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Decoding Curly Hair Vs Wavy Hair

What's The Difference Between Curly Hair Vs Wavy Hair?

By Dove India

Curly vs Wavy Hair: What is the Difference?

Knowing your unique hair type can make a mesmerising difference when it comes to styling and optimal maintenance. While it is quite easy to point out straight hair, labelling curly and wavy hair can be hard as both might look the same at a glance. If you are also struggling to find out whether you have curly or wavy hair, then this comprehensive guide is just for you. Here, we will discuss everything about curly vs wavy hair, its distinctive features, types, styling tips and much more. So, begin your journey to decode your hair type within a few minutes.

Embrace Beachy-Breezy Vibes: Unveil Wavy Hair and its Types

Not completely straight or curled, wavy hair comes in between these two hair types, possessing both their unique features. It definitely has more volume than straight hair but a less refined look than curly tresses. Though the structure of waves can be different for every person, the most common pattern is “S” shaped. 

Source: freepik

Now, the wavy hair can further be categorised into certain types depending on the tightness of the waves. These are mentioned as follows:

1. 2A (Fine or Thin): The ones with 2A wavy hair type have elongated waves, which are soft, shiny and easier to style. This style is the straightest among all the variations and hence lacks volume.

2. 2B (Medium): This subtype is more defined and incorporates shorter waves with a little bounciness. It represents a perfect beachy vibe with a loose S-shaped pattern.

3. 2C (Coarse): 2C wavy hair includes the deepest waves and perfectly holds the S shape. It is the coarsest subtype and is prone to dryness, frizziness and hair breakage.

Explore Spiral-Bouncy Ringlets: Curly Hair and its Types

The curly hair tops the list when talking about textured hair. This hair type includes strands that loop around and form a 360-degree spiral. Here, each strand clings to one another and forms different clusters. Because of the spiral that the tresses make, curly hair is comparatively drier and more brittle than other hair types.

Source: istockphoto

Just like wavy, curly hair type also has several subtypes, which are elaborated as follows:

1. 3A (Loose) - This hair type includes big, loose coils that fall from the top of the mane. Being one of the most manageable curls, it features soft and frizz-free spirals.

2. 3B (Medium)- The curls that determine 3B hair are tighter than 3A curls. They are dense and appear similar to a corkscrew.

3. 3C (Tight)- The coils in this hair type are the smallest and tightest. They curl around the same circumference as a pencil and are extremely dense and voluminous.

Wavy hair vs Curly hair - Learn the Difference!

Though wavy curly hair is used interchangeably, it is different in terms of shape, volume, texture, etc. Here are some factors outlining the key differences between curly and wavy hair.

1. Shape

The major difference between wavy and curly hair is the shape of the hair strands. Wavy hair has an “S” shaped pattern like a snake that offers a flowing outlook. While curly hair has a more defined 360-degree coil and spiral pattern, starting from the roots.

2. Texture

Wavy hair has more of a smoother and straighter texture, giving a breezy-flowy look. At the same time, the curly hair has a coarse, dense, thick texture that begins right from the top.

3. Volume

Curly hair has more volume than wavy hair. Generally, this bouncy appearance starts at the scalp and gradually world through the end of the locks. On the other hand, wavy hair incorporates smooth waves at the ends of hair follicles while the roots of the hair remain straight, so there is comparatively less volume in this hair type.

How to Maintain Curly and Wavy Hair?

No matter what hair type you have, wavy vs curly hair, it is important to take the required measures to take care of them for a healthier look. Here are some tips that can help you repair and nourish your precious tresses at home!

1. Choose a Specialised Shampoo & Conditioner

In order to hydrate and moisturise your dry curls or waves, you must select a shampoo and conditioner that is specifically formulated for your hair type to address all its needs. Usually, curly hair requires more moisturising hair care products than wavy hair, so look for specialised products that are also chemical-free.

2. Use Deep-Conditioning Masks

Wavy curly hair is more subjected to frizziness and dryness than straight hair. Hence, they require more attention and care. Try the Dove Deep-conditioning Mask packed with essential oils and proteins once a week to provide the necessary nourishment to your delicate hair follicles. This product will turn your dehydrated, dull waves and curls into silky-soft, luscious locks.

3. Do Not Brush Your Curls or Waves

Source: freepik

It is suggested that you should use a wide-toothed comb or hands to detangle your hair as a brush can pull out your hair, cause breakage, thinning and even hair fall. Also, avoid brushing your precious locks while they are still wet. Instead, use a curling cream or gel and scrunch your curls or waves for more definition. For instance, the Dove Beautiful Curls Defining Gel locks the moisture and prevents frizz for up to 48 hours, keeping your hair hydrated and coiled.

Best Products for Curly and Wavy Hair

If you are looking for the best hair care range for your curly ringlets, then you must check out the Dove Beautiful Curls Collection. Including a specialised shampoo, conditioner, hair mask, and defining gel, this combo pack is enriched with the goodness of aloe, shea butter, glycerin and coconut oil that will moisturise and nourish the driest spirals and coils of your hair. The range is free from sulphates, parabens, and dyes, promoting a healthy scalp and hair. You can even shop for a specific product, be it shampoo or conditioner, to meet your specific curly hair needs.

In a Nutshell

Curly and wavy hair might have some similarities, but it is important to recognise them as distinct hair types with varied concerns. Utilise this guide to understand curly hair vs wavy hair and figure out your hair texture to choose ideal products that complement your tresses the best. So, wait no longer and flaunt your gorgeous, lovely waves or curls with confidence by following the right hair care routine!


1. Can the hair be both curly and wavy?

Yes, it can. Some individuals might have a mixture of both hair types. For instance, a person with a blend of 2C and 3A variants will be said to have wavy and curly hair.

2. How can I minimise frizz and dryness in my curly or wavy hair?

You should include hair care products like shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, etc., that are made especially for curly and wavy hair and contain hydrating and nourishing ingredients. These will help you address frizz and prevent dryness.

3. Do curly or wavy hair types change over time?

Yes! In some cases, curly or wavy hair types may change, maybe because of weather conditions, age, maintenance patterns, etc.

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