Type 2C Hair: How to Identify & Top Care Tips

Type 2C Hair: How to Identify & Top Care Tips

Do you have type 2C hair? Perhaps you’re not sure how to identify your hair pattern and often feel like you teeter between wavy and curly hair. Textured hair is so unique and many of us have multiple hair patterns on our heads. Knowing your wavy hair pattern is just one part of identifying overall hair characteristics to better learn what works for your hair. However, it’s important to not stress about fitting into one hair type because there are so many nuances. Having an understanding of how to care for type 2C hair is empowering and can enable you to embrace your natural texture.


What is 2C Hair?

2C falls within the type 2 category for “wavy hair,” and is the waviest pattern within this group.

Our hair pattern depends on the natural shape of our hair follicles within the scalp which is determined by our genetics. Type 2C hair is a classification within the hair typing system that ranges from 1A-4C:

2C falls within the type 2 category for “wavy hair,” and is the waviest pattern within this group.

It’s important to consider the shape of your pattern within a lock of hair. Waves can vary in shape, ranging from an “S” shape to a slight curl, or corkscrew. 2C waves often don’t form a full corkscrew throughout the entire lock. This is what often makes it hard to decipher between wavy and curly when you have 2C hair.

There are also multiple levels (A-C) in between each number type. The numbers group the various curl patterns from straight to coily. The letters signify the level of curliness within waves, curls, or coils.

How to Identify Type 2C Hair

While hair pattern charts are helpful, waves and curls are defined beyond their appearance on a chart. It can be helpful to examine your hair in both its natural state without products or styling techniques in addition to when your hair is fully “styled” to its potential. 

Signs of 2C hair:

When you look at your hair without any products or special styling techniques you can see how it exists in its natural state. In addition, you can still consider how your hair looks styled with products because that shows your hair’s fullest potential. You cannot create a pattern that doesn’t exist naturally, but you can enhance it or make its shape more apparent with wavy hair products and techniques.

  • You have an “S” shape that starts right at the root.
  • The “S” shape continues throughout the lock and may even spiral some on the ends.
  • You experience frizz due to the bends throughout that prevent each strand from laying smooth and flat.
  • You’re able to achieve defined waves with styling techniques like scrunching and when using gels.
  • Your hair may get oily in between washes.
  • If you have low to medium-density waves, you likely experience flat roots and struggle to get volume.

How 2C compares to 2B and 2A hair

It can be tough to tell the difference within the wavy hair category, but there are some slight differences. Type 2A hair is the loosest wave pattern and is close to straight hair, but has a slight bend that prevents it from laying as smooth as straight hair. Those with 2A hair can often wear a straighter look if they don’t “style” their curls, or they can enhance their texture with styling techniques.

Type 2B hair is similar in that it can also be worn in a straighter look if not “styled” curly. This provides versatility for people with loose waves and they can usually do heatless styles and not experience a ton of frizz. These hair types are often less frizzy overall than 2C-4C hair types. 2C hair may be unable to prevent frizz without products and be unable to achieve a smoothed-out look when doing heatless styles because it has more bends and turns throughout.

2A-2B hair also may find that they experience more oily hair because sebum can easily travel down the hair strand from the scalp. All type 2 hair patterns likely have an “S” shape, but 2C hair can have some ringlets throughout, especially on the ends. 2A-2B hair will usually have straighter roots and the “S” shape can start further down the hair shaft.

Best Products for 2C hair

Shampoos for 2C Hair

Shampoos and co-washes are essential steps in caring for type 2C hair. Incorporate a good clarifying shampoo into your wavy hair routine, especially if you’re experiencing a buildup of oil. The Curlsmith Detox Kit clarifies the hair and scalp without stripping it. It can also help to balance the microbiome of your scalp, which can affect how oily or dry your scalp is. This is used in place of your regular shampoo and can be used up to once a week.

For a regular shampoo, opt for something that still has a good lather so your hair doesn’t get weighed down, such as the Essential Moisture Cleanser, Shine Shampoo, or Core Strength Shampoo

Conditioners for Type 2C Hair

Conditioners are essential to provide moisture for your type 2C hair. To moisturize your hair without weighing it down, the Curlsmith Hydro Creme Soothing Mask or the Multitasking Conditioner are great options for deep conditioners. If your hair is damaged, it can benefit from the protein ingredients in the Multitasking Conditioner.

For a regular conditioner, you can also use the Multitasking Conditioner or something lightweight like the Post-Wash Calming Conditioner or Shine Conditioner.

Styling Products for Type 2C Hair

Depending on your hair texture (strand thickness) and your hair porosity, your styling products will vary. Lightweight stylers will be needed for those with fine-textured waves whereas those with coarse wavy hair can use stylers with heavier ingredients. It’s important to also consider your desired results. If you have coarse-textured waves but you want to achieve volume, you will want to go for more lightweight stylers.

In general, most people with wavy hair prefer lightweight stylers and struggle with their hair getting weighed down. Foams such as the Bouncy Strength Volume Foam can also be a great addition to incorporate into your routine for added fullness and volume. 

  • Medium to high porosity 2C waves can benefit from combining both a curl cream for moisture and a gel to seal the cuticle and prevent frizz. 
  • High porosity waves will also benefit from protein ingredients like those in the Strength Recipe
  • Low porosity waves may be able to get away with just using a light leave-in and a gel.

A great option for a lightweight curl cream is the Feather-light Protein Cream. This pairs well with any of Curlsmith’s hair gels, but for type 2C hair, a good option would be the Flexi Jelly or the Shine Jelly for medium hold, or Shape Up Aqua Gel for light hold. 

For longer-lasting waves, opt for the Shine Gel which offers very strong hold. Since it’s very thick in consistency, it helps to mix it with some water when applying it or just use it sparingly on top of a light hold gel.

How to care for 2C hair

Type 2C hair requires special care just like curly and coily hair textures. 2C curls often experience oiliness, weighed down hair, and curls falling flat. This hair type especially needs extra care because it often has characteristics similar to curly hair that can result in frizz. 

Wash 2C Hair Frequency

Many people with wavy hair may experience oily roots in between washes and get product build up on the scalp easily with very moisturizing products. Everyone’s oil production varies based on internal factors such as our hormones, so it’s still possible to have a naturally dry scalp with type 2C hair so this may not apply to everyone. However, overall it’s common for wavy hair to become more oily. If you find that your hair gets very oily in between washes, then you can try washing it more frequently. It’s still advised to avoid washing daily to not put too much stress on our hair, but as often as every other day may be needed for very oily hair types. Co-washing is another great option for those that need to wash frequently but want to avoid stripping their hair. To avoid accumulating buildup over time, incorporate clarifying with the Wash and Scrub Detox every 4-5 washes.  

Maintain Moisture in 2C Hair

Deep conditioning may also not be needed as often if you have wavy or 2C hair. Some can get away with just once a month or when their hair feels dry. Using a medium to lightweight conditioner is advised after every regular wash to maintain normal moisture levels.

2C Hair Techniques to Enhance Waves

Those with type 2C hair often find that leaving more water in their hair when applying their products helps the waves form and clump together. Styling while still in the shower can be helpful or using a spray bottle to wet the curls while applying your products can control frizz and encourage clumps. Using lightweight products will ensure your waves don’t become weighed down if volume is usually an issue for you. While 2C curls form into their shape fairly easily when styling, you may notice they fall looser in between wash days. Using a strong hold gel will prevent waves from falling out and help your style last longer with less maintenance. Scrunching with a microfiber towel will enhance your wave pattern and diffusing will help to set it in place.

Preventing frizz in 2C waves

2C curls often experience more frizz compared to looser waves due to the shape which keeps the hair from laying smoothly. Frizz is completely normal, common, and can even provide volume. However, there are times when frizz is an indicator of dry hair or the need for more hold in your styling products. Ensure you’re properly moisturizing your hair with a leave-in or curl cream, and seal in frizz with a strong hold gel. The “cast” that gel provides is crucial for longevity  and this gel can be scrunched out once your hair is dry for a softer look.

Dos & Don’ts for 2C Hair

There is not “right” or “wrong” way to do your type 2C hair and everyone’s unique hair is different which is why trial and error is key. However there are some tips that many people with 2C hair have found to help, and some things that haven’t benefited their waves. 


  • Clarify if your roots are weighed down from oil or product buildup.
  • Use lightweight yet highly moisturizing products such as the Scalp Recipe.
  • Incorporate protein from the Strength Recipe if you have damaged or high porosity waves.
  • Apply your stylers to wet hair to encourage clumping and prevent frizz.
  • Use strong hold gels if your waves fall loose or flat throughout the day.
  • Scrunch with a hair towel to absorb excess water before diffusing to speed up dry time.
  • Diffuse your wavy hair to enhance your waves and get more volume.
  • Protect your waves by sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase and wearing your hair up in a satin or silk scrunchie.
  • Get a haircut from a curl specialist that suits your wave pattern and density. For medium to high-density wavy hair, layers will help give you shape and lift on top.
  • Embrace your natural and unique wavy texture!


  • Avoid products that contain heavy ingredients such shea butter and coconut oil if you want volume.
  • Don’t rely on just a curl cream as your only styling product if you want to tame frizz and have your curls last longer. Gels provide essential hold.
  • Don’t rely on oils to tame frizz or moisturize your hair. Hair oils are meant to seal in existing moisture and promote shiny hair..
  • Avoid heat tools like flat irons or curling irons if you want to maintain healthy hair.
  • Don’t wear your hair up tightly on a regular basis as this can lead to breakage.
  • Don’t use very hot water when washing your wavy hair..
  • Don’t leave the conditioner in your hair (unless the product’s label indicates this can be done) or leave conditioners in your hair overnight. This can lead to over-moisturization, damage, or scalp issues.
  • Avoid using a regular bath towel and instead, use a microfiber hair towel.
  • Don’t strive for a tighter curl pattern that is unachievable. Don’t forget that waves are perfect how they are. 

Embrace Your Type 2C Hair

Knowing if you have 2C wavy hair and how it differs from other hair types can be beneficial when determining what hair styling techniques work best for you and which techniques may not work well with your waves. 2C hair has its own unique challenges, especially because it teeters between wavy and curly, resulting in many people feeling like they don’t fit into a “type.” It’s important to not get hung up on typing your hair pattern, especially when there are so many variances in hair texture (strand thickness), porosity, and density that play a larger factor in how your hair reacts to products.

Type 2C Hair Care from Curlsmith 

We make it easy to find products that work for everyone with its various recipes designed for certain needs. Even with so much variety, our vegan products work on most hair types and are also free of sulfate, silicones, parabens, and phthalates. You can complete the curl quiz for more help in identifying the best products for your unique hair type.
Gena Marie
Content Creator Expert in Naturally Curly Hair

US-based content creator with expertise in naturally curly hair. Through her blog, YouTube channel and social media, she shares educational content, step-by-step tutorials, and simplified instruction to help everyone achieve healthy hair. She is passionate about hair science, helping others master their curls, social media, and digital marketing.

Gena Marie
Content Creator Expert in Naturally Curly Hair

US-based content creator with expertise in naturally curly hair. Through her blog, YouTube channel and social media, she shares educational content, step-by-step tutorials, and simplified instruction to help everyone achieve healthy hair. She is passionate about hair science, helping others master their curls, social media, and digital marketing.