So you have coily hair but are unsure on how you should be looking after it. With every hair type, knowing how to look after it is essential to having gorgeous locks. That’s why we’ve put together an ultimate guide to coily hair, from exactly what it is, to what the best products are to make the most of your natural hair.
Characteristics Of Coily Hair
Coily hair is the most voluminous of the hair types. It is often referred to as type 4 hair, and can be divided into three subcategories: 4A, 4B, and 4C. It has either very tight coils that begin at the scalp, or ‘Z’ shaped angles. The difference between coily hair and the other curl types is that wavy hair has loose ‘S’ shapes, and curly hair has looser corkscrew-coil shaped curls.
Your hair type isn’t the only thing that should affect how you take care of your hair. Your locks will also have their own hair porosity. Coily hair is often high porosity, but it can be any of the three types:
High Porosity: This hair type has cuticles that are very open, this means moisture can easily enter and leave the hair. Meaning high porosity hair is prone to dryness.
Medium Porosity: The cuticles in medium porosity are less open and let hydration is relatively easy, whilst also not losing this moisture too quickly.
Low Porosity: The cuticles in low porosity hair, on the other hand, are very tightly packed. This makes it difficult for moisture to enter, but once it’s in the hair shaft it retains it very well.
4A Hair Type
The curl pattern of 4A hair is usually visible, and is made of tight coils, roughly the size of a crochet needle. This coily hair type is very fragile and can be easily damaged so it’s important to look after it carefully and keep it hydrated at all times with rich hair treatments, leave-ins and butters.
4B Hair Type
4B hair is the first coily hair type that has a ‘Z’ curl pattern. The strands tend to be very fine and delicate, so it’s important not to manipulate them too often. Reducing the frequency of hair washing is key to prevent the coils from being stripped of their natural oils.
4C Hair Type
4C hair has a very tight zigzag pattern and is quite fragile. This coily hair type experiences the most shrinkage, so it may seem to grow more slowly when in fact the length is just concealed in the tight pattern. This hair type is very dry as well, so we recommend washing it less often to keep the strands moisturized.
How Should You Wash Coily Hair?
Coily hair is the driest curl type, so you need to protect the natural oils in the scalp. You don’t want to wash the hair too often or you may end up stripping its natural moisture. Coily hair also tends to be quite fragile, so frequent washes are discouraged to avoid too much manipulation. We recommend washing coily hair only 1-2 times per week. You can use either a gentle shampoo like our Vivid Tones Vibrancy Shampoo or our Core Strength Shampoo, or a more moisturising alternative like our Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash.
Even if you wash your coily hair less often, you should introduce a clarifying shampoo like our Wash & Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic in your routine once a month, to really purify the scalp from build-up. Since you are washing your hair much less often, you may want to use a deep conditioner every wash day rather than a traditional rinse-out. Our Double Cream Deep Quencher is great to really quench coils with moisture.
Top Tips for Styling Coily Hair
By styling your coily hair, you can really make your curls shine! Using the right techniques and products will make sure your crowning glory always looks its best!
- Apply all products with your head upright, dividing your coily hair into sections to make sure you are covering every single coil.
- Apply both leave-in conditioners and styling products on soaking wet hair. This will allow you to detangle more easily and comb the product through your coily hair thoroughly
- Coily hair tends to need more moisture, so make sure you go in with a cream before your stylers. Something rich like our Oil-in-Cream is great to really quench your coils
- Strong hold gels like our In-Shower Style Fixer are the best products to define coils and hold the style until the next wash day.
- If you want to style your coily hair’s edges, use a little bit more of our Fixer to smooth them back or create unique designs
- If you want your style to last longer before refreshing, don’t fully break the cast on day one. Leave a bit of hold on the coils to ensure they continue to thrive for the coming days
- Use a pick brush at your roots to encourage hair volume and fluff out the roots
Styling coily hair is easier when it’s in the best condition it can be. Maintaining the right protein moisture balance is key to ensure your results are the best they can be.
How to Protect Coily Hair in Between Washes
Coily hair tends to suffer a lot from shrinkage, so during the night you want to make sure you are not scrunching your hair further. Rather than using a tight bonnet or scarf, we recommend sleeping on a simple satin or silk pillowcase. This will prevent frizz by preventing the hair from scratching on harsh cotton fibers. If your coily hair is longer, you may want to tie it in a pineapple style with a loose satin scrunchie before going to sleep.
How to Refresh Coily Hair
Since coily hair is washed less often, you might want to consider refreshing them in between washes, in order for your style to last longer.
- If your scalp is feeling itchy or dry, use a soothing scalp treatment like our Scalp Stimulating Booster and massage it at your roots
- Use a moisturizing spray to keep your coily hair hydrated. You can use our Moisture Memory Reactivator, or if you feel that’s too light for you mix a dollop of oil-in-cream with water in a spray bottle and use that instead. Don’t be shy while you are spritzing, you want to make sure you’re using enough product to reach all hair sections!
- If you feel you need a little bit more hold, smooth some gel over your hair in sections. Don’t try to rake it in or it may cause more frizz.
- Glaze your ends with an oil or a rich butter like our Intense Treatment Serum to seal all the moisture into your strands
Curlsmith was inspired by previous generations home remedies for hair care. From this evolved the gourmet, premium products you know today. We wouldn't be here without the help and collaboration of beauty experts, world renowned trichologists, bloggers and most importantly you! We learnt what curly hair girls needed most by taking to the streets and asking those important questions. From reinforced hair, provided by our strength range, to intense hydration provided by our moisture line; from follicle stimulation provided by our scalp range to fun pops of colors provided by our color range. We were then able to create formulas for our products to help solve the problems that curly hair faces daily.