There are so many hair types that fall under the umbrella of curly hair. But each curl type has unique needs, whether you have large spiral ringlets that have trouble keeping their shape or tightly wound coils that could use help retaining moisture. Knowing how to care for your curls is made more difficult by the fact that a lot of the textured hair advice on the internet is for people with looser curl patterns, and those with tightly coiled hair are left to figure things out on their own.
Naturally, we did the research for you and chatted with L’Oréal Professionnel artist Geoffrey Britt to get the scoop on all things coily hair. Keep scrolling to find everything from product recommendations to easy-to-follow hair care tips for coily hair.
What is coily hair?
Before we share how to best care for coily hair, let's make sure you actually have coils. Like any other curl type, there is no one-size-fits-all definition, but Britt says there are a few characteristics you can look for, including “S-curls, zig-zags, and extremely tight interlocking coils.” The stylist adds that coily hair typically experiences the most shrinkage, “ranging from 50 to 100 percent of the actual hair's length!”
Britt also says that while coily hair is often thought of as coarse, there is actually a wide range of textures within the coily hair category. “...At times [coily hair can even] be ultra-fine in texture.”
Is 4C hair coily?
If you have coily hair, chances are your hair type has probably been described as 4C. While coily hair definitely falls into the 4C category, it’s not the only hair type that can have coily characteristics. “The hair types that fall [under] the coily umbrella are 4A, 4B, 4C, and the occasional 3C, depending on texture,” Britt says.
If you feel like your hair sometimes leans toward the 4C category and other times is closer to 3C, you’re not alone. The moisture content of your hair can have a huge effect on the final look. “A lack of moisture can cause the hair to appear less defined and potentially create
intensity of shrinkage, giving a compact appearance,” the stylist explains.
There’s beauty in every hair type, and knowing how to properly care for and style your hair will allow you to enjoy the beauty of yours in its entirety.
What's the difference between curly and coily hair?
Curly is a hair type, and coily hair is classified in the curly hair category. Coily hair is a type of curl that has a tighter curl pattern.
What is the difference between coily and kinky hair?
You may have heard people describe coily hair as “kinky.” While some brands have embraced this descriptor, Britt encourages people to think about the history behind the hurtful term.
“It was a term used heavily during the Jim Crow law era (and some still today) to distinguish or separate an entire community of folx from the collective,” he explains.
What is a good coily haircare routine?
A good hair care routine should always be customized to your hair’s unique needs, but there are some basic foundational steps that everyone with coily hair can benefit from. Lucky for you, Britt says a coily hair routine is pretty simple to maintain.
According to Britt, shampooing once a week is a must. “This is going to ensure the hair is receiving the H2O necessary for proper hydration and overall health of hair.”
Washing regularly is essential, and the products you use to do so are equally important. We love the L’Oréal Professionnel Curl Expressions Intense Moisturizing Cleansing Cream Shampoo for coils and curls alike. After washing your hair, treat your mane to the L’Oréal Professionnel Curl Expressions Intensive Moisturizer Rich Mask.
When it’s time to style your hair, Britt recommends reaching for products that help hydrate your coils, including “all things creams and gels.” This can help combat the lack of moisture that is often associated with this texture.
If you need a sleek look, the Tecni.Art Liss range from L’Oréal Professionnel, specifically the Tecni.Art Liss Control gel-cream, is a go-to for Britt. He also recommends L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Bouncy & Tender, which is his “tried and true for a solid wash-and-go.”
How often should coily hair be cut?
When you’re dealing with shrinkage, a trim is usually the last thing on your mind. However, regular haircuts are key for maintaining healthy hair.
“I recommend that my coily clients get a haircut every 10 to 12 weeks depending on what we are doing to their hair. If a client is coloring or highlighting the hair, then we will cut the hair more frequently,” Britt explains.
You and your stylist can work together to come up with a haircut schedule that works best for you and your routine.
What hairstyles should people with coily hair try?
The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to styling coily hair, but if you’re looking for a little inspiration, Britt has a few ideas.
Equipped with Britt’s expert tips and recommendations, you’ll have flawless coily hair every day.