Decoding Hair Types: Waves, Curls, Coils Explained


Wavy Hair

Ever thought you've got your hair type all figured out, only to find yourself struggling with products that don't seem to hit the mark? Well, you're not alone. Decoding your hair type is like cracking a code for an effective hair care routine – not always as easy as it seems. That's where a reliable guide comes in – helping you navigate the complexities and choose the right products for your unique hair needs.

In this article, we explore the captivating science of curly hair, unveiling the distinctive characteristics of different hair types. You'll discover insights, tips, and personalized product recommendations tailored to your unique strands.

Understanding Hair Type: A Foundational Guide

Establishing a foundation for effective hair care begins with understanding your hair type. Hair typing systems, such as The Texture Typing system by Naturally Curly and Andre Walker's hair typing system, were designed to provide a standardized set of descriptors for explaining the diverse array of curls, coils, and waves.

While these systems could be better, they offer valuable guidance in recognizing your hair type and grasping its essential characteristics and distinct requirements. Moreover, as products lack a numerical labeling system like the hair charts, understanding your hair type streamlines the search for suitable products. This knowledge guides you toward tailored hair care routines and product recommendations aligning seamlessly with your unique hair type.

What is My Hair Type?

Hair type is determined by the curl pattern, which is influenced by the shape of the hair follicle. The more oval or asymmetrical the follicle, the curlier the hair.

There are four main types:

  • Straight (Type 1)
  • Wavy (Type 2)
  • Curly (Type 3)
  • Kinky/Coily (Type 4)

Fine-Tuning Specifics: Subcategories for Precision

Each type is further divided into subcategories, A, B, and C, based on the tightness or looseness of curls or coils. The subcategories are 1A-C, 2A-C, 3A-C, and 4A-C. 

It's common to have more than one curl type, which can be influenced by genetics or chemical treatments like bleaching. For example, you may have 3a-3b curls at the crown and 4a-4b at the nape or ends of your hair, or vice versa.

Curl Patterns and Beyond: Porosity and Density

Factors such as porosity, density, width, length, and elasticity, along with curl patterns and their subtypes, are crucial in understanding your unique hair type. While curl patterns classify hair into types like Straight, Wavy, Curly, and Kinky/Coily, these other aspects offer a more comprehensive view.

Porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, influenced by the hair cuticle's structure. High-porosity hair can absorb moisture quickly but lose it just as fast, while low-porosity hair is more resistant to moisture but retains it longer once absorbed.

Density refers to the number of hair strands on the scalp. High-density hair appears fuller with more strands packed together, whereas low-density hair, with fewer strands, appears thinner. 

These factors combine to give a complete picture of your hair type, extending beyond just the curl patterns.

What is My Hair Type Quiz? 

If you need help identifying your hair type, our quick and easy quiz is here to lend a helping hand. You'll gain insights into your predominant hair type by answering a few simple questions. It offers a simple approach to unraveling the complexities, guiding you toward understanding and embracing your distinctive curls.

What Are the Best Product Suggestions for Each Hair Type?

Wavy Hair (Type 2A - 2C)

Type 2a-2c

Image Source: @bouncecurl / Instagram

Wavy hair showcases a spectrum from loose to defined S-shaped patterns, ranging in texture from fine to coarse. However, generally healthy, robust, wavy hair encounters challenges like volume and frizz.

For those with fine hair, achieving volume may pose a struggle, while individuals with medium to thick hair might face this challenge if their waves lack definition. If your waves lean towards a more defined S-shape, you might share common challenges with curly hair, such as frizz and dryness.

To enhance subtle waves with the loosest S-shape pattern, opt for volumizing products for a much-needed lift. While wavy hair may seem easy to manage, careful product selection is crucial to avoid weighing it down.

Consider the Bounce Curl Wavy Curly Moisture Complete Kit for bouncy, defined waves. This kit is ideal for fine, medium, and coarse hair textures, offering moisture balance and gentle hold for beautifully styled waves and curls. These products are enriched with natural ingredients and free from silicones, parabens, sulfates, PEGs, DEA/MEA, and animal testing. This comprehensive kit includes:

  • Gentle Clarifying Shampoo (light moisture)
  • Super Smooth Cream Conditioner (lightweight)
  • Moisture Balance Leave-In Conditioner (ultra-concentrated)
  • Light Hold Creme Gel 

Curly Hair (Type 3A - 3C)

Type 3a-3c

Image Source: @bouncecurl / Instagram

Curly hair boasts a broad spectrum from loose ringlets to tight spirals or corkscrew shapes, often displaying more shrinkage than type 2 hair. It tends to be dry, prone to frizz, and easily tangled, requiring special care to prevent damage.

Curly hair presents unique challenges, from continuous frizz battles to managing varying curl intensities. Tighter spirals on the curly spectrum can easily knot and tangle, risking breakage if not properly cared for. 

The Bounce Curl Wavy Curly Define Complete Kit is perfect for curly and wavy hair, offering a solution to the daily challenges of hair breakage caused by aggressive brushing, high-heat blow-drying, and tight hairstyles. Infused with organic aloe, oils, and botanicals like fenugreek and sage, this kit blends premium ingredients to promote healthier hair. Moreover, it is crafted without silicones, parabens, sulfates, PEGs, or DEA/MEA, adhering to cruelty-free standards.

Featuring four essential products, this kit is tailored to nourish and style a variety of hair textures, catering to fine, medium, and coarse strands:

  • Gentle Clarifying Shampoo (light moisture)
  • Super Smooth Cream Conditioner (lightweight)
  • Moisture Balance Leave-In Conditioner (ultra-concentrated)
  • Light Hold Creme Gel

Coily Hair (Type 4A - 4C)

Type 4a-4c

Image Source: @bouncecurl / Instagram

At the pinnacle of curliness, coily hair exhibits tight, spiral coils and a Z pattern. Scientific exploration indicates that coily hair possesses high porosity, making it more susceptible to breakage than straight or wavy counterparts. This heightened porosity is intricately linked to a lower moisture level, demanding specialized attention.

Choose formulations that prioritize intense moisturization and incorporate polymeric materials for enhanced curl definition, body, and volume. Coily hair can withstand heavier creams, oils, and butter, so opt for thicker natural emollients like mango and shea butter.

For beautifully defined coils, consider the Bounce Curl Coily Complete Kit. Crafted for medium to coarse hair textures and coily patterns, this kit is enriched with ingredients such as mango butter, shea butter, pomegranate, pumpkin enzymes, aloe vera, oils, and botanicals, all without harmful additives. Vegan, color-safe, and boasting a fresh, addictive scent. It includes:

  • Gentle Clarifying Shampoo (light moisture)
  • Super Smooth Cream Conditioner (lightweight and protein-free)
  • Moisture Balance Leave-In Conditioner (ultra-concentrated)
  • Defining Butta (for versatile styling)

Start Your Journey! 

Figuring out your hair type is key to nailing your hair care routine. Remember, it's not just about curl patterns – consider porosity and density, too. Stumped about where to start? Our quick quiz has you covered with personalized advice. We hope this makes your journey to understanding and caring for your hair much easier and more enjoyable!

Tell us in the comments, what's your hair type and which Bounce Curl Product are you excited to try for your curls?
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