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Here’s How to Finally Figure Out Your Curl Pattern


06 . 11 . 19
Emilie Branch

Emilie Branch

Writer at Mane Addicts
Emilie is a writer and editor based in New York. Though she writes about beauty, she has written for a variety of lifestyle and industry publications over the last ten (plus) years. Find out what color Emilie’s hair is now by following her on Instagram @emiliebranch.
Emilie Branch

We’re finally done concealing our curls. Texture is being embraced and celebrated, which we stan for – however, that’s just step one. Once you’re ready to show your curls to the world, it’s time to get to know them – specifically what type of curls you have and how you should be caring for them, because there’s no such thing as one way to haircare.  We checked in with Stacey Ciceron, Oribe Brand Ambassador and texture pro, to find out all there is to know about each curl pattern.

Curl Pattern Cheat Sheet

The easiest way to judge your curl pattern is just by looking at it. “Most people can visually assess their curl pattern/hair type and put it into a few categories—straight, wavy, curly, kinky, coily or super coily,” Stacey explains. In order to differentiate loose waves from tighter curls, Stacey notes that, “years ago, a number system was developed that a lot of people with textured hair use. It ranges on a scale from 1 to 4 (1 being the straightest and 4C being the tightest coil).” It gets even more complicated than that, however. “People can have multiple curl patterns/hair types happening on their head,” she continues. 

Curl Pattern Guide

(Image via Oribe)

Consider this your official curl pattern cheat sheet – anything after type 1 hair has some texture to it; the higher it is in the alphabet (from A to C) and the higher on the number scale, the higher the curl level. The range begins at soft wave (2A) and goes up to tightly coiled (4C).

Knowing and understanding your curl pattern is important because every type, texture and porosity has different needs. “Tightly coiled hair tends to be drier than wavy or straight hair,” says Stacey, giving a crucial example. “Knowing your hair helps you to choose the right tools and products, however there is no one-size-fits-all approach to hair,” adds Stacey.


Curl Pattern Guide

(Image via Oribe)

Caring for Your Curl Type

Once you’ve established where you fall on the curl scale, you can care for you hair as needed. For instance, says Stacey, “tightly coiled hair is visually deceiving. Most people think it’s strong and coarse, but it’s actually dry and fragile. This hair type requires a ton of moisture and low manipulation to achieve and maintain a healthy state. If you’re not rocking a signature fro’, stretched styles like two twists or protective styles like braids or updos work best,” she continues. Ultimately, all curly hair needs moisture and definition, but your level affects how much moisture – and how often. To achieve this, Stacey suggests treating the hair often and using products and tools to enhance curl definition. “Naturally air drying or diffuse drying a wash-and-go style is ideal and can be maintained by rocking a pineapple at night,” she adds.


Curl Pattern Guide

(Image via Oribe)

Stacey’s Top 5 Curly Tips

If you’ve got curly hair, these tips are a must!

  1. Know your hair—that includes hair type, texture, density and porosity.
  2. Know and set hair goals. Each goal will require a different approach to your hair care regimen.
  3. Keep your hair moisturized.
  4. Use a wide-tooth combs to detangle.
  5. Protect your hair at night.
  6. Do not over manipulate your hair.

Always remember that there is NO one-size-fits-all approach to hair care. “Knowing your hair is key, but that includes more than just knowing your hair type,” Stacey emphasizes.


How you treat your curls is definitely correlated to growth. Find out why your natural hair isn’t growing, HERE.

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