Difference between wavy and curly?

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  • 1 Post By Jessiebanana
  • 1 Post By earthnut


Well I've not posted here in a while! I went away on bit of a long hair journey, and focussed more on length than curl pattern. Then I realised I was just bunning or tying it up all the time and this wasn't helping my hair confidence. So I've cut my hair to just below shoulder length, and I love it!

Anyway, I am getting a bit confused as I call my hair curly but some people think it is wavy.

Just a little edit to ask my question below in a slightly different way

1) how do you define wavy,
2) how do you define curly, and
3) where does wavy stop and curly start?

The below was part of my original post but it's probably not best to focus on typing systems as they can vary!

Looking at the NC guidelines, I can see that we have:

2C - https://s3.amazonaws.com/naturallycu...s/girls/2c.jpg

3A - https://s3.amazonaws.com/naturallycu...s/girls/3a.jpg

Is it just me or do those two girls have similar hair, except that one is longer? I guess the 3A girl has a little bit more lift, whereas the 2C is flat to her scalp... is that the difference between waves and curls - root lift? What about tightness of curls? I think those 2 have the same tighness.
2c/3a thick hair, attempting CG again!

Last edited by prettypolly; 06-24-2012 at 09:34 AM.
It depends on the curl typing system that you're using. NC.com uses Andre Walker's hair typing system. In this system the difference between 2c and 3a is root curl as well as hair texture. 2c is described as coarse and difficult to control. 3a is supposed to be fine in texture (but usually thick in density) and can be straightened easily.

The other commonly used typing system is FIA. In this system 2c is considered strong waves with some loose curls (whirly). 3a is considered a head full of big loose curls. Texture is identified separately (F,M, or C) and the third set of letters is for density (i=thin, ii=medium, iii=thick).


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Hmmm... interesting!!

Maybe I should re-word my question so it doesn't matter which typing system is used!

*goes to re-word OP*
2c/3a thick hair, attempting CG again!
Just a little bump, still curious about what people think of this!
2c/3a thick hair, attempting CG again!
This isn't at all what the pictures look like, but I always think of curly as more 3D and spirally. Im not sure what my curl type is, somewhere in the 2c-3a range, but it doesn't match any of the descriptions. So for me a curl would be something i could get to wrap around my finger without holding it, where a wave would just fall off. If I saw the person in the 2c pic though, I'd definitely call her hair curly.
curl type: 2c/3a
porosity: low
hair strand width: medium
density: thick
elasticity: low-normal
Shoulder length

Ready to get back on the CG bandwagon!
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 939
My super simple thought is, that no matter what the size curls come around full circle. Like if there were a little rod running through your curls you wouldn't be able to remove it laterally, you would have to slide it down. Waves to me are open curls. Some waves are very flat and don't encircle at all and some waves are just short of a circle.
laurabella likes this.
I don't have a definite system of classifying in my head (other than the official ones), but to me, curls are tighter (ringlets and above) while waves are s-shaped. That's just the way I think of it.
2b, fine texture, normal porosity & elasticity (CG as of 12/2011)

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^^ day 1 of going CG; avatar = 6 months later
I think I am kinda getting it now, after how many years lol!

I've decided I have wavy-to-curly hair
2c/3a thick hair, attempting CG again!
I prefer the fia system because it makes more sense to me to separate the hair properties from each other. I define waves (2) as S shaped, going back and forth but not round and round. I define curls (3) as going round and round, making full revolutions, like a slinky.

2c/3a can mean a head of hair that has both waves and curls at the same time, in about equal amounts. AND/OR it can mean that a head of hair can be wavy with one day/weather/washing/product and curly with another. My hair does both depending on its mood.

Go wurlies!

2c/3a-M-ii porous, good elasticity, APL, dark brown with a silver lining. Biggest enemy: frizz!
laurabella likes this.

Last edited by earthnut; 07-02-2012 at 04:07 PM.

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