How to Care for Your 2C Hair

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Calling all 2C hair types! Whether you’ve known you had the hair type for years or are still unsure as to whether or not you fit in the category, we’ve got everything you need to better understand your hair. From knowing what your hair type is to the best products for 2C hair, this guide has everything you need to better care for your strands. Keep scrolling to learn all there is to know about your hair type!

Person with blonde 2C hair holding on to the top of their head and wearing a tan long-sleeve shirt
(via Unsplash)

What Is 2C Hair?

Though many people mistake this hair type for being curly, it actually is wavy. Your waves start right at the root and maintain a very tight S pattern from root to tip. Type 2B hair also has a very defined S pattern, though theirs doesn’t start until a bit further down. So to differentiate from the other wavy hair type, see where your wave starts. If it’s right at the root, it’s 2C.

Each strand tends to be very coarse and thick, and you often have quite a bit of hair. Your hair tends to be a bit more bent than ringlet-like. And that is how you can decide whether you have 2C or 3A hair.

What’s the Difference Between 2C and 3A Hair?

So, what’s the difference between these two hair types? They’re often confused, though there are some major differences. With 2C hair, again, the hair is wavy with a distinctive S pattern. 3A hair, on the other hand, has more of a loose ringlet pattern to it. There is also a more uniform pattern with 3A hair compared to 2C hair.

Side-by-side comparison photos of the 2C vs 3A hair types
(via Unsplash)

2C Haircare Routine Tips

The perfect 2C haircare routine does exist. And we’re here to help you create one for your hair type. Below, we shared a few haircare tips and tricks to follow to ensure you take the best care of your hair.

1. Focus on maintaining your frizz.

Your wavy strands tend to get fairly frizzy. It’s best you use products that are lightweight and offer a way for you to control your frizz. There are a number of frizz-free products out there that will keep the flyaways at bay and add some moisture back into your waves.

2. Use a hair mask once a week.

Because your hair type can often be on the drier side, using a moisturizing or hydrating hair mask once a week can really nourish your strands. Again, you’ll want to use one that’s lightweight so it won’t weigh down your hair.

3. Add oil to your haircare routine.

Oiling your strands once a week can significantly improve their texture. As with any product, you’ll want to use a lightweight oil and preferably something that will minimize frizz. Apply it to your scalp and strands (with your hair type, it’s important to start at the root), then wash it out with a gentle shampoo.

4. Keep wash days to a minimum.

For your hair type, you can get away with washing your hair two to three times a week. Doing it more will dry out your strands and leave them frizzy and unruly. The more you wash it, the more weighed down your strands will be.

5. Stick to a schedule.

Your hair maintenance should be on a strict schedule. You’ll want to create a haircare routine that’s maintainable for you so that your strands can reap all the benefits of your hard work. This will look different for everyone so take your time. Once you find a schedule that works, stick to it.

How to Style This Hair Type

With your 2C hair type, it’s generally best to stick to styles that bring out your natural pattern. Enhancing your waves or making them a bit curlier will suit you best. Straightening your strands, on the other hand, will require quite a bit of work. It is achievable, though a simple flat iron won’t cut it. You’ll need to use a number of products to get your hair to lay flat. We suggest straightening your hair only when absolutely necessary. It may even be best to get it professionally done to save you the trouble.

Also, be sure to avoid touching your hair too much. Doing so will increase frizz, which is already something that’s difficult to manage for your hair type. When using hot tools, keep things on low heat. Too much heat will damage your already dry strands.

The Best Hairstyles for 2C Hair

As far as hairstyles go for 2C hair, we have a few we can recommend. Obviously, it’s all up to your preference but the below hairstyles will really bring the best out of your waves.

1. Deep Side Part

A deep side part can really add some volume and dimension to your wavy tresses. Look how gorgeous Tori Kelly’s 2C waves look when parted like so!

2. Wild and Free

Let your strands do what they do best. With waves like yours, there’s no need to style them that often. Sometimes it’s nice to take a page out of Lili Reinhart’s book and let them exist as they are.

3. Shoulder-Length Strands

Given that your hair type already requires quite a bit of maintenance, opting for shorter haircuts will cut down on haircare time. Longer locks can be a pain to keep up with sometimes, so save yourself the trouble and go shoulder-length like Lorde.

4. Layers (and Lots of Them)

If you do want to keep your 2C hair long like your hair type twin Shakira, add lots of layers throughout. This will take some of the weight out and give you more dimension and volume.

5. Curly Bangs

Curly bangs are all the rage these days. With your hair type, you’d look absolutely phenomenal with some bangs adorning your forehead. We believe Sarah Hyland makes a case for them with this hairstyle.

The Best 2C Hair Products

Moving onto 2C hair products. There are quite a few available though we wanted to recommend some of our favorites for your wavy hair type. These are just a starting point so don’t feel these are the only hair products you can and/or should use. Whatever works best for your unique strands will always be your best bet.

Using a clarifying shampoo once a week to get rid of excess buildup will help you better maintain your waves. We love this one from DevaCurl because it’s incredibly gentle and helps maintain your natural pattern, but it cuts through dirt and grim like that. Your waves will always be manageable so long as you use this product.

DevaCurl Buildup Buster Gentle Clarifying Cleanser 2C hair products
(via Ulta)

The monoi oil in this conditioner will give you your softest strands yet. Incredibly nourishing, your 2C waves will come out looking restored and refreshed after each use. After just one wash, 92% of people noticed less damage. You can’t argue with statistics.

Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing Conditioner for 2C hair
(via Carol’s Daughter)

Having this oil in your haircare arsenal will keep the frizz at bay forevermore. Not only that, it adds shine and vitality back into dry, damaged strands. This blend of oils really can’t be beaten, certainly not by frizz anyway.

Briogeo Farewell Frizz Rosehip, Argan, & Coconut Oil Blend
(via Briogeo)

Your hair requires an extra bit of moisture between wash days. Add some back in with this hydrating and healing shea butter hair mask from Maui Moisture. If anyone understands moisture, it’s them. Apply it for five minutes once or twice a week and watch your waves go from drab to fab.

Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Hair Mask
(via Ulta)

A nice leave-in treatment, like this one from Living Proof, will give you a much-needed conditioning boost while also offering frizz protection. Using leave-in treatments will make a world of difference for your hair type. Not only that, they add a bit of slip to help you detangle the often unruly tresses that come with your 2C hair type.

Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner
(via Sephora)

Thinking you might have 2B hair? Want to double-check just to be safe? No shame—HERE is everything you need to know about 2B hair!

Hey, mane muse! We wanted to give you a heads up that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that Mane Addicts will collect a small share of the sale from any purchase you make from the products we recommend.