Wavy vs Curly Hair: Understanding the Differences and How to Care for Your TextureDisclosure: Strimoo is reader-supported. We may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.
Wavy vs Curly Hair
Wavy hair and curly hair are both types of textured hair, but they differ in their curl pattern and texture.
Wavy hair typically has a looser S-shaped or beachy wave pattern, with curls that are more spread out and less defined. Wavy hair can also be prone to frizz and can benefit from products that enhance curl definition and provide moisture.
Curly hair, on the other hand, has a more defined curl pattern with curls that range from loose to tight making full 360 degree spirals. Curly hair can also be prone to dryness and tangles, and it benefits from products that provide hydration and definition without weighing down the curls.
In terms of styling, wavy hair may benefit from more relaxed, tousled styles, while curly hair may require more defined styles to accentuate the curls. However, it's important to remember that everyone's hair is unique and may require different products and techniques to achieve the desired look.
Defining Hair Type Chart
There are several different hair type charts, but the most commonly used one is the Andre Walker Hair Typing System. This system categorizes hair types into four categories (Type 1 to Type 4) based on curl pattern and texture. Here's a brief overview of the hair types according to this system:
Type 1 - Straight Hair: Hair that has no curl pattern and is completely straight.
Type 2 - Wavy Hair: Hair that forms an "S" shape when it is wet and has a slight curl pattern.
Type 2A: Fine and thin, with loose, beachy waves. Type 2B: Thicker and more defined waves that may be frizz-prone. Type 2C: Thick, coarse waves that are prone to frizz and may have a more defined curl pattern.
Type 3 - Curly Hair: Hair that has a more defined curl pattern, forming spirals or corkscrew shapes.
Type 3A: Loose, defined curls that are approximately the size of sidewalk chalk. Type 3B: Tighter, springy curls that are about the size of a Sharpie marker. Type 3C: Coarse, tightly packed curls that may be in the shape of corkscrews.
Type 4 - Coily Hair: Hair that has a tightly coiled pattern, often referred to as "kinky" or "very curly".
Type 4A: Tightly coiled curls that are the size of a crochet needle. Type 4B: Z-shaped curls that may not have a defined curl pattern. Type 4C: Tightly coiled curls that are tightly packed and often referred to as "ziggly" or "crimpy".
How to Protect Wavy & Curly Hair
Wavy hair, like all hair types, can benefit from a little extra care and protection to keep it looking healthy and beautiful. Here are some tips to help protect your wavy hair:
Use a sulfate-free shampoo: Sulfates can strip your hair of its natural oils, which can leave it dry and prone to damage. Look for a shampoo that is sulfate-free and designed for wavy or curly hair.
Condition regularly: Conditioner helps to add moisture to your hair, which can help prevent breakage and split ends. Use a conditioner that is designed for wavy or curly hair, and consider using a deep conditioning treatment once a week for added moisture.
Limit heat styling: Heat styling tools, such as curling irons and straighteners, can damage your hair and make it more prone to breakage. Try to limit your use of these tools, and use a heat protectant spray or serum when you do style your hair with heat.
Avoid brushing your hair when it's dry: Brushing your hair when it's dry can cause breakage and frizz, particularly for wavy or curly hair. Instead, try using a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to detangle your hair when it's wet.
Sleep on a silk pillowcase: Silk pillowcases are gentle on your hair and can help prevent breakage and frizz. They also help to prevent tangles and keep your hair looking smoother in the morning.
Protect your hair from the sun: The sun's UV rays can damage your hair, making it dry and brittle. Consider wearing a hat or scarf when you're out in the sun, or use a hair product that contains UV protectant.
Top 5 Wavy Hair Care Products:
Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Wash Shampoo - This shampoo is designed to cleanse and enhance wavy hair with a lightweight, texture-enhancing formula that won't weigh down your waves. Approx. price $28 for 8.5 oz
Ouai Wave Spray - This wave-enhancing spray uses rice protein to add texture and hold to your waves, without leaving them feeling crunchy or stiff. Approx. price $26 for 8.5 oz
DevaCurl Wave Maker - This lightweight, moisturizing gel is designed specifically for wavy hair, using a blend of natural oils and plant extracts to define and enhance your waves. Approx. price $26 for 8.5 oz
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In-Shower Styler - This innovative styler is applied in the shower, using a unique formula that helps create defined, frizz-free waves without the need for additional styling products. Approx. price $28 for 8.5 oz
Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream - This cream is enriched with argan oil and other nourishing ingredients, providing hydration and definition to wavy hair without weighing it down or making it feel greasy. Approx. price $34 for 8.5 oz
Top 5 Curly Hair Care Products:
Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie - This product is a creamy leave-in conditioner designed to define and moisturize curls while reducing frizz. It is made with natural and certified organic ingredients, including coconut oil, hibiscus flower extract, and silk protein. Approx. price $13 for 12 oz
Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel - This gel is designed to provide frizz control and hold for all curl types, particularly in humid weather. It is formulated with wheat protein, polymers, and other natural ingredients to provide long-lasting hold without crunchiness or stickiness. Approx. price $26 for 8.5 oz
DevaCurl No-Poo Original Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser - This cleanser is a sulfate-free, non-lathering shampoo alternative designed to gently cleanse and condition curls. It is enriched with grape seed oil, peppermint, and other natural ingredients to provide moisture and nourishment. Approx. price $22 for 12 oz
Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Coconut Curling Cream - This cream is designed to define and moisturize natural curls, particularly for those with thick or coarse hair. It is made with pure shea butter, coconut oil, and other natural ingredients to provide lasting moisture and shine. Approx. price $8 for 12 oz
Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner - This leave-in conditioner is designed to detangle and condition curls while providing long-lasting moisture and shine. It is made with organic mango extract, slippery elm, and other natural ingredients to provide nourishment and slip for easy detangling. Approx. price $12 for 8 oz
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