Main content
Complete 2C Hair Guide

Caring for 2C Hair: A Complete Hair Care Guide

We breakdown how to identify 2C hair, expert hair care advice for your wavy mane, and hairstyles that are 2C hair-friendly.

We’re not big on New Year’s resolutions, but this year is all about embracing our natural hair texture. In an effort to do less to our hair without sacrificing style, we’re leaning into our hair type. But with so much conflicting information out there, it can be hard to truly determine your hair type and how to best care for it. To clear up any confusion we tapped two pros, Kérastase Texture Expert Jonathan Matias, and Pureology PureArtist Educator Jennifer Erickson, to learn everything you need to know about 2C hair.

“If you have 2C hair, count yourself lucky. It is one of the most versatile hair types, from low to high density or fine to coarse strands” Erickson says. “Its natural texture can be enhanced and defined to have fun and voluminous hair or can be straightened for a sleek and soft look.”

Keep reading for everything you need to know about 2C hair, including how to identify it, the best products for 2C hair, and chic inspiration photos for your next trip to the salon.

Good hair day by @lindsey.marie.olson

What does 2C hair look like?

2A, 2B, and 2C hair all fall under the category of wavy hair, with A to C noting the intensity of the curl from wavy to very wavy. 2C hair falls somewhere in the middle of the curly hair types and is characterized by the S-shaped curl.

“2A and 2B hair are looser waves, while 2C hair starts to form more of an S-shaped curl,” says Matias. “You can begin to see the ribbon of curl in 2C. It will hold curl definition longer than 2A or 2B.”

Good hair day by

How do I know if my hair is 2C or 3A?

As you go up the curl type scale, the curl type becomes more and more tightly coiled. But as each head of hair is different, there are a lot of variations of what falls under each category. Most people with curly hair have more than one hair type in their mane, as the hair types closest to each other share many of the same characteristics making it difficult to tell them apart.

“2C wave can also be called a type 3 wave—it’s on the scale closer to curly, and is a fairly uniform wave,” explains Erickson.

While it can be hard to tell 2C and 3A hair apart, 3A curls will be slightly more tightly coiled than 2C curls.

What haircut is best for 2C hair?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all haircut that works for each hair type. When deciding on the perfect haircut for you, you should consider your lifestyle, hair type, and hair goals into consideration. If you’re having trouble deciding on the right haircut for you, schedule a consultation with a trusted stylist and walk them through what you envision. Come prepared with a few inspirational photos to point your stylist in the right direction.

Good hair day by @michelleoconnorbeauty

Should 2C hair be cut wet or dry?

Whether or not your hair should be cut wet or dry depends on how you like to style your hair and the haircut you’re asking for. If you want a very precise or angled haircut, your stylist will likely cut your hair wet as it is easier to cut precise lines on wet hair. Your stylist will likely also opt for a wet cut if you like to wear your curly hair straight from time to time. Cutting it while it is wet will ensure your haircut doesn’t look uneven when you wear it straight.

If you wear your hair curly 100 percent of the time, many stylists will opt to cut your hair while it is dry so that they can take your curl pattern into account when creating the shape. A dry cut begins as soon as you arrive at the salon before you wash and dry your hair. After your curls are cleansed and styled, your stylist will refine your dry cut.

What products are best for 2C hair?

2C hair may be on the lower end of the curl type scale, but it has the same primary needs as all curly hair: moisture, moisture, and more moisture.

“2C waves also can sometimes battle frizz, so moisture is important,” Erickson explains.

The shampoo and conditioner you use sets the stage for how your hair will end up. If you’re looking to make your curls pop without frizz ruining your ‘do, start with a moisturizing system like Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner. This hydrating duo will moisturize your mane without weighing it down to keep frizz at bay.

When it’s time to style your hair, Matias says layering products together can help you achieve multiple hair goals at once.

“When styling 2C hair, it’s a battle between what will hold the curl, yet be light enough to not weigh it down,” he says.

He reaches for a combination of the styling gel and mousse. The gel helps to define your 2C curls, while the mousse gives them touchable volume. We recommend the Kérastase Curl Manifesto Gelee Curl Contour Gel-Cream and L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Curl Expression 10-in-1 Cream-In-Mousse.

Good hair day by @melissa.frusco

2C Hair Care Tips

Finding the perfect products and haircut is key to ensuring your 2C curls look their best. But if you’re looking to take your hair care to the next level, we’ve gathered a few must-have 2C hair care tips from our experts. Use these tips to achieve healthy, bouncy curls every day.

  • Swap out your elastic hair ties for satin hair ties. The smooth satin will help to prevent unnecessary pulling and tugging on your curls.
  • Upgrade your pillow with a satin pillowcase. Much like the satin hair ties, the pillowcase will help to prevent pulling and tangled while you sleep. (Matias’ salon sells a variety of satin pillowcase covers, each accompanied by a sleep playlist.)
  • Dry your hair with a diffuser for maximum volume.

2C Hairstyle Ideas

Now that you know how to identify and care for your 2C curls, all you need is a stunning hairstyle to really make your curls pop. Below we’ve listed some of our favorite 2C hairstyles, cuts, and color ideas.

Good hair day by

Curly Bangs

Curly bangs are one of our favorite ways to flaunt our ringlets. A curly fringe is a perfect way to switch up your look without losing a ton of length.

Golden Highlights

If you want to make your 2C curls pop, consider adding some golden highlights to your mane. Your newly lightened curls will add some much-needed contrast to your mane.

Voluminous Curtain Bangs

Looking for a 2C hairstyle that’s high-drama? Look no further than this teased 2C wash-and-go paired with voluminous curtain bangs. For this look, you will have to blow out your curly curtain bangs with a round brush. Be sure to use a heat protectant like Redken Big Blowout Heat Protecting Jelly Serum to help provide instant volume and protect against heat damage.

Cornrow Pigtails

Need a look that keeps your 2C hair out of your face but doesn’t sacrifice style? We love these cornrow pigtails. Braiding your hair to the nape of your neck and leaving the rest of your curls loose is a perfect way to show off the versatility of your texture.

Good hair day by @gracecotton


If you need your 2C curls to look chic in a hurry, throw on a silk headband. It’ll take your look from unfinished to polished in 60 seconds.

Good hair day by @brunodviana

Deep Side Part

If you didn’t already know, the side part is back and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Give your 2C curls an instant volume boost by styling your hair in a deep side part.

Good hair day by @curlsandcurvesrv.

Side Swept

Love the look of a side part but are looking for a style that’s a bit more romantic? Sweep all of your hair to one side and let it cascade over your shoulders. Use a few bedazzled pins to keep your hair in place and add a touch of instant glamour.

Wolf Cut

The most popular haircut of 2022 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The wolf cut is a cross between a shag and a mullet haircut is a great way to add texture and movement to your hair. We especially love this cut for people with fine 2C hair.

Angled Bob

You don’t need to have long hair for your 2C curls to really pop. Consider asking your stylist for this angled bob. The short chop will make your 2C curls look bouncier than ever.

Find more natural hair care tips, professional products, and expert advice on

Header Photo: @beeblondor,

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device