The Simple Way to Figure Out Your Hair’s Curl Type

We feel you. Decoding your curl type can be confusing. Several different textures can exist on one head of curly hair, which all have to somehow look cohesive when you style it. When the strands at your crown are looser than the ones on the sides, and even more different than the hair in the back, it’s easy to just throw up your hands in frustration and contemplate shaving it all off. Which you can totally do! 

But, if that’s not quite your jam, don’t fret. The road to understanding and embracing your texture may be a windy one (because, curls) but it also does not have to be overly complicated. As it stands now, most folks reference a particular hair typing system for curls, one originally dreamed up by hairstylist Andre Walker. We’re not going to lie: There’s been some debate as to whether the typing system is divisive or even too narrow. It’s even gone through a bit of a modification over the years, thanks to folks in the curly community. Power to the people.

Controversy aside, many people have found that even if it isn’t perfect, this particular set of guidelines can be super useful in at least helping you identify your curl pattern (or patterns) so you know where to start when you’re shopping for hair-care products. And if anything, you want to at least be able to walk into a store with some idea of what you’re looking for to treat your precious crown — and have some baseline knowledge of the best way to style your hair.

It’s a lot to think about, sure. Luckily, we tapped two industry pros who are experts in working with texture to break down some of the finer points of the typing categories. Whether you’ve got soft bends cascading down your back or tight coils blossoming towards the heavens, there’s an easy way to identify exactly what’s going on up top. Follow our easy tip sheet below (complete with recommendations for your hair-care collection) so you can be well on your way to becoming a curl-typing pro.

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