Know Your Curl Pattern

Know Your Curl Pattern

How well do you know your curls? Since the term “curly” means a lot of things to a lot of people, it’s worth taking a closer look at your texture. When you understand your curl pattern, it’s easier to find the best styling techniques, products and haircut.


The curly experts at NaturallyCurly came up with a Texture Typing ℠ guide to help you care for and style your curls. How it works: Curls are grouped into the most common types (wavy, curly and coily) and then divided into subtle shape distinctions within each category. Before you get started, make sure your hair is healthy and moisturized. You may have to wait a few months if you are in the process of growing out heat or chemical damage, but it’s the best way identify your curl pattern.


Another important thing to keep in mind: Most people are a mix of curl patterns, so it’s totally normal to have multiple curl patterns on one head. You may want to treat those parts of your hair differently, using heavier products in one area, and lighter ones in another. Your stylist can also use this information to customize a cut that accommodates your multiple curl pattern so one section doesn’t look longer than the other. Read on to get to know your curls even better!


Type 2: WAVY

Top Concerns: Fighting frizz and finding light products that give hold
Go-To Products: Mousses, leave-in serums and heat-protectants
2A Your wave pattern is close to straight, but has a loose, gentle bend.
2B:Your waves are mostly straight at the roots and more defined waves form below eye level.
2C:Your well-defined waves start at the roots and mix with actual ringlets.

Type 3: CURLY

Top Concerns: Curl definition, fighting frizz and avoiding drying products
Go-To Products: Creams, gels, gentle shampoos
2C/3A Your spirals are similar in size to the large sidewalk chalk.
3B: Your ringlets have the circumference of a Sharpie marker.
3C: Your ringlet width resembles a pencil or a straw.

Type 4: COILY

Top Concerns: Maintaining moisture, avoiding tangles and shrinkage
Go-To Products: Daily conditioner, deep conditioner and leave-in conditioners
3C/4A Your strands have a small, tight S-shape.
4B: Your curls have more of a small, tight Z-shape.
4C: Your strands are less likely to clump into a “coil” unless styled like a twist out.