Coily Hair vs Curly Hair: Know The Difference

Coily Hair vs Curly Hair: Know The Difference

Coily hair and curly hair might seem similar at first glance, but they have distinct behaviors and responses to various hair care techniques.

You might think that coily and curly hair are alike since they both belong to the same hair type family. After all, curls are curls, right?

But you'll be surprised to learn just how much difference there really is between these two textures.

It's important to understand the nuances of your hair type, as it enables better management. The more love and care you give to your hair, the stronger and healthier it becomes.

While both coily hair and curly hair have curls, understanding the specific curl patterns of your hair will help you maintain its health and beauty.

Different Curl Patterns

What's Your Type?

All hair types, including wavy, curly, and coily hair, have different curl patterns that distinguish them. If you have ringlets that are not tightly coiled, you likely have Type 3 curls, which fall under the "curly" category.

If your hair has tiny, extremely tight curls, you likely have coily hair, also known as "kinky" or Afro-textured hair.

Curly Hair

Curly hair, also known as Type 3 hair, displays a distinct "S"-shaped curl pattern. Even when wet, the curls maintain their spirals. Due to the cuticle not sitting flat, this hair type is not as shiny as straight or wavy hair.

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Curly hair often appears voluminous and bouncy. Type 3A curls are looser, thicker, and more S-shaped than waves. Type 3B curls are denser, coarser, and more corkscrew-like. Type 3C hair is tighter and denser than 3A and 3B, but not as tight as Type 4 hair, earning it the name "coily-curly."

Coily Hair

Coily hair, known as Type 4 hair, is extremely fragile, full of tight coils, and wiry. With fewer cuticle layers, it is prone to drying out quickly. The swirls and twists characteristic of coily hair make it difficult for the scalp's natural oils to travel down the strands effectively.

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Despite its coarse appearance, coily hair consists of numerous tightly coiled strands, which can range from silky and fine to wiry and coarse. Coily hair often faces challenges such as shrinkage, tangling, and dryness due to the tight zigzag pattern of its curls.

Difference Between Coily Hair & Curly Hair

Know Your Type
  • Although "curly" is often used as a blanket term for all textured hair types, there are key distinctions between curly and coily hair. Curly hair tends to have more of an S shape compared to coils, which are springier, tighter, and smaller.

  • Curly hair is more lubricated compared to coily hair. The scalp's natural oils struggle to lubricate the hair shaft in coily hair due to its numerous twists and bends. As a result, coily hair is drier and requires more moisture than curly hair.

  • Curly hair maintains its cylinder shape without naturally curling back into itself, while coily hair tends to curl back on itself.

  • By observing your hair, you can easily determine if it is curly or coily. Curly hair has less tightly curled and more visible curls, while coily hair has tightly coiled strands, giving it a more compact appearance.


Ultimately, the care you provide to your hair, once you identify its type, be it afro textured hair or soft springy coils, it is more crucial than the specific hair type itself. After understanding the general qualities of your curly or coily hair, establish a hair care routine that works best for you. Knowing the difference between curly and coily hair will guide you in selecting the most suitable products for your hair.

Indique Hair Care Essentials range offers exceptional products that effectively treat and care for curly and coily hair. Give them a try today!