Texture Matching 101. How do I know which curl pattern I have?
LEARN YOUR HAIR TYPE
NATURAL WAVE AND LOOSE CURL : Type 2 (Wavy) Type 2 waves are bendable, can be fine to coarse, and have a definitive S pattern that lays closer to the head.
Type 2A Those with hair type 2A have a fine, barely-there tousled texture that's very easy to straighten. 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 to retain the natural body. 2A waves, typically lack volume at the root. We recommend using an airy, water-based mousse, to add a bit of oomph at the base, like Redken's Volume Maximizer, making hair look fluffier and fuller.
Type 2B 2B hair lies flatter at the crown with defined S-shaped patterns starting from the midlength, like Salma Hayek's beachy hair. Strands are thicker in diameter than a 2A, and you'll have to put a bit more elbow grease into getting it straight. To enhance your natural surfer-babe waves, use a texturizing mist enriched with protein for hair that is never crunchy or stiff.
Type 2C 2C waves are deep, thick and more prone to frizz. The S-bends are well-defined and begin at the roots. Shakira is the perfect example of this hair type. In between shampoos, use a non-lathering, sulfate-free co-wash so as not to strip essential moisture from strands. We recommend layering a leave-in conditioner under a mousse to lock in your hair's natural wave pattern while adding hydration.
LEARN YOUR HAIR TYPE
CURLS and SPIRALS: Type 3 (Curly) Type 3 curly hair can range from loose, buoyant loops to tight, springy corkscrews which have some sheen but are prone to frizz.
Type 3A 3A strands, tend to be shiny with large, loose spiral curls that have a diameter about the size of a permanent marker. This hair type doesn't usually suffer from shrinkage and could use a boost of scrunching a curl cream into dry hair to help emphasize the curl texture. Keep your hands (or brush or comb, for that matter) from touching your curls afterward, or you run the risk of having a halo full of frizz. To maintain those juicy springs, simply spritz your hair with a curl refresher or leave-in, when it needs a boost.
Type 3B 3B types have defined springy ringlets with a circumference similar to that of a pencil. This texture can get dry, so look for gels that have humectants in them to attract moisture to strands. This texture does require some TLC and is not opposed to weekly wash days. You'll experience your best results when products are used with heat, every time you wash and condition. A word of advice: Apply styling product like creams and oils when your hair is wet so you'll get definition without frizz.
Type 3C 3C curls are tight corkscrews that range in circumference from a straw to a pencil. This pattern is likely to have a few textures going on. Strands are densely packed together, giving way to lots of natural volume. Always handle gently, and be sure to detangle using a leave-in conditiiner and wide-tooth comb. Frizziness is common with this type; if that's not a look you're into, use a sulfate-free, creamy cleanser, that won't dry out your hair even more. We also suggest layering a mousse over a denser styling cream when the hair is sopping wet to manipulate hair better and allow curls to define and dry faster. Your co-wash reveals your curl pattern, while your styling product captures it.
LEARN YOUR HAIR TYPE
COILED CURL AND KINKY STRAIGHT: Type 4 (Coily) Coily hair, commonly referred to as Afro-textured or kinky hair, is naturally very dry and spongy in texture and can be soft and fine or coarse and wiry. Strands form very tight, small curls of zig-zags right from the scalp and are prone to major shrinkage.
Type 4A People with hair type 4A have dense springy, S-patterned coils that are about the same circumference as a toothpick. If you're a fan of wash-and-gos, styling should be done more frequently to keep this coily texture popping with soft, pliable strands. Curls can be elongated or get wrapped around themselves, causing shrinkage. Either way, moisture and hydration are paramount to keeping these coils looking and feeing their best. A curling cream with a leave-in moisturizer is a must for adding more moisture to daily wash-and-go styling.
Type 4B 4B strands are densely packed and can bend in sharp angles like the letter Z. It's more of a zig-zag than a curl and is fragile, highly porous nd prone to breakage, which is why it needs a lot more love and care in the form of hydration and deep conditioning. One of my favorite products for all kinks, coils, curls, and waves is a mist nourishing water based product like Redken's One United which is a great primer before styling for hair to look instantly hydrated. On the other hand, we recommend styling creams for this hair type because they are thicker and are great for palm-rolling or shingling, two types of product distribution methods that stretch out coils and gather them for greater texture definition and elongation.
Type 4C 4C textures are similar to 4B textures, but the tightly-coiled strands are the most delicate and have a very tight zig-zag pattern that is sometimes indiscernible to the eye, without stretching it. 4C textures wrap around themselves with little to no drop to the curl so this hair type experiences the greatest amount of shrinkage — about 75 percent or more — than the other textures. Since shrinkage, dryness and breakage are major concerns for this type, especially during blow-drying and heat styling, use a liberal amount of leave-in conditioner and a heat protectant before using any hot tools. This hair will benefit from products formulated with butters, especially during the shampoo process. Argan oil is also a great frizz agent and sealant for this very dry texture.