The Science Behind Curly Hair Types

& How It Can Improve Your Hair Care Routine

Curly hair is probably one of the most recognized hair care types. Even though many women of all races proudly rejoice their curly crowns, there may be a lot they still do not know about it. 

In this blog, we dive deep into the science of curly hair and how to leverage it when improving your hair care routine. 

Curly Hair Defined

What makes curly-hair curly? It is the beautiful science of both hair follicles and the natural acids found in each.

Every strand of hair is attached to a hair follicle and each hair follicle has a unique shape and size. The special characteristics of our hair follicles define the way our hair grows. For example, straight hair emerges from a circle-shaped follicle, whereas curly hair comes from an oval follicle. 

Also, with each follicle, lies groups of amino acids called cysteine. These groups can bond with one another; however, it can only do so depending on the shape of the hair follicle. In straight hair, cysteine groups are spread apart, therefore that can not interact nor bond together. But, with curly hair, the curved-shaped follicle allows cysteine to bond, ultimately contributing to curl creation.

In a Good Housekeeping article, Dr. Rolanda Wilklerson, Proctor and Gamble’s Senior Scientific Communications Manager, further breaks down the scientific meaning of curly hair, “The more curved the hair follicle, the more compacted the cysteine, the more bonds form, and the curlier the hair.” 

As a matter of fact, relaxers and texturizers work to chemically break or loosen these cysteine bonds naturally found in curly hair. This is what causes the hair to become permanently straight. 


The Importance of Knowing Your Curl Type 

Now that you know why you have curly hair, you should also acknowledge the type you have. Doing so, you will greater understand your hair's unique characteristics and behaviors, make wiser product purchases, and establish a better hair care routine that promotes hair health.

curly hair types - why is hair curly?

Common Curly Hair Types 

 Generally, curly hair is categorized as Type 3 hair. It is characterized by spirals, ringlets, corkscrews, or S-shaped strands. Plus, each curl is finger-width, larger, or much smaller -- the range in sizes helps determine the hair’s subcategory: 

  • 3a: big loose S-shaped curls
  • 3b: springy ringlets that are finger-width or marker-width
  • 3c: tightly packed corkscrew curls with a pencil-sized diameter


Curly Hair Behaviors

Just as important as knowing your specific curl pattern, you should also recognize how your hair behaves. The behavior of your hair can help predict how it may interact with products or styling -- both are important when it comes to product selection. 


On a scale of low, medium, to high, porosity relates to the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Low porosity hair tends to be drier due to its inability to hold on to moisture. Therefore, oil or butter-based products are recommended to seal and lock in hydration. However, high porosity hair soaks in moisture, meaning you may need fewer products that are water-based to dry quicker while not becoming oversaturated. 

why is my hair curly - common curly hair types


Elasticity is all about bounce! When gently pulling down your curl and releasing, it should spring back into its original form without warping, breaking, or tangling. Hair elasticity is not only a determinant of hair moisture but also strength. Strong elasticity signals a balance of moisture and protein. 


Trust Lëvor hair care to help balance it all. We created a variety of products that satisfy the needs and wants of curly hair, in addition to straight, wavy, and kinky textures. No matter your hair texture, length, or condition, we only care about one thing: healthy hair! If you feel the same, we would love for you to browse our products to achieve just that. Shop online today.