washing (or use a cleansing conditioner if you need to wash more frequently).
You can use a curl cream to enhance your curl patterns and sleep on a silk pillowcase to avoid frizz and tangles.
Hair type: 3A
Type 3A curls are known as some of the easiest types of curls to manage and with the right products, you probably don’t need a lot of styling. You can use light styling creams to help control strands when styling and drying.
Hair type: 3B
3B curls of hair are coarser, springier and tighter than 3A curls. They usually have the circumference of a Sharpie marker or your index finger.
Hair type: 3C
Type 3C hair has springs that are smaller and more tightly-packed than 3B, and they can vary from precisely defined to loose helixes. These are tight corkscrew curls with a lot of volume.
You can best take care of these curls with a detangling comb from tip to root. Prevent detangling from root to tip. This helps to reduce damage.
Further use gentle shampoos such as cleansing conditioners (co-washes), which clean and nourish simultaneously with higher ratios of conditioning ingredients.
Hair type: 4A
Here come the coils! Tightly coiled S-shaped corkscrews the size of a crochet needle. Coils are compact and dense but in a visible curl pattern.
These curls needs much more moisture than the type 3s due to its lack of layers on the cuticle (they protect the curls from drying out).
Hair type: 4B
4B hair curls are very tightly coiled like the spring in a pen and bends in angles like the letter z. The curl is tighter than 4a and less defined.
We can also say that people with 4B hair have densely packed strands and can bend in sharp angles like sharp Z-shaped angles instead of coils.
Hair type: 4C
4C hair is tightly coiled, so much you might not see the zigzag pattern without stretching it. 4C coils wrap around themselves with little to no drop to the curl.
Is your curl type wavy, curly or oily?
- Wavy or wavy hair is bendable and supple hair, the structure ranging from fine to thick, and has a clear “S pattern”. The hair is close to the scalp.
- Curly or curly hair is spiral shaped. The curls range from loose, bouncy loops to tight, springy corkscrews that shine but can also fluff quickly.
- Coily hair is usually called afro hair or kinky hair and is naturally very dry and spongy in texture. Afro hair can be soft and fine, as well as thick and coarse.
Curl types are also determined by the shape of the strand itself. While some strands lie in side-by-side waves, others wind around each other.
In fact, most people with curly hair have several different types of curl types. We will explain more about patterns below.
How wide is your curl: A, B or C?
The subcategories from A to C are based on the width or diameter of your wave, curl or afro pattern. A is wider, B is medium and C is the smallest of the three.
To better understand which curl pattern you hair falls into, it is helpful to understand the type of hair chart and find out about your curl pattern.
The curly girl method looks at the following five properties: curly hair types, density and thickness, porosity and elasticity.
In addition to curl type, these characteristics are also important to determine which products and styling work best for your hair.
Density of your hair
The density of your hair means the amount of hair on your head. This is also referred to as the density of your hair.
So you can have thin, medium or thick hair. You determine your hair density by grabbing a strand of hair close to your head and looking at your scalp:
- If you can see your scalp very well, you have thin hair.
- If you can see a little scalp, you have medium hair.
- If you can barely see a scalp, you have thick hair.
The hair thickness (also called structure or hair texture) looks at the thickness of an individual hair. You can have fine, medium, or coarse hair.
Keep in mind that the thickness of your hair should have nothing to do with your curl pattern. You can find out the thickness by holding one loose hair up to the light.
- If you can see your scalp very well, you have a thin hair type.
- If you can see a little scalp, you have a medium hair type.
- If you can barely see a scalp, you have a thick hair type.
Another way to determine the thickness of your hair is to hold one loose hair between your fingers.
Do you hardly feel the hair? Then you have fine hair.
Do you feel the hair well? Then you have coarse hair. If it’s in between, you have medium hair.
It’s important to learn why natural hair patterns are different. The texture of your hair is determined by the shape of the actual hair follicle.
Flatter follicles, or those that are more oval in shape, result in curlier strands, as hair extends from the follicle at a sharper angle.
Hair follicles that have a circle shape create straighter hair that lies flatter to the head. Patterns are also determined by the shape of the strand itself.
While some strands lie in side-by-side waves, others wind around each other.
You’re not there yet: also read our articles about porosity and elasticity
- This is how you find out the porosity of your hair : Porosity is about the extent to which your hair absorbs moisture and can retain it (measured by how long it takes your hair to dry after showering – is this fast or slow?). If your hair doesn’t easily absorb moisture, you need thicker, richer creams.
- Hair elasticity: what is it and how do you test it? Elasticity is measured by pulling out your curl and determining how quickly your curl returns. Doesn’t bounce back – quickly – is a sign of lack of hydration. With an imbalance you can, for example, suffer from dry or brittle hair.
And now? Which hair products are right for me?
Very nice of course that you now know everything about your hair properties, but what can you do with this knowledge?
In our three articles about hair properties you can read about curl type, hair thickness, density, porosity and elasticity and how to determine the properties of your hair.
Now you want to know for sure: which products are best for my hair and fit the curly girl method? We will soon write an extensive article about this. Keep an eye on our website.
A few styling tips to get you started
- For wavy hair types that are prone to tangling, like type 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B, use the Blend Sea Salt Spray, which adds instant body and texture without drying out strands.
- 4B curls are most vulnerable when wet, so make sure your hair is well-conditioned before styling. Try a rich leave-in conditioner that can be applied on damp or dry hair.
- For curly heads with type 3 curly hair, look for product specifically designed to add definition and hydration, like a Curl Cream or a styling cream.
- If you decide to style your curls to straight hair, then you will need extra protection to keep form damaging your curl pattern.
Do you have any questions about your curl type, density, thickness, or the Curly Girl Method in general? Let us know in the comments, we are happy to help!
So I have thick hair, type 2b, with thin hairs
Low porosity and dry. What do I need?
Thank you for your comment.
Your hair type is sensitive to Build-Ups, which can sometimes make your hair feel oily quickly. Because of this, we recommend you use CG shampoos while washing. Jessi Curl has fine shampoos without protein.
This is because with low porosity, your hair is also prone to protein overload, so we recommend using little to no protein in your hair routine. Yari Green also has fine products for your curls and in addition, a light oil like, Jojoba is an excellent care.
If you have more questions, we would of course love to hear from you.
I have 3b curls, though my hair is very dry, so my curls are always half along ( half sleeps and sags down or doesn’t curl due to heat-damage). I don’t know what to do whether I need protein or moisteriser, or both. I would like some help or tips on how best to care for my hair or what products are good for this, and I am also unsure about the Denman D3 or D4, or D41 brushes and which of these best suit my hair.
Thank you for your message! We would love to help you.
Heat-damage is always tricky, I’ve been struggling with that myself for a while, but through this I do have the right tips for you!
My hair really needed a freshening up at a curly hairdresser. I also treat my hair with a deep conditioning mask once every fortnight.
Hair needs a balance of protein and moisterisers, which is why it often takes some time to find the best way to treat your hair.
With the information you list, I recommend not using too heavy products. For this, products from Yari Green, JessiCurl, Curls, Novex and Giovanni are very nice.
Here is a list of products without protein:
Yari Green Curls Hydrating Conditioner
Yari Green Curls Deep Treatment Mask
Creme of nature Argan Oil Maximum-Hold Styling Snot Gel
The line of Novex Mystic Black
Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo
Curls Avocado Hair Mousse
And some products with protein:
Giovanni Mousse Hair Styling Foam
Giovanni Nutra fix Reconstructor
Curls Coconut Curlada Conditioner
Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash
The Denman brushes are actually all 3 very nice. If you have thicker hair, we recommend the D4; for fine hair, the D3 is very nice.
I hope this information helps you, if you have more questions, please let me know!
Considering I see such a super nice response to the previous comments here, I’ll try it too. I have 2C/3A hair, high density, thick hair but somewhat dry looking, though my hair dries quite fast (length of my hair in to my lower back, and yet it dries in 2 hours). I am very searching what products to use to have beautifully nourished and shiny hair. I also think it can curl much more than it does now, due to the fact that I’m not so sure what to do with it…. am just now reading up on the curly girl method. I now purely use shampoo and conditioner which is not too expensive often, bit out of convenience and no overview in ALL THE products on the market 😉 I hope you have some great tips for me! Thanks in advance!!! Thanks also for this article!
What a nice response, we definitely have some tips and useful products for you too!
It can sometimes be tricky to get a good balance between protein and hydration. In fact, it sounds like your hair is dry because the two are out of balance. Now, from a description, it is hard to tell whether you have a protein overload or a moisture overload. So here are two articles that might help you:
Since you mention that your hair looks dry, I would also advise you to try a co-wash:
Herewith some co-wash products that are fine and protein-free. However, both products do have ingredients that can react like protein.
As I Am Cleanser Pudding
Mixed Chicks Co-Wash
In addition, here are products we recommend without protein:
Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo
Curl Flo Lemongrass & Avocado Conditioner
Curl Flo Deep Conditioning Treatment
Camille Rose Algae Deep Conditioner
Ecoslay Orange marmalade
Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control paste
Curls Creme Brule Whipped Curl Cream
Yari Green Curls Deep Treatment Mask
Herewith also some products with protein:
Curls Poppin Pineapple Collection Curl Wash
Curls Poppin Pineapple Collection Curl Mask
Giovanni Nutra fix Reconstructor
Curls Goddess Curl Gel
Creme of Nature Coconut Milk Hydrating Curling Cream
Ecoslay Rice Pudding Pouch
Hope this information helps you a bit, if you have more questions we would of course love to hear from you!
I have type 2b, thick, coarse hair. With low porosity and low elasticity.
Which products/brands can I best use for this?
Remove all protein by washing your hair with a CG-friendly shampoo, and avoid products with protein until your hair is balanced again. Use water-based products, leave-in conditioners and deep conditioners. Also apply the same to your low porosity. A few recommendations: Inahsi Naturals Soothing Mint Gentle Cleansing Shampoo Noughty Wave Hello Conditioner and Aunt Jackie’s Quench moisture intensive leave-in conditioner.
Hope this helps😊,
Thank you for your message!
With your hair types, we recommend using light products. With low porosity, you have to be a bit wary of oils that are too heavy, they stay on your hair and are not absorbed properly.
Heat is very important for you. I therefore recommend using care products on wet hair after showering and wrapping a t-shirt or microfibre towel around your hair afterwards. This way, warm as it were stays stuck in the t-shirt/towel and your hair fibres open up, for good hydration.
It is also important to be a bit careful with protein, you don’t have to avoid it completely, but protein overload can quickly occur in your hair type,
Here are some products I recommend:
Yari Green Curls Hydrating Conditioner
Yari Green Curls Deep Treatment Mask
Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo Island Fantasy
Curl Flo Aloe + Green Tea Hydrating Mist
Curl Flo Lemongrass & Avocado Conditioner
Novex My little curls line and the Novex Mystic black line
Curls Sea Kelp & Cucumber Hair Mask
Yari Green Curls Deep Treatment Mask
Ecoslay Jello shot pouch
I hope this information is useful to you, otherwise you can of course always ask us more questions.
I so hope you guys can help me.
After reading your page, I found out that my hair is 3c and below 3b (the mat to call it that) further it is dry it has high porosity and during elasticity test it did stretch a bit but did not come into original shape at all so not elastic. Furthermore, my hair is dry within 2 hours after washing. My right side of my hair is a bit thicker than the left side.
I but cut hair very short about 3 cm with curl because it started breaking at one point. Every morning when grooming my hair, there was quite a bit of hair in my comb. While washing I also felt I was losing hair. I thought okay get rid of it and start again. Now 1.5 years on, I am back to the same length and have come to the realisation that cutting it short was not the solution because now the same thing is happening again. My hair is up to my shoulders and when it dries out, of course a bit shorter. I feel that my hair got back to its old length quite quickly, but I think this is due to the multivitamin with folic acid that I have been taking for two years now because we want to have another baby (ivf). Before then it didn’t grow that fast at all. But yes whether it’s really because of that I’m not sure of course 😉. Anyway… Can you please give me tips and maybe recommend products because I would like to regain healthy and thicker hair and not worry about how much hair I lose every day.
Thanks so much in advance 😊
Hi there! I have a between 2a/b type hair. When it’s wet after a shower, it’s a solid 3b, but then it dries into a flat wave. My hair used to be beautiful ringlets growing up, but after years of abuse making my hair pin straight for school and dying it as I got older, my hair is now just dead. A lot of my thickness has disappeared following having my children (postpartum hair loss is no joke!)
I don’t tend to blow dry my hair anymore, unless it’s still damp the following day and I need to go out which I use a low heat or even the cold setting. It’s always still wet/damp a solid 12 hours after washing it and scrunching it, but it’s ever so dry. I have tried a number of oils and deep conditioners for my hair. Most of this again is from postpartum, it was never dull and dry before my girls were born. I should also add that my hair is very long (down to my butt) so I get that the sheer weight of my long hair will drag my curls out into waves.
I am at a complete loss where to even begin with all of this as there’s Soooo many curl girl methods. Any help will be much appreciated, thank you! 😊
I totally understand that you are not so sure where to start! After all, it’s also a lot of information coming at you. I would like to recommend that you buy a CG-proof shampoo, conditioner, hair mask and mousse. Make sure these are light products and at most one product contains protein. Wash your hair once with a shampoo and conditioner and put a mask in your hair once a week. You apply the mousse when you want to style your hair. I would recommend squeezing the mousse into your hair when your hair is wet and then blow drying your hair with a diffuser.
In addition, it is a process of trial and error. So don’t be afraid if you don’t get it right the first time. I also recommend you to go to a special curly hairdresser and get advice there!
If you have any further questions, please let me know.
my hair type is 2a or 2b. what i personally find difficult with my hair is that:
– the curls sink down
– my hair is really super frizzy
also i don’t know what products to use
I would recommend you in terms of styling products to have a light gel with a good hold. For example, try this one: https://www.kurlify.com/nl/shop/creme-of-nature-for-natural-hair-maximum-hold-styling-snot/. When blow-drying your hair with a diffuser, try to put as little as possible on your hair and blow-dry as cold as possible. You can then squeeze out the cast with a light oil. Should you find that the oil weighs down your hair, you can also squeeze out the cast without oil.
Hopefully I have informed you sufficiently. If you have any more questions, please let me know.
My hair is also between letters/numbers. Underneath where it is shorter I have tight curl and gradually towards the surface very loose curl. I know my hair is medium. Drying without diffuser, takes easily 6 hours if I’m inside. (Warm summer air is quicker).
My hair is just below the shoulder and looking for a good curly salon to go shorter with light long layers and I’m sure the curl will then become a bit tighter. I have been heat free for two weeks and waiting to decide on products. Thank you!
Check our article to find a curly hairdresser in your area: https://www.kurlify.com/en/curly-girl-method/curly-hairdressers/
Hope this helped 😊,
I have a hard time deciding what type of hair I have, but I think it’s between a 2c or 3a, definitely coarse. It can curl nicely, but then with much head movement goes into a frizzy, messy fuzz, no definition of curls, every hair wanting to stand alone. My hair is very healthy because I’ve been ignorant of what to do with it, so It’s pretty much “virgin” hair. I have to use totally fragrance-free products, so I have been using Vanicream and FragFree products. (I suspect I’m not the only curly girl who needs this type of product, so you might want to link to them.)
I’m trying to use hair gel and a blow dryer with a diffuser to get the curl to dry in place, but even then, the curl can break down before the end of the day into a mixture of fuzz and curl.
Can you point me to some of your ideas for those of us with this type of hair?
I really appreciate your helpfulness. Thank you.
We’re happy to help ☺️. In order to get a gel cast, your hair needs to be moisturized. If it’s too dry, the gel won’t hold properly and you’ll end up with a flaky, frizzy style.
So make sure you’re using a gel that is compatible with your hair type, and try incorporating more moisture into your routine either through deep conditioning or by using a leave-in conditioner! You can also try to airdrying your hair. The diffuser can cause a bit of frizz as well.
Hope this helped you 😊,
I have thick 2c hair with high porosity and high elasticity. I don’t feel like my hair (or parts of it anyway)keeps it curlyness as well as I would like. and when it gets cold and we run the heater alot it goes ‘flat’ alot of its curlyness almost overnight. and im not sure what to do about it
We are happy to help you out! Using to many stylingproducts will make your curls heavy. That’s why we recommend using a stylingproduct with a strong hold. Like a gel or a mousse. You can also use a lightweight leave in conditioner for everyday use.
Hope this helped you 😊,
I have 4a Fine high porosity medium density hair
what would be the right leave in.
With high porosity curls you can use light weight products with protein like the Curly Secret: Candy Leave in or the Giovanni: Direct Leave in weightless moisture conditioner.
Hope this helps 😊,
i have 3a/3b hair, medium thickness and normal porosity, i am a boy with short mid length hair, the past year or so I have been using exclusively shea moisture, specifically their curl and shine line, the conditioner and the curling smoothie. I had not been shampooing and it worked miracles my curls were defined, elastic and only required washing out 2 times a week. Until recently it has started giving me lots of dandruff, i’ve used multiple different anti dandruff shampoos but it won’t stop. So i stopped using shea moisture as i seen online that they changed their formula. Right now I have bought ‘As I am’ leave in conditioner, curling smoothie, and curl jelly and a different brand clarifying shampoo. My question is do you have any suggestions to get back my curls, as prior to this purchase they were slowly getting looser and less elastic. And if you have any methods for me on how to use the products. Also any suggestions how to refresh curls in the morning, i wear a silk bonnet btw.