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The 2B Hair Type | Quick Reference Guide & Care Tips

Medium texture, beachy waves, and prone to dryness and frizz, the 2B hair type is a class of its own that requires special care! Read on to learn the ins and outs of this hair type and learn how to care, maintain, and style it.

If you have type 2B hair (or think you might), this quick reference guide will be a major help. You’ll learn what makes your hair type unique, the best and worst features, and your hair’s ideal washing, drying, and styling routines. 

We’ll show you the types of products you need to enhance and perfect your hair’s texture while keeping it manageable, hydrated, and smooth. Read the guide and see what positive changes you can make to better support your 2B hair’s health and texture. Get ready for more great hair days! 

What Is the 2B Hair Type?

Woman with the 2b hair type in a studio

Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

The 2B hair type is characterized by medium (as opposed to fine or coarse), wavy strands that are prone to oiliness and flatness. This hair type has prominent, consistent waves that don’t form full S-shaped curls. Your 2B waves might be described as beachy or loose waves. 

Type 2B hair is known for the following: 

  • Medium strand texture
  • Tends to be dry
  • Frizzy when moisture needs aren’t met
  • Heavy products weigh waves down
  • May need products to shape and define waves

Not sure if you have 2B hair or another type? You may fall under one of the other wavy or curly hair types. Here’s how 2B compares with the most similar wavy hair types (2A and 2C) and curly hair types (3A):

  • 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
  • 3A Hair: Fine to medium loose ringlets about the circumference of a wine cork

Below, we share the best and worst features of 2B hair. You’ll see styling, maintenance, and care tips to keep your beachy waves defined and shiny without frizz. Scroll on to learn about all things 2B! 

Best Features of 2B Hair

Your 2B hair type means you have an enviable natural wave pattern that looks casual and beachy. It’s naturally full and voluminous and you don’t have to do much to make it look good. Here are some of the best features of 2B hair. 

Loose, Beachy Waves

Loose, beachy waves are the most noticeable feature of 2B hair. Your hair is straighter at the roots, but tumbles into defined waves from the midshaft to ends.

This gives you an ideal scenario: Manageable shape and texture that doesn’t require a ton of products or styling to look great. 

If you prefer a curly rather than wavy look, you’ve probably found that your 2B waves can easily be coaxed into S-shaped curls when you air dry or diffuse dry with the right mousse or cream. 

Natural Volume and Fullness

One of the other notable features of 2B hair is its natural volume and fullness. This makes 2B hair appear thick, even if the hairs on your head aren’t super-densely packed together.

Even though the hair at your roots is relatively straight, there’s enough bend to give strands a flattering lift so your hair never looks limp, flat, or lifeless. 

You naturally have what so many women desperately want (and spend lots of money trying to create with products). Your 2B hair’s volume and fullness is a big part of what gives your hair a thick, healthy, and youthful appearance. 

Versatile and Holds Styles Well

Type 2B hair is one of the most versatile hair types for different styles. While straight locks struggle to hold a wave or curl and curly strands are hard to sleekly straighten, your hair’s in-between texture makes it a perfect fit for almost any texture or style. 

You’ve probably found that your hair can seamlessly transition from pin-straight, sleek looks to soft, casual waves and even into bouncy, lively ringlets.

And it’ll actually hold these styles for 48 hours or so! You have your hair’s medium thickness (as opposed to fine or coarse) to thank for that, as well as your gently tousled natural texture. 

Less Prone to Oiliness

While straight type 1’s and type 2A (slightly wavy) hair is prone to oiliness, your 2B strands likely don’t deal with this issue. Oil travels down hair strands from the scalp through the path of least resistance. On straight and very slightly wavy strands, oil travels fast.

On your fully wavy strands, oil can’t travel as well and tends to stay put at the scalp. As a result, your hair looks oily less often and can withstand longer periods between shampoos without looking like a grease pit. Score! 

Worst Features of 2B Hair

Having 2B hair comes with its fair share of challenges and problems. Here’s what you likely struggle with the most:

Chronically Dry

Remember what we said about 2B hair being less oily than 2A (slightly wavy) hair? Well, the downside to that is that your hair may be chronically dry and thirsty, especially at the ends. Sebum, your scalp’s natural oil, makes your hair look greasy in excess.

But its main job is moisturizing and nourishing your strands. Since your wavier texture makes it difficult for oil to travel down strands to moisturize them, you may deal with chronic dryness that’s hard to treat with conditioner alone. 

Tends to Be Frizzy

The chronic dryness and medium texture of 2B hair comes with another downside frizz. When your waves aren’t hydrated properly, individual strands become brittle and rough. Some begin to separate from their natural wave groups and take on a mind of their own. 

These strands might bend and kink more or less than the rest of your hair, and the most damaged areas will be the most affected by frizz. Fortunately, proper moisture and hydration will minimize or eliminate frizz for a more defined, neater texture.

Read Next: How to Get Rid of Frizzy Hair

Prone to Tangles

Tangling is part of the territory with 2B hair. Your casual, carefree texture naturally lends itself to tangles and snarls as the bends in strands overlap and slide over each other. The tangle issue is compounded if your hair is dry and damaged. 

But like the other 2B issues like dryness and frizz, excessive tangling can usually be fixed by addressing your hair’s unique moisture needs. Good to know! 

Maintenance and Care Tips for 2B Hair

Overall, what’s maintenance and care like for the 2B hair type? Let’s take a look at your ideal shampoo schedule, drying methods, and style options to keep your hair healthy and strong with better definition. 

Washing 2B Hair

You should wash 2B hair 2-3 times a week with sulfate-free shampoo. Washing less often and without sulfates helps you avoid stripping away the natural oils that keep strands hydrated and healthy.

It can also help preserve and enhance your natural wave pattern by keeping your hair naturally moisturized. If you’re struggling with a lot of dryness, try co-washing with only conditioner in between wash days.

Wet your hair and apply conditioner, let it sit, then rinse it out. Doing this co-wash in between your 2 or 3 weekly shampoos will help you avoid dryness that leads to brittle, easily broken strands.

Read Next: How Often Should I Wash My Hair Quiz

Drying 2B Hair

Drying 2B waves can be done with or without heat. Without heat (air drying) is preferred for your medium-textured strands and your waves are ideal for air drying to a beautiful finish. The next section has a few tips for air drying 2B hair with great results. 

Drying with heat is okay, but you should limit how often you do it to avoid damaging your hair. Always make sure you blow dry on the lowest heat setting to preserve the integrity and health of your hair! And don’t blow dry without using a heat protectant spray first. 

Styling 2B Hair

If you’re regularly styling your 2B hair with heat, note that it should always be done with low heat settings (blow dryers and hot tools), lightweight styling products, and heat protectant.

To protect your hair from damage, though, your go-to styles should be heatless styles you can create easily when you air dry your hair. Here are 3 of our favorite styles for the medium-textured 2B hair type. 

Mousse & Air Dry for Heatless Waves

Woman with 2B hair looking left

Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/Shutterstock

With your gorgeously casual wave texture, you can’t pass up the opportunity to do a simple air dry style throughout the week! All you’ll need is a little mousse to enhance your waves and provide a touch of hold. 

Dispense the mousse into your hands and apply it lightly to the ends and midshaft of your hair (where most of your wave is concentrated).

Use root lift spray at the roots for extra-flattering volume on top. Scrunch the mousse into your strands and keep your hands out of it as it dries to avoid frizz. Easy and so cute! 

Partial French Braids

Lady with Partial French Braids in a studio

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Waiting longer in between shampoos (as we recommend for your hair type) is a lot easier when you’re rocking protective styles like braids.

Try partial French braids in the front to handle that “second day” hair look. Create a side part, separate the frontmost sections into 3 equally sized pieces, and braid toward the back of your head.

Stop above the ear or a little further back. Secure each braid with an elastic. This style will contain the front pieces of your hair to keep it looking stylish and clean, even on second-day hair.

Half-Up Wavy Ponytail

Gal with 2b hair styled in a Half-Up Wavy Ponytail

Red Umbrella and Donkey/Shutterstock

We love how a half-up ponytail with wavy 2B hair adds more fullness and the illusion of thicker hair. This type of style can make your hair look longer and gives you the best of both worlds. 

After air drying or diffusing your waves dry, gather part of the top half of your hair into a ponytail. Take hair from eyebrow to eyebrow for a smaller ponytail, or expand temple to temple for a thicker ponytail.

If needed, use a curling iron with a similar diameter to your wave pattern to perfect and touch up your waves in the back. Mist with hairspray (if needed) and pull down a few face-framing pieces. 

Things to Consider

This quick reference guide has covered most everything you need to know to take the best care of your 2B hair. We looked at the best and worst features of this hair type, the best shampoo schedule, how to dry and style it without damaging your waves, and some of the best go-to hairstyles for 2B wavy hair. 

There are still a few more things you need to know about 2B hair, so we’ll close with these important considerations.

  • Skip heavyweight hydration products. Since your 2B waves are more prominent than 2A waves, it’s easy to think that super-hydrating products meant for curly hair are the best fit for you. But your hair still has a medium (not fine or coarse) texture, so heavyweight hydration will leave it flat and limp. Stick to lightweight moisture (leave-in conditioner or in-shower conditioner only) and styling products to keep your waves lively. 
  • Curtain bangs are a great choice for 2B hair. Your gentle beachy waves give midi-length curtain bangs the perfect amount of texture and bend to flatter and frame your face. See some of the different ways you can style curtain bangs for wavy hair here.
  • Damage ruins your wave pattern. Chemical and heat damage over time can ruin your natural wave pattern by roughing up the hair’s cuticle. If you can, avoid processing your hair more than once every 6 weeks and stop if you notice more dryness, tangles, or breakage. Always use heat protectant when you heat style, and air dry more often to preserve your wave pattern. 
  • Clarify once a month. Using any type of silicon-containing hair product will result in product buildup that weighs down your waves over time. Once a month, use a clarifying shampoo or apple cider vinegar rinse to remove buildup and keep your waves bouncy. 

The 2B Hair Type: Final Thoughts

Properly caring for your 2B waves can really be summed up with 2 keys: Lightweight products and damage protection. 

First, keep everything lightweight. No curl creams, heavy gels, or oils are needed to style or moisturize your hair. Washing 2-3 times a week with sulfate-free shampoo and following up with moisturizing conditioner should be enough to keep strands hydrated and clean. 

Second, focus on preventing and protecting against damage that can ruin your wave pattern and lead to frizz, tangles, and breakage. Minimal processing and heat styling is ideal for your hair type, and you should always use heat protectant if you plan to blow dry or heat style. Air dry whenever possible to show off your natural wavy texture.

Not quite sure 2B is your hair type? It’s worth it to find out! Take our 3-question hair type quiz or check out the hair type chart to determine your official hair type and get the best, personalized advice for your strands.