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Know the Pattern, Learn the Craft

Discovering your little one's curl pattern is very important; It allows you to understand their hair’s unique characteristics, make better product selections, and know your styling do’s and don’ts.

Understanding their hair texture is the most important rule in natural hair care! It is crucial to establishing a proper care routine - and especially one that fits into the busy lives of moms and dads. It makes hair maintenance a little easier as you'll learn to understand what their hair really needs and when it needs it! Knowing their hair texture can be the difference between beautiful hydrated and bouncy hair, and dull lifeless hair.

Curls are not a one-size-fits-all category, and they shouldn’t be treated as such; They can be broken down into three main forms: wavy, curly, and coily, referred to in the beauty world as Types 2, 3, and 4 - We will just be focusing on types 3 (curly) and types 4 (coily).


The letters beside each number defines the hair density i.e. “a” = fine/thin hair “b”= medium thick “c” = very dense/thick coarse hair.

This type of hair ranges from a light curl to tight, curly ringlets/spirals, and usually have a combination of textures. You will find that having a little one with type 3 curlies, you will struggle to coax their curls into achieving definition. Their crown will be defined and springy, with more height and volume at the roots, allowing for lots and lots of frizz on the ends!

3A: These are big, loose curls and spirals similar in circumference to a piece of thick, pavement chalk. These curls will tend to be shiny, with a well-defined S-shape.

3B: These springy curls can vary from ringlets to corkscrews. They are voluminous and have a circumference similar to a Sharpie marker. Type 3b hair tends to be coarse and dense (but not always).

3C: This often is referred as 'curly-coil' and tends to be very dense, tightly packed corkscrews that are the circumference of a pencil or a straw. Type 3c hair experience the most volume, but also the most shrinkage of curls. Shrinkage is the decrease in length when your little ones hair goes from wet to dry. While their hair is wet, it is weighed down so the curls stretch and fall to their maximum length. As their hair dries, inches of length disappear to their roots.


1. Shampoo once a week and co-wash mid week if needed.

With type 3 curlies you'll notice how quickly your little one's hair dries out and looses moisture. It’s for this specific reason that you’ll want to use a good shampoo and hydrating conditioner each week. If you feel like you need a quick cleaning in between your weekly washes, then I recommend a moisturizing co-wash. Co-washing is the act of washing their hair solely with conditioner. Many shampoos are formulated to include sulfates & detergents that clean hair thoroughly, but can actually strip natural oils and moisture from the strands of their hair, leaving them dry and more prone to breakage.

2. Opt for light oils to seal in their moisture.

Try using oils that include humectants - a common moisturizing agent found in lotions, shampoos, and other beauty products used for your hair and skin. These ingredients are known for their ability to retain moisture while also preserving the overall properties of the product at hand. Examples of these are Aloe Vera, Glycerin and Honey.

3. Deep condition every week.

Since Type 3 hair has a tendency to get dry quickly as previously mentioned, you'll encounter an abundant amount of frizz, so deep conditioning when you shampoo each week (or bi-weekly) will assist in alleviating those problems. Simply pop your little into the bath and wash their hair before anything else, once you've applied your conditioner, leave it on for the remainder of their bath time and wash it off right at the end! Voila!


The letters beside each number defines the hair density i.e. “a” = fine/thin hair “b”= medium thick “c” = very dense/thick coarse hair.

Type 4s are very coily and kinky with slightly less curl definition. Their hair will be fine and thin or wiry and coarse, with densely packed coils. Coily hair may seem robust, but it’s actually the most fragile hair texture because it has the fewest cuticle layers to protect it from dryness. Its top concerns are maintaining moisture, avoiding tangles and counteracting shrinkage.

4A: These dense, springy coils are either wiry or fine, and have the circumference of a crochet needle. They are tightly coiled, with a visible S pattern.

4B: Instead of curling or coiling, this hair bends in sharp angles like the letter Z. The curl is tighter and less defined - about the circumference of a pen - with strands that range from fine and thin to wiry and coarse.

4C: This densely packed hair is similar to a 4b, but experiences less definition and more shrinkage. The tightly coiled strand texture ranges from super fine, thin and soft to wiry and coarse. This type is the most delicate of them all.


1. Moisture. Moisture. And more moisture.

Because kinky type 4 hair is dry and predominantly coarse by nature, the coils therefore break very very easily. This type of hair needs added moisture, almost daily. If you're wondering why your little one's hair isn't growing or always seems to shed when you try to comb through it, well, its way too dry. Dry hair will always break, but well moisturized hair is supple and has elasticity.

2. Ensure a rich and creamy wash routine.

The key to keeping these coils healthy, shiny, and beautiful is to moisturize them every step of the way during your little one's wash routine. Start with a creamy, sulfate-free (NB), moisturizing shampoo, and follow it up with an extremely hydrating conditioner (It can be a leave in conditioner but it doesn't have to be if you have great hair custards to follow.)

3. Hair Custards.

Leaving conditioner in their hair is a great way to keep their hair hydrated, but an alternative route is to also add some creamy puddings and custards after their wash routine and once their hair damp. What these do is soften their coils as well as add moisture. The great thing about hair custards for type 4 hair is that their thick creamy nature will elongate their curls and prevent shrinkage, which is very common with this hair type.

4. Detangling

Easier said than done, right?  The general consensus with the detangling process is that it’s best done starting from their ends up to their roots and while the hair is wet and full of conditioner or a detangler! This will help make their tangles and knots easier to separate, thus making the detangling process excruciating for the both of you. I find that it's so much easier to use your fingers (and a lot less sore for the little ones) than a detangling comb or brush (this will only work if their hair is a sufficient length) otherwise all three solutions work well. Just remember, no conditioner = 1 hour of hard labour and tears.


Horror story: Spending 2837783882 hours on your little one's hair before bedtime, only to wake up the next morning to a head of dry and knotty curls... and a sore wrist.

There is absolutely nothing worse than having a wash routine and hair day just ruined by one night of sleep. Practicing good bedtime habits with your little ones will make preserving their hairstyle and moisture (and all your hard work!) a walk in the park. Building a nighttime routine can involve several factors, but primarily how you prepare your little one's hair before bed and what they're sleeping with.

What your little one sleeps on is just as important as how you prepare their hair for bed. Your best options are satin or silk fabrics; These fabrics have a super smooth texture and their hair will just glide over it whilst they move in their sleep, without any friction. This means that they're less likely to wake up with frizzy hair, tangles, or 'bedhair'. You can just use a scarf and tie it around their pillows, or a bonnet or even a satin pillowcase. I will make a post about where you can buy all these products.


Understanding your little one's curl pattern can help ease a variety of hair issues that you may face as a parent learning about natural hair - especially if you're already grappling to get them to sit down for 5 minutes whilst you try and comb out their microscopic knots. Their hair (or anyones for that matter) cannot be great if you don't first understand what it their curl truly needs - but thats why we're here, to guide you along the way!

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