2A Hair Guide: The Best Hairstyles, Products, and More

Written by

To truly care for your hair, you need to know your hair. That starts with understanding your hair type. Today, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about your 2A hair. We’ve rounded up the best products, hairstyles, and even shared a few tips and tricks on caring for the hair type. Everything you could ever need to know about your wavy strands can be found here. Yes, you should bookmark this guide so you never lose it. Doing so will ensure you have the best hair ever. Trust us, we’re the experts!

Model with 2A hair sitting on the edge of a fountain
(via Unsplash)

What Is 2A Hair?

In general, type 2 hair is referred to as wavy hair. There are three different subcategories for this hair type, which are 2A, 2B, and 2C. With 2A, this hair type tends to have soft waves. Waves tend to be a bit looser than the other hair types in this category. Dove hairstylist Cynthia Alvarez tells Popsugar, “The best way to describe type 2A hair is to say it has a soft S formation throughout the hair. It tends to be flat at the scalp and is really fine and thin, really easy to straighten.”

You may notice that your strands are a bit straighter at the crown and get wavier as they grow out. The great part about your hair type is that it tends to be fairly low-maintenance and more manageable, though it can be a bit fine and flat. But, your locks are often naturally tousled to perfection, so you don’t really have to do much to achieve that style. You lucky duck!

What’s the Difference Between 1C and 2A Hair?

It’s very easy to confuse 1C and 2A hair, as they’re relatively similar. So if you’re not sure which hair type you have, we’re going to break down the differences super quickly. Though 1C hair is straight, it does have a slight wave pattern underneath. The main difference is that 1C tends to be more coarse and thick, whereas 2A is a bit more fine and flat. 1C has some volume and body, but 2A doesn’t. If you have more waves in your hair, you likely fall into the 2A category. If the waves are barely there and mainly underneath, you probably have 1C hair.

1C versus 2A hair example
(via Unsplash)

2A Hair Routine Tips

We know we already mentioned how lucky you are to have this hair type, but we wanted to restate it. You’ve really struck gold with your strands. Though there are a handful of things to keep in mind when caring for your 2A hair, it’s relatively easy to maintain your mane. We’ve even rounded up the best 2A hair routine for you to follow, along with some handy tips.

1. Stick to air-drying.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to let their strands air-dry. You are though. And we suggest doing that as often as possible. Adding heat will only create unwanted frizz. Let your hair dry naturally after a shower and you’ll enjoy perfectly tousled tresses.

2. Get comfortable with a curling iron.

Though your hair type tends to dry in a ready-to-go way, there are days when that doesn’t happen. Some days you want a little more definition in your waves. When those days arise, grab your curling iron. Be sure to apply a heat protectant to your tresses beforehand and then go to town adding an extra bit of curl to your wave.

3. Avoid using too much product.

Your strands tend to be relatively thin and fine. Because of that, you’ll want to skip adding a bunch of products to your hair. This will only weigh down your strands and leave them looking rather lifeless. When you do use products, make sure they’re lightweight. We’ll get into some of the best products for your 2A hair below, don’t you fret.

4. Opt for frizz-free products.

When it comes to shampoos, conditioners, and the like, you’ll want to use products that will minimize your frizz. Your hair is often more frizzy than you’d like (speaking from experience here), so using the right products can prevent that.

5. Keep your hair shorter.

We’ll dive deeper into the best hairstyles for your 2A hair in just a second, but we wanted to briefly mention how important it is to try shorter styles. The longer your tresses, the more weighed down they are. When that happens, you aren’t able to show off your gorgeous soft waves to the fullest. Keep your cut around shoulder-length and you’ll be good to go.

How to Style This Hair Type

Styling your strands doesn’t require much effort, though it will take some elbow grease to achieve “effortless” locks. Again, shoulder-length styles are the key to keeping your hair type looking its best. Once you’ve decided on the right cut for your face shape, the rest all falls into place. All you really need are some lightweight styling products, a trusty curling wand, and you’re all set. You’re also blessed with being able to straighten or curl your strands with minimal effort. Just be sure to use a heat protectant before styling with any sort of hot tool. You don’t want to create a playground for frizz to thrive, do you?

As far as styling your hair goes, you really don’t need to do much. It all starts with the right shoulder-length cut and you’re basically all set. You can sport any hairstyle you like, though we’ve picked out a few of our favorites below.

The Best Hairstyles for 2A Hair

Time to get into some hairstyles for your 2A hair! This is always one of our favorite things to discuss. You’ll find a handful of styles that will make your strands look amazing, courtesy of celebs with the hair type.

1. Shoulder-Length Haircut

We know we’ve said this one too many times at this point, but we don’t care. Shoulder-length cuts are the foundation of any great 2A hairstyle. They help add some body to your otherwise flat strands, while also highlighting your soft wavy pattern. Let Arizona Muse be your muse. Her tousled shoulder-length strands are to die for.

Vanity Fair x Bloomberg Climate Change Gala Dinner LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Arizona Muse attends the Vanity Fair x Bloomberg climate change gala dinner at Bloomberg London on December 11, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
(via Getty)

2. Soft Glam Waves

Give your already soft waves that old Hollywood feel with some glam waves. Out of any other hair type, you by far will be able to achieve this look the best. Look how stunning they are on Gisele Bündchen’s 2A strands. Who wouldn’t want to style their hair like this?

2019 Hollywood For Science Gala - Arrivals LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 21: Gisele Bündchen arrives at the Hollywood For Science Gala at Private Residence on February 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
(via Getty)

3. Deep Side Part

Because your strands tend to fall flat, give them some added oomph with a side part. Amanda Seyfried effortlessly creates volume in her wavy hair with a deep side part. Plus, everyone looks good with a side part. We don’t care what Gen Z says.

WP Theater's 40th Anniversary Gala NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15: Amanda Seyfried attend the WP Theater's 40th Anniversary Gala - Women of Achievement Awards at the Edison Hotel on April 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage,)
(via Getty)

4. Au Naturel

For those who can’t be bothered to style their tresses, don’t. Your 2A waves often fall perfectly once they’ve air-dried naturally. Go au naturel like Scarlett Johansson. You can use a curling iron or wave wand to enhance your waves a bit if they don’t dry exactly how you’d like them, but we won’t tell.

2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Red Carpet SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08: Scarlett Johansson attends the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 08, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
(via Getty)

5. Beach Waves

Add some dimension and texture to your strands by opting for beach waves. Sofia Richie gets this style right with her 2A hair. All you need is a curling iron, some sea salt spray, and you can recreate this style in less than 15 minutes. It really helps that your strands are naturally wavy.

ASOS Celebrates Partnership With Life Is Beautiful At No Name In Hollywood LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 25: Sofia Richie attends ASOS celebrates partnership with Life Is Beautiful at No Name on April 25, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images)
(via Getty)

The Best 2A Hair Products

Though hair maintenance is relatively easy for you, it’s important to use the right products for your 2A hair. We’ve even picked out some of our favorites for you.

Your hair needs help achieving body, it’s as simple as that. Thankfully, the Monday Haircare VOLUME Shampoo is here to help. Coconut oil, ginger root extract, glycerin, and vitamin E work together to nourish your strands and scalp with weightless hydration. No more limp roots here.

Monday Haircare Volume Shampoo
(via MondayHaircare.com)

This lightweight cream conditioner is specifically formulated to help moisturize your waves without weighing them down. The powerful blend of ingredients also fights tangles, controls frizz, and leaves your waves looking as soft, shiny, and healthy as they should.

DevaCurl One Condition Delight
(via Ulta)

Give your waves the definition they need to last all day with this pre-styling primer. Not only is it a great product to help you maintain your natural wave pattern, but it also will reverse signs of heat and chemical damage and boost your waves’ strength and softness. You can even use it as a leave-in conditioner on days when you don’t feel like styling your tresses.

Ouidad Curl Shaper Memory Maker 3-in-One Revitalizing Milk
(via Ouidad)

Considering you’ll be doing a lot of air-drying with your hair type, you need a product to ensure it goes off without a hitch. We suggest the Air Dry Styler from Odele. Why? Because it smoothes, conditions, and softens your waves, while also separating them to create a perfectly tousled look.

Odele Air Dry Styler
(via Odele)

We know mousse isn’t for everyone, but this one is an exception. This lightweight formula won’t weigh down your strands or make them feel crunchy. Instead, it lightly grips the hair to leave it with a natural feel. The mousse even protects against blow dry damage, proving it’s not just a one-trick pony.

Authentic Beauty Concept Amplify Mousse
(via Ulta)

Want to ensure your hair is well taken care of? Use THESE drugstore products for wavy hair!