Every mane is unique, but they all fit into one of 12 possible hair types depending on the texture (fine, medium, or coarse) and shape (straight, wavy, curly, or coily) of strands.
Learning about your specific hair type – the good and the bad – will help you improve the appearance and health of your hair.
Once you see what a difference proper care and maintenance makes, it’ll give you a whole new appreciation of your unique hair type. Let’s take a close-up look at the 2A hair type to see what you’re doing right and what may need to change.
What Is the 2A Hair Type?
The 2A hair type is characterized by fine to medium, slightly wavy strands that are prone to oiliness and flatness. This hair type has the least prominent waves of the other type 2 wavy hair types (2B and 2C).
Your 2A waves might be better described as loose bends or barely-there waves. Type 2A hair is known for the following:
- Fine to medium strand texture
- Loose, bendy wave shape
- Oiliness/limpness at the roots
- Heavy products flatten waves
- May be frizzy when moisture needs aren’t met
- May require products to enhance waves
Not sure if you really have 2A hair? You may fall under one of the other wavy hair types. Here’s how 2A compares with the other wavy hair types (2B and 2C).
- 2A Hair: Fine to medium strands with slight waves that can be enhanced with products
- 2B Hair: Medium strands with full beachy waves that tend to be frizzy and dry
- 2C Hair: Medium to coarse strands with tight waves that resemble curls and tend to frizz
Keep reading to see the best and worst features of type 2A hair, plus styling and care tips.
Best Features of 2A Hair
There’s a lot to love about 2A hair! These are some of the best features of this wavy hair type.
Subtle, Workable Texture
While 2A waves aren’t the most noticeable, they can easily be coaxed to beach-wave status with a little mousse or lightweight gel. The subtle, workable texture of 2A hair makes it an ideal candidate for a range of styles and strand shapes.
You’ll also notice that your 2A hair easily holds wavy and curly styles without falling flat. While more prominent waves and curls are difficult to style into sleek, straight looks, 2A hair can be styled in straight, wavy, and curly textures with ease.
Less Likely to Deal With Dryness
The 2A hair type rarely deals with dryness (or the issues that come along with it, like brittle strands prone to breakage). This is due to the shape of 2A strands.
They’re straddling the fence between straight and wavy, so scalp oil (sebum) is easily able to travel down strands to keep them moisturized and healthy.
While wavier and curlier hair types with more shape to their strands tend to struggle with chronic dryness and require lots of outside moisture, the 2A hair type usually gets adequate moisture naturally.
Type 2A hair is generally considered low-maintenance because of its slightly wavy shape and fine to medium texture. The shape is easy to air dry, heat style, and doesn’t require a ton of products to look its best.
While finer strands may struggle to hold and support wavy or curly styles, 2A hair doesn’t have that problem.
Coarser, thicker strands tend to frizz more than the 2A hair type and feel rougher to the touch. With low-maintenance 2A hair, styling and care is just about as easy as it gets. Wash, condition, work in a little mousse, and let it air dry!
Minimal Product Needs
Since 2A hair is naturally well-moisturized and shiny with a slightly wave base shape, it doesn’t take a lot of products to enhance this hair type and make it manageable. You’ve got all the “ingredients” for a good hair day naturally!
While some types require a range of products to be hydrated, manageable, or to hold a style in place, 2A hair doesn’t need much to look its best. You should get enough moisture and hydration from conditioning with each wash.
Lightweight mousse is all you need to support and enhance your slight waves into loose, beachy bends. You may need a touch of anti-frizz serum on humid days, but overall, 2A hair’s product needs are minimal.
Worst Features of 2A Hair
It’s not all sunshine and roses with the 2A hair type (as you’re well aware). Here are some of the more challenging features of type 2A hair.
Prone to Oiliness
Type 2A hair is prone to oiliness more so than other wavy hair types. Your scalp may not actually produce more oil than others’, but the shape of your strands definitely contributes to making your hair look oily faster than others might experience.
The very slight wave in 2A hair means your strands are mostly straight with a little bend.
This straight/wavy shape makes it easy for your scalp’s natural oils to travel down strands. That’s great for keeping your mane moisturized, but not so great for keeping it looking clean.
Can Be Frizzy
Type 2A hair with a medium texture (as opposed to fine) may tend to frizz up. You might notice it’s worse in humid conditions, after air drying, or when you heat style without using a heat protectant first.
Frizzy 2A hair takes on a messy look – and not in the cute, messy-on-purpose way. It’s easy enough to address the issue with anti-frizz serum.
But it’s smarter long-term to address your hair’s underlying dryness to combat frizz. You can do this with once-weekly hair masks, leave-in conditioner, or moisturizing treatments.
May Need Products to Fully Wave
While 2A hair has some wave, it’s not really a full wave on its own. You’ll probably find that your hair needs to be coaxed with a lightweight styling product to enhance and amplify your waves.
Air drying your waves without product may give you messy, inconsistent results. But adding a pump of airy mousse or lightweight gel to your damp hair and scrunching can bring your waves to life.
Maintenance and Care Tips for 2A Hair
Caring for and maintaining 2A hair is pretty easy because this is a low-maintenance hair type. But there are still some important considerations to keep in mind if you want your 2A waves to look and feel their best.
Washing 2A Hair
You should shampoo fine to medium 2A hair every other day with a good sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping away all your natural oils. If you can make it every 2 days, even better! Washing daily is too often for this hair type.
Waiting a day or two in between shampoos allows you to take full advantage of the moisturizing properties of your scalp’s natural oils. If you wash 2A hair too often, you will only exacerbate the oiliness problem.
When you strip your scalp’s natural oils away, it responds by producing even more oil to “correct” the problem. But when you shampoo less often, you get more strand hydration, less wear and tear on your hair, and longer-lasting color (if you like to dye your hair).
Drying 2A Hair
Taking good care of your 2A hair also means taking the right approach to drying it. Air drying should be your go-to because you have the ideal strands for it.
When you do need to blow dry, make sure you’re using a low heat setting and heat protectant to avoid creating frizz and interfering with your wave pattern.
Ideally, you should be using a dryer that protects your fine-to-medium hair from heat damage. We like the Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer best for 2A hair. It’s pricey, but it constantly monitors the air temperature blowing out and dries your hair up to 63% faster.
It even comes with a diffuser attachment – another key to nailing perfect, beachy waves with the 2A hair type!
Styling 2A Hair
Styling 2A hair is full of possibilities. There’s really not much you can’t do with this hair type. Looks from pin-straight to fully curly are possible thanks to the durable and flexible characteristics of your strands.
Your go-to styling method should be simple, gentle on your hair, and light on products. Here’s what we recommend for 2A hair.
Mousse + Air Dry for Beachy Waves
Apply a pump of airy, lightweight mousse to your hair, making sure to concentrate on the ends and midshaft (where your hair likely has the most wave). If needed, work a little root volumizer in at the roots only for some extra lift.
Scrunch the product in with your hands, then treat it as “hands off” until it’s fully dry. This will help you avoid creating frizz in your beachy waves.
Heat Protectant + Blow Out for Smooth, Straight Volume
Blowouts are a great go-to style choice for 2A hair, and your mane will easily fall into a smooth, straight look with minimal products.
Heat protectant is a must anytime you plan to blow dry or use a hot tool on your fine to medium 2A strands. They’re easily damaged with excess heat. Spray heat protectant all over your hair first, then section it out and blow dry on low with a round brush or paddle brush in sections.
If your hair is very thick, try clipping the top half up while you dry the bottom in sections. Use your brush to dry strands upward, then curve the ends under for a classic, voluminous blowout look.
Heat Protectant + Mousse + Diffuse for Bouncy Waves
If loose, beachy waves aren’t your style, you can use a little mousse and a diffuser to get bouncy waves that border on curls. It’s a great voluminous style for days when you want a little more texture.
Work your favorite mousse into your hair to help support and enhance your waves. As always, start by spraying your hair with a good heat protectant.
Blow dry with a diffuser on the low heat setting using scooping motions to amplify and encourage full wave formation. If needed, spritz with hairspray when you’re done to hold the style.
Things to Consider
We’ve talked about the best and worst features of 2A hair, covered the basic care, maintenance, and styling tips, and talked about the things your hair type needs to look and feel its best. Before you go, we’ve got a little more light to shine on the 2A hair type.
- You really do need 2A-specific products. Heavier products meant for coarse hair or curls won’t work for you. If you want better results when you style, you need to be using products that are formulated for your hair type. We have a full list of products for 2A hair here: Best Products for Fine Wavy Hair | Our Top 6 Picks.
- Finding your ideal shampoo schedule is essential. Washing 2A hair too often – or not often enough – will create issues for your hair immediately or in the long run. We recommend washing every other day to keep greasiness at bay, but if you can go longer between shampoos, you absolutely should. Learn more here.
- Air drying > blow drying. You have a great, lowkey wavy texture to your hair that lends itself perfectly to air drying. Don’t blow dry unless you really have to! Avoiding the direct heat of a dryer is much healthier for your strands, and over time, you’ll notice your hair is shinier, stronger, and less frizzy when you air dry more often than you heat style.
- Accept your inconsistent waves. It can be frustrating to style 2A hair because the waves are loose, inconsistent, and may look “messy” without heat styling. But it doesn’t take as much work to enhance and amplify them as you’d think! All you need is a little mousse and a quick scrunch or twist. Get comfortable with your natural texture so you can air dry more often with minimal products.
You have one of the more-envied hair types on the list. While it’s got benefits and drawbacks, overall, 2A hair is easy to care for, healthy, and versatile. Start exploring new ways to style and protect your hair from damage to have better hair days year-round.