2C Curly Hair Routine

Feathery, voluminous 2C hair can be one of the most versatile curly hair types out there. From letting your waves hang freely to tying them up in a perfectly textured bun, the 2C hair type offers an endless number of styling options. 

But to make sure every day is a good hair day, it’s important you keep your 2C wavy hair in pristine condition. 

Read on to learn the perfect haircare routine for type 2C hair. We’ll take an in-depth look at the distinct features of 2C hair before covering tips for care, styling, and the best curly hair products

What is 2C Hair?

If you think you might have curly hair after a day at the beach, you could be a 2C. 

Sitting between straight and coily hair, type 2C hair is in the middle of the spectrum. Let’s break down the two characters in this hair type: 

  • The number 2 – The number, or the first part of the designation, represents an overall category of wavy hair. This means that Type 2 hair is less tightly bound than the bouncy curls and springy coils of Type 3 and 4 hair. That being said, Type 2 hair is a broad category with varying levels of curl from loose beachy waves to the beginning of ringlets.
  • The letter C– The letter, the latter part of the hair type, refers to the hair texture and compactness, putting 2C hair closer to curls than loose waves. 2C hair is more coarse than its A or B counterparts. The hair texture also takes on an S-shaped pattern of curls. 

Do I Have 2C or 3A Hair?

Another way to understand the exact nature of 2C hair is to compare it to neighboring hair types on the spectrum. If you look in the mirror and keep wavering between whether you have wavy or curly hair, consider the following differences: 

  • 2B hair is looser – While both 2B and 2C hair fall under the ‘wavy’ designation, 2B hair has loose curls, with waves roughly the length of your face. 2C hair, in contrast, has more compact curls, with strands of hair intertwining rather than all waving in the same general direction. 
  • 3A hair forms ringlets – Despite the jump in letter, 2C hair looks most similar to 3A hair, but the two have distinct characteristics. 3A hair, the beginning of the ‘curly’ category, appears as ringlets whereas 2C hair exhibits a loose curl, S-shaped pattern. 

Once you’ve identified your 2C curls, you’re ready to start the proper haircare routine.

How to Treat 2C Hair

White lotion.

When it comes to treating 2C hair, avoiding frizz is key. Shampooing less and with the right types of shampoo and applying curl conditioner regularly are the basic steps to preserving moisture. Beyond this, however, consider the following haircare tips to keep the volume without the frizz: 

  • Avoid rubbing with a towel – While it can be tempting to towel dry your hair after a shower, the rubbing motion can result in increased breakage, leading to bent strands, split ends, and ultimately, a greater amount of frizz. Instead, wrap your hair in a microfiber towel gently after washing, letting the cloth soak up the excess water over time. 
  • Practice caution when detangling – Whether it’s from the wind, the shower, or a night of sleeping, 2C curls are prone to tangling due to its texture. When detangling curly hair, it’s important to opt for a wide tooth comb and work slowly and gently to avoid damaging your roots or strands. Consider using a detangler with a smoothing effect, such as the Restore Perfecting Spray
  • Moisturize to add shine – Because the hair cuticle doesn’t lay flat in 2C wavy hair, your hair won’t have as much shine as other types such as straight hair or looser waves. Deep moisturizing, however, can help achieve that smooth, silky look, the finishing touch to your luscious curls. Consider a weekly moisturizer such as the Intense Moisture Mask, which also prevents frizz by reducing dryness. 
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How to Style 2C Curls

The best aspect of having 2C curls is being able to plan a variety of curly hairstyles, changing your look to whatever your heart desires. From updos to free-flowing waves, consider the following styles for some hair inspiration: 

  • Leave it natural – This is the perfect look to show off those luscious waves at full volume. To prevent frizz, make sure to moisturize well the night before. Consider using a leave-in conditioner for extra smoothness. Interested in adding an extra twist? Try a deep side part for interesting contrast or throw in a bandana to keep your natural hair out of your eyes. 
  • Half up half down – The fullness of your 2C waves sells this classy look. Gather half of your hair into a knot at the back of your head, and run your fingers through the strands on top to add some volume. For a bolder option, consider placing the bun on the top of your head, providing added height and glam. 
  • Messy bun – Given the natural texture and volume of your waves, 2C hair and messy buns are just made to be. Gather your hair into a low bun at the nape of your neck for an elegant, no-fuss look that will last through the day. Make sure to detangle your hair before placing it in a bun to prevent any knots from pulling at your roots. 
  • Curly bangs – Not only do your 2C curls look gorgeous pulled back, but they’re also lightweight enough to frame your face. Combine your bangs with a bun on the top of your head for a memorable updo, or opt for uneven bangs to add a striking touch to your hairstyle. 

Best Products for 2C Hair Type

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Just when you think the frizz is gone, it comes back. Sure, your natural waves look beautiful in the morning, but by midday, your hair might grow twice its size. Or maybe your 2C curls are silky smooth immediately after air drying but invariably attract that extra static overnight. 

So how do you show off that natural curliness with just the right amount of control? Beyond a basic haircare routine, it can be helpful to turn to a hair product specifically designed to add long-lasting smoothness and shine. Begin with a go-to product for daily use and continue to invest in specific solutions depending on your needs. 

To start your haircare collection, consider the following essentials: 

  • The everyday basic – The first step is to find a perfect everyday staple such as our Curl Enhancer, providing lightweight conditioning to keep your locks moisturized and silky smooth. This product treats your waves from root to tip, enhancing definition. 
  • The moisturizing boost – For an extra boost to your curls, consider a specialty product such as the Moisturizing Shine Oil. A blend of five oils similar to your hair’s natural fatty acids and lipids, this product can be applied on a daily or weekly basis for enhanced moisture and shine. 
  • The long-lasting hold – With 2C hair, the difference between full, feathery beauty and messy, unmanageable frizz can be the smallest change in humidity levels or weather conditions. Try the Curl Defining Gel to combat this added moisture in the air. The solution mimics natural hair, providing long-lasting control without the heaviness or crunch. 

Our Science-Backed Haircare Makes Your Routine Easy

Orange hair product bottles, a towel, and a comb on a countertop.

Take the guesswork out of caring for your 2C curls with our gentle hair products online, backed by scientific research and proven in their effectiveness. With must-have essentials such as the Curl Shampoo and Curl Conditioner duo, we can’t wait to help you on your journey to natural, healthy hair. 

Looking for a more specific hair product to suit your unique needs? Try our Strength + Repair collection, designed to moisturize and nourish damaged hair day in and day out. Begin your day with the sulfate-free Restore Perfecting Spray—formulated without SLS and SLES—and turn in for the night with our hair mask, Perfect Hair Day Weightless Mask

At Living Proof, we’re pioneering scientific discovery in haircare, making the latest innovations available for all hair types and textures. From 1A to 4C, our diverse range of hair products and styling products are held to the highest quality standards, making your haircare routine a breeze. Need help finding the right products for your 2C hair? Take our haircare quiz.

Sources: 

Int’l Conf. IP, Comp. Vision, and Pattern Recognition. Towards Creation of a Curl Pattern Recognition System. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gloria-Washington/publication/328799161_Towards_Creation_of_a_Curl_Pattern_Recognition_System/links/6144cbb6519a1a381f68f9c0/Towards-Creation-of-a-Curl-Pattern-Recognition-System.pdf 

The Royal Society. The what, why and how of curly hair: a review. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspa.2019.0516 

American Academy of Dermatology Association. 10 Hair-Care Habits That Can Damage Your Hair. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/hair-scalp-care/hair/habits-that-damage-hair