Find the right products for your curls!

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Finding the right products for curly hair can be difficult! Why is it so hard for curlies to find the perfect products? It seems to be so easy for straight hair: get a shampoo and a conditioner and you’re good. However, getting the best products for your curls greatly depends on your curl pattern.


Deciding which products to use depends on your curl pattern and also on your curls’ texture. In today’s post I’ll be talking about the curl pattern and how you can learn which curl type you are. The curl pattern describes how curly your hair is from a 1 (straight hair) to 4 (coily hair).


How can your curl pattern help choose from all the products for curly hair?

It can help choosing the best products, because curlier hair needs more moisture than less curly hair. So if you’re a type 2 curly you should make sure not to over-condition your curls, while having type 4 curls makes it practically impossible to over-condition your curls.

curl pattern

Look at the pictures to find out which curl type you are!

Image source:

Curl type 2:

Typical for type 2 curls is the S pattern: While 2a curls are slightly wavy, 2b curls already have more waves and 2c curls already start to form some curls, but compared to 3a curls they don’t yet form “complete curls”. For type 2 curls I suggest rinsing your conditioner after washing your curls as not to over-condition. Especially if you’re a 2a make sure to throughly rinse any products to prevent them from weighing down your waves.


Curl type 3:

Type 3a curls are curly but in contrary to 3b curls they’re still bigger and not as tight as 3b curls. I consider myself to have type 3a curls. Generally type 3 curls need quite an amount of moisture. If your curl pattern is either 3b or 3c make sure to add a leave-in conditioner or even leave in some “normal” conditioner after washing your curls. Browse through the blog to get to know more about how I take care of my curls or read my routine on NaturallyCurly. To learn more about how to take care of 3b curls, read my interview with Milica.


Curl type 4:

Type 4 curls are really tight and they shrink a lot (because the curls are in a tight z pattern). Therefore this curl pattern definitely allows some heavier moisturizing products like a deep conditioner, a cream or butter. Make sure your curls get enough moisture and to get that you might not use any shampoo at all.

Not only knowing your curl type helps you to know whether your curls need more moisture, but also your curls’ texture greatly defines which products for curly hair are the best for your curls – stay tuned for the upcoming post about texture!

  • Lulu
    June 5, 2015

    Let me start by saying, I LOVE your blog and all your curly tips!!! I can relate to almost all of your posts, as I have been experimenting with all types of products and techniques for about 15 years now! My biggest problem is determining how much I should condition/moisturizer to battle the coarseness & frizz in my hair. I would classify my hair as type 2b/2c, depending on the day! My hair is super thick though (and long) and I notice your tips for type 2 hair warn about over conditioning. Any tips on how I can determine which products are right for me? Also, how often should I shampoo? Currently, I only wash & condition once a week, due to laziness and lack of greasiness.
    Also, I’m currently using sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner (I use a heavy duty conditioner- Kiehls Superbly Smoothing Argan Hair Pak), but I use silicone products! After reading through your blog, I am now going to use a sulfate shampoo to wash out all of the product buildup and then go totally sulfate AND silicone free!
    I never considered protein issues prior to discovering your blog either! Maybe that’s part of my problem! I’ve always diffused, sans towel drying and brushing (I know THAT much about curls!), but my curls seem temperamental when it comes to definition and frizz. I go through spurts where they’re great, and spurts in which they just don’t want to cooperate! I never understood what causes the change!
    I appreciate any input! Thanks again, and keep up the awesome, informative posts! 🙂

    • Sandra
      June 9, 2015

      Hi Lulu, it’s great to hear from you! I think that only using sulfate and silicone free products should help with the issue of sometimes having great and sometimes having not so great curls. For me, this was the biggest change that got me constant results. When it comes to choosing the right products for your curls, it’s important to know your curls’ porosity:

      I usually shampoo every time I wash my curls, which is about 2-3 times per week, if you don’t feel like washing your curls more often, then don’t – it’s not at all bad to only wash your hair once a week!

      I hope this helps!

      • Allison Kent
        May 5, 2016

        Hello! I’ve seen your picture floating all over Pinterest and now I came across your blog via naturally curly! I’m from Fl state in the US, and I believe I have 2c/3a curls but I’m not sure.
        Do you figure out the texture and curl pattern with no product in it or with product?

        My hair looks completely different with nothing in it as opposed to when I actually take the time to do my hair. No product, it more 2a, but with product using the rake and shake method, they form small strands of spirals starting at the root but about halfway Down it falls straight…and then when I scrunch they form a mixtures of extremely deep waves and spirals everywhere.

        I am so confused! Thank you so much!

        • Sandra
          June 17, 2016

          Hi Alison, it’s likely that you have different curl patterns (I have anything from 2c-4 (only a few single hair strands)). I classified my curls with product in them, because that’s what they usually look like. 🙂

  • Judith
    September 7, 2015

    I just love your blog. The problem is I love curly hair but my hair isn’t. I asked some friends who said I have to use texturizers, but my hair isn’t that strong. Is it safe do to so?

    • Sandra
      September 9, 2015

      Hi Judith, since I’m not a hairdresser I unfortunately can’t answer your question (as I don’t really know what a texturizer will do to your hair in terms of harming your hair). I suggest you to ask your hairdresser. I’m sorry I can’t help you!

      • Judith
        September 23, 2015

        Hi Sandra,
        Thanks for taking time and aswering my question. I did ask my hairdresser and said my hair is a bit damaged and needs some deep care first.

  • Milton Vagabond
    March 28, 2016

    Curls are back within the cool gang, therefore, place away your straighteners and embrace the wave. You have added some product name in your blog. The question about who have natural curly hair, how to keep them in shape! Obviously have some special product for that. They should use different products.

  • Mary Ware
    July 4, 2016

    Hello Sandra! Such a great article. The best product I have ever used is the GKhair CurlsDefineHer. Best for creating definable curls and waves while controlling frizz and flyaways leaving a soft smooth finish. Just love it. 🙂 <3

  • Luna Blu
    November 3, 2016

    Hello Sandra,
    I consider myself to have a mojority hair type 3a, but the strands behind my neck are 3b s and in the middle my hair has a few 2c s (due to a weird haircut from a barber). Seeing your pictures, I find that we have very similar hair. Mine is an inch or so shorter but almost the same texture. I use the rake and shake method a lot and it works great! But, I think I over condition sometimes. I was wondering if you would request specific hair products that you use, from shampoo, to conditioner, to leave in, to oils. I live in New Orleans, Louisiana in the U.S. so it’s really humid all the time. I usually apply leave-in, plop, and air dry, but I have only recently (about 6 months ago) embraced my curls and begun my mid to long length 3a adventure. Any potential hair advisors around me from day to day have type 1, type 2b, and type 3b to 3c, so they either brush their hair- which gives me a mini fro and knots- or shower, comb, condition, go- which does not begin to work out the many complications of having 3a hair.
    Luna Blu (:

    P.S. I Love Your Blog and Your Hair.

  • Alylai
    November 27, 2016

    Hi, I just recently found this blog and I am in love you have so many helpful tips ! But I need help on figuring out what hair type I am so I can get a good haircut for once in my life ! I think my hair is 3a/3b on top and below all the tighter curls I have a 2a/2b type hair its basically loose waves and my hair is not layered it never has been but it is super long it reaches my lower back/butt and I am 5’6. I honestly have no idea what to do with it ! It gets so frizzy so easily and I just can’t control it I wear it in a pony tail everyday and it gets knotty so fast. I have no idea what hair type I am or how to even fix my hair I use random shampoo and conditioners and brush all the knots out only when its wet and full of conditioner is that a bad thing ? Anyways sorry for so many questions I am desperate and scared to get a hair cut because it always ends horribly ! I hope you see this,thanks 🙂

    • Sandra
      November 30, 2016

      Hi Alylai, wow you definitely have really long hair! That makes it all the scarier to go see a hairdresser… I found out that for me it’s rather difficult to properly take care of my curls when they’re really long, because the ends usually don’t get enough moisture and thus begin to look frizzy.

      Have you ever tried using sulfate- and silicone-free products? I think they could help with the frizzy hair..

      Having many knots is a problem that probably all curly girls experience, however it gets worse when your hair is long – there’s just more hair that can get tangled… I don’t think there’s a way to prevent that and only combing your curls when they’re wet and covered with conditioner sounds perfectly right!

      Is there a curly hair specialist somewhere where you live? If so, I’d try to go see the specialist about cutting your hair.

  • Christie
    May 10, 2017

    I’m new to all of this and recently came across your website. Let me begin by saying thank you for all of the wonderful information that you share. I’m still reading and trying to learn more.
    I’m very early on in a transition process to figure out what my natural hair texture and type is. I have quite a complex history and background which is too much information to write here but if you are interested in my story, please email me directly and I would be more than happy to email you my story. In the meantime, because I’m transitioning, I have no idea what my hair type is or what my curl pattern is yet and because of previous treatments and frequent coloring I’m not sure that any type of tests would be accurate at this point.
    But, I’ve been using DevaCurl products for the last 6-7 weeks now and I’m not very impressed. I know that’s not a long amount of time but I was using very high quality products before I started my transition except they had silicones in them so I stopped them and started the DevaCurl products. However, I would think that after 6-7 weeks of trying them that I would at least feel like my hair is getting healthier and I don’t. So, I was wondering if you could recommend some other products (without buying up everything) that might be better to try early on in the transition process while allowing my natural hair to grow out and until I can learn more about it once it gets more natural length. So, if you have any suggestions I’d greatly appreciate them. And again, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me.
    Thank you!!!!

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