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In Lesson 1, we looked at what makes curly hair curly. We discovered that each person’s hair is unique and that the follicle plays a huge part in whether we have straight, wavy, curly or kinky-curly hair.


Disulphide bonds form in the hair strands and the more bonds you have, the curlier your hair will be. We look at Curl Pattern in this next instalment. examining the different types of curls that are widely defined and accepted around the world.



Curl Pattern types 1 - 4Curl Pattern is made up of numbers and letters. The typically accepted range is 1 to 4 and a – c. With each number and letter combo comes a defined curl type with 1 and 2’s being your straight to wavy category. Your 3’s and 4’s are your curly and kinky-curl types. The adjoining letter signifies the degree of wave or curl.

Why does it matter? Some people will argue that it doesn’t matter, but understanding how the different curl patterns are affected by, for example: not enough moisture/too much moisture, no hold/too much hold, how you pineapple to how much water you remove after you’ve showered etc. These are different for each curl pattern. So having a basic understanding of each type or more specifically, your type/s will help you to choose the better products for your hair.


You will see from the image that type 1 is straight hair so for the purposes of this lesson, we will start at type 2’s.

TYPE 2 Curl Pattern:

This is your Wavy category. The hair is bendable and can be fine or coarse. It has a definite “s” pattern but lays closer to the head. Tends to be frizzier and therefor needs anti-frizz/humidity protective styling products to keep the beautiful waves.

2A’s have a tousled texture that is barely there. This type of hair is very easy to straighten. People with 2A texture should be wary of using heavy styling products as this can weigh the hair down making it limp and lifeless. 2A waves don’t have a lot of volume at the root so using an airy water based mousse at the base will make it look fuller and fluffier.

2B’s are flatter at the crown with a defined “s” shape wave starting from the mid-length. Strands tend to be thicker in diameter than that the 2A’s and takes more effort to straighten.

2C’s waves are thick, coarse and tend to have a little bit more frizz. The S-bends start right at the roots and are well defined.

TYPE 3 curl pattern:

This type of curly hair can range from loose, bouncy loops to tight springy corkscrews which have some shine but can be prone to frizz. This is the most temperamental of the various curl patterns. If you don’t use enough styling product, the hair becomes frizzy and flyaway. Use too much and the hair becomes dull and weighted down. It is often full bodied and climate dependant!

3A’s tend to be shiny with large, loose curls

3B’s have coarse, springy ringlets. This hair texture can get dry, so styling gels that have humectants in them to attract moisture to the strands. This helps to get the definition without the frizz.

3C’s curls are densely packed together and have tight corkscrews. This gives lots of natural volume. Frizziness can be an issue so use a sulphate free creamy conditioner so as to not dry the hair out.

TYPE 4 curl pattern:

Afro-texutred kinky hair falls into this category. It is naturally very dry and spongy in texture. It can be soft and fine or coarse and wiry. Hair forms tight, small curls of zig-zags right from the scalp and can be prone to major shrinkage. This hair should be treated like a fine silk blouse – gentle cleanse, detangle softly and avoid harsh chemicals.

4A’s have dense springy, S patterned coils.

4B’s kinky-coily hair can bend at sharp angles like a Z.

4C’s are similar in texture to 4B but the tightly coiled strands are more fragile and have very tight zig-zag pattern that is sometime indiscernible to the eye. This hair type experiences the greatest shrinkage (75% or more!) than that of the other textures.

Which type are you? The best time to determine your curl pattern is when the hair is at its healthiest. It is also not uncommon to have more than one type of curl pattern on your head. Curl pattern is not the only thing to take into consideration though, hair density and porosity can also play a role in product choice and styling methods. More on this later

Yours Curly