Curly and coily hair are the two most prevalent hair types among Black people, but they’re not exclusive to races that originate from the African continent. In the northern countries like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, which are places where the Vikings once roamed, many white people with red, blonde, and brown hair have curly hair as well.
There are many types of curly hair, and many terms are used by stylists and beauticians to describe them. There are subtle differences between kinky and curly hair and a more pronounced difference between kinky and coily hair.
If you want to find products that are the most suitable for your hair type, you have to know where you belong in the hair spectrum.
In this guide, you will learn of the differences between kinky, curly, and coily hair, and how you should care for your hair if you’re the coily kind.
What Is Coily Hair?
There are four hair types. Each one has three subtypes except for the straight hair type, which is type 1. Type 1 hair is straight with no discernible waves or curls. The majority of Asian people, especially people from Southeast Asia, have this hair type. To fully understand what coily hair is like, it would help understand just how curly it is when compared to wavy and curly hair.
- Type 2 hair is slightly tousled and described by most people as wavy.
- Type 2A features undefined waves that run from a person’s eye level to their hair’s ends.
- Type 2B has more defined, fuller S-shaped waves that run from the middle of the growth to the ends.
- Type 2C has very noticeable S-shaped curls growing from the crown down to the ends.
Type 3 hair is curly and prevalent among Black people. Its three subtypes are present in many different parts of the world and seen in many races and cultures.
- Type 3A hair has S-shaped gentle curves that turn into loops with the circumference of small to medium-sized candles.
- Type 3B has the same S-shaped curves that form into loops with a smaller circumference.
- Type 3C is the curliest of all the three hair types as it features tight corkscrew curls that can wrap around the circumference of a real-life corkscrew.
Type 4 hair is coily. When comparing coily hair vs. curly hair, coily hair is more fragile and moisture-hungry than curly hair and any other hair type, but it’s also one of the most unique and beautiful.
- Type 4A hair has tight, S-shaped coils with the circumference of a chopstick.
- Type 4B hair forms unique zig-zag curls that look great with shingling.
- Type 4C hair is the most delicate of all hair types, requiring constant conditioning and care to maintain its tight, dense coils that don’t have a defined pattern.
What Is the Difference Between Curly and Coily Hair?
Curly hair is an umbrella term that covers people with type 2C to 4C hair in the cultural lexicon. However, when comparing coily hair vs. curly hair, you must rely on the more objective standards of stylists and barbers. In most literature about hair, curly and coily are sometimes interchangeable, but there are some very noticeable differences between the two.
Coily hair is more tightly crimped than average curly hair, with the circumference of each coil able to wrap around a pencil or a crayon. Coily hair demands more moisture and upkeep and can be brittle in the winter months when it doesn’t receive enough water and nutrients. The 4C hair type also needs heavier creams and oils to survive, while 3A to 3C hair types can get by with spray-on mists and leave-in conditioners.
Which Products Define Black Kinky Coily Hair?
If your hair is in the 4A to 4C spectrum, there are many great coily hair products on the market made just for you. Your mission should always be to add definition as your hair can shrink as much as 75% to 80% when dry.
A great product to try is a defining custard with Abyssinian and argan oils for added moisture and shine without the frizz. Styling foams with olive oil and shea butter can also work wonders as they can seal in moisture while styling your hair into waves or bouncy coils. Hair jellies with aloe vera and B-vitamins will also keep moisturization in your scalp and hair cuticles, and help your hair survive in hot weather.
How To Keep Moisture in Very Coily Hair
Coily hair in the 3A to 4C spectrum needs a lot of moisture. A great way to achieve this is with the LOC method, or the liquid, oil, and cream method of moisturizing, which is a system used by stylists and beauticians. Apply a water-based product as the base level of your moisturizing routine. A leave-in conditioner or mist would be great. Then, add coconut, olive, avocado, or almond oil to seal in the moisture from roots. In the winter months, you can switch to a lighter grapeseed or sunflower oil for a less greasy feel. Finally, use a light or heavy cream to protect your scalp and hair cuticles from the effects of the weather and to add definition. Use the LOC method once a week or every five days while washing your hair once every two weeks to prevent product build-up.
What Causes Breakage in Coily Hair?
Most people with coily hair want their hair to grow out because it can shrink when it dries. What may look like 6 inches of 4C hair when it’s wet can shrink into what looks like 2 inches after it dries. Coily hair is the most fragile and prone to breakage among all hair types, especially 4C hair. The root cause of the breakage of coily hair is poor moisturization. People tend to use a lot of heat and ironing to add definition or straighten their coily hair, resulting in damaged, poorly moisturized strands. Try using natural methods to define your hair, and limit your wash days to two or three times a month.
What Natural Products Are Great for Coily Hair?
occurs, many people with 4C hair lengthen their hair with extensions that look natural and add more definition. Wigs and yaki hair extensions are well-liked by most people who want to achieve a more relaxed and straightened look. Yaki hair extensions are great for girls who desire the Afro-Caribbean look, similar to Rihanna or Beyoncé in her Lemonade performance at Coachella. Remy hair extensions are made of 100% human hair, making them the natural choice if you want top-of-the-line wigs and extensions.
How To Take Care of 3C Curly Coily Hair
The 3C hair type straddles the line between curly and coily, and unlike straight hair, moisture and oils from the scalp don’t have a direct route to the ends of its hair strands. So, similar to 4-type hair, 3C hair needs a lot of moisture and upkeep so it can stay healthy and shiny. Use a water-based leave-in conditioner daily, or spray a moisturizing mist to your hair’s ends to prevent frizz.
A hooded dryer or steamer can be essential to your weekly maintenance routine. Try applying a mask once a week, and sitting under a hooded dryer to let the moisture penetrate down to your hair’s cuticles. Light and heavy oils like jojoba, almond, and avocado oil will protect your hair from damage and seal in moisture. Use them as part of your wash-day system after applying a water-based moisturizer.
How To Make Natural Hair Coily Without Heat or Perms
If you have naturally straight or curly hair, you can achieve the coil of your dreams without subjecting your hair to dryness and heat damage from irons and curlers. Try making Bantu knots. After washing and detangling your hair, make four partitions on your head, forming a lowercase letter T. Comb each section and tie up your hair in puffs using a Denman brush, then apply your moisturizing oils and creams with the praying hands technique.
On each puff or partition, tie up a small section, forming a ponytail, then separate it into two and create a twist that will turn into a braid. Once you’ve braided your hair to the ends, take the braid, and twist it in a clockwise knot, and secure it with a bobby pin.
How To Manage Curly Coily Hair
Managing curly and coily hair has two phases: moisturization and styling. Before styling your hair, moisturize it after every wash or co-wash, and schedule deep conditioning at least once a week to make sure it’s shiny and healthy.
There are a variety of beautiful styles you can apply to your coily hair. Twist outs are cute and easy to do. After lightly spritzing a moisturizing mist on your hair, take a section and twist it from the base to the ends. You can adjust your coils to be tighter by doing smaller twists, or looser by doing big twists.
A traditional Afro is a timeless choice. After washing or conditioning, separate your hair into four parts, and spray each partition with a moisturizing mist before applying a styling custard. Detangle your hair by brushing it forward and tie it into a big Bantu knot as you work out the other three parts.
After all four sections are detangled and moisturized, fluff them out using your fingers for additional volume, and then shape it into a classic Afro. Practicing these hair-care routines will keep your elegant coily hair hydrated and well-cared for and confirm the time you put in is worth the effort.