From mermaids and princesses to red carpet glam and everyday slays, wavy hair is everywhere, all the time—and for a good reason: it’s timeless, romantic, and so easy to style. However, those born with the finest of wavy hair, 2A hair, may know their hair type is not all it’s cracked up to be. Lack of volume, greasy roots, and pesky frizz can take a good 2A hair day from dazzling to disappointing at the drop of a hat.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current type 2A hair routine or simply searching for new products to add to the mix, L'Oréal Professionnel ambassador and stylist Tauni Dawson gave us the inside scoop on this subtype of wavy hair.
How do I figure out my hair type?
Before you scroll on, it’s important to determine whether you have a 2A hair type to begin with. To do so, examine your strands while they are entirely free of product: wash and condition your hair, allow it to air dry, then begin to examine your hair’s pattern. (Pssst: You can find more information about the various hair types in our hair type guide!)
According to Dawson, the best way to pinpoint your hair type is by looking at the main categories. Type 1 is straight, type 2 is wavy, type 3 is curly, and type 4 is coily. From there, you get the strand size and density starting with A, which is fine/thin, B, which is medium, and C, which is coarse/thick.
What does 2A hair mean?
2A hair is the flattest and loosest of all wavy hair types—it has enough of a wave to not be considered straight but typically lacks in the body and volume departments.
“Type 2A hair is flat [at the roots] and will begin to wave on the curve of the head,” explains Dawson. “It is a fine texture with an S-shape wave to it.”
How do I know if I have 2A or 2B hair?
The closest hair types to type 2A hair are 1C and 2B, and their similarities can make it somewhat tricky to differentiate between each. In general, Dawson says 1C hair has an ever-so-slight bend to it with a thicker, coarser consistency, while 2B hair is wavier with plenty more frizz. By contrast, 2B hair also has a more defined S-shape than the subtle bends of 2A hair.
Does 2A hair get frizzy?
Though type 2A is easy to enhance, straighten, or curl, it also tends to frizz up fast due to less natural moisture within strands—and heat styling only makes the situation worse. Dawson says the best way to style 2A hair in order to minimize frizz is to let it air-dry as much as possible. This is your time to shine if you’re all about a low-maintenance routine!
How often should you wash 2A hair?
The pro stylist says you should expect to wash your 2A hair type about twice a week or every three days. Of all the wavy type 2 hair, 2A hair is often the greasiest. Unlike the shape of curls and coils, which make it difficult for natural sebum to travel down the hair shaft, 2A hair’s lack of texture makes it easiest for oils to slide through the roots of the hair. Therefore, there may be some instances when you need to wash your hair more frequently than others, but more on that below.
How do you care for type 2A hair?
If you’ve gotten this far, it’s safe to say that you likely have type 2A hair, and naturally, you have some questions about how to care for and style it. We’re breaking down a few of our best 2A hair products to consider adding to your routine.
Pick the right shampoo and conditioner.
“For 2A type hair, it's best to use moisturizing shampoo and conditioner and nothing too heavy that will weigh it down,” says Dawson.
Volume-boosting shampoo and conditioner are a must for fine hair. They’re specifically formulated to give hair the most amount of cleansing, lift, and movement as compared to other systems, like those designed for damage or moisture. We love Redken’s Volume Injection Shampoo and Conditioner for Fine Hair, which contains a volume-boosting blend of filloxane, softening, and silicone polymers.
Use dry shampoo.
As mentioned, 2A hair gets oily more quickly than other type 2 hair, but that doesn’t mean you should be shampooing it at the earliest signs of grease. Overwashing hair can backfire by drying out your scalp and strands, causing the scalp to produce even more oils to overcompensate.
Dry shampoo can be type 2A hair’s best friend in-between wash days. Not only will the formulas absorb grease, but they simultaneously add volume back into flat hair. One like L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Morning After Dust Dry Shampoo is ideal for fine to medium hair. It contains starch to weightlessly absorb excess oil on the scalp and mineral salt to give hair sexy volume, hold, and body.
Let hair air-dry.
Not many hair types can just wash and dash, so consider yourself lucky to step out of the shower and allow your mane to air-dry into perfectly tousled waves. Who wouldn’t kill to have effortless, beachy hair year-round?
To recreate your very own mermaid mane, it’s best to look for 2A hair products that will help coax out your natural texture. When used as an air-drying product, Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Shiki Worker Air Dry Blow Dry Primer enhances hair's natural definition without a crunchy residue. The formula hydrates, detangles, smooths, and conditions hair while taming frizz. On days you prefer to switch it up, this multi-tasking formula can be used as a blow-dry primer, too!
Mousses are another great way to build touchable body and add definition to waves without weighing them down. Simply apply the mousse throughout damp hair, paying extra attention to your roots if you’re hoping for a voluminous final look. After evenly distributing the mousse, scrunch your waves to define them and allow the mousse to dry completely. We recommend picking up Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Kaze Wave Curl Mousse for long-lasting definition and flexible hold.
Regularly brushing is a major key to healthy type 2A hair, but doing it incorrectly, or using the wrong tools, can seriously damage your fine mane. Pro tip: Be sure to apply your air-dry primer or a leave-in conditioner to your hair before brushing it to create a barrier between delicate strands and the friction of a brush or comb.
Always brush at your ends and slowly work your way up towards your roots to gently remove tangles without causing unnecessary breakage. For naturally wavy hair, we recommend choosing a wide-tooth comb or a gentle boar bristle brush, the latter of which will help distribute natural oils from the scalp down the hair shaft to keep your 2A hair nourished and healthy for months to come.
Looking for more professional hair products to style your hair type? Hair.com has all of the personalized recommendations you need.