Wavy vs. Curly Hair

Side profile of a woman with long, thick, and wavy hair in a ponytail.

The beauty of curls and waves is magnificent! But, sometimes, it can be challenging to tell if you have curly or wavy hair because they are so similar. Knowing first-hand what it’s like to have curly, thick hair all my life, I can tell you a few things! People always ask me the age-old question: is my hair curly or wavy?  

The difference between wavy and curly Hair is distinguished by the curl’s tightness, density, and texture. However, generally wavy Hair is an ‘S’ type of soft curl that is smoother and straighter, while curly Hair has tighter curls that are more defined.

We all know these are general definitions of our hair type, my fellow wavy and curly hair people. You NEED to keep reading because there is so much more important info on wavy/curly Hair to explore. Come along and let us take a journey through the world of curls and waves.

What Is The Difference Between Wavy and Curly Hair?

Brunette girl with long and curly hair.

Curly and wavy hair is beautiful to have and marvelous to look at, but there is a lot behind the beauty. Fun fact, did you know that the shape of your follicles establishes your hair’s texture?

Wavy Hair: semi oval-shaped follicles

Curly Hair: oval-shaped follicles

Although wavy hair is type 2 hair and curly hair is type 3 hair, there are also three sub-categories of both of them based on the width and diameter of the kinds of curls/waves you have. Here are the three sub-categories: 

Type A: a wider pattern

Type B: medium pattern 

Type C: smallest pattern of all

When you find out your hair type, it will do wonders for you and your wallet! It will open you up to a world of proper hair care and maintenance methods suited to your Hair’s needs. Say goodbye to the days of regretting buying products that don’t work for you!

*A HELPFUL TIP– the best time for you to find your hair type is while your hair is wet! *

What Products Should I Use for My Wavy Or Curly Hair Type?

Red head girl with long and shiny wavy hair .

With so many products available on the market today, it can be so overwhelming! The three most important things to remember with curly and wavy hair types are: always use a microfiber towel, detangle your hair while it is still wet (for fine hair, use a wide-tooth comb and for thick hair, use a detangling brush) and say it with me Nourish, Nourish, NOURISH!

Invest in good quality hair care, and you will see all the difference. As a person who has been born and raised in hair salons and tried THOUSANDS of different products, I can genuinely say these brands below are lovely. At various price points and hair compatibility, I hope to open you up to the fantastic world of hair care; enjoy!

Wavy hair (Type 2)

Type 2A: As your hair type is fine, an important thing to remember with products is a little goes a long way! Start with lightweight cleaners like the Moroccan Oil Extra Volume Shampoo and Conditioner, perfect for adding shine, bounce, volume, and lift to your waves.  Simply dry your hair off, or because your hair can be easily straightened, the Moroccan Oil Root Boost and Perfect Defense is an excellent combo for that sexy, light, voluminous look.

Type 2B: Your hair defines and rocks the infamous ‘beach wave look!’ With ‘S‘ waves starting from the mid-lengths, your locks are thicker and need a little more ‘TLC’ than type A. Your hair is one of the biggest trends today, so embrace what you’ve naturally got!

Go natural with the Kerastase Aura Botanica range, made of high-quality ingredients straight from the earth; your waves will love it. The Kerastase Aura Botanica Beach Wave effect is a fantastic addition to the end of your hair routine because it adds an enhancing effect.

 If you have color-treated hair, a great alternative will be the KMS Hair Play Sea Salt Spray, which will give you an authentic voluminous ‘I just stepped out of the sea’ look with a matte finish. To keep your hair in optimal health, you will also fall in love with the KMS Moist Repair range.

Type 2C: With your well-defined ‘S’ bends beginning directly from the roots, it makes your hair more susceptible to frizz. Just remember that frizz is your little ‘halo of volume.’ For your waves, I can’t emphasize MOISTURE enough.

L’anza Haircare is going to be your best friend! Not only does it work excellent, but it contains zero sulfates (always avoid because it strips your natural oils), and because it’s so concentrated, the products last a very long time. Check out L’anzas Tamanu Shampoo, Kukui Nut conditioner, and pull the look all together with the life-changing Keratin Healing Oil Defrizz Cream.

Curly hair (type 3)

Woman with long and thick curly hair.

Type 3A: The three ‘L’s’ describe these curls perfectly; large, loose and lustrous! Your locks will love Redken’s All Soft shampoo combined with the matching All Soft Heavy Cream treatment. After cleansing, towel-dry your hair and scrunch your hair using the same treatment (keep throwing your hair forward and back, repeat until dry) for that VA VA VOOM to your curls. Who doesn’t love a 2-in-1 product?

*TIP- once dry, AVOID touching your hair to prevent frizz! *

Type 3B: Imagine wrapping your hair around a felt-tip pen; that is what best resembles your ringlets. Do not leave your luscious locks longing for hydration! Pureology’s Hydration Shampoo and Superfood Treatment does not only nourish but is vegan and sulfate-free too.

Style your hair by diffusing or scrunching it with Pureology’s Mess It Up Texture Paste which contains a heat protectant, moisturizes, and defines your curls. Another great option is the Lanza Neem Plant Silk Serum which fights frizz, is lightweight, protects from heat, and nourishes the hair.

Type 3C: Whether you decide to call them corkscrew, pencil, or spiral curls, one thing is sure they are stunning! Type 3C hair is known for its extraordinary volume due to how dense the curls are packed together. Frizz and dryness are common to this hair type, so be ready to treat yourself to a little extra pampering!

The Moroccan Oil Curl Enhancing Shampoo paired with the Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask is the perfect combo for your springs. In terms of styling, the Schwarzkopf Osis+ Curl Honey is an excellent defining and moisturizing leave-in cream and the Kerastase Discipline Oleo-Relax Advanced Oil for smoothing the hair, heat protection, and shine.

Where Can I Buy Wavy/Curly Hair Products?

Woman with her hair lowered down as she apply hair spray on her curly hair.

Wavy/Curly hair products can be found at any of your local areas’ salons. Here is a list of where you can discover wavy/curly hair products online for your convenience:

  • Directly purchase from your favorite hair brand’s website.
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Bluemercury
  • Ulta Beauty
  • Nordstrom
  • Sephora
  • Target

Look out for sales and compare price points. Happy Shopping!


In conclusion, wavy and curly hair are two different hair types with individual needs divided into three separate sub-categories (A, B, and C). Invest in good hair products, and remember to look out for product sales.

And lastly, always remember to:

Flaunt those curls and waves!


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