2C Waves: Hydration and Definition 

September 21, 2023


Verna Meachum

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Last Updated on September 27, 2023 by showitadmin

Type 2C hair is confusing; it looks curly but not curled enough. That means styling it and ensuring pattern definition is challenging. It also carries curly characteristics like dryness. Managing it can seem impossible, but it just takes some learning. Here’s how to hydrate and define your 2C waves. 

Type 2C waves require products like leave-in conditioners, masks, and hydrating formulas to restore moisture and maintain the overall health of the strands. Wave definition can be improved with hydration, overnight styling, using hold products, and following proper hair care and styling routines.

2C hair is considered rare, making finding the correct information and products best suited to care for your hair is challenging. But in this post, we discuss all about how you can add and maintain hydration and improve your wave definition for type 2C hair. 

2C Hair: Hydration and Definition Struggles 

Image of Domi Powell
Here’s a picture of my good friend Domi, sporting her gorgeous 2c waves.

Before we get into solutions, let us examine why hydration and definition are challenging factors for 2C waves. And before that, the hair type must be understood. You can learn more about type 2 wavy hair in my blog called, “The Ultimate Guide for Wavy Curly Hair: 2A, 2B, and 2C,” and dive into the specifics of subcategory 2C and its optimal guide in my other blog called, “The Optimal Care Guide for Type 2C Hair.”


2C is the waviest in its category. As a natural result of the textured curly pattern hair, you will find more dryness than straighter types. This is because the natural oils from the scalp have difficulty passing down the strands due to the twists and bumps. It’s like an obstacle course. 

That means that even if your scalp is slightly oily or moisturized, the rest of your hair will lack hydration. This is an ongoing struggle that people with wavy and curly hair face. Since 2C waves are very close to curls, they suffer the same. And it is nourishing your hair will require more effort. 


2C is the most defined of the wavy hair type. It has clear wave patterns and is often mistaken for type 3A hair. But it is not entirely curly and, therefore, falls under type 2. That also means it sometimes appears as a mixed texture, with some strands less wavy than others. 

It can also have a lot of frizz, and due to the dryness, it doesn’t always look defined. This is how hydration and definition tie in together with 2C hair. Sometimes, 2C hair looks disheveled. Proper hair care and styling techniques must be implemented to help it look its best in its natural texture. 

Hydration Tips for Type 2C Hair 

Now that we understand the issue with hydration for 2C hair, we can finally get into those solutions. Dehydrated 2C hair can be improved, and here is how: 


Leave-in conditioners are highly underrated products. They are remarkable for hydration, improving definition, reducing frizz, and protecting your hair from environmental effects like wind and sun rays. 

Hair Oils 

Hair oils are excellent to use 2-3 times a month. A deep treatment with argan, coconut, or Moroccan oil and maybe a little massage can help nourish the hair and reduce dryness. Massaging the oil in will also stimulate blood flow, feeding the hair follicles and improving your overall hair’s health. 

Hair Masks 

Hair mask treatments are ideal for once-a-week treatments for dry or dehydrated hair. The masks feed your hair with everything the scalp and strands need to restore and improve moisture. Hair masks also reduce frizz and help with definition. 

Avoiding Heating Tools 

Heating tools damage your hair’s natural state, causing dryness, breakage, and hair loss. If you must, add your diffuser attachment to your hair dryer. Avoid other tools like curling tongs and straightening irons as much as possible, and always use heat protectants if you must use them. 

Reducing Sun Exposure 

The sun holds vitamin D and is brilliant for the health of your hair. So don’t avoid it entirely. But overexposure to sun, wind, and outdoor aspects like chlorine pool water and salt water from the sea can be extremely harmful and excessively dry your hair to the point of long-term damage. 

Try to use protective serums, leave-in-conditioners, and accessories like sun hats and swim caps when you spend time outdoors. 

How to Add Definition to Type 2C Waves 

The fantastic thing about improving hydration in your 2C hair is that your wave definition will automatically start shaping up and looking better. Of course, there are other things you can add to your hair care and styling routine to add more definition to those wonderful waves. 

Here are some tips and ideas: 

Apply a Hold Product 

Products like gels, mousses, and hair spray are excellent to implement in your 2C styling routine. They will keep your hair in place, hold your wave patterns, and look defined all day. Gels and mousses also provide slight moisture, which helps your strands take shape. 

Use Hydrating Products 

Curl creams and leave-in conditioners are examples of hydrating products that you can use to add definition to your 2C waves without washing them out. You can always use a hold product over these, but it is not required if you just want to create a definition. 

These hydrating products also reduce frizz, help smooth tangles, and protect against damaging and drying outdoor environmental elements that could potentially knock your wave pattern out of place. 

Implement Overnight Styling 

Overnight styling is one of life’s biggest hacks and blessings, especially for wavy types who need more pattern definition. There are several options, like the robe tie method, curling rods, braids, etc., that you can implement to define your 2C waves and have them look bouncy and luscious. 

When you follow overnight styling methods for waves and curls, try to do them with damp hair or spritz your hair with some water first. You can also apply some curl cream or leave-in conditioner, and that will help with better definition and ensure your shape holds the next day. 

For inspiration on low-manipulation hairstyles, take a look at my blog titled, “2C Hair and Low Manipulation Styles.”


Type 2C hair hydration and definition don’t have to be a struggle once you understand what’s causing dryness and lack of definition. Once you add the above tips to your 2C wavy hair care routine, your hair will see new life and, before you know it, have beautifully moisturized wave patterns.


I had to listen to what my hair needed...my curls are finally ready to take in some moisture again!!!

- renee, Stylist Liaison

“I truly couldn't have gotten through this without her knowledge, advice and support...after suffering from Hygral Fatigue and getting tons of advice @themestizamuse.”

“@themestizamuse: for ESSENTIAL information you will NEED TO KNOW in order to see results.”

See how easy the topics are to find on her page (a few posts screenshot)? There is no topic Verna hasn't covered.

- dominique P, wavy hair enthusiast


“I have learned a whole heap of knowledge from @themestizamuse.”

Inspiring hair tutor, grateful for what she offers the Curly Community in authenticity, passion, and knowledge.

- zoe F, Producer & Host of The Curl Squad


“I was so excited to embrace my curls and take better care of them. As I started to dive in, I immediately became overwhelmed with the information.”

I read books and tried doing things because "that's what I'm supposed to do," but it didn't always work and I didn't understand why. I'm so grateful for Verna and her blog. Her info. actually helped me understand more of the science of why some methods helped and what products or ingredients to use and why. Anyone that compliments my hair and wants to start a curly journey, I tell them to start here. My hair is so much healthier and I'm so happy with it.


- stephanie, Curly hair enthusiast


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