Straight, wavy, coily, curly. Hair can be described in so many ways, especially for different types of curly hair.
But what do these descriptors mean, and why does it matter?
“Correctly identifying your curly hair type can save you from spending hours of frustration facing the rows and rows of hair gels, creams, sprays, and mousses by narrowing down the products that target your specific hair texture.”
So what are the different curl types, and what should you look for when wandering the aisles of hair care products? Here’s your guide to all the different types of curly hair, from waves to tight coils and everything in between.
Identifying curl types is a little tricky. There are nine different curl types, and each type has its own unique set of characteristics.
According to Andre Walker’s Curl Typing System, there are ten basic hair types classified under the numbers 1-4 with A, B and C subcategories for curl types 2-4. Type 1, refers to straight hair with no bend, curl or wave. The other nine types, types 2A-4C, are all the different types of curly hair. Initially, Walker’s system did not have curl types 3C and 4C. The added information came from the website NaturallyCurly.
Curly hair is mostly attributed to genetics, which means the texture of a person’s curl type is inherited. Curly hair forms when the hair follicle grows in the shape of an oval instead of a perfectly round one like the follicle of straight hair. And the flatter the oval, the tighter your curls will be.
Curly hair types also have more protein bonds in the hair shaft than straight hair because the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine is found abundantly in the fibrous protein hair is made up of – keratin. These cysteines bond with other cysteines further down the hair shaft, causing hair to curl. And just like the shape of the follicle, the more protein bonds in the hair shaft, the curlier your hair will appear. So without further ado, here are the classifications and characteristics of the nine different types of curly hair.
Curl type 2 describes wavy hair that typically has a relaxed “S”-shaped curl pattern, which may not be uniform. It’s often straighter at the crown and wavier towards the middle. Wavy hair is prone to dryness and frizz and may lose curl definition quickly. For gorgeous, shiny beach waves, reach for light, curl-enhancing styling products with frizz control and anti-humidity properties.
Curl type 3 has a springy, well-defined, loopy, or coily “S” pattern from roots to ends. Curly hair is full-bodied and very prone to frizz because of its dry, coarse texture. Thus, naturally curly hair needs hydrating styling products with lots of hold and frizz-fighting properties.
Curl type 4s are a naturally dry, wiry, spongy texture. The coils form a tight “Z” or “S”-shaped zig-zag pattern from roots to ends. Coily hair is very delicate and prone to breakage, so gentle, deeply hydrating hair care products are a must to protect and define your curls.
The L.O.I.S. system is another curl type classification system that helps you find your curl type, diving deeper into curl types 3 and 4, which is a concern some have with Walker’s typing system. Known as the L.O.I.S. African American Natural Texture Typing System, this can help curl types 3 and 4 better understand their hair, including shape, thickness, and texture.
This is where the acronym “L.O.I.S.” comes in.
The thickness of your hair strand is categorized as thin, medium, or thick.
Lastly, the L.O.I.S. system looks at texture, defined by five different categories.
Your hair’s porosity determines how well it retains moisture. Some curl types are naturally high in porosity, but damage from heat styling and chemical processing can also cause your hair to become porous.
From beach-babe waves to corkscrew coils, embrace those curls. Check out more John Frieda hair care tips for curly hair.
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