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Remember back in, like, 2004 when everyone had to have pin-straight hair and did everything they could to make it happen? Remember spending countless hours pressing out every little kink and turning your hair to a crispy burned-up bale of hay? Maybe you put one of those bumpits in for good measure. We know better now (for the most part) that straight hair just isn’t the best lewk for all of us. Learning to embrace our natural hair texture is probably my favorite beauty trend of the last few years. Instead of throwing hot tools and chemical-y goo on our ‘dos, we are doing our best to just let our hair do its thing.

Putting down the flat iron was tough, but now you might be left with a frizzy mess without much direction. So where do we go from here? In 2010, Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey became the bible of hair routines, creating the “curly girl method” that showed us the way to the light. Since then, Bloggers, YouTubers, and beauty gurus ‘round the world have hopped on the curly girl train to show us how it’s done. After a bit of super sleuthing, here are a few methods to get you started on your curly girl journey to enlightenment.

 

Figure out your curl pattern.

Before you do anything else, finding your curl pattern is essential to deciding what products and techniques are best for you. What works for one type of hair doesn’t always work for other types.

There are 4 types, each with corresponding sub-types:

  • Type 1 - Straight
  • Type 2 - Wavy
  • Type 3 - Curly
  • Type 4 - Coily/Kinky

The curly girl method applies to hair types 2 through 4 (sorry, straight-hair babes; we’ll see you later). Within types 2 through 4, there are 3 subtypes marked as a, b, or c.  If your hair is damaged from heat, excessive brushing, or using the wrong type of product, the way your hair looks right now might not be its true curl pattern. The best way to find your natural curl pattern is just after getting a fresh haircut and seeing how it looks when it’s finished air drying without any heat or product application. You might also find you have a combination of curl patterns. I personally have 2b and 2c plus a couple of wild 3a curls sprinkled in.  

 

Type 2 - Wavy


2a, 2b, and 2c, respectively

 

If you have some delightful S-shaped hair ranging from loose waves to some deeper, tight waves, you are probably a type 2 curly girl! Type 2 folks have a tough time with finding a balance between frizz control and weighing hair down with too-heavy of a product.

 

Type 3 - Curly


3a, 3b, and 3c, respectively

When you are a type 3 curly girl, chances are you have a more defined ringlet type of curl pattern. A 3a curl is likely about the width of sidewalk chalk, while a 3c curl is closer to the width of a pencil. Type 3 hair people often experience dryness and frizz as well as getting stuck with “triangle hair” when they aren’t given enough layers at the salon.

 

Type 4 - Coily/Kinky


4a, 4b, and 4c, respectively

You are probably a type 4 curly girl if your hair is a lovely tight coil or zigzag shape. You experience a lot of shrinkage, and it tangles easily. The biggest concern you might have with your type 4 curls is keeping them good n’ moisturized.