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Type 2a Hair: What Is It And How Do I Care For It?
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Updated on May 13, 2024

Type 2a hair describes the loosest kind of waves on the hair type chart. Each form of wavy or curly hair has a unique character that requires a personalised approach to care. 

Caring for your hair can be time-consuming and complex, particularly for people with longer styles — the average woman has 4-8 square metres of hair surface area to clean [1]. However, the process of beautifying and cleansing your strands can be simplified by learning what works well for your hair type. Here, we’ll discuss:

  • What type 2a hair is
  • Why it is important to know your hair type
  • Challenges for people with 2a hair
  • Tips to care for this hair type
  • Factors affecting the health of 2a hair
  • Getting help for 2a hair
Table of Contents

What is type 2a hair? 

Type 2 hair is classified as wavy. Its subtypes range from ‘a’ (fine and thin), to ‘c’ (coarse and frizzy) [2]. This kind of hair tends to fall straight for most of its length, forming a gentle wave near the end of the shaft. 

Hair type chart for straight to coily hair

The image above shows the full range of the hair typing system. It ranges from completely straight 1a hair to 4c afro hair, characterised by tightly coiled, densely packed curls. Type 2a hair can be identified by: 

  • Straight hair at the roots and mid-shaft
  • Minimal shrinkage when your hair goes from wet to dry
  • Larger clumps of curls that may break apart and become more subtle as your hair dries
  • Gentle waves that may form an S shape towards the ends
  • A loosely defined wave pattern, often called beachy hair 

How can you determine your hair type?

The hair type chart can be subjective, and you may struggle to decide exactly which category your hair falls into. Examine your locks when they are completely free of product to work out your hair type. Before looking at the pattern, wash and condition your hair, then allow it to air dry. These are the 4 main types:

  • Type 1 – straight
  • Type 2 – wavy
  • Type 3 – curly 
  • Type 4 – coily

Once you’ve identified your main hair type, you can examine the chart to work out which subcategory it belongs in.

Hair care routine for type 2a hair

Why is it important to know your hair type?

There are several different reasons it’s worth learning about your hair type. These include:

  • Your hair care routine – Different hair types need different things. Knowing your hair type helps you craft a hair care ritual that works for your locks. For example, curly hair often needs less frequent washing and less moisture than straight hair.
  • Choosing the right products – Each hair type has its own reaction to hair products. Learning about the one you’ve got helps you choose products that are designed for your hair and avoid ones that may be too harsh or less effective.
  • Keeping your hair healthyHair breakage, frizz, and dryness are common when your hair doesn’t get the right kind of care. Knowing your hair type helps you identify the causes of these problems and take steps to keep your locks looking their best.
  • Styling – Learning about your hair type helps you choose styles that work best with your natural texture. It also helps you choose styling techniques that minimise damage and bring out the best in your hair.

What challenges come up for people with type 2a hair? 

Every hair type has its advantages and challenges. 2a is generally considered low-maintenance compared to other types, such as 3a hair, but people with 2a hair can still have some issues. 

If you have type 2a hair, you lack defined curls. Waves can be subtle, leaving it prone to looking flat or limp. Boosting the wave appearance with styling products can put you at risk of weighing your hair down. 

This hair type can easily become overloaded by heavy gels, mousses or oils, which may be the reason your hair looks greasy. Lightweight solutions that give some hold without causing buildup are the best options. 

2a hair flat and greasy at the roots

2a hair can often lack natural volume, especially at the roots. Another issue is frizz, which, like many other hair types, can be brought on by humid conditions. Products to manage these challenges should be selected carefully to avoid excessive buildup. 

Like all other hair types, using harsh chemicals can strip 2a hair of its natural oils, potentially causing dry, brittle hair. Overstyling with curlers, straighteners, or hair dryers may put you at risk of heat-damaged hair.

Tips to care for type 2a hair

2a hair can be glossy, wavy, and beautiful with the right products and care routine. Here, we’ll go through some of our top tips. 

Wash your hair regularly

People with 2a hair may struggle with greasy roots and hair that gets weighed down. Therefore, it needs a strong shampoo and regular washing to keep it light and volumised. 

Frequent hair washing should not be a problem as long you use a gentle shampoo, a conditioner, and a moisturiser if needed. Research shows that concerns around hair damage from overwashing are unfounded [3].

As a fine, thin hair type, 2a strands may benefit from a hair thickening shampoo. Daily shampooing is unlikely to cause hair loss, despite the common myth that it will. Washing your hair every day will not make it fall out

Strike the moisture balance

Wavy hair requires less hydration than curly hair, but more than straight hair. As the loosest form of type 2 hair, 2a strands need less moisture than 2b or 2c. 

Overusing oily or extra-hydrating products, such as essential oils for hair growth, can weigh down your loose 2a waves. Use heavier products sparingly or opt for lightweight products that give you a strong hold to maximise that wave definition. Light gels with a strong level of hold or products rich in protein tend to work well with 2a hair. 

After shampooing, coat your hair in a light conditioner and gently detangle your hair from root to tip. This will help control frizz and avoid damage, leaving you with soft, silky waves. 

You need to use less conditioner than people with curly hair, but more than people with straight hair. It may take some experimentation to find the perfect amount of conditioner, but the results will be worth it. Choosing the right conditioner and using it regularly can help protect your hair from breakage [4].

Embrace air drying 

Air drying can bring out the best in your waves without heat damage. It can protect you from the damaging effects of hair dryers, which can cause roughness, dryness, and loss of hair colour [5]. Gently pat your hair dry with a T-shirt or microfibre towel (known as micro-plopping) — this removes excess water so the water weight doesn’t drag on your hair, flattening your waves. 

Woman with volumised type 2a hair

Add some volume

Fight flat roots with some volumising product, keeping the product lightweight to give your hair a lift without weighing it down. You can also try blow-drying your hair upside down.

Another tactic is root clipping, a technique that uses hair clips placed at the crown while your hair dries. These clips create volume and a natural lift at the roots without any heat damage.  

Tie it up overnight

Use a satin scrunchie to tie your hair in a loose pineapple or high ponytail overnight. This stops your waves from being crushed overnight, meaning you may need to use less product the next day. 

Make sure to keep your overnight hairstyle loose. Extremely tight ponytails can cause hair loss, a condition known as traction alopecia [6].

Woman with damaged and tangled 2a hair

Factors affecting the health of 2a hair

Knowing what affects your hair’s health can help keep it in the best condition possible. Several factors can affect the health of 2a hair, including: 

Woman seeing a trichologist for damaged 2a hair

Getting help for 2a hair problems

If you’re struggling with hair shedding, frizz, or limp, lifeless 2a hair, you may need to adjust your hair care routine. It can be tough to know where to start, but a trichologist can help.

These hair specialists have expert knowledge of all lock types and can share tailored advice to optimise your hair care routine. The Wimpole Clinic offers highly experienced trichologists, and our clinic locations are convenient to reach.

As with all hair types, you may experience 2a hair loss, especially as you get older. Male or female pattern baldness is a common culprit, causing diffuse thinning in women and an M-shaped hairline in men, which can progress to advanced baldness if left untreated. But other conditions, such as alopecia areata, can lead to hair loss as well, which is why it is important to get an accurate diagnosis.

If you are experiencing hair shedding or require 2a-specific hair care advice, book a consultation with a trichologist. They can perform all the necessary tests (such as a hair pull test or blood tests for hair loss) to diagnose the reason your hair is falling out. They can recommend the best hair loss treatments for men and women, and even refer you to a hair transplant surgeon if that’s an option you’d like to explore further.

Type 2a Hair: What Is It And How Do I Care For It?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ismail Ughratdar (FRCS)Updated on May 13, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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