Okay… I don’t know about you, but I, for one, am very much annoyed by the hair typing system debate.

Many curlies claim that you don’t need to use the hair typing system, but you absolutely do need to understand it.

It’s like declaring that you don’t need to know the fundamental differences between 🍎apples and 🍊oranges. Well, you do because an orange-flavored “apple” pie sounds like everyone’s nightmare.

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Image: Pexels

But seriously. I think we all need to know more about the hair typing system. I’m definitely included in that camp. As YouTube commenter Brit Ferguson pointed out about my mental mishap, I totally got some things wrong here.

“I think she got 3b and 3c confused. 3b curls can fit over a sharpie while 3c fits over a pencil. A, b, and c just represents the size of the curl. A being the widest, c being the tightest.” -Brit Ferguson, the real curl master in the house

Image: Pexels

Just as we can easily mistake certain aspects of our hair type, especially if the hair type is not your own, we can easily find more ways to educate ourselves about it. This is how we at NaturallyCurly collectively define “hair type”:

“Determining your hair type is a starting point to finding the right products and styles for your hair. NaturallyCurly’s curl type system focuses on types 2 (wavy), types 3 (curly) and types 4 (coily). The sub classifications - from A to C - are based upon the diameter of the wave, curl or coil.”

Image: Pexels

To continue giving you the best information about curls and hair type, we’ve created the NaturallyCurly Hair Science series on YouTube. In the following video, Production Editor and everyone’s favorite curly girl Cristina Cleveland and I explore talk about hair type.

Watch Episode 2 of NaturallyCurly's Hair Science series



Hair Type 2 = Wavy Hair

Depending on where your strands fall on the spectrum, wavy hair can show slight to very obvious "S" shape characteristics. According to many wavies, the strands tend to fall closer to the head than other curl patterns. A concern for many wavies is getting and maintaining volume and making the waves stand out via definition.

Of course, no curl pattern is without challenges and with your wavy hair, I'd recommend you looking into the Curly Girl Method if you haven't already. Read this fantastic article, written by self-proclaimed curly rebel Nora Huber: 26 Favorite Curly Girl Method Products for Curly & Wavy Hair.

Image: Brio Photography

Wavy Hair Product Recommendations

According to your NaturallyCurly community members, these are some of the absolute BEST products for wavies:

Get more wavy hair product recommendations from our Best of the Best 2019 list!

Suggested Reading: What Makes Wavy Hair Different From Other Texture Types

Hair Type 3 = Curly Hair

What makes curls distinctive from both the wavies and coilies are their corkscrew shape and size. Although all three patterns share the "S" shape, curlies fall in the middle of the diameter scale, ranging from a to c.

After chatting with many curlies over the years, I've found that most of you have multiple curl patterns. This might make styling and overall hair care overwhelming. Another surprising thing: Your curl pattern and texture may have changed without you even knowing it. I recommend getting to know your hair type (again) via our Texture Quiz to see if any changes have occurred.

Image: Brio Photography

Curly Hair Product Recommendations

If you're still on the hunt for the best in curls, try the following community-approved products:

Find more community favorites and product recommendations for Type 3 curls on our Best of the Best 2019 list!

Suggested Reading: Top 8 Causes of Frizzy Hair

Hair Type 4 = Coily Hair

Coily hair is very different from both wavies and curlies, most notably due to their small diameter. Oftentimes, coils are very defined at the root and less defined at the ends. Coils range from a to c, although it's been debated for years that zig-zagging curls should have their own 'z' distinction. I tend to agree!

While coily hair products are great for delivering moisture and holding curls in place, I think that it's important to use products that promote hair growth and curl definition for coilies. I have a few personal favorites I've shared with you over the years, but I wanted to share what the collective NaturallyCurly community loves using on coils. Check it out below.

Image: Brio Photography

Coily Hair Product Recommendations

When searching for the best in coily hair products, leave it to the NaturallyCurly community to show you what works best:

Discover even more coily, Type 4 hair product recommendations from on Best of the Best 2019 list!

Suggested Reading: Why Curly Hair is Curly: You Might Think You Know, But You Have No Idea

Image: Pexels

Bookmark this page and watch our video about hair type for any time you get stuck determining the needs of your unique curls, coils, and waves.



Have you watched all of our Hair Science videos? Ready for more in-depth curl coverage from us? Tell us about your current curl concerns, curl victories, curl woes, or just say “Hi!” We’re here to listen and commiserate, no matter what stage of growth you’re in.

What’s your take on ‘hair type’ and the hair typing system? Love it? Hate it? Let us know!

As ever, stay curly!