Your Guide To Figuring Out Your Curl Pattern And How To Maintain Them

Curl Patters Curly Hair

With the curly girl method being a hot topic for the last few years, curly-haired beauties are ditching the hot and steaming straighteners and embracing their natural hair type. But it’s not just curly anymore, is it? Gone are the days when ‘curly’ was lumped in one broad hair category. There are different curl patterns, and managing each requires knowledge, patience and a decent internet connection. So, how do you figure out what your curls are like and what needs to be done to have them looking fab?

From type 2a to 4c, the 9 types of different curls can be hard to decode. Still, once you do, your routine to maintain them can be pretty much set in stone, and you can fling your heated equipment and products to a corner. Here’s the lowdown on how to identify your specific curl type and the best routines to maintain their wavy goodness.

Never Mind I’ll Find Someone Like 2

Type 2A Curl Pattern

This is the kind of hair type where you mostly accidentally discover that your hair is curly. But! This hair type has arguably the easiest type of curls to maintain. The distinct feature to recognise this type of curl is the open ‘S’ shape it makes while caressing downwards and the way it sticks close to your face. You have to be extremely cautious of using heated and heavy styling equipment (due to easy damage and breakage of the fine hair). Invest in some lightweight water-based styling products to help you add some volume and skip the heat styling. This hair type also tends to fall flat sometimes, so you will want the extra volume for your nights out on the town. Sea salt sprays can also work wonders to maintain those soft, beachy waves.

Type 2B Curl Pattern


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The defining factor of this hair type is the slight frizziness and flatness at the crown of your head. Yes, not ideal. A similar ‘S’ shape sticking closer to your head can help identify this curl. The curls also tend to lose their resolution fairly easily. Hence, you need to make sure to use long-stay styling products for their efficacy. Bath & Body Works has a Midsummer Dream Sea Salt Hair Mist that works wonders on this hair type. Lightweight, non-sticky in texture, and easy to use, the hair mist is what you need for those beachy waves.

Type 2C Curl Pattern


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Leaning more towards the ‘curly’ rather than ‘wavy’ side of the spectrum, this hair type can be easily defined by its coarse texture. With the curly goodness beginning right at your crown, the well-defined natural curls can be maintained by using products that do not strip your mane of natural oils. Leave-in conditioners, cream gels and mousses work best for this hair type, preferably light-weight in texture to not bog your hair down and make it look flat.

2’s Company, 3’s A Crowd

Type 3A Curl Pattern


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Well-defined, loopy and (mostly) springy curls are characteristic of this hair type. The diameter of each curl is pretty wide, almost as much as a big ballpoint pen, and the width is what makes these curls oh-so-luscious to look at. ‘Look, don’t touch!’ is characteristic of this hair type. You may be super tempted to run your hands through those curls, but doing so could result in a frizzy mess. Leave in conditioners should be your best friends, and a dab of argan oil, once you’re fresh out of the shower (just before drying out your curls), could do you a world of good. We recommend using OGX’s Moroccan Argan Oil to revel in bouncy goodness.

Type 3B Curl Pattern

Voluminous curls with a relatively smaller circumference (more like a sharpie), these springy curls are best styled with anti-humectant (humidity blocking) products to maintain their shape and keep frizziness at bay. Styling products with a milky consistency are products that work very well with this hair type too. Style your ringlets while they’re slightly damp or wet to get maximum definition.

Type 3C Curl Pattern


Smaller in circumference than the 3Bs, these tight curl patterns have the width sof a straw or a pencil. Beginning right at your crown, these compact curls are closely set and crowded together. Frizziness is a common problem associated directly with this hair type. Keeping your mane well-conditioned can make a world of difference to your everyday hair texture. Deep conditioning once a week is a must with this hair type so keep your moisture supplements handy. Every product you use for this hair type should be able to moisturise your strands effectively. Use L’Oreal Professionnel’s Absolut Repair Hair Mask with Protein to nourish your hair every week.

May The 4’s Be With You

Type 4A Curl Pattern


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Springy and coily hair best describes a type 4A mane. With the curls still making a defined S shape, the coarseness overrules. The visible curl pattern is still there, but with the circumference close to a crotchet needle. This hair type needs active and professional hydration (as do all 4s).

Type 4B Curl Pattern


Compact, busy curls bending at sharp angles resemble the letter ‘Z’, more than ‘S’, which is a step above type 4a. Using a primer to keep your hair hydrated (with a water mist/sea salt spray) just before applying curl creams can make a world of difference to the way your hair sets. The thick coils need a lot of handwork for better texture and elongation of the curls to showcase their defined shape.

Type 4C Curl Pattern


Similar to the 4B texture, but with a bit more fragility sprinkled on, this zig-zag curl type make it stand out amongst the rest. With a lot of shrinkage (the most amongst all curl patterns), using a generous amount of moisturising products can give your hair the strength it requires. 

If you feel like none of these curl types truly define what your hair looks like, worry not. It is possible to be between curl types and maybe have a few different types on one head of hair. Using products that work best for your hair and also a bit of extensive research on the ingredients to look out for can make your curls shine brighter than Rihanna’s diamond. 

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- Beauty Contributor

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