There is a complexity to curly hair that most people often forget. What separates curly hair from straight tresses isn’t just based on the visible appearance. The complexity is rooted deeper than that, and it’s also down to the molecular structure.
As curly hair doesn’t grow straight or evenly from the root, it requires extra care and attention. The amino acid and lipid production (lipids prevent humidity loss and act as a barrier to water diffusion) ensures that curly hair can often feel dry, brittle and in some cases easier to split and break.
Not only that, the cuticle of the hair lifts at each bend, which means the lipid distribution is uneven resulting in less shine and hydration across the hair completely. If the molecular structure wasn’t complex enough, the curl pattern also ranges from curly, wavy, kinky and coily.
In industry terms this starts at Type 2, wavy and goes right up to a Type 4, coily and kinky, which is otherwise known as as afro-textured hair. We’ve broken this down here:
Type 2 (wavy) where waves are bendable, ranging between fine and course, and have a definitive “S” pattern laying close to the head.
- Type 2A: Fine and barely-there tousled texture that can easily be straightened
- Type 2B: Lying flatter at the crown with a defined “S” shape wave often starting from mid-length with slightly thicker strands than 2A
- Type 2C: Thick and more susceptible to frizz, the “S” bend is well-defined and begins directly at the root as opposed to mid-length
Type 3 is often referred to as curly and can range from loose and bouncy loops to tight corkscrew curls.
- Type 3A: Strands tend to be shiny with a larger and looser curl pattern
- Type 3B: A springy ringlet that is similar in size to a marker pen
- Type 3C: Tight corkscrew curls that can range in circumference to a densely packed pencil, giving lots of volume
Type 4 is known to be coily and kinky or otherwise known as afro-textured hair. Naturally rather dry and sponge-like in texture but is also extremely soft, with a range from tight and small curls to zig zags.
- Type 4A: “S” patterned curls with a dense spring to the volume and vibrancy of the curls
- Type 4B: Bent in sharp angles, the curls are often in a “Z” pattern that are densely packed and buoyant
- Type 4C: Similar to 4B however, coils are more fragile and hold an extremely tight zig-zag pattern
With common properties (across type 2 to 4), such as frizz, lack of moisture and hydration as well as a lack of definition and vibrancy, it can be difficult for those of us with curly hair to maintain healthy and happy tresses and considering our hair and scalp health, the journey with our curly hair can be a long one.
We put products and routines to the test to see what would help us in maintaining the moisture, hydration and definition in our curly hair and reduce the frizz all in one. From styling creams to silk hair ties, we tried and tested the products that those with curly hair need in their arsenal.
The best curly hair products for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Davines love curl cream, 150ml: £22, Libertylondon.com
- Best SPF for the scalp – Ultrasun UV face and scalp mist SPF50: £12.60, Beautybay.com
- Best for soothing the scalp – Omorovicza scalp reviver, 50ml: £69, Cultbeauty.co.uk
- Best moisturising spray – Colorwow dream coat for curly hair, 200ml: £26, Lookfantastic.com
- Best co-wash treatment – Umberto Giannini banana butter nourishing superfood co wash, 250ml: £8.25, Lookfantastic.com
- Best nourishing hair mask – Hershesons almost everything cream, 50ml: £10, Hershesons.com
- Best moisturising shampoo – Holy Curls shampoo, 300ml: £18, Holycurls.com
- Best for enhancing your curls – Aveda be curly curl enhancer, 200ml: £23.50, Spacenk.com
- Best gentle hair ties – LilySilk soft silk small scrunchie, pack of 10: £34.99, Lilysilk.com
- Best for combing your curls – Afroani shower comb: £8.99, Afroanishop.com
- Best protective hair turban – Slip pure silk turban: £70, Cultbeauty.co.uk