Am I Curly Haired? How To Know If You Have Curly Hair
by BRENDA L. / APR 6, 2023
Reading Time: 8 Minutes
Ever wondered if you have curly hair?
Brushing, styling, bleaching and dyeing your hair may have annihilated your hair’s natural texture and left you with uncertain tousled ends and not much else, something that you adjust with a hair straightener or a round brush + blow dryer combo. But what about bringing to life your hair’s natural texture? To find out if your hair is naturally curly or wavy, there are a few things that you can try to explore your strands’ natural shape: let’s find out together how.
How Do I Know If My Hair Is Curly Or Wavy?
The first step to take in order to determine if you have curly hair or not is to look at your hair's natural texture. This may sound quite basic, but the more you know...!
Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo and allow it to air dry without using any styling products. Once dry, observe your mane in its natural, wild state: curly hair typically has a distinctive texture of its own, quite different from straight or wavy hair, and characterised by a springy, bouncy shape or a spiral pattern. If you have one or more strands that naturally behave like this when allowed to air-dry without any mechanical stress or heat damage, then you’re likely to have a natural texture in your hair.
Another way to see if your hair has a wavy or even curly pattern to it is the strand test: pull a single strand of hair and gently stretch it (without breaking it or pulling it out!): if your hair stretches to a straight shape and bounces back to a soft wave or even a ringlet, chances are you are curly-haired. Naturally wavy hair will have a gentle S shape to it, so there’s no way you can get it wrong!
Finally, to erase any doubt, you can always consult a trained hair professional for their opinion. Together, you can also explore curly hair care routine to bring your hair back to life and try to make the most of your natural texture.
Is It Possible To Have Curly Hair And Not Know It?
Absolutely yes, and this isn’t just a TikTok temporary craze: textured hair is way more common than you would imagine, especially in certain ethnicities. I have talked more in detail about how humans developed curls for evolutionary reasons and more in our dedicated blog: The History Of Curly Hair. But then, how is it possible that one isn’t aware of their own hair texture?
If you’ve been neglecting your hair’s natural pattern for a long time, chances are that curls and waves can fly under the radar leaving you clueless about the correct hair care routine for your texture type. If you struggle with frizzy, crinkly hair, and more often than not you’re struggling in maintaining a good hair shape without having to style it on a daily basis with the aid of heat-based tools and heavy-duty brushing work, it could be a sign that you’re not working with your natural hair texture – but you’re working against it instead.
Is My Hair Curly Or Just Frizzy?
Determining whether your hair is actually curly or just struggling with frizz can be tricky, as the two hair types can sometimes have similar characteristics and mislead you. Here are a few key differences between curly and frizzy hair, to help you make the distinction in an easier way:
- Has a distinct ringlet or spiral pattern, which may be looser or tighter varying from person to person
- May be bouncy and have volume (when healthy)
- Usually prone to dryness and requiring moisture-focused hair care to maintain its definition and shine
- Doesn’t have a well-defined curl pattern and may appear undefined and messy
- Can be voluminous, but uneven and difficult to manage
- Tends to be dry and prone to crinkly flyaways, lacks softness and manageability, can be difficult to untangle
- May be caused by chemical/heat damage or a lack of moisture in your hair care routine
If you find out your hair is not curly but still getting frizzy and creating an annoying fuzzy halo around your head, have a read at our blog: Frizzy Hair: Your Ultimate Guide To A Frizz-Free Life.
Can My Hair Be Both Wavy And Curly?
Why yes, it’s certainly possible to have a combination of textured hair patterns in your hair featuring both tighter ringlets and loose waves, or other variants of the sort. Hair texture is defined by genetics, and it can vary from person to person – also influenced by your hair care and styling routines. It’s quite common for some people to have hair that is a combination of different textures, including curls and waves!
Whilst, as mentioned before, curly hair typically has a more defined pattern characterised by ringlets and/or spirals, wavy hair has a looser, softer and less-defined texture. In some cases these two patterns overlap creating a mix of texture, with curls appearing tighter and more defined in some areas and softer and more relaxed in others.
If you’ve found out that your hair features this glorious combo, focus on hair care products and styling methods that appeal to both patterns. Hair plopping could be for you, especially if you’d like to minimise heat damage to preserve your locks’ natural shape. This could be a great time to switch to the Curly Girl Method and unleash the true potential of your textured hair.
What Is The Curly Girl Method?
The Curly Girl Method is a natural hair care routine developed by curly advocate, author and CurlyWorld founder Lorraine Massey. The method is designed to help people with curly hair achieve bouncy, gorgeous and healthy curls, focusing on embracing their natural shape rather than taming it with damaging styling techniques. Let’s have a look at what the Curly Girl Method suggests to give textured hair some good old TLC:
- Avoiding sulphates and silicones: this isn’t just an important step in taking care of curly and wavy hair, but it’s vital for those who are wearing Remy hair extensions as well. Sulphates can strip hair of its natural oils, making it prone to dryness and brittleness. Silicones, on the other hand, can be responsible for product build-up – weighing your hair down and negatively affecting its bounciness.
- Co-washing: co-washing has gone viral on TikTok for a reason, as it’s been a real curl-saver for many individuals. Using conditioner instead of shampoo to wash your hair helps maintain moisture and combats frizz and dryness: however, this can be too heavy on certain hair types and is not recommended to those wearing tape in hair extensions and other permanent solutions, as it can cause your extensions to slip.
- Using curl-specific styling products: products like gel, mousse, and cream can help give your curls more definition and shine whilst reducing frizz and keeping the annoying flyaways at bay. Just like for shampoo and conditioner, the Curly Girl Method recommends using products that are free of sulphates, silicones, and drying alcohols.
- Scrunching: scrunching your curls can help them gain definition and enhance the curl formation before diffusing or plopping. With damp hair, starting from your ends, use your hands to scrunch your hair upwards towards your scalp.
- Plopping: hair plopping can be done by wrapping your hair in a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt to help absorb excess water and reduce frizz, all the above whilst keeping your hair up. It’s a form of air-drying technique, perfect to avoid heat-damage but not ideal if you’re in a hurry.
- Diffusing: the blow-drying method for curly-haired beauties involves using a hair dryer with a diffuser attachment, designed to dry your tresses whilst holding on curl definition.
Will A Protective Hairstyle Enhance My Curls?
Although deeply rooted in different cultures, protective hairstyles have become increasingly popular in recent years on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and more. And let me tell you, there is a good reason behind their popularity! These hairstyles are designed to protect textured hair from damage and breakage, significantly improving the health and strength of your tresses over time. But can a protective hairstyle also enhance your hair texture? The short answer is, yes. There are a few ways that a protective hairstyle can help enhance your hair texture: from tucking your ends in (therefore preserving length) to reducing frizz and allowing a healthier hair growth, protective hairstyles can significantly contribute to your hair’s health, which can help to bring out your tresses’ natural pattern and maintain it.
Whilst protective hairstyles can be beneficial for many people, some of them may not work for everyone. If you’re wearing nano ring hair extensions, for example, you’ll want to avoid hairstyles that are particularly tight on your scalp. Depending on your hair type, too much tension on your scalp can also cause traction alopecia and hair breakage! Make sure you consult a professional and choose a protective hairdo that works in harmony with your natural hair type.
Some protective hairstyles have deep cultural roots for some people, so make sure you make a sensible choice when picking a new hairdo.
What Type Of Extensions Are Best For Curly Hair?
When it comes to curly hair extensions, there are a few options to consider – always depending on the pattern you’ve found in your natural tresses. If you're looking to add length or volume to your curly locks, it's important to choose the right type of extensions that will blend seamlessly with your natural hair texture and work in harmony with your curl pattern.
One of the best hair accessories for curly hair is curly clip in hair extensions. Designed to add length, body and volume to textured hair in just a few minutes, they can be put on and off in the comfort of your own home, whenever you’d like. Made of 100% Remy human hair, Cliphair’s curly hair extensions are a top-tier choice for textured-haired beauties.
Weave extensions are another great option for curly hair, especially if you’d like to keep your tresses braided in a protective hairstyle and express yourself with a different hairstyle that doesn’t necessarily match your hair pattern. They can be sewn-in or applied with the popular LA weave method, using micro rings instead of the older sew-in technique.
Finding your hair pattern can be a bit tricky, but once you’ve determined your hair texture you can start exploring new hair care routines to bring it to life, reducing frizziness and finding new hairstyles to play around with!