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Understand your curls better: A complete guide to different type of curls

by Curlup Team |

‘Life is too short to have boring hair!’ And curls are anything but boring! It doesn’t matter if the curls are soft, coily or voluminous, they are absolutely gorgeous and unrivalled! This is why Hollywood beauties Shakira and Beyoncé to Bollywood's lady superstar Kangana Ranaut, have never shied away from flaunting their beautiful curls.

Have you ever wondered what makes your hair curly or wavy or straight? Well your curls are the result of the disulphide bonds between the hair proteins present in the hair shaft. If the distance between the two sulphur atoms in the same protein is long it will cause your hair to bend thus giving rise to curls. The number of disulphide bonds determines how curly your hair will be, so the higher the disulphide bonds kinkier the curls and lower the disulphide bonds wavier the hair will be.

Andre Walker who is Oprah Winfrey’s hair stylist was the first one to come up with the system to classify the different types of hair. He divided hair types into 4 categories and these were further divided into subcategories. This system is especially useful to determine what kind of products and techniques would suit one’s hair. However, it is also good to remember that most of us have a mix of at least 2 different types of curls and that this classification method does not factor this. Ultimately this is the best classification available currently. This blog will discuss about the different curly hair types and their traits thus ensuring that you know all about your luscious curls!


Straight hair is the most resilient of all the hair types making it very hard to damage. The sebaceous oils from the scalp have no problems traveling down the length of the hair making this the oiliest of the hair types. Straight hair is the shiniest of all types as it reflects all the light falling on it. This category has no sub classifications.


Wavy hair generally tends to have loose curl pattern. This relaxed ‘S’ shaped curls are straight over the crown portion and wavy in the middle and frizzy at the ends. The texture of this type of hair is neither straight nor curly, but somewhere in between both. Wavy hair reflects less light than straight hair but more than curly hair. The only problem with wavy hair is that it is prone to frizz! Light serums, mousses and gels work great for combating frizz without weighing down the hair for this type. Also, diffusing the hair while drying adds some extra volume as well. Wavy hair is further divided into 3 subcategories:

  • 2A Wavy Hair
  • Type 2A is fine, thin and tousled hair, which is easily manageable compared to other hair types. From Straightening to curling, heat styling is pretty simple on type 2A hair.

  • 2B Wavy Hair
  • If you have straight hair over the crown portion and if it gradually curls up towards the ends, then you have type 2B hair. Compared to type 2A, this is a bit difficult to heat style.

  • 2C Wavy Hair
  • These waves start right from the roots. Type 2C has more defined waves compared to that of 2A and 2B. They are generally thick and prone to frizz.


    This hair has consistent and defined spiral shaped patterns from roots till the tip. They tend to have good volume and are more climate dependent. They also tend to be drier as the sebaceous oils can’t make it through the length of the hair due to its shape. Deep conditioning, conditioning, curl creams, Gels and applying natural oils all form an important part in maintaining this type of rough curls. This classic curl type needs gentle care and moisture which can be done using Curl up Curl care bundle efficiently and effectively. If you have this type of hair, then we have a few words for you: DO NOT HEAT STYLE! Lack of proper care can lead to them being damaged. Let’s take a look at different types of curls.

  • 3A Curly Hair
  • Type 3A strands are shiny large curls which tend to be loose in texture. They form almost flawless ringlet texture growing right from the roots. Frizz is an enemy to this type of hair, as it will lead to the loss of definition of your bouncy curls. The very mild coconut-based Curl Up Curl Moisturising Shampoo will ensure that your hair stay hydrated and moisturized all day long!

  • 3B Curly Hair
  • 3B is coarse textured hair that forms perfect ringlets right from the root till the tip. It is tightly wound and also lacks shine. They generally are voluminous and hence need to be maintained really well! Strong creams that lock in moisture like our Curl Up Curl defining cream will help combat frizz whilst giving the hair great definition.

  • 3C Curly Hair
  • Here comes the next type of spiral curls! 3C curls are also known as corkscrew curls and are very voluminous. However, they are fine textured hair and tend to be quite frizzy. This type of hair also shrinks a lot so some hair stretching techniques can be practiced to add some length to the curls.


    The type 4 hair, widely known as kinky or coily, is the roughest and toughest of all to manage. Contrary to popular belief this hair type is very fine textured thus making it extremely susceptible to breakage. Each strand of this hair type is ‘z’ shaped zig-zag coils. This type of hair experiences the maximum shrinkage. Deep conditioning, conditioning, curl creams, Gels and applying natural oils all form an important part in maintaining this type of rough curls. Curl Up Curl hydrating conditioner enriched with ultra-rich nourishing formula of Argan oil, Chia seed extract and Flax seed extract is perfect to make your curls look happy and bouncy! Now, let’s see what are the subtypes that fall into this category.

  • 4A Coily Hair
  • 4A curls tend to be wiry and are wound quite tightly. This type of curl requires thick creams like those with Shea butter to keep them properly moisturized

  • 4B Coily Hair
  • This type of hair follows a ‘z’ pattern and can either be fine or coarse in texture. Pre-pooing with some oils such as coconut oil etc. helps with moisturizing this type of hair.

  • 4C Coily Hair
  • Type 4C and 4B are similar in their texture. The only difference is that 4C lacks definition and is frizzier than 4B type. There is also a high degree of shrinkage in this type of hair making it appear much shorter than it actually is. Detangling after application of a creamy humectant is advisable.

    And that’s it folks! This is everything you need to know about the various hair types and how to nourish them. Just remember, the key to beautiful, healthy hair lies in maintaining them using the best products and techniques.

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