October 5, 2022

The actor Simone Ashley with wavy, 2B hair

Ready to ride the wave? That’s what people with type 2B hair can do to make the most of their natural texture. “Type 2B hair is moderately wavy and medium textured,” explains trichologist Anabel Kingsley. “If you have type 2B hair you’ll notice your wave pattern gets progressively stronger toward your ends—i.e., the roots of your hair are relatively straight, with your strands gradually forming a more defined ‘S’ shape from just above your mid-lengths. Type 2B hair is also prone to frizz and is relatively easy to straighten with the right products and some heat—but it does have a tendency to kink in humid weather.”

Here’s the part where you might be wondering exactly whether or not you have type 2B hair—and if you do, how you can care for it. Read on to find out everything you need to know, straight from Kingsley and stylist Jennie Roberts.

What Is Type 2B Hair?

Type 2B hair is recognized as an S-shaped wave. “The waves sit relatively flat at the roots and form a soft S-shape wave toward the mid-lengths to ends, as opposed to type 2C waves, which tend to have a stronger shape and wave pattern starting at the roots with the S-shape getting shorter and stronger toward the ends, and type A which is a very elongated S-shape,” explains Roberts.

Differentiating Between Type 2B Hair

Distinguishing type 2B hair from types 2A and 2C can be a little tricky. All type 2 hair is wavy, but each subtype is unique, according to Kingsley. “Type 2A hair has a loose, subtle wave—tousled rather than truly wavy—and the hair tends to be finer,” she says. “Type 2C hair has a defined S-shaped wave throughout the lengths and the hair can take on an almost ringlet-like appearance. Type 2C hair is generally coarser in diameter, although this isn’t always the case. Type 2B hair is more challenging to straighten than type 2A hair, yet easier to straighten than type 2C.”

Keep in mind that you can have more than one hair texture. “Type 2B hair can be scattered with 2A and 2C waves,” Roberts says. “We have different textures throughout the hair on our head.”

How Should You Care for Type 2B Hair?

  • Detangle carefully: “As waves are concentrated further down the hair with type 2B, it is especially likely to tangle toward the mid-lengths and ends,” Kingsley says. “Before combing your hair, especially when wet as wet hair is more fragile, use a detangling spray and gently ease out any knots from your ends up with a wide-tooth comb.”
  • Choose the right products: “Using protein-based products along with a little moisture will enhance waves,” Roberts says. “The Strength Recipes line from Curlsmith perfectly covers the needs of waves that seek a little more oomph.”
  • Sleep on a satin pillowcase: This can help reduce frizz, according to Kingsley.
  • Work your waves: “Type 2B hair tends to be fine hair that struggles with volume as waves start further down the hair shaft, so root lift is important to give a balanced overall look to the texture,” Roberts says. “It’s a good texture to manipulate into stronger waves with clever styling techniques such as finger curling. This is when small clumps of hair are wrapped around the fingers to form spirals after the styling products have been applied for added hold.”
  • Shampoo regularly: “To keep your scalp healthy, try to shampoo daily to every other day,” Kingsley says. “As wavy hair is more prone to tangles, it’s important to be mindful when you shampoo and don’t pile your hair on top of your head. Instead, focus on your scalp and gently squeeze the suds through your mid-lengths and ends.”
  • Wash gently: “When washing and conditioning, good practices should be maintained, such as low manipulation of the hair during shampooing,” Roberts says. “Concentrate on the scalp and no rubbing of the hair shaft. I see this all the time when people are literally scrubbing their hair strands. Shampoo is clever at removing and carrying dirt away from the hair, so [there is] no need to scrub at all.”
  • Avoid product at the roots: “Do not apply conditioning creams to your roots or use too much product, as this will weigh down your waves rather than enhance them,” Kingsley says. “It’s always best to start with a blueberry-sized amount and gradually add if necessary.”

What Are Some of the Best Hairstyles and Cuts for Type 2B Hair?

“The best type of haircuts for 2B texture—or any texture, in fact—are round layers with graduation,” Roberts says. “Layers are important to encourage the curl and add volume. I find this technique works best as it allows the texture to support itself without creating a triangular shape.”

If you want to encourage stronger waves, then keeping the texture at its optimal length will help to do this. “The longer the length, the weaker the wave,” Roberts says. “A great length is between the jaw and shoulder; this will encourage the hair to bounce naturally into the waves.”

Still need more hair inspo? “Think of a cloud or dandelion,” Roberts says. “It’s a lovely round shape whether it’s short or elongated, for a longer look. A soft, round, layered bob looks great with graduation for a fuller look.” 

The Best Products for Type 2B Hair

Manta the Healthy Hair Brush
Manta Healthy Hair Brush $30.00

“A good detangling brush or comb is essential,” Roberts says. “The Manta Brush is my number one as it’s soft and easy to handle and won’t snap or break your strands due to the silicone prongs.” 

PK Elasticizer Extreme
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme Rich Deep-Conditioning Treatment $30.00

Pre-shampoo treatments are ideal because they won’t weigh your hair down. “This is because they are left on your strands for long enough to penetrate and then the excess residue is washed away,” Kingsley says. “Use a pre-shampoo conditioner at least once a week to maintain the elasticity of your waves and to promote curl retention—hydrated strands hold onto waves much more readily, whereas dry, damaged strands will lose definition quickly and frizz.”

She recommends Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer Extreme Pre-Shampoo Deep Conditioning Treatment. “It plumps the hair shaft with moisture and smooths the outer cuticle with nourishing olive and castor oils,” she says.

Slip Satin Pillowcase
Slip Queen Envelope Satin Pillowcase $89.00

Type 2B hair is prone to frizz, so a satin pillowcase will help keep strands smooth while you snooze. “A satin pillowcase is great for any texture hair as it’s less friction,” Roberts says. A Slip pillowcase, made of the highest grade long fiber mulberry silk, will do the trick.

Curlsmith Bouncy Strength Volume Foam
Curlsmith Bouncy Strength Volume Foam $26.00

For type 2B hair “it’s best to go for a soft hold… as anything too crunchy will pull the waves apart instead of holding them together,” says Roberts. “Curlsmith’s Hold Me Softly Style Balm ($27) layered under the Bouncy Strength Volume Foam gives a soft, natural, undone wave with no signs of products. I tend to dry the hair with a diffuser hovering on a low speed, so the hair doesn’t move; otherwise, you will shake the wave out before it’s formed. Curlsmith recently launched one: the Defrizzion Dryer & XXL Diffuser ($189).”