View Full Version : PHOTOS: How curly is this? Also, do you think it LOOKS dry?

November 12th, 2011, 03:11 AM
Hi All.

I'm starting to wonder if I really understand the curly designations and I'm wondering if I'm actually more of a 3a/b. Wanted the thoughts of the forum folks.

Here are a lot of shots of my hair, freshly washed. I did condition, and my conditioner has oil in it. But without that I couldn't even take these pictures, the tangles would be so bad. No leave-ins, though. No manipulation while drying. For work and such, I'd usually spray it down with a little bit of water mixed with olive/castor oil to keep it moisturized for the day and keep the curl tighter than it is here (less frizzies between the curls).

Also, my hair has streaks of lighter brown running through it these days. My hair before was always so dark a brown most people couldn't tell it from black. I'm wondering if this means it's dry. It's not splitting or breaking. I'm a bit nervous because my experiment for a few months has been to not use a leave-in or silicone treatment. Instead I depend more oils, usually hoping the ones I mix into my conditioner deposit just enough to seal the hair. When I get out of the shower I can feel the lightest residue left on my hair.

Note: These pictures were taken in the VERY bright light of my bathroom. There are like 10 bulbs in a 5x8 room!

Please share your thoughts!







November 12th, 2011, 03:34 AM
Hi Curlycap,
I absolutely love your hair- those are lovely curls! I'm new to this myself and I thought I was a 3a, but you look curlier than me, so now I'm not sure! I don't think your hair looks dry in the last 4 pics, but maybe the lighting (as you said) gives the appearance of dryness in the first 2.
Anyhow, that was just my two cents, so I guess others who know better will be able to confirm that.

November 12th, 2011, 03:40 AM
I'm no expert on curly hair, but your hair doesn't look dry at all, IMHO. And your curl pattern is just gorgeous! Have you been in the sun a lot lately? It might have lightened your hair in places.

November 12th, 2011, 03:51 AM
Your hair looks beautiful, not dry at all!

November 12th, 2011, 04:18 AM
Your hair is absolutely gorgeous. Not at all dry! I'd say you're closer to 3c than 3b. :)
Curly (or even wurly) hair will always look a bit drier than straight types, such as 1a-1c. Doesn't mean it is actually dry, though.

November 12th, 2011, 04:31 AM
Your hair curls beautifully from root to tip, such a lovely even pattern. Judging from your pics, I would say your hair is 3c. I agree with Lamb on curly hair looking as if its drier when its not, but it's hard to tell from your pics if you do have dry hair.

November 12th, 2011, 04:38 AM
Your hair is lovely!

I've never heard of lighter streaks appearing in hair due to dryness (which doesn't mean it doesn't happen). I suspect, as hototogisu suggested, that the sun is the reason for the streaks (although, now that I think about it, if the sun streaks hair, isn't that a drying process?? I'm thinking it is...). But your curls don't look dry to me. Are the steaks the only reason you suspect your hair is dry? Have there been any other changes in your hair? If not, then I can't say I see any problems. Of course, if you're still concerned, you can always experiment with adding a little more moisture into your routine and then just monitoring the way your hair reacts to it...

As to hair type, your curl pattern is tighter than mine and I class myself as 3a/3b, so I'd have to say you're at least 3b/3c if not just 3c...

Good Luck!

November 12th, 2011, 04:52 AM
RE: streaks of lighter colour, I have them too, without any damage. Always have had them. Some people just have natural highlights/lowlights. :D
Besides, curls cause the hair to reflect light differently all over your head, which results in "streaks" like the ones you mentioned.

November 12th, 2011, 05:23 AM
lovely curls!

November 12th, 2011, 06:01 AM
I think your hair looks beautiful and not at all dry. You have awesome curls.

November 12th, 2011, 06:07 AM
awesome! I'd say your hair doesn't look dry to me, but it looks like my hair does if i get leave in/styling product combo wrong or over oil slightly... I see little hairs that just refuse to get in line and clump together with their curl friends... do you know what I mean?

November 12th, 2011, 06:36 AM
You have gorgeous curls!

November 12th, 2011, 06:42 AM
I would say your hair is 3B. It is beautiful.

November 12th, 2011, 09:04 AM
I'd go with 3b or 3b/3c. You have gorgeous curls! :D

November 12th, 2011, 09:09 AM
I don't know if a color change indicates it is drying out. My hair changes color quite quickly, by the time it reaches my shoulders it is a few shades lighter.
I think this does mean that the hair is dried out.

I'm not sure though?

Your hair doesn't look dry, but a color change could be an indication.

Some people say you should trim off the ends that are turning a lighter color. :confused:

Cassie 123
November 12th, 2011, 09:12 AM
You have glorious curls! I'd say 3c right now, but I could see them pulling out to 3b when they grow long.

I don't think they look the slightest bit dry.

ETA: I'm going with 3b now, based on the size of the curls.

November 12th, 2011, 09:14 AM
Ok, I'm not so good at typing the super curlies. But I had to say: You are so cute and your hair looks beautiful and I love your dimples. Your pictures make me :)

November 12th, 2011, 09:18 AM
Are the steaks the only reason you suspect your hair is dry? Have there been any other changes in your hair?

I'm in the process of learning what my hair looks like without a ton of product. I used to spray infusium it with until it was soaking wet, then coat the hair with Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum and sleep with it in a bun (or, since it's now short, let it dry before sleep). The result was jet black looking, sometimes dark brown hair, that was shiny.

Without the products, my hair is now mostly dark brown and the lighter streaks worry me a bit. I've never seen them before. Also, while I can feel the oil residue, it feels coarse, like the surface of a wool coat, once it's completely dry. I can still feel the oil residue if I run my fingers down a curl, but I don't know if my hair, product-free, hair can be soft. I miss the softness of the product-coated hair.

I kinda look in confusion at my hair sometimes, because it's getting lighter, feels rough, and barely has anything it, but still no splits or breaks.

SMTs and humectants don't seem to work well for me. Heavy oilings on wet hair do wonders, and that's my deep treatment about once a week. Plus, I use intense, protein-free, deep conditioners as my daily conditioner.

November 12th, 2011, 09:25 AM
I see little hairs that just refuse to get in line and clump together with their curl friends... do you know what I mean?


This is why I used to soak my hair in product. After the soak, I'd finger comb, and all the little hairs would be forced to join a clump. It gave me such pretty, uber-defined curls. I miss it.

FYI: I stopped using the infusium+serum combo because I've developed a lot of skin allergies, and my body was just not on board with using all of that any more. Hence my trying to learn to replicate the look (or replace it with a better one), using oils.

November 12th, 2011, 09:27 AM
I'd say you're a solid 3c.

November 12th, 2011, 09:32 AM
I'd call you about 3b. I've read that 3a is about sidewalk chalk-size curls, 3b is about magic marker-sized, and 3c is pencil-sized curl diameter. Those make more sense to my brain than describing how stretched or bouncy curls are.

Is it dry? Tough to say from pictures. I'd say it's not extremely dry, but curly hair almost always loves as much moisture as it can get, and more moisture means less frizz.

Cassie 123
November 12th, 2011, 09:38 AM
I'm not convinced that a routine based purely on oils without any humectants will work in the long run. I think that if you use shampoo at all, you will need to replace some of the natural humectants in the hair that get washed away, or else the hair will end up lacking in moisture. Most conditioners replace moisture, but if you are such a curl mad scientist that you have managed to eliminate all humectants, I think you may gradually develop dry hair.

That said, your hair still looks awesome to me.

November 12th, 2011, 09:38 AM
Are you sure that your hair isn't coarse instead of f/m? My hair is coarse and so I always thought it was dry/damaged, but no that just how coarse hair "appears" to be.

November 12th, 2011, 09:53 AM
Looks like a definite 3b to me also. 3c would be much smaller and tighter.

And, I don't think your hair looks dry. Any frizz you have in those photos could easily be fixed with a little styling product. Your curls look very defined to me :)

November 12th, 2011, 10:02 AM
Your hair looks amazing

November 12th, 2011, 12:22 PM
Just admiring your beautiful curls :) :)

November 12th, 2011, 12:34 PM
I'd say 3b. Doesn't look dry at all. :)

November 12th, 2011, 12:41 PM
The thickness of your curls looks 3a/3b, and the tightness of your curls looks 3b/3c. Either way, your curls look lovely!

I've felt the less-soft texture and seen the lighter streaks in my wavy/curly hair since I changed to a more natural routine too. I don't think it's damage/dryness, though, and I don't get splits like I used to.

November 12th, 2011, 01:23 PM
CurlyCap, your curls are beautiful and don't look dry at all :cloud9:

November 12th, 2011, 01:40 PM
Another vote for 3b. 3c is more of a half-way point between the 4s and the 3s - incredibly tight curls, as if the hair had been wrapped around pencils.

I wish I had your amazing curls! They don't look dry to me either. :)

Athena's Owl
November 12th, 2011, 02:47 PM
curlycap! That is 3b/3a just like you figured! curl diameter is a bit wider than a sharpie marker, not quite to sidewalk chalk.

so it looks dry, huh? does it feel dry?

Athena's Owl
November 12th, 2011, 03:04 PM
SMTs and humectants don't seem to work well for me. Heavy oilings on wet hair do wonders, and that's my deep treatment about once a week. Plus, I use intense, protein-free, deep conditioners as my daily conditioner.

You're probably on the right track with this for winter care. I avoid humectants like the plague all year round because the air is so dry here all the time, but if I lived in say vancouver I'd probably only avoid them in the winter. Start using weather underground to track dew point, if it's lower than 7c/52f, avoid humectants entirely. Once I started cutting humectants out of my hair products I started to see dramatic improvements in my hair's look and feel. And your hair flips out after protein too, huh? My hair is straight up 3b so my curl is a bit tighter than yours but I cannot use protein on it hardly ever, it flips out gets dry and hard feeling, frizzy and dull-looking, it's just awful.

SMT only worked for me in the hottest part of the year as that's the only time I can get away with humectants, and SMT has honey *and* aloe. That's why it doesn't work for you. You are not crazy. I have exactly the same thing going on.

Are you married to no-poo? you can be, I was for years. I started using shampoo again recently because I'm trying for more root lift - my hair is so long that it just pulls out like sad ramen noodles near the crown and that's bothering me.

Two things that you might want to try - I have a jar of Boots Curl Creme from the UK. I paid 2 dollars for the jar and 12 for the shipping and I don't care, the stuff's brilliant. A little truly goes a long way and it really helps with spring. We need a connection from the UK though, the company I bought from really got me on the shipping.

Use the fixative of your choice, be it gel or mousse but don't get married to the idea that you can have frizz free hair without a fixative. You'll drive yourself mad. I'm working with mousse at the moment and it's got some things about it that I really love, but I still have 3 tubes of herbal essences Set Me Up gel - hard as rocks hold with polyquaternium 11, a fixative that works very well in dry and cold conditions (it stands up to dew points of -20f. it -works.-)

My oil topper of choice is camellia oil. The cheaper camellia seed oil works just as well as the expensive camellia leaf oil. I use a scant amount, just enough to coat my palms and make them shiny, but not oily, and then I run my hands over my hair like I was pulling my hair back into a ponytail to scrunch out the gel crunch. For wet hair I like a blend of coconut oil and shea butter. I love love love these oils used on the ends of my hair when wet.

November 12th, 2011, 03:07 PM
Your hair definitely looks like a 3b. And doesn't seem dry either.

November 12th, 2011, 03:44 PM
Gorgeous curls! I'd say a solid 3b.

November 12th, 2011, 03:51 PM
oh, your curls are beautiful! i would say 3b as well, as they are a bit loose for 3c. they look springy and healthy, not at all dry.

i have the occasional golden hair in otherwise soft black/dark dark brown hair, wouldn't worry about that. unless you see the lighter part only on the ends, that would prob be from sun.

if heavy oiling works for you, great, but i know i doesn't go over so well in the long run for me. it actually makes my hair feel dried out over time, coating the hair so it's more difficult for moisture (water) to get in. at that point, that's when my otherwise soft/fine hair feels coarse or dry. something to think about...

as for the clumping, i've been going with this method (http://www.tightlycurly.com/technique/curlyprimer/) for about 6 months, and it works so well! i was getting tired of using gel for curls to "set", then scrunching out the product (leaving flakes). with just conditioner, the curls dry nicely and remain soft.

November 12th, 2011, 04:43 PM
You have lovely hair. The first pics, as was already said, in strong sunlight, are the only ones where it looks dry, in the other pics it has shine to it, so I'm guessing it's just the light. Besides, if it's not splitting or breaking, you must be doing something right!

November 12th, 2011, 07:41 PM
as for the clumping, i've been going with this method (http://www.tightlycurly.com/technique/curlyprimer/) for about 6 months, and it works so well! i was getting tired of using gel for curls to "set", then scrunching out the product (leaving flakes). with just conditioner, the curls dry nicely and remain soft.

I finally bit the bullet and tried this tonight. I've heard about it for years, but didn't know how I felt about just leaving conditioner in. Seemed....hazardous.

Anyway, I tried it with the brushing step. Think I'll skip that next time. I have about a 1000s tiny curls everywhere now and it's not even dry.

However, I had a legitimate excuse to make doodles. I love doing that, but I always think it looks a bit childlike so I don't do it for work. :lol:

November 12th, 2011, 11:48 PM
The curls do not look dry to me. They look nice and hydrated - really lovely.

November 12th, 2011, 11:52 PM
Your curls are lovely and I agree, looks like a 3b.

November 13th, 2011, 09:59 AM
I'm thinking it's more 3b than 3a because they're such solidly formed clumps. Beautiful curls! :)

November 13th, 2011, 12:39 PM
Wow you have gorgeous hair + curls doesn't look dry at all!

November 16th, 2011, 12:35 AM
After reading your reply and giving some more thought to your lighter streaks, I have another guess... I have very dark brown hair with some lighter brown and red streaks and the occasional grey or white hair. I remember several years ago when I used to use gel/hairspray/serums and my dark brown hair would suddenly look black- just black, I could no longer see any other streaks or colors in my hair. Understand, it's not that these products changed my hair color, they just disguised it briefly. Anyway, I'm wondering if it's possible that you've always had these streaks (or developed them a few years ago... I know that some peoples' hair color changes over time) and didn't notice them because the serum you were using was giving you the illusion of one color hair.