No matter if you are currently transitioning from relaxed hair to curls, discovering that your curls become waves when they grow past your shoulders, or have been coily and proud of it for decades, you know what it feels like to find your one true love: the “This one is my favorite” product.

You’ve told your friends, your mom, your play-aunties, and your coworkers about this life-saving oil, shampoo, butter cream… whatever it is, you announced your relationship with this favorite to the world because you don’t care who knows how much you’re all about your curly hair bae.

TFW you come to slay (thanks to your fav product). Image via GIPHY.

Then, one day… just like that… your bae, your everything you’ve ever wanted in a curly hair product fails you.

It leaves your curls high and dry. You consider collecting your broken hearted tears in an almost empty tub of the fav so you can attempt to mix its remnants with the hopes of it working again. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you saw it coming: True love’s kiss and tears aren’t gonna work when your product up and dies on you.

But it is fair to wonder:

We had a good thing going on… WTH HAPPENED?

Fact: You hair width plays a big role in product efficacy. | istock/drbimages

Well, curl friend you've just hit a product plateau. Why? Just like porosity is a major factor when purchasing products, hair width will impact the type of products you need throughout the course of the hair growth cycle and how you practice general curl maintenance. For instance, if you're over-applying your fav moisturizer on type 3 ringlets, it might be because you do not know your curls are fine and cannot handle too much moisture. Or if you are using defining gel on your type 4 coils, and end up with mega crunchy hair at the day's end, you may need to use a cream-based gel to keep your coarse coils moisturized.

There are many possibilities, but let's start with learning about what hair width means to you.

First of all, hair width is the key determinant when texture typing. The width, or thickness, of your hair strands, determines whether you have fine, medium, or coarse curls. Because I know that you want to determine your hair width right, or to see if you've been on the right path all along, I sourced NaturallyCurly to help you:

To find your hair width, take a piece of your hair from a brush or comb and hold it up to the light. If the hair is very wide and easily visible, then you have coarse hair. If it's so thin that you can hardly see it, you have fine hair. If your hair appears neither thin nor coarse, you have medium width hair.

Now that you know what your curls are working with, let's take a look at what width means for your next product shopping trip!


Because these hair strands have the smallest circumference of the texture types (meaning that when held up to the light, you can barely see it), fine hair is prone to all kinds of damage. This makes length difficult to achieve and maintain. No need to worry, though! Apply a deep conditioner to your curls post-wash. I recommend ApHogee Curlific! Texture Treatment and The Mane Choice Green Tea & Carrot Deep Strengthening & Restorative Mask Treatment for fine hair. And don't use too much or too often; let those curls breathe!


Yes, you do have the best of both worlds. Your curls are bouncy, strong, and capable to retaining length. Lucky you, boo! Keep your curls is top shape with leave-in conditioners that help prevent damage. Some of the best I've seen and used include SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Extra-Moisture Detangler and Mielle Organics White Peony Leave-In Conditioner (which is also great to spray on protective styles).


Got wide hair strands? Congrats! You have super strong texture, and will be able to retain length as your curly hair grows. You will need to apply heavy products to your hair. According to NaturallyCurly Editor Amanda N., "When using products that are too light, you might not be able to retain moisture for an extended period of time. If you are applying moisturizer every day, then you may want to consider using thicker products that you will have to apply less frequently." For general maintenance, I recommend hair butters and creams like Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil Natural Curly Styling Custard or Aunt Jackie's Curls & Coils Curl La La Defining Curl Custard to help you get the moisture you need.

Feeling good about your hair width? Get it, curl friend! Image via GIPHY

Thank you all for responding to all my CURLS 101 polls, commenting on the editorials and Facebook! I am eager to give you more CURLS 101 articles that address your hair texture and curl pattern concerns.

Here are just a few of the editorials you have inspired:

As you can see, I take your insights seriously. So, tell me:

What do you want to see on CURLS 101?
All about length: checks, growth, product recommendations
Facts about premature graying
Shopping for curlies that have more than 1 curl pattern
Washing curly hair more than once a week: bad or good
Other [select this + tell Gerilyn in the article comments section]

survey maker

Thanks so much, curl friends! As ever, stay curly!