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What Is 2b Hair and How Do You Give It Proper Care?

BY Jana Russick

There’s no denying that your 2b hair is wavy. You don’t quite have a curl pattern, but there’s no way you could pass as having straight hair⁠ — and that’s a good thing. Your natural waves are the texture that stick-straight hair types can only achieve after a long curling iron session and a rigorous scrunch of mousse.

If you’re a bit confused by all the language revolving around hair type, don’t worry. We’ll clear things up right now. Hair typing is a system that classifies hair textures into four families: type 1 straight hair, type 2 wavy hair, type 3 curly hair, and type 4 coily or kinky hair. And within these categories are specific subsets of each hair type. Let’s explore what it means to have type 2b wavy hair and how you can make the most of this seemingly middle-of-the-road hair texture that’s anything but average.

What Is 2b Hair?

To fully understand what 2b hair is, we first need to describe the other two wavy hair varieties within the type 2 family. Let’s start with the mildest type of waviness.

Type 2a Hair 

This type of wavy hair looks almost like straight hair with a lot of body at the ends. It tends to be flat at the roots and then flows into loose S-shape waves a few inches past the roots. It is the thinnest and least dense of the three wavy hair types, making it harder to maintain wave definition. However, type 2a‘s fine hair texture is also the least prone to frizz

Type 2c Hair

On the opposite end of the wavy hair spectrum, type 2c strands tend to be very thick and dense. The tightness of 2c waves have an almost ringlet-like natural curl to them. But up close you can see that they are S-shaped rather than spiral. Because frizz is more prevalent in hair with a coily shape, 2c’s resemblance to curly and coily textures makes it more likely to experience frizzy hair

Now that you have a clear idea of the type 2 hair spectrum, let’s plop your type 2b hair right in the middle of all this waviness. This hair type isn’t loose in shape like 2a nor is it extremely dense like 2c. Still, type 2b waves have a definite S-shape. They tend to be straight at the crown and start forming a defined wavy texture at the midpoint of the locks that continues down to the ends. It has a moderate amount of volume and thickness and doesn’t lose its shape easily. Even wet hair still maintains a noticeable wavy pattern. 

What Are the Struggles of 2b Hair?

Though type 2b waves are beautiful and full of body, they’re not perfect. But whose hair is? Let’s go over the biggest struggles of type 2b hair so we can provide some solutions for your wavy hair care routine. 

Not So Easy to Straighten

Straightening 2b hair takes some effort. Unlike type 2a waves, you can’t just run a brush through your locks to make them straight. Doing so will likely cause frizz that’ll require some serious detangling and hair styling to reverse. The moderate amount of volume that type 2b hair types have creates a bristle-like effect when you brush through it dry. The more you brush it, the puffier it gets. So if you aren’t going for wild-child hair, we suggest avoiding this method for achieving straight hair.

Pro Tip: Learn how wrapping your hair in satin helps reduce breakage and frizz 

Tangles When Wet

Just like you need to be careful brushing type 2b waves when dry, you should hold off on brushing when your hair is wet. That’s because your wash day waves are more vulnerable to breakage and knotting when damp. Type 2b hair is specifically prone to forming tangles around the mid-lengths of the hair when wet. This can turn into knotted ends if you proceed to brush the tangles through the length of your wet waves.

Pro Tip: Learn helpful hacks with our guide on what causes split ends and how to stop them

Frizz, Dryness, and Damage, Oh My!

The farther a hair texture is from straight, the more prone to frizz it is. And where frizz lurks, dryness is likely to be. Some 2b types experience dryness and frizz because their hair has high porosity, meaning that it takes in more liquid than it actually absorbs. This is especially true when it’s been further damaged by chemical treatments, hair dryers, diffusers, or other heated stylers. Making matters worse are sticky hair products like gel and hairspray. This can lead to product buildup that leaves hair feeling gunky. 

Pro Tip: Here are some tricks for managing high porosity hair

Managing Your 2b Hair Needs

Even though you’ve been blessed with a natural hair texture of luscious waves that anyone would be lucky to have, we understand that not every hair day is perfect. There are probably days when you wake up wishing your hair was just a little bit straighter or a smidge curlier. Consider these guidelines and styling products to manage and enhance your type 2b hair.

Don’t Overdo the Shampoo

For many people with type 2b hair, the best waves appear on the first day after washing. Second and third days tend to get a little dry and frizzy at the ends yet oily at the roots. As it turns out, shampooing your hair too often can be bad for your hair’s oil balance. Learn more about how often you should wash your hair so you don’t end up overdoing it. 

Also, consider a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to provide your hair with hydration and gentle scalp cleansing without stripping your hair of natural oils or drying it out. 

Run a Comb Through Your Waves

As we’ve mentioned, using a regular brush on wet wavy 2b hair is a no-no. What we will say yes to is investing in a wide-tooth comb for handling your damp hair needs. Since your locks have a moderate amount of thickness and definition to them, a wide-tooth comb will help smooth out your waves without ruining their natural curl. It will also reduce the chances of hair breakage since there’s more space between the strands. When you have dry hair again, your hair will already be detangled and you can walk out the door with your perfect waves intact.

Add an Extra Dose of Softness and Hydration

To add softness while maintaining your natural waves, use a leave-in treatment. This moisture-rich product is great to apply before heat styling to help protect against damage. It can also be used to smooth out frizz and flyaways on dry hair

Function of Beauty’s custom leave-in treatment is the ideal product to protect against the dryness and tangles that type 2b hair is prone to. With a formula that includes avocado oil, argan oil, and coffee extract, this leave-in treatment encourages shine and hydration without weighing hair down. 

A Solution for Every 2b Hair Problem 

When it comes to loving your wavy hair, what do you think? 2b or not 2b? After learning what tips and products to add to your hair routine, we hope your answer is 2b! To create an entire hair routine formulated around your unique hair texture, take Function of Beauty’s custom hair quiz. By filling out your unique hair profile and choosing your beauty goals, we can pair you with the best products for all your wavy hair needs.