How To Get Your Best Curls, According To Your Hair Type

Sunday Feb. 13, 2022

“I’m washing my hair tonight” isn’t merely an excuse to get out of that Tinder date/dinner with the in-laws/The Crown marathon along with your nan. For some individuals, hair washing is extra of an occasion than a daily magnificence observe. Especially for these with hair that’s curly, coily or kinky.
Establishing the place your hair sits on that scale might be complicated, particularly since a number of totally different textures can exist on one head alone.
The present hair typing system, albeit barely flawed, was first developed by hairstylist Andre Walker within the Nineteen Nineties and has since been modified by members of the curly hair group.
It breaks down curls into sorts and sub-types, starting from 2A to 4C, every with their very own distinctive set of traits. The quantity factors to twist households, whereas the letter refers to how tightly wound curls are.
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Andre’s methodology has been critiqued for being too divisive or slender, however for now it stays a great tool to establish your distinctive curl sample (or patterns) and acts as a strong jump-off level for which merchandise to make use of, and styling ideas.
No two heads of hair are the identical, so to get the 411 on the totally different curl sorts and tips on how to correctly establish which class your locks fall into, we reached out to 2 execs within the hair sport: Sky Cripps-Jackson, a contract hairstylist whose work spans from Aotearoa to the UK; and pure haircare extraordinaire and founding father of native haircare model Sans Ceuticals, Lucy Vincent.
Why understanding your hair sort issues
According to Sky, making sense of the traits of your hair will assist with the whole lot from manageability to choosing the appropriate merchandise or equipment that improve (fairly than flatten or separate) your curls.
“As quickly as you perceive what your hair sort is and tips on how to work with it, it offers you countless potentialities as to what you are able to do along with your hair from a styling, lower and color perspective,” she says.
Lockdown supplied Sky with the downtime she wanted to develop a localised model of Andre’s aforementioned hair sort guides, which at the moment are obtainable on her web site or on her Instagram @Skycrippsjackson_hair. Each one is damaged into the 4 foremost sorts and sub-types, into which we’ll dive a bit deeper on this story.
This blueprint of types will make sure you don’t waste time (or cash) on merchandise that go away your tight curls wanting lank or limp, or vice versa — in the event you’ve acquired tremendous waves, you possibly can go for lighter formulation that gained’t weigh them down. It’ll aid you really feel well-researched when buying, to keep away from being mystified by buzzwords and advertising and marketing hype.
An overview of hair sorts
Each of the curl sorts are decided by the form of the follicle that the hair grows out of. Oval-shaped follicles result in curlier hair, whereas circular-shaped follicles result in straighter hair.
The means by which every strand grows additionally informs how a lot moisture is retained within the hair, which is why some hair sorts are extra susceptible to dryness or frizziness.
“Straight hair grows out of the hair follicle perpendicular to the scalp. As it grows out of the follicle it passes the sebaceous glands, which give it this luscious lacquer. That lacquer or coating is liable for slip and sheen, in addition to defending hair from the weather, like warmth and UV, whereas sealing moisture into the hair,” Lucy explains.
“But when hair is wavy, curly or coily, because the hair grows out of the follicles, it spirals and corkscrews so it typically inadvertently misses the sebaceous glands and doesn’t get the identical lipid coating, making it drier and missing in moisture.”
The fundamental overview is that this: sort 1s are straight, sort 2s are wavy, sort 3s are curly and kind 4s are coily. The sub-classifications of every (A via C) communicate to the width or circumference of the wave, curl or coil sample. Type As have the widest sample measurement, sort Bs medium and kind Cs the smallest of the three.
Generally talking, sort 1 hair is straight from roots to ends, making it shiny in look and susceptible to wanting oily rapidly, Sky explains. This hair sort might be extra immune to warmth, which means it doesn’t all the time maintain curls as simply.

1A hair is skinny and tremendous with a softer texture, and is mostly present in people who find themselves present process excessive hormone shifts like menopause, or recovering from therapies like chemotherapy, Sky says. Often known as child tremendous, this hair sort doesn’t maintain curl nicely as a result of it’s so gentle. Curling sort 1A hair can show a tough job, as curling tongs can flatten particular person strands fairly than giving the specified results of creating quantity and width.

1B hair is denser than its predecessor, however equally as straight. “It has medium physique and medium texture, however with the next density,” Sky says. But regardless of its larger density, it’s nonetheless immune to holding waves and curls. “It’s simply so gentle and slippery,” says Sky.

1C hair is of course coarser and thicker in texture, and incorporates the next focus of keratin and melanin (the color pigment that sits inside hair). For this cause, Sky says it’s slower to reply to color and warmth therapies. “Because it’s stronger and naturally a bit drier, you have to maintain the warmth on for a really very long time,” she explains, including {that a} Parlux 385 Ceramic & Ionic Dryer, $333, is her choose to dry hair quick.
Think of 1C hair like bamboo, Sky says. Its pure construction permits for the power to bend and flex, however it’s going to all the time return or calm down again to its unique state.
Not fairly straight and never utterly curly, sort 2 hair encapsulates wavy hair textures starting from unfastened loops to coarse, thick S-shaped waves mixed with curls.
“The hair’s texture is often flatter on the root and lays near the top, getting curlier in the direction of the ends,” Sky says. Where sub-classifications are involved, sorts A and B are softer and finer, however sort C is barely coarser and a bit frizzier (although curls aren’t tremendous tight).
Sky recommends instruments that mimic the circumference of your pure curl sample. In sort 2’s case this ranges from 19-24mm. Try diffuse drying hair with a Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, $649, which Sky says has the perfect air circulate for attaining outcomes on sort 2 hair.

2A waves are tremendous and skinny, and type a slight C-shape bend in the direction of the ends for a unfastened, tousled texture. It’s usually tremendous, however might be simply straightened utilizing a decrease heating setting — 120-170 levels is greatest to keep away from any warmth injury.
Look out for sea salt sprays (attempt Goldwell Stylesign Surf Oil Salty Oil Spray, $30) in addition to cream-based merchandise and oils, just like the Sisley Paris Hair Rituel Precious Hair Care Oil, $150, to boost waves with out shedding physique.

2B hair is straighter on the roots, and falls into extra outlined S-shaped waves from mid-lengths to ends. It’s medium in texture, with an inclination to frizz on the crown. Keep it mild is the styling motto with sort 2B, with a light-weight leave-in conditioner like Evo Liquid Rollers Curl Balm, $38, or an oil like  Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil, $57, in addition to a sea salt spray for dry styling.
To fashion from moist, diffuse on a medium velocity with a medium warmth (as soon as once more, the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is Sky’s go-to). If you’re warmth treating, choose a 90mm tong to match the hair’s circumference, and cap the temperature between 165 and 195 levels.

2C waves have a tendency to begin on the root, and hair is usually thick or coarse and susceptible to frizzing. While many 2C hair sorts might imagine their hair will profit from thinning the majority out, Sky says it truly sits much better if the burden is retained. “When you begin slicing into the hair and eradicating too many particular person strands, it simply exacerbates frizz,” she says.
It’s greatest to fashion this hair sort from moist, making use of product first then twisting out every curl. Apply cream-based merchandise in layers to make sure the center layer isn’t missed. Try Joico Zero Heat Dry Styling Creme, $29.
A drying method referred to as plopping can be utilized to hurry up the drying course of for hair sorts 2, 3 and 4. Flip your hair the wrong way up and “plop” it on to a microfibre turban just like the Aquis Rapid Dry Turban, $48, earlier than amassing the hair/turban again as much as sit on prime of your head. This methodology helps hair to dry in its naturally curly state with out having to twist it right into a towel.
One of the broadest hair sort classes, sort 3 varies from a light-weight curl to tight curly tendrils in myriad textures. They might be outlined and springy with extra top and quantity or massive, unfastened curls.
Type 3 curly hair tends to be shiny with a well-defined S-shape and, regardless of appearances, it’s truly lots finer than you’d assume. For greatest outcomes, each Lucy and Sky advocate combing hair within the bathe when it’s loaded with conditioner. This has the least affect on the hair’s situation whereas nonetheless retaining curls collectively.
“Use your fingers like a rake and tease out any knots. If there’s any thick matts inside the hair, get a Tangle Teezer on board, however be sure to twist the hair again into curl formation afterwards,” Lucy says. For cussed knots, detangle strands from the underside as much as unravel.

3A hair tends to be excessive density, which means it not solely retains water for longer, however it makes strands extra susceptible to shrinkage.
In the salon, Sky says to ask your stylist to chop hair whereas dry so you possibly can see the form creating and the place it’s going to naturally sit. “With hair sorts which have excessive shrinkage, what’s lower off when it’s moist, what you stroll out with when it’s dry and what you get up with are sometimes three various things.”
Rather than litter up your vainness, discover a curl-defining cream just like the Davines Love Curl Cream, $44, and a moisturising oil (attempt the Living Proof Curl Moisturizing Shine Oil, $48) that may provide definition and management, and can be utilized moist and dry.

3B hair sorts range from springy, ringlet curls via to corkscrews — they’re typically voluminous and are roughly 9-16mm in circumference.Coarse and dense, the perfect merchandise for a 3B hair sort embody an anti-humectant styling cream and a leave-in conditioning milk.
Unlike earlier hair sorts, hair sorts 3B and above don’t should be washed as typically — each 4 to eight days is okay. You need to keep away from eradicating pure sebum, Lucy says, including that from this kind onwards is the place you progress into sudless shampoo or co-wash territory to retain moisture.
Lucy recommends this easy haircare routine for hair sorts 3B up: saturate hair and shampoo as soon as with Sans Ceuticals Nourishing Hair Wash, $39, earlier than squeezing out as a lot water as potential and making use of Sans Ceuticals Nourishing Hair Hydratant Ultra+, $42. Work the product via mid-lengths and ends, rinse, then apply a spritz of the Sans Ceuticals pH + Shine Corrector, $50, on prime.

3C is often known as curly and coily hair, and is usually very dense, tightly packed corkscrews roughly the circumference of a pencil. Use as little warmth as potential in the event you’re desirous to create a method that’ll final the gap, says Sky.
One fashion that works significantly nicely on 3C hair sorts is the Bantu knot, which gently enhances curls with out warmth, says Sky.
Not only a coiffure, Bantu knots have their roots in Africa, and are believed to have originated inside the Zulu tradition greater than a century in the past — way back to 1898. Bantu knots aren’t knots in any respect; fairly, hair is sectioned off and twisted round itself so the hair spirals to type a “knot”.
Some individuals could also be shocked to be taught that regardless of sort 4 hair being probably the most coily of all hair sorts, it may be probably the most delicate.
“Coily hair could appear strong, however it’s truly probably the most fragile hair texture as a result of it has the fewest cuticle layers to guard it from dryness,” Sky says.
For manageability, some individuals want to maintain coily hair in corn rows. It stays a specialised hair sort and needs to be handled by somebody who has in depth information of tips on how to keep hair’s situation. Lucy stresses one of the essential issues to think about with sort 4 hair is pH administration.
“When the pH is disrupted (via minerals in your water, chemical companies or UV) it opens up the hair cuticle which leaches out moisture, protein and color. Hair turns into crispier, drier and extra matte,” Lucy says.
“You need to maintain that cuticle locked down tight just like the floor of a snake. When cuticles are flat, mild bounces off the floor and provides that stunning shine.”

4A hair is often dense, springy curls which are wiry or tremendous, with a visual S-pattern the circumference of a crochet needle. Shop for haircare that incorporates pure emollients to maximise wash-and-wearability. Or take into account Lucy’s holy grail of curly hair, an ingredient known as behentrimonium methosulphate which is derived from rapeseed.
“It’s ionic — it binds and holds moisture deep inside the hair. It offers this unimaginable coating with out weighing it down and provides the hair slip, sheen and de-frizzes,” Lucy says.

4B hair sorts don’t curl or coil, fairly they bend in sharp, Z-shaped angles in a sample that’s tighter and fewer outlined — roughly the circumference of a pen.
Say sure to in a single day oils, development stimulants and sudless shampoos, and keep away from any aerosol-based merchandise, says Sky. Apply a pre-shampoo remedy to retain the pure oils on the scalp, and curl gels like Oribe Curl Gelee – Shine and Definition, $76, to outline curls.
Two styling methods to attempt embody shingling, the place you roll the hair with the forefinger and thumb, or comb twists, the place you employ a tail comb to roll the hair which creates a tiny, springy curl. These methods can take some observe, so ask a professional to offer you a tutorial earlier than you start.

4C hair is comparable in texture and density to 4B hair sorts, however experiences much less definition, extra shrinkage and extra frizz.
“The tightly coiled strand texture ranges from tremendous tremendous and skinny to wiry and coarse. It’s extra of a Z-shape versus being spherical and voluptuous. This is so delicate, in the event you’re desirous to work with pure texture, steer clear of warmth as a lot as potential,” says Sky.
Weekly conditioning therapies and leave-in moisturisers will maintain hair pleased. Sky loves the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Hair Serum, $18. Twist into coils into an outlined texture, or use an afro sponge to press hair into form.
This story was initially revealed in Viva Magazine – Volume Six.

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