Wavy Hair Types: what are and how to care them?

Wavy hair

What does hair type wavy mean?

Wavy hair is a type of hair texture that falls somewhere between straight and curly. Hair types are often categorized on a spectrum ranging from straight (Type 1) to curly (Type 4), and wavy hair falls within the Type 2 category. Wavy hair has a natural pattern of gentle curves or “waves” that can vary in intensity and shape.

The characteristics of wavy hair include:

S-Shaped or C-Shaped Waves:

Wavy hair typically forms either S-shaped or C-shaped waves along the hair shaft. The pattern can vary, and some people may have looser waves, while others may have more defined curves.

Volume and Body:

Wavy hair often has more volume and body compared to straight hair. The waves can add natural texture and movement to the hair.

Not as Defined as Curly Hair:

Wavy hair is not as tightly curled as curly hair. The waves are more relaxed and tend to have a looser pattern.

Prone to Frizz:

Wavy hair can be prone to frizz, especially in humid conditions. Managing frizz may involve using products that help define the waves and reduce flyaways.


Wavy hair is versatile and can be styled in various ways. It can be straightened for a sleek look or enhanced with products to accentuate the natural waves.

What makes hair naturally wavy?

Mother with daughter, wavy hair genetics

The natural waviness of hair is primarily determined by genetics and the shape of the hair follicles. The key factors that contribute to the natural waviness of hair include:

Hair Follicle Shape:

The shape of the hair follicle plays a crucial role in determining hair texture. Wavy hair follicles are often more oval-shaped, creating a pattern of gentle waves along the hair shaft. The extent of waviness is influenced by the degree of ovalness or irregularity in the follicle shape.


Genetic factors are a significant influence on hair texture. If wavy or curly hair runs in your family, there’s a higher likelihood that you will have a similar hair type. Different combinations of genes inherited from both parents contribute to the unique characteristics of an individual’s hair.

Cortex Structure:

The cortex, the middle layer of the hair shaft, contains proteins and pigments that determine the structural integrity of the hair. In wavy hair, the arrangement of proteins in the cortex contributes to the formation of waves.

Hair Growth Cycle:

The growth cycle of the hair follicles also influences the final texture of the hair. The anagen phase, or active growth phase, is when the hair is formed. During this phase, the shape of the hair follicle and the arrangement of cells in the hair shaft are established, influencing the hair’s natural texture.

Environmental Factors:

While genetics play a predominant role, environmental factors can also contribute to the appearance of waves. Exposure to humidity, temperature, and other external conditions can affect the way hair behaves, making it appear more or less wavy.

Hair Care and Styling Practices:

Certain hair care and styling practices can enhance or alter the natural waviness of hair. For example, using styling products that enhance waves or employing styling techniques like braiding or twisting can temporarily change the appearance of the hair.

It’s important to note that hair texture can vary widely among individuals, even within the same family. Hair can range from straight to wavy to curly to coily, and the combination of genetic and environmental factors contributes to this diversity. Understanding the natural characteristics of your hair type can help you choose appropriate hair care and styling practices to enhance and maintain your hair’s unique texture.

Can I naturally make my hair wavy?

Women with natural wavy hair

While you cannot permanently change your hair’s natural texture, there are methods and styling techniques you can use to enhance the appearance of waves in your hair. Keep in mind that these methods provide temporary results and the natural texture will return as your hair grows.

Here are some ways to make your hair appear wavy:

  1. Braiding: One of the easiest ways to create waves is by braiding your hair. You can braid your hair when it’s damp and leave it overnight or for several hours. The smaller the braids, the tighter the waves will be.
  2. Twisting: Twist small sections of damp hair and secure them with clips or hair ties. Allow your hair to air-dry or use a diffuser on a low heat setting.
  3. Bun Curls: Create bun curls by wrapping damp hair into one or multiple buns and securing them with hair ties. Leave them in place until your hair is completely dry.
  4. Twist Out: Section your damp hair and twist each section. Allow your hair to dry or use a hair dryer. Once dry, unravel the twists to reveal waves.
  5. Sea Salt Spray: Use a sea salt spray to add texture and enhance natural waves. Spritz the spray onto damp hair and scrunch or twist sections for added definition.
  6. Curling Wand or Iron: Use a curling wand or iron to create loose waves. Wrap small sections of hair around the wand, hold for a few seconds, and release. Remember to use a heat protectant before styling.
  7. Scrunching: Apply a styling mousse or gel to damp hair and scrunch your hair with your hands to encourage natural waves. Allow your hair to air-dry or use a diffuser.
  8. Rollers: Use large rollers on damp hair to create voluminous waves. Allow your hair to dry naturally or use a hair dryer.
  9. Diffusing: If you have a natural wave pattern, use a diffuser attachment on your hair dryer to enhance your waves while drying your hair.
  10. Hair Products: Use products specifically designed for enhancing waves, such as wave-enhancing mousse or cream. Apply the product to damp hair and style as desired.

Experimenting with these methods can help you discover which works best for your hair type and desired wave pattern. Keep in mind that excessive heat styling or chemical treatments can lead to damage, so it’s essential to use these methods in moderation and prioritize hair health.

Wavy hair types

Wavy hair is categorized into three subtypes within the Type 2 category, and each subtype represents a different degree of waviness. The wavy hair types are labeled as 2A, 2B, and 2C. Here’s a brief description of each wavy hair type:

Wavy hair types

Type 2A:

  • Pattern: Type 2A wavy hair has loose, subtle waves.
  • Texture: The waves are more relaxed and may have an “S” shape. This type tends to have a fine texture.
  • Volume: It has some volume but is generally closer to straight hair.
  • Styling: Type 2A hair is versatile and can be styled in various ways.

Type 2B:

  • Pattern: Type 2B wavy hair has more defined S-shaped waves.
  • Texture: The waves are more noticeable and may have a moderate amount of volume. This hair type may have a slightly coarser texture.
  • Volume: There is more volume compared to Type 2A, and the waves may start closer to the roots.
  • Styling: Type 2B hair can hold various styles well, and it can be styled with the right products to enhance the waves.

Type 2C:

  • Pattern: Type 2C wavy hair has well-defined waves that may start at the roots.
  • Texture: The waves are more prominent and may border on the beginning of curls. The texture is often medium to coarse.
  • Volume: There is significant volume, and the waves may be more tightly packed together.
  • Styling: Type 2C hair can be more prone to frizz, and styling products that enhance and define the waves are often used.

Keep in mind that individual variations exist within each hair type, and some people may have characteristics that span across multiple subtypes. Additionally, factors such as climate, hair care routines, and styling practices can influence the appearance of wavy hair. Understanding your specific hair type can help you choose the right products and styling techniques to care for and enhance your natural waves.

Wavy hair care

Wave hair care women

Wavy hair has its own unique characteristics and care needs. Here are some tips for caring for wavy hair:

  1. Use Moisturizing Products: Wavy hair can be prone to dryness and frizz. Use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners to keep your hair hydrated and reduce frizz. Look for products that are sulfate-free to avoid stripping the natural oils from your hair.
  2. Avoid Overwashing: Wavy hair tends to benefit from natural oils, so avoid overwashing. Washing your hair too frequently can strip it of its natural oils, leading to dryness. Consider washing your hair 2-3 times a week or as needed.
  3. Detangle with Care: Use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to detangle your hair, starting from the tips and working your way up. This helps prevent breakage and minimizes stress on the waves.
  4. Apply Leave-In Conditioner: After washing your hair, apply a leave-in conditioner to help keep your wavy hair moisturized and manageable. Leave-in conditioners also assist in defining and enhancing the natural waves.
  5. Use a Microfiber Towel or T-Shirt for Drying: Avoid rough towel-drying, as it can cause frizz. Instead, gently pat your hair with a microfiber towel or an old T-shirt to absorb excess water.
  6. Air-Dry or Diffuse: Allow your hair to air-dry whenever possible to minimize heat damage. If you prefer using a hair dryer, use a diffuser attachment on a low heat setting to maintain your wavy texture.
  7. Avoid Heavy Products: Wavy hair can be weighed down by heavy styling products. Opt for lightweight styling products such as mousses, gels, or creams that enhance waves without making your hair feel greasy or weighed down.
  8. Protect Your Hair from Heat: If you use heat styling tools, apply a heat protectant spray before styling to minimize damage. Use these tools on a lower heat setting to avoid excessive heat exposure.
  9. Regular Trims: Regular trims help maintain the health of your hair and prevent split ends. This is particularly important for wavy hair, as split ends can contribute to frizz.
  10. Experiment with Styling Techniques: Experiment with different styling techniques to enhance your natural waves. For example, you can try the “plopping” method or use diffusing to encourage wave formation.

Remember that everyone’s hair is unique, and you may need to adjust your hair care routine based on your specific wavy hair type and preferences. Pay attention to how your hair responds to different products and techniques, and tailor your routine accordingly.


FAQ about wavy hair

How do I determine my wavy hair type?

Wavy hair is categorized into three subtypes: 2A, 2B, and 2C. Type 2A has loose waves, Type 2B has more defined waves, and Type 2C has well-defined waves that may border on curls.

Is wavy hair common?

Yes, wavy hair is common, and many people have naturally wavy hair. The prevalence of wavy hair varies among different populations.

Can I make my hair wavy if it’s straight?

While you can’t permanently change your natural hair texture, you can use styling techniques such as braiding, twisting, or using a curling wand to create temporary waves.

How do I care for wavy hair?

Wavy hair benefits from moisture, so use hydrating shampoos and conditioners. Avoid overwashing, detangle gently, and consider using leave-in conditioners to enhance moisture.

What products are best for wavy hair?

Lightweight products like mousses, gels, and creams work well for wavy hair. Sea salt sprays and wave-enhancing products can help define and enhance natural waves.

How can I enhance my natural waves?

Experiment with different styling techniques such as braiding, twisting, or using rollers. You can also use a diffuser attachment on your hair dryer to enhance natural waves while drying.

Can wavy hair become curly over time?

Changes in hair texture can occur due to factors such as hormonal changes, age, or health conditions. However, these changes may not always be predictable or permanent.

How do I reduce frizz in wavy hair?

Use products that combat frizz, such as anti-frizz serums or leave-in conditioners. Avoid overusing heat styling tools and consider protective hairstyles.

Is wavy hair more prone to tangling?

Wavy hair can be prone to tangling, especially if it’s on the coarser side. Using a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to detangle gently can help prevent breakage.

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