The Ultimate Wavy Hair Guide

by GAIA TONANZI
The Ultimate Wavy Hair Guide

Wavy hair is the most unrecognized curl type. Often mislabelled as 'frizzy hair', many people who have this curl type tend to treat it as straight hair that's refusing to behave. But wavy hair has its own specificities and characteristics that need to be taken into account to enhance it to the max. How you ask? Keep on reading!

Characteristics of Wavy Hair

Wavy hair, also known as type 2 hair, can be split into three different subtypes: 2A, 2B, and 2C. It is the hair type that sits in between straight and curly hair. Its pattern ranges from loose loops to ‘S’ shaped waves. 

What makes it different from the other hair types is the curls' shape. Curly hair  has a more distinct curl pattern formation, similar to corkscrews while coily hair can be seen either in a ‘Z’ shaped angle or tight coils starting at the root of the scalp.

The different wavy hair types each have their own characteristics that set them apart. 2A hair tends to have a tousled texture. 2B hair consists of ‘S’ shaped waves in the lengths, but sits relatively straight at the roots. 2C hair has even more defined ‘S’ shaped curls that start from the root and continue down the lengths of the hair.

Type 2A Hair

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2A hair has a very loose tousled texture. The wave is slightly accentuated and can lose its shape easily, becoming almost straight. For this type of wavy hair, it’s important to use very lightweight styling products, to ensure the style can last for longer. You may want to avoid layering styling products to make sure you are not weighing the waves down.

Type 2B Hair

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2B hair has a tighter S shape. The texture is still loose and easily weighed down, but it tends to maintain its shape better than 2A. This curl type tends to react well to styling creams, but again we recommend only using one styler at a time to avoid weighing down wavy hair.

Type 2C Hair

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Type 2C hair has a very tight S shape texture, and some strands may even start to become loose corkscrews when styled. Out of all the wavy hair types this is the most prone to frizz, so it’s important to combine both moisture and hold in the styling choice.

Wavy Hair and Porosity

Once you’ve identified you have wavy hair, you should also explore your hair’s porosity, which is its ability to absorb and retain water. Depending on the porosity of your wavy hair you will want to take care of it in different ways. There are three porosity types:

  • High Porosity: In high porosity hair, the cuticles of individual hairs are very open. This makes it extremely easy for moisture to enter the strand, but also just as easy for it to leave.
  • Medium Porosity: The cuticles in medium porosity hair are slightly open, this makes it somewhat easy for moisture to enter the strand, but it won’t leave as quickly as in high porosity. This makes this hair type the easiest to look after.
  • Low Porosity: The cuticles in low porosity hair are very tight, this makes it difficult for moisture to enter the strands. But once it does it is retained very well.

All of these porosities will have different protein moisture balance levels, and the higher the porosity the more protein-rich products you should use.

How to wash wavy hair?

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Wavy hair is the least dry among the curl types, so it tends to develop more oil on the scalp. For this reason, we recommend washing wavy hair a bit more often, around 3-4 times a week, with a gentle shampoo like our Core Strength Shampoo.

Wavy hair can also be prone to build-up, so you should introduce a clarifying shampoo like our Wash & Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic in your routine once a week, to really get rid of all product accumulation that might weigh down your roots and make them look flatter.

And don’t forget the conditioner! Moisture is super important for any curl type, including wavy hair, so make sure you always use a conditioning product every time you wash your hair. When it comes to deep conditioning, we recommend using a lighter formula that won’t weigh down your hair: our Hydro Crème Soothing Mask is great for this. For hair that isn’t as dry, you may choose to use this slightly less often, every other week should be enough.

Top tips for styling wavy hair

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Knowing how to style your wavy hair is essential for getting the most from your pattern. 

  • Don’t layer too many products. Wavy hair is easily weighed down and it can lose its shape quickly, so try to use only one styler in your routine to avoid build-up. The Hydro Style Flexi Jelly is a great option to provide hold without weighing the wavy hair down.
  • Apply your styling products with your head upside down to get more volume at the roots.
  • Apply your products on soaking wet hair. This will help disperse the product and make it lighter, so it won’t weigh down your texture.
  • Scrunch, scrunch and scrunch again. Scrunching encourages wavy hair to spring up, so it’s the best way to enhance loose textures.
  • Plop your wavy hair in a towel for some time before drying to encourage the wave formation.
  • If you want to achieve more definition and long-lasting hold, try strong hold gels. Strong hold gels like our In-Shower Style Fixer are the best products to define curls and hold the shape for longer. They will make your wavy hair slightly crunchy while drying, but once fully dry you only need to scrunch out the cast to achieve soft, weightless waves.
  • If you want to achieve more volume, try light textures like our Bouncy Strength Volume Foam - they will provide definition without weighing the hair down.
  • Use a diffuser to achieve more volume.

How to protect wavy hair in between washes

If you want to make sure your waves last until the next wash, it is very important to protect them when you sleep. To encourage the texture to spring up, we recommend sleeping with a tight satin scarf or a small bonnet that will keep the waves “scrunched” during the night. This will allow you to wake up with perfect, bouncy wavy hair!

How to refresh & enhance wavy hair

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Wavy hair has a looser curl pattern that tends to lose its shape quite quickly, so you may find that you need to refresh your hair more often in order to maintain the style until the next wash. We recommend refreshing a little every morning to ensure your waves stay bouncy and defined. Here are our top refreshing tips:

  • If you find your roots have flattened and have become a bit oily, spray some dry shampoo to absorb it and create more texture
  • Refresh on dry hair using very little product. Light textures like our Moisture Memory Reactivator, a liquid gel or a mousse work best, as they avoid weighing your hair down. Spray some water in your hands and emulsify your product of choice, to make it even lighter.
  • Use a scrunching motion to apply your stylers, to encourage waves to spring back up.

Find the products for your Wavy Hair

Understanding your curl type is only the first step to nailing down the perfect hair routine. You need to keep in mind other factors like porosity, hair thickness and density to be able to pick the best products for your needs. If you're still a bit confused, head over to our curl quiz for a little help!

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.