Different Types of Curly Hair: Which Do You Have?

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Do you have curly hair but aren’t quite sure what kind of curls you’re dealing with or how to care for them? Whether you have beautiful bouncy ringlets, flowing beachy waves, or any gorgeous curl pattern in between, determining what type of curls you have isn’t just for kicks; your curl type dictates the hair styling products and methods you should be using to properly care for your hair. When you know what type of curly hair you have, you will be better equipped to help your curls look and feel their best. If you are looking to support your hair texture and achieve beautiful, natural hair, this blog post is for you. 

Curly Hair Types

Curls can be broken down into three main categories: wavy, curly, and coily. It can be confusing when you break it down into different types like 3c curls, 2a curls, or 4b curls, but we’ll use our curl type chart instead. While there are three main curly hair types, there are many variations of each, and no one is confined to just one variation. ‌

Based on a few defining features that we’ve outlined below, you’ll be able to figure out your own curl type. While it may be obvious right away, keep in mind that you might have a combination of these types, which is important to note when it comes to care and styling (more on that later).

Wavy (Type 2A-C) 

If you have wavy hair, your curls take on an “S” shape. Wavy hair comes in three different patterns defined as: ‌

• 2A curls: Super loose waves that add a touch of texture to the hair.

• 2B curls: Loose “S” shaped waves that begin to form around the middle to end of the hair.

• 2C curls: “S” shaped waves that start closer to the crown and travel all the way to the ends. There may even be some perfect ringlets among them.‌

Curly (Type 3A-C)

If you have curly hair, you have spiral or ringlet curls that appear consistent throughout your hair. The three different patterns of curly hair are defined as: 

• 3A curls: Wide, bouncy, spiral-shaped curls that travel from root to tip. 

• 3B curls: Tighter, springy spirals all over the head that provide a lot of body and volume. 

• 3C curls: Very tight, corkscrew-like spiral ringlets that are densely grouped throughout the hair.

Coily (Type 4A-C)

If you have coily hair, your curls are the tightest of the bunch. ‌

• 4A curls: Small, tight coils that start at the root and maintain texture throughout the hair. 

• 4B curls: Very tight coils that sometimes form in a “Z” shape or zig-zag pattern. This curl type is more prone to shrinkage, when hair appears much shorter in length than it really is.

• 4C curls: The tightest of coils that have a defined zig-zag pattern and a dense texture that’s most prone to shrinkage.‌

What Type of Curls Do I Have?

Based on the above descriptions, you should have a good idea of what category your curls fall into. If your hair is a combination of one of these types, that’s totally normal. In fact, when we interviewed 250 curly haired men and women, we found that many identify with more than one curl type, so you’re not alone. If this is the case, different sections of your hair may require different curly hair tips. If you want to learn more about your curls and the types of products best for them, check our curl hair quiz!

How To Care For The Different Types of Curly Hair

Now that you’ve discovered your curl type or types, it’s time to determine what products are right for your curls. No matter what kind of curls you have, it’s essential that you learn how to moisturize curly hair for optimal shape and bounce. Our Curl Collection is designed to help you embrace your natural hair—no matter what curl pattern you have. At Living Proof, our goal is to help bring out the best qualities of your natural hair. How we do that is we strengthen each hair strand with quality products from root to tip. No matter what curly hair type you have, our products can support it. Many of the products, such as the Curl Shampoo, Curl Conditioner, and Moisturizing Shine Oil are designed with all curl types in mind, however there are a couple of styling products in the collection specially designed for each of the curly hair types: 


Wavy curls need more lightweight styling products to retain their shape. Our Curl Enhancer is a lightweight conditioning styler that enhances natural texture and protects against frizz for effortlessly soft, shiny waves. It’s especially perfect to use if you’re wondering how to diffuse curly hair and avoid frizz.


Curly curls need styling products that provide moisture throughout to help them retain their shape and consistency. Our Curl Definer is a conditioning styler that defines and hydrates curls from root to tip—for bouncy, shiny, frizz-free curls


Coily curls need deep hydration to retain definition and shine. Our Curl Elongator is an elongating conditioning styler that defines and detangles even the tightest coils—for soft, shiny, frizz-free curls, without the shrinkage.

You can also mix, match, and combine hair stylers based on your hair type, curl pattern, and desired result. These products were designed to work well together to give you strong, beautiful curls.

Embrace Every Type of Curl 

Whether you have type 3c hair, 3b hair, 4a hair, or another type, your curls deserve love. Your curls give you personality, so embrace them! Whether you have loose curls or tight coils, no matter your hair texture or curl type, you can find the right products for your curls. At Living Proof, we are here to help. Crafted with curls in mind, our hair products will allow you to rock beautiful hairstyles for curly hair. Find the perfect shampoo, conditioner, styling cream, or other hair products online for your beautiful curls!

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Living Proof Review Team

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