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What Is Coily Hair?

It’s a hair type with a lot of beautiful nuance.
April 19, 2023


If you have naturally curly hair, you may be wondering what exactly makes curly, kinky, and coily hair different. With so many hair terms, it can be difficult to determine which term best describes your hair type. Read on to find out what exactly is coily hair, as well as the best hair care and hair styling products for coily hair.

What Is Coily Hair?

So, what does coily hair look like? Also known as Type 4, coily hair refers to strands that form tight curls in a zig-zag pattern from the scalp.

Within the coily hair type, there are three subcategories based on the size of the hair pattern. Here’s how to determine which of the three different types of coily hair you have:

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What Is the 4A Hair Type?

The 4A hair type has strands that form S-shape coils that are tightly curled and springy.

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What Is the 4B Hair Type?

The 4B hair features strands are in a “Z” shape, bending at sharp angles with a less defined pattern of curls.

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What Is the 4C Hair Type?

The 4C hair has a similar texture to type 4B, but with a tighter curl.

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What Is the Difference Between Curly and Coily Hair?

Like we mentioned, coily hair is a type of curly hair. There are many different types, and sub-types like those we listed above, that fall under curly hair. So, there really isn’t a difference between the two — one is just an umbrella term, and the other falls under that umbrella. You may hear someone refer to coily hair as curls.

The Best Hair Care Products for Coily Hair

When it comes to deciding on a hair care routine for coily hair, it’s all about finding a hair care line that is specifically formulated for curly strands (or made for all hair types and textures) to help ensure your hair gets all the moisture it needs to look and feel its best. Check out these hair products for coily hair.

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Micellar Shampoo

This shampoo gently cleanses to remove any buildup, while also locking in hydration with hyaluronic acid and castor oil. The pointed tip also allows you to target the scalp.

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Push Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Seal Conditioner

Castor oil helps this shampoo and conditioner fill curls with moisture for up to 72 hours without weigh down, and it also helps to fight humidity and frizz.

L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Moisture Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Moisture Conditioner

This shampoo, which is formulated with rosemary oil, pairs with the conditioner to help quench your mane for soft  curls. The duo will also be super gentle on your strands thanks to its sulfate-free formula.

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Leave-in Conditioner

Formulated with hyaluronic acid and fine castor oil, your curls will be hydrated and defined all day long. You also won’t have to worry about any crunchiness or stiff curls, as the conditioner will leave your strands soft and bouncy. 

The Best Hair Styling Products for Coily Hair

Using the right hair styling products to maintain and manage the coily shape of your strands is extremely important. Here are some of the best hair styling products for coily hair:


L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Refresh & Reshape leave-in spray

Lock in long-lasting moisture while also re-hydrating and reshaping your curls with this leave-in treatment. The paraben-free formula includes hyaluronic acid and castor oil to help lock in moisture.

L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Boost It Elastic Curl Mousse

This hair mousse will define your curls without leaving them sticky. Instead, you’ll be left with soft, bouncy curls that don’t feel weighed down.


L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Simply Clean Curl Cocoon Creme

This creme will amplify your hair's natural shape with up to 24 hour frizz control. Use after washing your hair, then scrunch the product into your strands to define your curls.

NextThe Best Products to Help You Embrace Your Natural Hair Texture

Photo Credit: Nakia Small, IG/@nakia_s, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier

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