How to Identify the Different Kinds of Curly Hair

Finding your specific curl type may take some time and trial and error. Bailey suggests looking in the mirror while your mane is wet to observe which shapes your strands take, such as wavy, curly, or coily.

Wavy Hair

Wavy hair features loose waves with ripple-like textures that resemble straighter versions when wet and require lightweight products to avoid weightiness.

Coiled Curls

Coily hair (sometimes known as type 4) features tightly coiled spirals arranged zigzag at the base of your scalp, requiring lots of moisture for maintenance and gentle handling.

Curly Locks

Curly locks have tight coils with loose coils in between that form an undulating pattern on your scalp, requiring ample moisture to maintain.

Type 3b Hair

Type 3b hair is thick and full-bodied with distinct spirals that loosen strands more than their wavy counterparts. It creates big loop-de-loops or corkscrew spirals when styled using low or no-heat styling methods and lightweight products that won’t weigh it down, as well as keeping your strands hydrated with deep conditioner treatments.

Compact Curls

Curly hair of this variety typically features compact ringlets or tightly wound s-pattern coils and is the most fragile type. As its drying time can cause its rings to shrink significantly, a lightweight gel-like Dove Amplified Textures Shine and Moisture Finishing Gel with softening Jojoba and Coconut oils is critical in maintaining its shape and keeping curls intact.

Curly Hair with Defined Waves

Curly hair with more defined waves often incorporates elements from multiple categories. It may have an S-shaped pattern or springy ringlets with increased volume. Furthermore, this curly hair requires ample moisture and frizz protection to maintain its definition and prevent dryness and tangles.

Wavy Curls

Wavy hair usually features looser, more relaxed coils than curly and kinky textures, often having an S or zigzag pattern and needing plenty of moisture to maintain its defined curl shape and prevent dryness and frizziness.

Curly Hair with Medium Spring

Curly hair with medium spring, about the diameter of a Sharpie marker, can be one of the most accessible types to manage and style; however, due to a tendency towards dryness, it requires products with anti-humidity properties to help manage.

Type 4 Curls

Type 4 hair, commonly called kinky curly, displays an “S” or “Z” pattern when wet and comprises fine, fragile strands densely packed together. Women with this hair type frequently face dryness, frizz, and shrinkage issues.

Hydration for Coily Hair

Coily hair can quickly become dehydrated if its texture isn’t appropriately treated with shampoo and conditioner products that contain too much shea butter. Use lightweight solutions with plenty of shea butter to keep frizz away for best results. Joico Moisture CoWash Whipped Cleansing Conditioner was named one of the top cleansing conditioners by GH Beauty Lab for curly hair.