Type 2 Hair: How to Identify & Care For

by Gaia Tonanzi

Type 2 hair is one of the main 4 types of hair. Type and texture are determined by so many factors, starting with our DNA. Our guide will help you to identify if you have type 2 hair and to discover the best way to care for it and enhance its natural texture. 

What Is Type 2 Hair? 

Type 2 hair, also known as wavy hair, can be defined by its “S” shape curls and looser texture. It is often misclassified as ‘frizzy’ hair because it tends to lose its shape easily without the correct products. Type 2 can be broken down further into three different subtypes: 2A, 2B, and 2C. This type of hair sits between straight (type 1) and curly (type 3). Due to its looser curl pattern, it is not overly dry or overly oily, which can sometimes be more noticeable with other hair types

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How to Identify Your Hair Type

If you are unsure if you have type 2 hair or any other type, head straight over to our curl quiz. The in-house experts at Curlsmith have created this 60-second quiz to help you decode your locks and help recommend the products to help you on your journey to achieving the hair of your dreams. 

Type 2 Characteristics 

Type 2 texture is neither straight nor curly, but instead sits in the middle of the two ranging from loose loops, to large S-shaped waves. The waves sit close to the head and become curlier from the ears onwards. In addition to the curl pattern, type 2 hair has many other characteristics including:

  • Porosity: Hair porosity is not influenced by your curl type, so waves can have low, medium, and high porosity from person to person (and sometimes even more than one porosity on the same head). 
  • Thickness: Just like porosity, hair thickness is not influenced by the curl type, so type 2 hair can be of fine, medium or coarse thickness.
  • Dryness: Compared to other hair types, type 2 is the least dry of the three main curl types. This is because the looser curls allow the scalp’s natural oils to transition down the hair shaft more easily. 
  • Volume: A typical characteristic is less volume at the roots compared to curls and coils. This happens because waves tend to sit  flatter on the top of the head.

With type 2 hair, you may see that weather and climate can impact your curl pattern, so that it may look different in variable conditions. High humidity months may make your hair frizzier, while dry and cold winter months may make it more flat and dull. Learning how your specific hair behaves in different circumstances is key to learning how to best enhance it.

Classifications of Type 2 Hair: Find Yours

The three numerical curly hair types can be broken down further into subcategories of A, B, and C. The higher the number the curlier the hair, and the higher the letter the tighter the curl pattern. 

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2A Hair 

2A hair is characterized by a very loose tousled texture. This type tends to be quite straight at the roots of the hair, whilst the lengths form gentle waves. Type 2A hair is the loosest of all the type 2 hair types. Due to this the oils from the scalp find it easier to move down the hair shaft and so this type is less prone to dry hair. If you want to really enhance this curl pattern, use strong hold styling products that will keep the curl for longer. 

2B Hair

Compared to type A, 2B hair has a tighter “S” shaped curl pattern. However, it is also easy to weigh down with an excess of product. To really enhance this wave pattern, you’ll want to opt for lightweight styling products that help boost volume. 

2C Hair

2C hair features a tighter “S” shaped texture, and some strands may even form loose corkscrews when styled. This is the type 2 hair most prone to frizz, as it receives the least moisture from the scalp’s natural oils. Using anti-frizz products will help to give your locks the moisture they need to stand out from the crowd.

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Type 2 Hair vs Type 3 & Type 4

The Andre Walker Hair Typing System is the most widely used wireframe to classify hair. The system was created by the hairstylist of Oprah Winfrey, who also gave it its name. According to this system there are four types of hair: 

  • Straight (type 1)
  • Wavy (type 2)
  • Curly (type 3)
  • Coily (type 4)

How Do They Differ? 

Oils: The curlier the hair, the more the natural oils produced by the scalp struggle to keep it moisturized, as it’s not as easy for them to travel down the hair shaft. Because of this, type 2 folks tend not to suffer from oily hair as much as Type 1, but they also don’t have dry hair as much as type 3 or type 4.  

Curl Pattern: Type 1 hair, otherwise known as straight hair, is defined by having no curl pattern. Type 2 hair, as we mentioned above, has an S-shaped curl. Type 3 hair, also known as curly hair, has tighter corkscrew-shaped curls. Finally, type 4 hair has the tightest curls of all, either being corkscrew shaped or in a zig-zag pattern.

Top Care Tips Recommended by Experts 

Caring for your waves, curls and coils shouldn't take a phD. Having a better understanding of your exact hair type can be a huge game-changer when it comes to styling. It doesn’t influence your product selection, but it helps guiding the best techniques and way to apply them Here’s a simple guide to help you care for your type 2 hair:

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  • Washing - as the least defined curl pattern, oil and build up tend to accumulate much faster. Due to this we recommend washing your type 2 hair a bit more often, to avoid the build-up from accumulating. Use a gentle shampoo or co-wash to avoid stripping the hair of its natural moisture, and use a clarifying shampoo occasionally to deeply remove build-up. 
  • Conditioning - moisture is essential for every type of hair, including type 2. Ensure you use a conditioner every time you wash your hair, and a leave-in conditioner in between washes for an extra hydration boost.
  • Styling - as type 2 hair can be weighed down easily, flattening that gorgeous natural wave, you should use lightweight and volumizing formulas. Try not to layer products and opt for liquid gels to achieve stunning definition. If you want to keep your pattern as much as possible, opt for stronger hold stylers.
  • Coloring - changing up your hair color can be fun and exciting, but overtime bleach can cause hair damage which can affect your curl pattern. To experiment with your color without causing damage, choose a vibrant temporary hair color

Achieving the Perfect Protein Moisture Balance

Another factor that can affect the appearance of your waves is their protein moisture balance. If your type 2 hair is in protein overload you may find that it feels brittle to the touch and appears dull. Resetting your tresses with a clarifying shampoo, followed by a deeply hydrating hair treatment can return your waves to their former glory. On the other hand, moisture overload can leave locks appearing limp and lacking their former pattern. To combat this, again clarify but follow with a protein rich formula such as a bond builder to rejuvenate type 2 hair. 

Achieve Your Hair Goals With Curlsmith

In collaboration with curly hair stylists and trichologists, we created hair products specifically formulated for curly hair. With strengthening formulas, shine enhancing products, and scalp treatments , you’ll have the hair of your dreams in no time.