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All About Curly Hair Types
Contrary to popular belief, curly hair can’t be lumped into one category.
As a matter of fact, there are 9 different types of curls – each with its own traits, characteristics, and needs.
A person’s curl type is determined by the shape of the follicle and how the hair grows out from the scalp. The more circular the follicle, the straighter the hair. The flatter, or more oval-shaped the follicle, the curlier the hair. A curl pattern is also identified by the shape that each individual strand of hair makes. Do they gently wave, kink, curve, or wind around into spirals? Every head of hair also has its own porosity, strand-thickness, and density. Also, much like a fingerprint, each head of hair is unique and individual-sometimes having as many as 2,3 or more different curl patterns!
So, how do you identify which type of curl pattern you have and how to treat your tresses?
Andre Walker-(Oprah’s stylist) created a handy hair classification system in the 90’s that is widely used today.

 

The types of curls can be put into 3 categories:

TYPE 3A

  • WAVY 2A-2C  Forms a loose “S” easily straightened.
  • CURLY 3A-3C Forms a definite “S” shaped like a corkscrew.
  • COILY 4A-4C Very tight curl when stretched creates an “S”.
Then, they can be broken down further:
Type 2A: Slightly “S” waved hair that tends to be fine in density.
Type 2B: The wave is usually loosely “S” shaped like Type 2a, but the hair sticks closer to the head. Waves may be slightly frizzier on the crown of the head and do not hold curl definition.
Type 2C: The coarsest of the wavy hair patterns, these waves start to form more curls.
Type 3A: Curls are springy, well-defined, and have a definite loopy “S” pattern. The curls have a circumference of a piece of sidewalk chalk.
Type 3B: Curls are voluminous and have a smaller circumference than 3A. The curl circumference is the size of a kid’s marker.
Type 3C: Curls are tight corkscrews, tend to be higher in density and coarser than 3A and 3B. Curl circumference of a pencil.
Type 4A: Tightly coiled, kinky “S” pattern. The hair has more moisture than type 4B coils and has a visible, defined “O” shaped pattern. Curls have the circumference of a knitting needle.
Type 4B: Hair strands have a “Z” shape and less of a curl pattern. Instead of coiling or curling, the hair forms a Z pattern, is very tightly coiled, and can often feel wiry.
Type 4C:  A tightly coiled curl pattern that is hard to define unless up close because the strands are so densely packed together. Texture can range from fine, thin, soft or coarse.

So now you’ve identified your curl type-but how do you keep your curls happy?

Cleansing/Shampooing is a necessary component of a healthy hair regimen. With any curl type, you need to shampoo regularly to keep your scalp and hair clean-but you can lengthen the time between washes from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on curl type. It is important to avoid shampoos that contain sulfates and parabens that can rob hair of vital nutrients. Plaine Products Citrus Lavender Shampoo will gently cleanse the scalp while hydrating hair ends. Wash your hair in sections to prevent tangles. Follow up with Plaine Products Citrus Lavender Conditioner. Leave it in the hair for five minutes before rinsing. If you need more moisture, a deep conditioner can be substituted.  If you require a more clarifying shampoo for scalp buildup and balance, try Plaine Products Rosemary Mint Vanilla Shampoo and Conditioner. The Rosemary and Mint will gently invigorate and stimulate the scalp while cleansing the hair.

Co-washing, or conditioner washing is a method of cleansing the hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Because you are still scrubbing the scalp with a cleanser, you are still removing dirt and residue. This method is particularly beneficial for curly hair because it keeps hair hydrated without stripping the natural oils. Co-washing leaves hair shiny and smooth, and tends to be gentler on textured hair. Completely saturate the hair. Use a gentle conditioner such as Plaine Products Rosemary Mint Vanilla Conditioner, massage into the scalp, and distribute evenly through hair ends. Rinse well until the water runs clear. This method can be used as often as 2 to 3 times a week. If you are going to use the co-washing method, it is important to include a clarifying shampoo such as Plaine Products Rosemary Mint Vanilla Shampoo into your rotation. Removing buildup is important for scalp and hair health-especially for those with oily hair types and heavy product users.

 

TYPE 4A

Detangling is very important with curly hair-especially with the tighter curl patterns of type 3 and 4 hair, because hairs tend to curl and coil around each other, causing tangles. Tangles lead to breakage and can stunt healthy hair growth. Detangle gently in the shower during your co-wash with fingers or a wide-tooth comb. Use a detangler such as Plaine Products Hair Repair. Spray damp hair liberally, focusing on hair ends. Always use a wide-tooth comb on damp hair-never a brush. Start from hair ends and work your way up the hair shaft to prevent snags and breakage.

 

TYPE 2B/2C combo

If you have Type 2 curls, you want to use lighter products that won’t weigh your hair down. A dab of mousse, light gel or defining cream work well for soft waves. To enhance your texture and define your loose waves, try a sea salt spray or Plaine Products Hair Repair on damp hair.

For Type 3a to 3b curls, Try an anti-humectant (humidity-blocking) styling cream, cream gel, or light oil for more definition and less frizz.

TYPE 3B/3C combo

If you have Type 3c curls,use styling creams, puddings or a light hair oil such as Plaine Products Beauty Oil for hydration. Deep condition at least once a week to retain elasticity and moisture.

Type 4 Curls need to be kept moisturized. They can tend to lack porosity and the tight coils can prevent the distribution of sebum (natural oil produced by your scalp) throughout hair ends. This can lead to hair drying out faster than other curl patterns, so it is important to keep your hair moisturized. There are many products on the market, find one that works for your hair. A curl-defining hair-custard, butter, milk, or gelee can stretch the coil safely for twist-outs and braids. Try a creamy humectant such as a dab of Shea-Butter as a leave-in treatment to add moisture. A light oil can also be beneficial for type 4 curls. Plaine Products Beauty Oil is a wonderfully balanced mixture of Primrose oil, Grapeseed oil, Clary Sage Essential Oil, Jojoba Oil, Flaxseed Oil, and Hemp Seed Oil. Beauty Oil is light in texture and has many beneficial uses. It can be used on the scalp for massage, to balance dryness, or applied to hair ends to define curls & coils and control frizz.

 

This post was written by Krysia McDonald, Head of Salon Sales for Plaine Products, and an extraordinary hairstylist with over 20 years of experience in the Hair Industry. If you’ve got your own, tough hair questions, Krysia can help! Be sure to check out our new website feature, Ask A Stylist!

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