Identifying Your Curl Pattern

Whether they're softly spiraled or coily and voluminous, curls are undeniably beautiful. But not all curly hair is the same. Every texture behaves differently—and understanding your unique curl pattern is the first step to keeping your hair healthy and strong.

Four women stand side by side with different curl patterns

What's Your Curl Pattern?

All curly hair has natural arcs and angles that expose openings in the cuticle layer, allowing natural moisture and nutrients to escape. Unlike straight hair, scalp oils can’t travel down the curly hair shaft, which leaves curls prone to dryness. That’s why curls crave nourishing, hydrating products. And different types of curls need different types of care to look their best.

Our founder Ouidad, the world-renowned stylist who opened the first ever curly hair salon, identified the four different curl types — Wavy, Loose, Tight, and Coily curls — and developed a signature line of products that complement each type. Because every curl needs the regimen that treats it right.

Wavy Curl Pattern
Loose Curl Pattern
Tight Curl Pattern
Coily Curl Pattern


A wavy, relaxed “S” shape curl pattern. This curl type may be non-uniform—straighter at the crown, wavy in the middle, and drier on the ends, for example. Dehydration, damage, and heavy styling products can “straighten” out these curls. Wavy curls need lightweight, curl-amplifying moisture and hold.

Shop products for wavy curls

Learn more about wavy curls

Wavy Curl Look
Wavy Curl Pattern


A consistent and defined “S” shape curl pattern. This curl type tends to be uniform, with a coiling shape that extends from roots to ends. When dehydrated or damaged, these curls can become frizzy and lose definition. Loose curls need gentle care and balanced moisture.

Shop products for loose curls

Learn more about loose curls

Loose Curl Look
Loose Curl Pattern


A small corkscrew-like curl pattern throughout the hair. These tight ringlets tend to be finer and lighter in weight. Without proper moisture, the hair shaft tends to expand and can lose its shape, causing curls to appear dense and unmanageable. Tight curls need deep hydration for maximum softness and strength.

Shop products for tight curls

Learn more about tight curls

Tight Curl Look
Tight Curl Pattern


An angular, “Z” type zig-zag from roots to end. The Z pattern is tightly coiled, and most often fine and delicate, the tighter the coil, the more difficult it is for oil to travel and moisturize from the scalp along the length of the strand. Coily curls need protective moisture.

Shop products for coily curls

Learn more about coily curls

Coily Curl Look
Coily Curl Pattern