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The Kinky Curly Science of Pattern Picking

The Kinky Curly Science of Pattern Picking

Ok so maybe it’s not a science but it definitely can feel like one when you’re going natural for the first time. Every set of hair is different and taking care of your hair begins with simply know what your curl pattern is like. In getting to know your tresses, figuring out patterns is like figuring out your hair’s personality. Once you know that, you’ve completed half of the battle.

Luckily, some natural hair genius that came before us thought of the perfect way to decipher the code and, because of them, there is a chart with all of the most typical characteristics. Everything from coiled curls to ziz-zaggy fros are set on a spectrum of types, beginning with 2A and ending with 4C. And for your convenience I’ve broken down each of these categories so you may go forth and specialize your hair care regimens.



Type 2: Wavy Hair

2A
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The scale begins here, with hair defined by a loose “S” wave pattern sticking closely to the head. The individual strands are fine in density and while they have a natural shine, they don’t usually have the most volume.

Quick Tips: Use sealants with lightweight oils (jojoba, tea tree etc.)

 

2B

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In this type of hair the “S” pattern is prevalent throughout the head and unlike 2a it tends to be frizzier and looses curl definition easily.

Quick Tip: Use a frizz-fighting cream or gel that moisturizes as well as styles hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2C

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This hair type is the coarsest of the wavy hair family. Instead of having just waves there are way more actual curls. It also tends to resist styling and loses it’s definition more easily than the other wavy textures. In other words, this isn’t the one for a twist-out or bantu knot.

Quick Tip: Avocado and egg proteins are the best for deep conditioning (which ideally would happen every 2 weeks).

 

 

 



Type 3 Curly Hair

3A

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Springy, springy curls. That’s what best defines these loopy “S” pattern locks. They’re well defined and typically have a circumference comparable to a piece of thick chalk. This type of hair, like the others, can lean towards light frizz.

Quick Tip: While hair is still wet, a setting of the curls can be encouraged by finger twisting small sections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3B

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This next hair type closely resembles 3A except for here the curls are placed much more closely to each other giving a thicker appearance. The curls themselves are also a bit tighter with about the size of a Sharpie marker. Over all, this type can lean further towards the side of coarse and dense rather than loose and without-volume like some of the previous textures.

Quick Tip: Use lightweight sulfate and silicon free conditioners to promote moisture retention.

 

 

 

 

 

3C

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Of all Type 3 hair, this texture is the most tightly packed and has a more corkscrew pattern that deviates from the loose curl idea. The 3C texture is also tends to be denser, higher in volume, and have finer individual strands than the other 2 and 3 Types.

Quick Tip: This is also where avoiding heat can be extremely useful. Typically a good stretching of the hair can happen through an overnight twist or braid out.

 

 

 

 

 



Type 4 Coily Hair

4A

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Past the waves and beyond the curls exist the coily hair textures. Beginning here with 4A hair, this texture is characterized by tightly coiled hair that still maintains the “S” pattern but in a much more tightly packed manner. The hair can be wiry or finely textured and is usually on the fragile side.

Quick Tip: Since type 4 hair has fewer cuticle layers than other textures, try paying extra attention to moisturizing using the LCO method.

 

 

 

4B

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These strands deviate from the “S” curl trend and have a “Z” shape instead. They don’t coil or curl like others. The 4B hair type bends in sharp angles and is very tightly coiled ranging from fine to thin to wiry to coarse. Another defining trait of these tresses is extreme shrinkage; specifically it can contract to 75% of actual hair length.

Quick Tips: Since this style can dry out quickly, the LCO method is obviously a must. But as an added bonus of moisture try pre-pooing with coconut or castor oil to help retain some of the natural oils the scalp looses during shampooing.

 

 

 

 

4C

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Type 4C is very similar to 4B in appearance but this texture has curls that are tightly packed together with less pattern definition. The hair can range from fine, thin, soft or coarse and is infamous for its hyper-shrinkage. You may have mid-back length hair after a blowout, but post shampooing you’ll be sporting a mini-fro.

 

Quick Tip: While 4C hair creates so beautiful fros, it’s also prone to breakage due to its finer individual strands. Because of this try manipulating the hair as little as possible. For example pick a low maintenance style that you can keep for a certain period of time before having to touch it up.


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