CurlyEllie Guide to Curly Hair Types


Not all hair has been created the same.

Some are wavy, some very curly, some thin, some thick, some damaged, some coloured etc. All curls are great, different and unique.

 We are commonly asked ‘which product will be the best for my particular hair type?’

This is almost impossible to predict as curls are so wonderfully varied.

However, knowing your own hair type and recognising the types of curls your child may have can guide you towards the correct treatment and techniques to achieve optimum results. 

To understand what hair type you have, it is important to understand the shape of your hair as it comes through the roots. This is know as the hair follicle.

The follicle is the tunnel through which your root emerges from your scalp.

By looking at the shape that emerges from your scalp, you can easily identify the type of hair that you have –  If you were to look at the follicle of straight hair, you would find it is perfectly round. The follicle of curly hair adopts an oval shape. The flatter the oval is, the curlier the hair will be.

Another contributing factor to a hair’s curl is the way the follicle tunnels into the scalp. Follicles of straight hair tunnel vertically down from the skin’s surface into the dermis.

If the follicle angles into the dermis then the hair will curve as it grows causing it curl. Although, this curving of the follicle can lead to gorgeous curls it causes one major drawback that all curly-haired persons can attest to, dryness.

Within the dermis, special glands line the follicle to secrete oil, called sebum, to lubricate the hair. Unfortunately, when follicles curve sebum isn’t able to travel the length of the hair as well leading to dryness of hair that doesn’t get lubricated.

Here is a brief explanation of our individual formations.  


What is 2a Hair Type and How to look after it

  • 2a hair is a light wave through the hair with a loose, slightly tousled texture.
  • You may find that your hair is typically high porosity, meaning that the waves will absorb products well and easily.
  • Porosity refers to your hairs ability to absorb and retain moisture.
  • You don’t want to use too much product on 2a hair, as it has a tendency to weight the waves down.
  • Scrunching the hair should be helpful to add volume and bounce. The Detangling Spray should offer extra moisture with light hold.

What is 2b Hair Type and How to look after it

  • 2b hair is usually straighter at the root, falling into slightly more defined S-Shaped waves from the mid-lengths to the ends.
  • You might find that there is some tendency to frizz at the crown of the head.
  • Scrunching the hair with a microfibre towel and applying some serum can offer you volume and hold for your waves.
  • Our Styling Serum is light enough to not weigh now the waves, but enough to take care of any frizz or fly-aways without making the hair greasy.

What is 2c Hair Type and How to look after it

  • 2c waves are more defined and tend to start at the root, be slightly thicker and coarser.
  • Of all of the type 2 waves, 2c tends to be the most prone to frizz.
  • Diffusing the hair on low heat from wet, but not soaking is a great way to add volume to the waves, pair that with the Intensive Treatment Mask as a replacement to the Leave-In Conditioner to add some heat protection.
  • Alternatively, if you don’t want to use any heat you can add some Leave-In Conditioner on wet hair and scrunch with a microfibre towel or cotton t-shirt.
  • Once dry you can apply some Styling Serum if there’s any frizz or if you want extra hold for your waves.

What is 3a Hair Type and How to look after it

  • 3a hair is big, loose curls and ringlets, that tend to have more volume at the root than type 2 hair.
  • As the curls tend to be looser a great tip to is to try finger curling whilst your hair is damp to encourage more definition.
  • Spritzing some Detangling Spray to dampen your hair first to give you extra moisture and help hold the curls in place.
  • Use the Leave in Conditioner on damp hair and brush through the curls to make sure that all the hair is evenly coated. Scrunch and leave to dry.

What is 3b Hair Type and How to look after it

  • 3b curls are springy and can be anywhere from ringlets to corkscrews.
  • These curls are voluminous and can be quite course.
  • The Leave-In Conditioner is your best friend here, plus a weekly dose of the Intensive Treatment Mask to keep the curls moisturised.

What is 3c Hair Type and How to look after it

  • 3c curls can be described as curly-coily, and is very dense corkscrew curls, about the width of a pencil, these curly-coils are very voluminous.
  • Of all the type 3 curls, 3c is the most prone to dryness and breakage.
  • A weekly or bi-weekly treatment of Intensive Treatment Mask, applied in the shower or bath to let the steam really help work the moisture into your hair, will help with any dryness.
  • The Detangling Spray contains Pro Vitamin B5 for hair, which is a humectant, helping absorb moisture and retain it, so a quick spritz will also help if there is any dryness.
  • But – the Leave In conditioner is your best friend. Use it as you layer your up stylers.  Layering should be your new key word for styling – Start with the Detangling Spray, add some leave in conditioner, finger comb it through,
  • Then when almost dry, use the serum for the intense shine and definition.

What is 4a Hair Type and How to look after it

  • 4a coils are usually dense and either fine or wiry.
  • It’s important to note that whilst type 4 hair may seem to be tough and robust, it is actually the most fragile hair type and needs a lot of moisture, even though it often has the most difficulty absorbing it.
  • The Leave-In Conditioner and the Styling Serum will offer you some moisture and shine!

What is 4b Hair Type and How to look after it

  • 4b hair is normally where your hair is closer to a “Z” shape than an “S” and the curls are much tighter and have less definition.
  • The strands can range from anywhere between fine hair and much wirier, courser strands.
  • If your hair is low porosity it can be difficult to get products to absorb to add moisture. Try using the Leave-In Conditioner and covering your hair to let the heat from your head help the moisture along a little.

What is 4c Hair Type and How to look after it

  • 4c hair is similar to 4b hair but the coils are less defined and there will be more shrinkage ( your hair gets shorted and it dries).
  • It is the most delicate out of all the hair types and craves moisture. It can never have too much,
  • It can be really difficult to absorb the moisture the curls need.
  • A great tip for hair with a low porosity is to use the Intensive Treatment Mask, but to coat the hair well, and cover with a towel or cotton t-shirt or shower cap, let the heat from your head open the hair cuticles and absorb the product better.
  • Alternatively, you can use steam or a heat cap.
  • The Styling Serum and the Leave-In Conditioner will also work better on type 4 hair than perhaps the Detangling Spray as it will absorb easier. 

When thinking of hair types, always thick of your hair type in connection with your Hair Thickness and Hair Porosity.

Now you may be a little more aware of which hair types you have, we hope this can help you choose which products are more suited to you. 

CurlyEllie products have been custom crafted to blend layer and compliment each other. Our mini works range is a great place to start, we hope you enjoy discovering your favourites. 

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