Type 2B Hair: How to Identify & Care Tips

Type 2B Hair: How to Identify & Care Tips

Type 2B hair, alongside type 2A and 2C, form three different categories of waves, classified as type 2 hair on the curl chart. Which category you fall into depends on how tight your wave pattern is. Here we explore type 2B hair, uncovering everything from identifiers of this curl pattern to products that can best enhance and showcase your hair.  


What is Type 2B hair?

2B hair is the middle ground of wavy or type 2 hair. It is characterized by S-shaped waves that tend to form from the mid-length of the hair downwards. The ends of the hair tend to form this s-shaped curl, but the roots usually sit straighter.  

How can you identify 2B hair?

Identifying exactly what curl type you have can be tricky. To identify 2B hair, look out for the following things:

  • An S-shaped wave that tends to start further down the hair strand, mainly towards the mid-lengths. 
  • A root area that tends to be straighter, with little wave or curl.
  • Hair that appears a little shorter when dry, with perhaps roughly an inch of shrinkage.

You may also find that: 

  • Your wavy hair can become weighed down by heavy products, especially when layering multiple products.
  • Your waves don’t necessarily hold very well throughout the day or overnight and may loosen as your wash day wears on.
  • Your waves form larger clumps when wet that break apart a little as the hair dries.

When trying to identify your curl type, it is worth noting that the above can also be affected by your texture (fine vs coarse) and hair health. It is also worth remembering that most of us will have more than one curl pattern on our heads!

How do you care for 2B hair?

Wavy hair can be enhanced in several ways. Here are some tips to help your 2B waves look their best:

  • Clarify regularly: Wavy hair can become easily weighed down, especially when using styling products. Ensure to clarify your hair regularly to maximize bounce and definition.
  • Detangle gently from end to root: Tangles can be the bane of a wavy girl’s life. After shampooing, make sure to detangle from end to root when your hair is saturated with conditioner to avoid breakage. 
  • Choose lightweight products: Avoid weighing down your waves by choosing lightweight products that enhance but don’t elongate!
  • Go for stronghold products: Hold and weight are different, so you can have the best of both worlds! Choose a hard-hold but lightweight hair gel to maintain your style for longer and help your waves last. Remember, with strong-hold products; less is definitely more!
  • Avoid too many conditioning products at your roots: As 2B waves tend to start midway down the hair shaft, the roots sit straighter. Adding too many conditioning products to your roots may weigh them down. Instead, focus on volumizing products at the root.
  • Incorporate protein in your routine: Protein strengthens the hair and can help loose waves last longer.
  • Remove water-weight quickly: To maximize shrinkage and bounce, either diffuse your waves or micro plop with a microfiber towel to remove excess water as you style. This stops water weight from elongating your hair.
  • Protect your curls overnight: A pineapple and silk or satin pillowcase are great options for wavy hair types. 
  • Avoid adding too much product whilst refreshing: Again, this is simply so that your hair doesn’t become weighed down. Try one lightweight product for a refresh rather than layering many.

Best Products for Wavy Hair

Sussing out what products work for your hair can feel like a minefield. Let’s break down which products may be most helpful for 2B hair: 

For cleansing:

Invest in a protein-rich shampoo, such as the Core Strength Shampoo, to add strength and structure to your waves. Use this shampoo for regular wash days, whilst alternating with a clarifying shampoo for a stronger cleanse to remove build-up on the scalp, such as the Wash & Scrub Detox Shampoo every 4-5 washes.

Conditioners for Type 2B Hair:

Follow your cleanse with a lightweight conditioner. This could also contain protein for extra oomph! Great examples from the Curlsmith ranges include the Multi-Tasking Conditioner and the Post-Wash Calming Conditioner.

If you need extra conditioning, such as a deep conditioner, choose a product that adds moisture without weight. You could utilize the Multi-Tasking Conditioner for this, or even try the Hydro Crème Soothing Mask.

Styling Type 2B Hair:

Invest in lightweight products that promote volume and structure. Look for products with good protein content and a nice amount of hold. This will ensure your waves hold up to the elements and last longer!

A typical styling routine for 2B waves could look like this: 

  1. Scrunch a protein-rich styler or a volumizing lotion through soaking wet hair to promote adequate moisture and enhance definition and body. The Feather-Light Protein Cream or Full Body Thickening Lotion are great options here!

  2. Gently scrunch out excess water with a microfibre towel, such as the Curlsmith Microfibre Towel. Choose a smoother microfibre towel to help promote frizz control or break up your curl clumps.

  3. Apply a lightweight foam directly to your roots to give added texture and volume. The Bouncy Strength Volume Foam, for example, can be raked gently into the root to achieve this. Remember not to disturb the rest of your hair whilst doing this!

  4. Finish your style by scrunching a harder hold gel into the mid-lengths and ends of your hair to ensure your waves last longer. A perfect weightless but strong hold option is the Shine Gel.

Do’s and Don’ts for 2B hair

Now we know what type 2B hair is and how to care for it, here are some do’s and don’ts that may help you establish everything from a great haircut to a healthy wavy wash day routine!


  • Look for lightweight products. 
  • Layer only a few products in wash days and refreshes.
  • Try some layers in your haircut for fullness and body. 
  • Scrunch or use shrinkage-promoting styling methods such as scrunching and pulsing to add definition.
  • Shampoo regularly, incorporating stronger, clarifying shampoos into your routine.
  • Try upside-down styling or flipping your hair side to side as you style to promote root volume.
  • Incorporate protein and hold products into your routine.
  • Scrunch out water as part of your routine, diffusing to dry where time allows.
  • Use diffusing methods that promote shrinkage, such as pixie diffusing.
  • Protect your hair overnight.


  • Use heavier products, especially on the root area.
  • Cut your hair too short. Cutting type 2B hair too short may result in the wave being cut off altogether!
  • Rake the hair too much whilst styling; this can create stringier or frizzier waves.
  • Over condition the hair. While tighter curl patterns may need a more regular deep conditioning or treatment routine, 2B hair doesn’t often need as much.
  • Diffuse your hair from soaking wet to avoid stretching out your waves.
  • Use diffusing methods that encourage less shrinkage, such as hover diffusing.
  • Overdo the product on refresh days.
  • Compare your beautiful wavy hair to anyone else’s!

Type 2B hair vs 2A & 2C

  • Type 2A hair is the loosest form of curl pattern, with waves that tend to form a wavy S-shape right at the end of the hair strand. 2A hair is often what is described as ‘beachy waves.’ It tends to have larger curl clumps when wet, which break apart a little as they dry to give a loose, textured look.
  • Type 2B hair has a tighter pattern than 2A but is still not as tight as 2C. The wave begins to form midway down the hair shaft and can spiral into ringlets at the ends. There is still quite a beachy feel to 2B hair, although it is generally a little more defined than 2A hair.
  • Type 2C hair has a much tighter pattern. The hair still has predominantly S-waves, but these may spiral into ringlets further down the hair strand. The waves start closer to the root and tend to look more defined. The curl clumps tend to be smaller than type 2A or B, bouncing up more as they dry. 

What’s next for my 2B hair?

Hopefully, we have answered many of your questions about your 2B wavy hair, but if you’re still unsure, why not take the Curlsmith Curl Quiz to help? Our experts can guide you through which of our cruelty-free, vegan products might be best for you. With our wide range of recipes, it will be easy to tailor your routine to fully embrace the potential of your wavy hair!

Sharley Viola
Curlsmith’s Lead Educator

Textured Hair Specialist with a vast amount of experience delivering education both nationally and internationally. A self-confessed product junkie committed to spreading her wealth of knowledge amongst the curly hair community and beyond.

Sharley Viola
Curlsmith’s Lead Educator

Textured Hair Specialist with a vast amount of experience delivering education both nationally and internationally. A self-confessed product junkie committed to spreading her wealth of knowledge amongst the curly hair community and beyond.