Natural Wavy Hair Routine: The Ultimate Guide For 2A, 2B, And 2C Hair

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You might have recently noticed that your hair is neither straight nor curly, and it’s time to start looking for a natural wavy hair routine. Or perhaps you’re ready to put the hair straightener down to finally let your natural waves come through. Either way, this article is for you!

There’s an art to caring for naturally wavy hair; this hair type has a unique texture that requires its own method of styling. It’s not as fine and doesn’t get as oily as straight hair, and it’s not as tightly curled and doesn’t get as coarse as curly hair.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll identify the types of wavy hair (learn how to tell if your wavy hair is type 2A, 2B, or 2C),  and discuss the basic steps to kickstart your hair care routine for wavy hair.

How Do You Take Care Of Wavy Hair For Beginners?

If you’re totally new to the idea of a wavy hair routine, it may seem confusing trying to figure out all the technical-sounding terms like 2A wavy hair routine, low porosity wavy hair routine, Curly Girl Method, and more.

We’re here to break it all down for you so that by the end of this article, you will come away with a clear idea of how to care for your naturally wavy hair with the best wavy hair routine for your hair type.

When in doubt, stick to the basics. Here are 5 tips for caring for wavy hair:

  • Wash your hair with a curly shampoo. Try sulfate-free ones to avoid dry hair.
  • Use conditioner adequately. Also, deep condition regularly to reduce frizz.
  • Style your wavy hair with wavy hair routine products and methods that suit you.
  • Avoid heat styling. Let your hair air dry, or use a diffuser.
  • Practice healthy hair care habits to maintain your natural waves.

Before You Begin: Find Out Your Natural Wavy Hair Type

The Hair Chart developed by Andre Walker (best known as Oprah’s hair stylist) can be a good starting point to gauge what your hair type might be. Here are the categories:

  • Type 1: Straight hair, which appears straight without any bends or curls.
  • Type 2: Wavy hair, which has a distinct S-shaped wave pattern.
  • Type 3: Curly hair, which has springy ringlets or corkscrew curls.
  • Type 4: Coily hair, which has tighter coils and dense spirals.
wavy hair routine products - 3 women with different wavy hair types

Wavy hair is often referred to as Type 2. We can break this down further into sub-categories based on the width of your wave, curl, or coil.

Type 2A

best hair routine for wavy hair

Note on 2A wavy hair routine: Heavy wavy hair routine products can weigh this hair type down, giving it a limp look. When using styling products, start with smaller quantities. You can also try more lightweight products.

Type 2B

best wavy hair routine

Thicker hair that tends to lay flat at the top and progresses into more rounded S-shaped waves towards the midlength.

Note on 2B hair routine: This hair type is coarser compared to Type 2A and is more prone to frizz. Be sure to incorporate hydrating products to give your hair definition and a healthy shine.

Type 2C

everyday hair routine for wavy hair

Thick hair with defined S-shaped waves that start from the top.

Note on 2C wavy hair routine: This hair type is the thickest and coarsest among the three types, which – you guessed it! – is prone to frizz. The thicker strands can withstand heavier products; you can use extra moisturizing products to keep dry hair at bay.

Hair Porosity

When figuring out the best hair care routine for wavy hair, it’s helpful to also understand how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture. This is known as hair porosity.

Here’s a simple hair porosity test you can try:

  1. Place a strand of your just-washed hair into a glass of water.
  2. If it sinks to the bottom pretty quickly, you likely have high porosity hair. If it floats for a while before sinking, you may want to incorporate a low porosity hair routine. 

The structure of low porosity hair makes it harder for moisture to be absorbed. Here are some tips for a low porosity wavy hair routine:

  • Apply products to soaking wet hair to improve absorption.
  • When using conditioner, dilute it with a bit of water to make it more absorbable.

High porosity hair, on the other hand, absorbs water and products but doesn’t retain moisture very well. Here are some tips for a high porosity wavy hair routine:

  • Detangle hair before showering to reduce tangles and breakage.
  • Consider adding protein-rich products to help strengthen your hair.

It’s Easier To Understand Wavy Hair Routines When You Know Your Exact Hair Type

Is a 2A low porosity hair routine what you need? Or are you more of a high porosity 2B hair routine kinda gal? When you know your specific wavy hair type, you’re one step closer to getting those beautiful beach waves!

Ready for your glow-up? Let’s take a look at what a typical wavy-friendly wash day looks like.

Natural Wavy Hair Routine For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide For 2A, 2B, And 2C Hair

Step 1

Use A Curly-Friendly Shampoo

As wavy hair can be prone to dryness, you can pick up some favorites from a curly hair routine like the SheaMoisture Intensive Hydration Shampoo to cleanse your hair without leaving your waves feeling dried out.

Tip: Sulfate-free shampoos are a staple for naturally curly hair, as they can be especially helpful for reducing frizz.

One more tip! Avoid extremely hot water when you wash your hair, as this can dry it out. Wash with warm or cool water. Once you’re done shampooing and conditioning, give your hair a final cold rinse to seal the cuticle and give it a good shine.

hair care routine for wavy hair

Step 2

Condition, Condition, Condition

Say hello to your new bestie: the almighty conditioner! There are a few different types of conditioners that are commonly used in a natural wavy hair routine.

Firstly, use a conditioner after you’re done shampooing (try the SheaMoisture Intensive Hydration Conditioner). Scrunch a handful of conditioner through your wet hair. Detangle with your fingers, a wide tooth comb, or a Wet Brush. Let sit for a while, and rinse out most of the conditioner.

Next, apply a leave-in conditioner to your wet hair (we really like the SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner!). This step helps to prepare your waves for styling. Try this popular Squish to Condish technique:

  1. Flip your hair upside down.
  2. Apply leave-in conditioner to your hair.
  3. Scrunch the bottoms of your hair upwards. You’ll notice that your natural waves will start to form. You can also use a Denman styling brush to define your waves better.

Here’s a visual guide on the Squish to Condish technique.

Complete the conditioner trifecta with weekly deep conditioning. Try the award-winning Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask – it’s clinically proven to strengthen damaged hair and is great for boosting shine and silkiness.

Step 3

Style Your Naturally Wavy Hair

To truly enhance your natural beach waves, apply a curl-enhancing styling gel or cream (like the super popular Cantu Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream) through your hair.

Try the Plopping technique to set your waves:

  1. Lay a microfiber towel (or a T-shirt) on a flat surface in front of you.
  2. Place your head on the top of the towel with all of your hair gently piled on your head.
  3. Cover your head with the towel and secure it at the nape of your neck.
  4. Let your hair set this way for at least 30 minutes.

Plopping defines your wavy hair as it dries. If you leave your hair to air dry right out of the shower, you tend to lose your natural wave pattern as gravity will pull your wet hair downwards.

Here’s a helpful video on how to plop your wavy hair:

Step 4

Air Dry Or Diffuse Your Hair

hair routine for wavy hair - woman looking in mirror smiling

Wavy hair can get damaged easily when exposed to heat, so letting your hair dry naturally can make a huge difference in promoting healthier hair.

If you’re used to having your trusty hair straightener or curling iron as part of your hair routine, skipping this step might feel odd at first. But give this no-heat styling tip a try for a month or two at least, and see how your hair feels.

If you would prefer to blow dry your hair, add a diffuser attachment to your blow dryer. This disperses the force of air from your blow dryer, which helps with reducing frizz and maintaining your curl pattern.

For great volume with minimal frizz, try the popular Pixie Diffusing method:

  1. With the blow dryer off, fill the diffuser cup with a section of your hair.
  2. Turn the dryer on to low heat and low speed. Diffuse for 15 seconds to 2 minutes.
  3. Turn the dryer off, and remove your hair from the diffuser cup.
  4. Repeat throughout your hair until it’s about 90% dry.

Here’s a helpful video on Pixie Diffusing:

Step 5

Maintain Healthy Everyday Hair Routine For Wavy Hair

The best hair routine for wavy hair is maintained with healthy habits. Here are some wavy-friendly practices you can try:

  • Consider the Curly Girl Method. Level up your wavy hair routine with this method by curl expert Lorraine Massey which emphasizes super clean hair products free from sulfates, parabens, silicones, waxes, mineral oils, and alcohols. Check out Curly Girl: The Handbook to learn more!
  • Don’t overwash your hair. Consider limiting wash days to 1 to 3 times a week to avoid stripping your natural oils.
  • Consider co-washing. If you find that your hair gets a little too dried out with shampoo, consider washing your hair with a cleansing conditioner.
  • Avoid roughing your wavy hair up with a towel. This can lead to tangles and frizz. Instead, gently squeeze your hair with a towel to remove excess moisture.
  • Stay hydrated and fuel up on whole foods. The best hair care routine for wavy hair goes beyond washing, conditioning, and styling. Be sure to support your hair health with proper nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle.

Now let’s take a look at your biggest questions about starting a natural wavy hair routine:

What Helps With Wavy Hair After A Shower?

If you’ve been wondering how to style wavy hair after shower, we’ve got you covered.

This is the part of your wash day where you condition and define your waves. A thick, deeply curl-defining conditioner infused with hydrating oils and other moisturizing ingredients like glycerin can be helpful for this step. Scrunch the leave-in conditioner into your hair with the Squish to Condish technique for defined waves.

How Do I Stop My Wavy Hair From Getting Frizzy?

Frizz is one of the biggest gripes with wavy hair but not to worry; let’s do a quick recap for a frizzy wavy hair routine!

Here are 10 ways to tame and get rid of frizzy hair for good:

  • Use warm or cool water only when showering.
  • Avoid sulfates in products.
  • Try co-washing with cleansing conditioners.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner.
  • Avoid rubbing your hair with a towel.
  • Use a microfiber towel.
  • Avoid (or reduce) heat styling.
  • Use a deep conditioner every week.
  • Sleep on a silk pillowcase.
  • Trim your hair regularly to get rid of split ends.

How Do You Sleep With Wavy Hair?

Try the Pineapple method in your night hair care routine. You want to have a loose high ponytail so pull your hair through a scrunchie, but don’t double-wrap it. This gets your hair out of the way when you sleep (and looks like a pineapple on your head, hence the fruity name). You can also sleep with a silk bonnet to reduce friction.

How Do I Refresh My Wavy Hair In The Morning?

Refresh your wavy hair using water. Spray some water onto your waves to reactivate some of the products applied. This can also help the parts that have gone frizzy to re-clump. Scrunch in some curling cream or hair oil, and let your hair air dry or diffuse.

What Products Are Good For Wavy Hair?

Here are some of our favorite wavy hair routine products:

Shampoo & Conditioner

natural wavy hair routine


Intensive Hydration Shampoo

Intensive Hydration Conditioner


natural wavy hair routine

Intensive Hydration Shampoo

Intensive Hydration Conditioner

Infused with Manuka honey and Mafura oil, this ultra-hydrating combo is especially great for dry hair. The sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner also contain hydrolyzed rice protein, which can be a great fit for a high porosity hair routine.

wavy hair care routine


Cleansing Cream Shampoo

Hydrating Cream Conditioner


Cleansing Cream Shampoo

Hydrating Cream Conditioner

If you’re on the lookout for more clean wavy hair products, Cantu’s range is a definite must-try; it’s made with no mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, gluten, paraffin, or propylene. This shampoo and conditioner set is generally suitable for types 2A, 2B, and 2C hair.

wavy hair routines


No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner


No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner

Suitable for all hair types, including Type 2 hair, this sulfate-free shampoo is much-loved for leaving hair feeling fresh without drying, while the deep-moisturizing conditioner is great for managing frizz.

Leave-In Conditioner / Curling Cream

routine for wavy hair


Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner


Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner

An absolute must-have, cult product for any wavy curly hair routine. This highly-rated leave-in conditioner is a great pick if you’re keen on managing frizz and repairing damage caused by heat styling. Say hello to soft and lush waves!

how to style wavy hair after shower


Be Curly Enhancer


Be Curly Enhancer

This styling cream has a relatively lightweight formulation and may be a great pick for 2A hair. Also, it contains wheat protein and can help support high porosity hair.

best hair care routine for wavy hair


Curl Defining Cream


Curl Defining Cream

If you’re in need of something extra moisturizing, check out this argan oil-infused curl cream. This product is generally more suitable for the thicker hair types, 2B and 2C.

Hair Mask

wavy curly hair routine - briogeo don't despair repair mask


Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask


Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

Here’s a deep conditioner that’s clean and clinically proven to work! Free from sulfates, silicones, phthalates, parabens, DEA, and artificial dyes, this weekly deep conditioning mask is great for reducing frizz and boosting shine. Suitable for all Type 2 hair.

how to enhance wavy hair - cantu leave in conditioner


Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream


Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream

Here’s another stellar wavy hair routine product you can add to your wavy hair care routine. It’s suitable for all Type 2 hair and can be used as your weekly deep conditioner. However, if you’re really struggling with dry hair, this repair cream can also be used daily.

Hair Oil

curly hair routine for beginners - moroccanoil treatment


Hair Treatment


Hair Treatment

This decadent hair oil deserves a spot on the best hair routine for wavy hair! Infused with argan oil, this multi-tasking hair treatment can be used for detangling on wash day, refreshing your waves, and for an added boost in hydration and shine.

Hair Tools

how to take care of wavy hair after shower - denman hair brush


D3 7 Row Classic Styling Brush


D3 7 Row Classic Styling Brush

This versatile styling brush is great for detangling and defining your wavy hair. The soft hair brush with round-ended nylon pins helps to create softer and more defined wave patterns!

For more hair care recommendations, check out our picks for the Ultimate Best Hair Products Of All Time and the Ultimate Best Hair Tools And Hair Essentials For 2022.

Ready To Get Started With Your Natural Wavy Hair Routine?

enhance wavy hair

Trying to care for your natural wavy hair may seem overwhelming at first, but give our 5-step natural wavy hair routine a try to fight the frizz and get your beach waves looking lush and defined!

By now, you would have known your specific hair type, and we’re sure this will greatly help in finding wavy hair routine products and styling methods that work best for you.

Let us know in the comments how our everyday hair care routine for wavy hair worked out for you, and which method you love most!

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