It is often difficult to distinguish between curly hair and wavy hair. After all, both types of hair can be styled in various ways and can have a similar texture. Nevertheless, there are some key differences between curly hair and wavy hair that you should know about. Most people confuse curly hair with wavy hair because both hair types can have a similar texture. However, these two types of hair are quite different.
Read on to learn about the key differences between curly hair and wavy hair.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are the Four Types of Hair?
- 2 What Is Curly Hair?
- 3 What Is Wavy Hair?
- 4 Curly Hair vs Wavy Hair
- 5 Can I Have Both Curly and Wavy Hair?
- 6 Common Wavy and Curly Hair Concerns
- 7 Tips to Care for Curly Hair
- 8 Tips to Care for Wavy Hair
- 9 FAQs - Curly Hair vs Wavy Hair
- 10 Final Thoughts: Curly Hair vs Wavy Hair
What Are the Four Types of Hair?
We all have different types of hair, which can be classified into four main categories: straight, wavy, curly, and kinky. But what exactly does that mean? Read on to find out more about the different hair types and how to take care of each one.
Type 1: Straight Hair
- 1a: Fine/Thin: It is usually very soft, thin, and shiny. It’s also prone to oiliness and doesn’t hold curls well.
- 1b: Medium: it is characterized by its volume and body. It’s usually easy to style, but it can be prone to frizz.
- 1c: Coarse: It’s thicker and more durable than other straight hair types, but its texture cannot be easily styled.
Type 2: Wavy Hair
Wavy hair has a bit of a natural body and texture. It can range from fine and thin to coarse and thick, but it’s usually in the middle. Like straight hair, it can be difficult to damage, but it’s also susceptible to frizz. When wavy hair is wet, it tends to shrink up, so be careful not to over-handle it when it’s wet. There are three subcategories of wavy hair:
- 2a: Fine/Thin: It has a defined S-shape and is usually very soft, shiny, and easy to style. It can be straightened or curled easily. It’s also receptive to various styles.
- 2b: Medium: It’s a bit more resistant to styling than 2a, and it doesn’t have as defined an S-shape; it tends to be frizzy.
- 2c: Coarse: It’s bone-straight and coarse, and because of this, it isn’t easy to curl. It can be resistant to various hairstyles.
Type 3: Curly Hair
Curly hair is characterized by its S-shaped coils. Normally, it can have the shape of an uppercase ‘S,’ a lowercase ‘s,’ and at times, it may have an uppercase ‘Z’ or a lowercase ‘z.’ The lack of a defined shape makes it lack more defined curls. There are two types of curly hair, which are:
- 3a: Loose: These are the ones that have large curls and tend to be frizzy. The combination of thickness, volume, and frizziness makes this type of curly hair. It is also easy to style as compared to tight curls.
- 3b: Tight: These are the ones that have small and tight coils. The curls can be anything from spiral-shaped to corkscrews. This type of curly hair is more difficult to style than loose curls.
Type 4: Kinky Hair
Kinky hair is the most tightly coiled type of hair. It’s also the most fragile hair type, so it requires special care to avoid damage. When kinky hair is wet, it shrinks up, so be careful not to over-handle it when it’s wet. There are two subcategories of kinky hair:
- 4a: Soft: It’s characterized by its soft, wiry texture and tight coils. It’s also very fragile, requiring special care to avoid damage.
- 4b: Wiry: It’s characterized by its wiry texture and tight coils. It’s also very fragile, requiring special care to avoid damage. It’s also less defined than 4a, and it tends to look more like a “Z” with sharp angles.
What Is Curly Hair?
- Curly hair is often seen as being more youthful and vibrant.
- It can add volume and fullness to your hair.
- Curly hair is unique and can make you stand out from the crowd.
- It can be fun to style curly hair into different styles.
- Curly hair can be difficult to manage and style.
- It can be frizzy and difficult to control.
- Curly hair can be more susceptible to damage and breakage.
What Is Wavy Hair?
In simple terms, wavy hair is hair that is not straight and not curly. It is somewhere in between the two, with a gentle S-shaped pattern. The hair is typically not as voluminous as curly hair, but it can still be a beautiful and stylish hairstyle. It comprises the same three layers as curly hair: the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla.
- Wavy hair is easy to style and can be worn in various ways.
- It has more body and volume than straight hair and can be easily tamed with the right products.
- Wavy hair is less likely to frizz than curly hair and can be styled in a more controlled way.
- You cannot straighten wavy hair without damaging it.
- Wavy hair cannot be combed or brushed as easily as straight hair.
- It can be difficult to find products that work well for wavy hair, as many are designed for either straight or curly hair.
Curly Hair vs Wavy Hair
There are a few key differences between having curly hair and wavy hair. Curly hair is more likely to be frizzy, and it is also more difficult to style. Wavy hair is easier to style, but it cannot be straightened without damaging it. Curly hair is also more likely to be damaged and broken, requiring more care. Wavy hair is a good middle ground between straight and curly hair, and it can be a stylish and easy-to-manage hairstyle.
Can I Have Both Curly and Wavy Hair?
Yes, it is possible to have curly and wavy hair, depending on your genetics. The curly hair gene isn’t completely dominant, which means it can remain dormant until activated. This can happen if you have a parent or grandparent with curly hair. When the gene is activated, it changes the shape of the hair follicle, which then changes the hair that grows from it. You may see some people with both curly and wavy hair.
Common Wavy and Curly Hair Concerns
Unless you were born with completely straight hair, you’ve probably dealt with at least some frizziness. Naturally curly or wavy hair has a series of concerns you should about—the most common are:
Wavy and curly hair is more prone to breakage because the natural bends in the hair shaft make it weaker; anything you do, from brushing to heat styling, can cause breakage.
Wavy and curly hair is also more prone to dryness because the natural oils produced by the scalp have a harder time traveling down the bends in the hair shaft. This can lead to dry, brittle hair that is more susceptible to breakage.
Frizz is caused by the hair’s cuticle (the outermost layer) lifting away from the shaft, allowing moisture and humidity to get in and make the hair swell. Wavy and curly hair is more prone to frizz because of the natural bends in the hair shaft, making it more likely for the cuticle to lift.
Lack of shine
Wavy and curly hair can sometimes lack shine because of the natural bends in the hair shaft that scatter light. This is why your hair may look shiny when it’s straight but dull when curly.
Tips to Care for Curly Hair
We have only addressed the issues that curly-haired individuals face up to this point. Now, it is time to look at some tips on how to take care of this type of hair:
1. Use a Wide-Tooth Comb
When you detangle your curly hair, it is best to use a wide-tooth comb. This type of comb will help reduce the amount of breakage that occurs when you are detangling your hair.
2. Use a Leave-In Conditioner
A leave-in conditioner can help add moisture to your hair, which is essential for preventing breakage.
3. Avoid Heat Styling
Heat styling is one of the worst things you can do to your curly hair. If you must heat style, make sure to use a heat protectant spray and keep the heat low.
4. Let Your Hair Air Dry
When possible, let your hair air dry instead of blow-drying it. Blow drying can cause damage to your hair due to the high heat.
5. Deep Condition Regularly
Deep conditioning your hair is essential for maintaining moisture levels. Try to deep condition at least once a week.
Tips to Care for Wavy Hair
If your hair is wavy and not curly, you may think that you can get away with neglecting it a bit more than those with curly hair. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Wavy hair still needs to be properly cared for to prevent damage and breakage. Here are some tips on how to care for wavy hair:
1. Use a Wide-Tooth Comb
Like with curly hair, it is best to use a wide-tooth comb when detangling your wavy hair. This will help to reduce the amount of breakage that occurs.
2. Use a Leave-In Conditioner
A leave-in conditioner can help add moisture to your wavy hair, which will prevent it from looking dry and frizzy.
3. Use a Heat Protectant
If you are heat styling your wavy hair, use a heat protectant. This will help to prevent damage from the heat.
4. Let Your Hair Air Dry
5. Use a Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Sulfates can dry your hair, so it is best to use a sulfate-free shampoo if you have wavy hair.
6. Don't Overwash Your Hair
Washing your hair too often can strip it of its natural oils, leaving it looking dry and frizzy.
FAQs - Curly Hair vs Wavy Hair
Is wavy hair considered curly or straight?
While wavy hair is usually classified as hair, it falls between straight and curly hair. The width of the waves can vary from loose and undefined to tight and well-defined.
What type of hair is wavy hair?
Wavy hair is a type of hair that is characterized by its S-shaped pattern. The hair follicles of wavy hair grow in a spiral pattern, which gives the hair its wave-like appearance.
How do I know if my curly hair is damaged?
How common is wavy hair?
Wavy hair is relatively common. It is estimated that about 20% of the population has wavy hair.
What is the most common hair type in the world?
The most common hair type in the world is straight hair. Straight hair is found in all ethnicities and is the most common hair type.
What is the rarest hair type?
The rarest hair type is natural red hair. Red hair is estimated to occur in less than 2% of the population.
Final Thoughts: Curly Hair vs Wavy Hair
Curly hair and wavy hair may seem similar, but there are some key differences between the two. Curly hair is characterized by its tight, spiral-shaped curls. On the other hand, wavy hair is characterized by its S-shaped waves. Both types of hair can be prone to damage and breakage, so it’s important to take extra care of your hair if you have either type.
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