7 Most Common Types of Natural Waves and Curly Hair and How to Manage Them in Singapore

Published on Mar 31, 2020

Waves and curls are all the rage these days but it can be hard to love those curls/waves of yours if you don't know how to manage them well. What products do you use? Will they damage your hair? Why is it always so frizzy?

The first step towards managing your hair is understanding it. Did you know that there are many SO different types of curls and waves that the hairdressing community actually came up with a typing system for them? With a common typing system across the world, people can better identify their curl pattern and share advice on how best to care for them.

While that helps, many of these advice are written by and for curly haired girls living in western countries. As other countries tend not to be as humid as sunny Singapore, some of the advice are not as applicable. We have therefore talked to curly hair specialists Annie from Ann's Studio as well as Jesly from Picasso Hair Studio, Chie from Threes Japanese Hair Salon and Marcus from Focus Hairdressing for advice on how best to decode your curl type and what maintenance you can do to manage your curls in Singapore. 

There is a Difference Between Waves, Curls and Spirals

One of our favourite stylists we go to to manage naturally curly hair is Annie from Ann's Studio

Annie From Ann's Studio

As a peranakan, Annie herself has gorgeous natural curls and therefore is among the most knowledgeable about curls. 

She shared with us that hair is typically segregated into 4 types:

  • Type 1: Straight hair
  • Type 2: Wavy hair
  • Type 3: Curly hair
  • Type 4: Spiral hair

Within each wave/curl type, hair is then broken down further into sub-types depending on how strong the wave/curls/spirals are. 

2A - Soft Waves

2A hair is made up of very minimal waves that stay close to the head.

Curly Haircut by Ann's Studio

COVO Japanese Hair Salon

Textures for 2A waves range from fine to coarse strands.

As 2A waves are pretty mild, short hairstyles look pretty good on them as it gives them that extra volume and body without looking too messy. All you need is a good sculpted haircut to bring out your personality!~ Kiyo from COVO Japanese Hair Salon
Light Chocolate Brown and MUCOTA Pearl Shine Treatment by Focus Hairdressing

Focus Hairdressing

The left is what you would observe in longer hair for 2A waves.

If you don't like how your hair tends to turn wavy and frizzy as it grows longer, the good news is that this hair type is very easy to style and straighten. We love to recommend MUCOTA Algana Treatment as it moisturizes the hair and gives it the soft straightening feel. ~ Marcus from Focus Hairdressing
Short Wavy Haircut by Picasso Hair Studio

Jesly from Picasso Hair Studio

If however you want to keep your hair natural, consider using an airy water-based mousse to add a bit of oomph at the base and make your hair look fluffier. Heavy styling products is a no-no as it can weigh your hair down and make them look lifeless. ~ Jesly from Picasso Hair Studio

2B – Beach Waves

2B textures range from fine to coarse strands and is made up of very loose, “S” shaped waves that stay close to the head.

2B Texture Wave and Colour by Ann's Studio

Ann's Studio

Congratulations! This is one of the most sought after wave types. With well-defined curls starting from midlength, there is more volume than 2A wave but not as difficult to manage as 2C waves; basically, the type of waves that people have to perm to get! -Annie from Ann's Studio
Bob cut and Curly Perm (Chie) by Threes Japanese

Threes Japanese Hair Salon

If you want to enhance your curls, you may want to go for a shorter cut like the above. It allows the hair to appear to have more volume, while also giving you a more sporty look!- Chie from Threes Japanese Hair Salon
Short Straight Cut by Focus Hairdressing

 Focus Hairdressing

As much as waves are trendy right now, there will always be some women who find it messy. If straightening is on your cards, you can always go for stronger rebonding lotions to get the sleek straight hair you're looking for. - Marcus from Focus Hairdressing


2C hair is typically thick and coarse and is made up of a mixture of both waves and curls - the best of both worlds! This gorgeous hair type is unfortunately prone to dryness and frizzing.

Haircut For Curly Hair by Ann's Studio

Ann's Studio

Due to how thick and coarse 2C hair is, it is highly prone to frizzing. Use a non-lathering, sulfate-free shampoo without sodium chloride so as not to strip essential moisture from the hair.- Annie from Ann's Studio
Curly Haircut by Ann's Studio

Ann's Studio

To lock in those beautiful waves, use curl cream or gel type styling product with medium hold.Just a bit of product before you head out makes a world of a difference!- Annie from Ann's Studio


3A hair tends to have fine to medium texture and is made up of well-defined and springy curls that have a loopy, “S” shaped pattern with circumference that is smaller than the waves seen in Type 2 Hair. 

Curly Haircut by Ann's Studio

Ann's Studio

3A Curl type has lots of body and movement but is prone to frizzing and dryness.Moisturization is therefore key in managing 3A curls. Get those curls to listen to you by applying some defrizzing curl cream with higher level of moisturization.This gives your curls more emphasis and keeps it hydrated.- Annie from Ann's Studio
Curly Haircut by Ann's Studio

Ann's Studio

Consider spritzing your hair with a curl refresher to keeps your hair springy for the day.But make sure to not touch it after applying product, or it will go super frizzy!- Annie from Ann's Studio 


3B hair is made up of well-defined, spiral curls that range from bouncy ringlets to tight corkscrews, with a fine to medium texture.

Curly Haircut by Ann's Studio

Ann's Studio

This curl type benefits from lots of body and movement but is prone to frizzing and dryness.In order for you to get a wash and go hairstyle, the key is to master moisturization. There are lots of websites online that promote the LOC Method - Liquid, Oil and Cream (hence its name). The liquid opens up the hair cuticles for moisturization, the Oil penetrates your hair and makes your hair softer and shinier while the Cream locks in the moisture of the oil. While it sounds good theoretically, my personal experience has been negative in Singapore's humid weather. It is very easy to go overboard with moisturization with the LOC method; when we over-moisturize, the oil and cream builds up on the hair, weighing it down. While build ups may cause your hair to appear smoother, your hair will become rather clumpy over time (as if you didn't wash your hair for weeks!)As some of the build-ups may end up on your scalp as well, many curly-haired ladies suffer from hair loss (and even back acne) as it can be very challenging to remove the excess oils and creams thoroughly. - Annie from Ann's Studio 
Curly Haircut by Ann's Studio

Ann's Studio

What works well for my own curly hair in Singapore's humid weather is not heavy oils and creams but MASKS. Hair masks tend to be moisturizing but not as heavy, so they moisturize the hair without weighing it down too much. It is also easier to wash off when compared to oils and creams, so you don't have to worry about hair loss!- Annie from Ann's Studio


3C hair is made up of well-defined, tight corkscrews or coils with lots of strands densely packed together. Their circumference is the size of a pencil or straw. 3C curls have a fine to medium texture. This curl type is prone to dryness, tangles, and lack of curl definition.

Curly Haircut by Ann's Studio

Ann's Studio

Frizziness is once again an issue with 3C Curls.While you may not want to try LOC, deep conditioning about once a week can help reduce dryness, breakage, tangles and bring back your curl definition. This is how it works: find a suitable conditioner and leave it to sit in the hair for up to 45 minutes.The key to the success of deep conditioning is the type of conditioner you use: for dry hair use a more moisturizing conditioner!- Annie from Ann's Studio
Curly Haircut by Ann's Studio

Ann's Studio

Aside from conditioning, styling can go a long way to make your curls look AMAZING. One easy way to style 3C hair is to do it while it is wet. I personally find gel type styling cream easier to manage in hot and humid Singapore compared to Mousse as it can be a little too drying for coily hair!- Annie from Ann's Studio


4A hair is made up of tightly coiled curls with a spiral pattern, with texture ranging from fine to coarse. Expect big coils from this hair type, as wide as the circumference of a coffee stirrer.

Deep conditioning is also recommended for ladies with 4C hair.If you don't have the time to leave the conditioner in your hair for 45 minutes, consider heading down to the salon for a treatment. Look at how lively the hair looks after a treatment!- Annie from Ann's Studio
Brown Colour and Haircut For Curly Hair by Ann's Studio

Before and after Treatment at Ann's Studio

Whether you choose to try deep conditioning or the more moisturizing LOC method, remember to spend more time washing the oil off and avoid applying conditioner/oils on the scalp to stave off hair loss!- Annie from Ann's Studio

Now that you'd learnt the many tips and tricks from these generous and knowledgable stylists, you'll have no trouble putting your best foot (and curls) forward!

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