Top tips to identify and care for Type 2 Hair

by GAIA TONANZI 3 MINUTE READ
Top tips to identify and care for Type 2 Hair

Type 2 hair is one of the main 4 types of hair. Pattern 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 it will guide you to learn how 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 hair 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).

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, people with type 2 hair 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 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.

Type 2 Characteristics

The type 2 pattern 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:

  • Lack of 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.
  • Build-up: type 2 hair has a looser shape, and as such can easily be weighed down by using too many stylers or leave-in products.
  • Hold: the looser S-shaped curls can quickly flatten in between wash-days, almost becoming straight. Using strong hold stylers is key to ensure the waves can last for longer.
  • 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.
  • Humidity: 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 understanding how to best enhance it.

Classifications of Type 2 Hair: Which one Are You?

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.

type-2a-hair

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 wavy 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 dryness. If you want to really enhance this curl pattern, use strong hold styling products that will keep the curl for longer, like the In-Shower Style Fixer or Shine Gel.

type-2b-hair

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, like the Bouncy Strength Volume Foam.

type-2c-hair

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.

Top Care Tips For Type 2 Hair

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 finding the best styling products for curly hair. 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:

  • 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 product accumulation. 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 (like the Shine Jelly, Hydro Style Flexi-Jelly or Shape Up Aqua Gel) to achieve stunning definition. If you want to keep your pattern as much as possible, opt for stronger hold stylers to help you achieve strong curls.
  • 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!
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    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.

    How to Identify Your Hair Type

    If you are unsure how to care for your type 2 hair, head straight over to our curl quiz. The in-house experts at Curlsmith have created this 60-second questionnaire to help you decode your locks and recommend the products for your healthy hair journey. With strengthening formulas, shine enhancing products, and scalp treatments, you’ll have the hair of your dreams in no time.

    Gaia Tonanzi
    Product Development & Textured Hair Expert

    Product development expert on a mission to shine the spotlight on textured hair, bringing awareness of the category to the whole haircare industry. She is passionate about debunking false myths and bringing science-backed facts to the community, creating easy-to-follow guides to simplify curly haircare.

    Gaia Tonanzi
    Product Development & Textured Hair Expert

    Product development expert on a mission to shine the spotlight on textured hair, bringing awareness of the category to the whole haircare industry. She is passionate about debunking false myths and bringing science-backed facts to the community, creating easy-to-follow guides to simplify curly haircare.