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how to take care of type 2a curls and wavy hair

Type 2A Curls: How to Take Care of Wavy Hair

Care for your wavy hair with a dedicated routine and hair regimen for the best strands possible.
18 Nov 2023

What Is 2A Hair Type?
Is 2A Hair Considered Curly?
How is 2A Different from Other Hair Types?
How to Care For 2A Hair
What Products to Use on Type 2A Hair

Every hair journey begins with understanding one’s hair type or pattern. Straight, wavy, curly, and coily are the four main hair patterns, and within them are subcategories that get into more detail about curl definition. Identifying one’s hair type is essential, as each hair type has its own set of needs.

With 2A hair types (aka 2A curls or 2A waves) you’ll begin to see a slight curl in the straight-looking strand. Bookmark this 2A hair care guide to reference anytime you need a refresher on your hair type or need product recommendations for 2A curl patterns. Below, learn all you need to know about caring for 2A hair.

What Is 2A Hair Type?

First off, let's break down the twelve hair types briefly mentioned above. Each hair type is divided into four pattern families: straight (1), wavy (2), curly (3), and coily (4). Within these patterns are levels of strand definition (from least to most sculpted) as indicated by the letters A, B, and C (some professionals will go beyond C but for the purpose of this story we are sticking to these main hair types).

A person with 2A hair has the loosest waves out of all wavy hair types, so much so it can appear straight at the roots with a slight wave or curl definition through the length. 2A hair differs from straight hair since this hair type has subtle bends along the shaft and at the ends. These bends give this hair type its characteristic subtle “S” shape. Think about the old Hollywood glam curls from the ‘50s, popularized by movie stars of the time.

Is 2A Hair Considered Curly?

At one point in hair type classification, wavy, curly, and coily or kinky hair types were all clumped together into one category. While stylists and hair experts knew the difference, many online sources referred to these hair types as the same. Basically, (to some) if your hair wasn’t straight, it was curly.

However, it’s now known that this isn’t the case, since the different hair types require different care. So even though 2A hair is sometimes referred to as 2A curls (as noted in this guide) it’s actually a wavy hair type that lies between straight and curly hair and has the least definition of all the wavy hair types.

Find Your Personalized Routine!
Know your curls better than ever before! Our quick and easy 5-step quiz, which uses powerful data to determine your hair type, will help you understand your strands. Set aside a couple of minutes to answer some simple questions, and we’ll take care of the rest. At the end, we’ll identify your curl type and main hair concerns, and provide expert tips, product recommendations, and a personalized routine. The journey to gorgeous hair starts now. Click Here to find your personalized routine.

How is 2A Different from Other Hair Types?

The 2A curl type has more definition than straight hair and has the least definition when compared to all other wavy, curly, and coily hair types. To reiterate what was previously mentioned, 2A hair will have a loose wave with a subtle curl definition that has an elongated “S” shape. If you’re unsure of your hair type, check out the Carol’s Daughter Curl Pattern Guide to see the different hair types next to each other so you can better visualize the difference.

How to Care For 2A Hair

As previously mentioned, not all hair types will require the same maintenance. For 2A hair, you’ll want to consider the products you use, how often you use them, and other curly hair care habits (listed here) for the healthiest hair possible.

Wash Hair Semi-Regularly

Since 2A hair is looser than type 3 curls and type 4 coils, it’ll need washing more frequently since its smoother shaft allows natural oils to travel down the hair faster. The precise number of times you’ll want to wash your hair depends on how much product you use, how quickly your hair gets dirty, and where you live.

You’ll most likely want to wash strands a few times a week if you use a lot of hair products, live in a hot climate where you sweat often, or live a life where dirt and other impurities get in your hair easily. As with any hair type, reach for a shampoo that offers a gentle cleanse without stripping hair of its natural oils.

Use Styling Products

Not only will products like leave-in conditioners, hair pomades, and gels limit issues like frizz, tangles, and oiliness, but they’re also key for manageability when styling strands. Using styling products helps add moisture and nourishment to 2A hair for more defined waves. Since 2A hair is so loose, it can sometimes be mistaken for straight hair, but if you utilize styling products you can bring out the wave pattern for a more voluminous mane.

Detangle Hair Before Brushing

This hair type can be brushed, combed, or even scrunched without much resistance. However, you’ll still want to use a detangling hair product to limit hair breakage and rid strands of any knots before brushing your hair. This hair type can be brushed while dry, but you’ll still want to use a hair care product (that may slightly dampen hair) to detangle knots before passing a brush or comb through it.

What Products to Use on Type 2A Hair

The best products for 2A curls are lightweight to prevent strands from being weighed down and to limit a greasy-looking texture. You’ll want to pick up products that address common concerns associated with this hair type, such as flyaways, undefined curls, and greasiness. Consider the hair care products below to keep 2A hair properly washed, conditioned, and detangled for styling and everyday maintenance.

Goddess Strength Ultra Shield Pre-Poo With Castor Oil For Curly Hair

When your 2A hair needs a pick-me-up — especially if you’re dealing with dryness — reach for this pre-shampoo treatment formulated for damaged, dehydrated tresses. A blend of castor oil, black cumin seed oil, and ginger gently detangles hair while packing strands with moisture to help minimize breakage, for a stronger mane. Apply this treatment to dry strands and allow it to sit on the hair for 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Hair will be left nourished and detangled to be shampooed and conditioned.

Monoi Repairing Sulfate Free Shampoo

As stated previously, 2A hair should be washed a few times a week (or more if your hair gets greasy fast). Since you’re washing your hair so often, you’ll want to use a sulfate-free shampoo like this one that gently cleanses without harshly stripping hair. This shampoo is infused with monoi oil (a nourishing and reparative ingredient) that leaves hair feeling (and looking) strong and healthy.

Monoi Repairing Sulfate Free Conditioner

After cleansing your hair, add nourishment with this conditioner that won’t leave 2A hair feeling too greasy. The blend of monoi oil and pro-vitamin B5 adds nutrients to strands for stronger and more moisturized strands. You’ll want to keep hair conditioned to minimize damage and encourage more defined strands for the best wave possible with 2A hair types.

Monoi Repairing Leave-In Conditioner

Next to a good shampoo and conditioner, the best product for 2A hair is a lightweight styler for daily (if desired) use. That’s where this leave-in conditioner spray really shines. Formulated with wheat protein and pro-vitamin B5, this styling product fortifies 2A strands with nutrients that add shine, softness, and manageability for easier styling. This moisturizer can be used daily without creating excessive buildup on strands, so you won’t have to worry about washing your hair every day.

Monoi Repairing Hair Mask

Once a week (or bi-weekly if your 2A strands fall on the fine or thin side), apply this repairing hair mask to your strands for an intense moisturizing treatment. The formulation of monoi oil and hydrolyzed silk coats hair in nourishment to help minimize damage and prevent any future breakage. Frizzy and unruly waves will be packed with nutrients leaving 2A, hair more defined and soft to the touch.

Next Up: What Is The LOC Method Hair Care Routine?

  • Goddess Strength Ultra Shield Pre-Poo With Castor Oil For Curly Hair
  • Monoi Repairing Sulfate Free Shampoo
  • Monoi Repairing Sulfate Free Conditioner
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