Curly girlies, rejoice! This comprehensive guide is all about the beauty and versatility of type 3 hair. If you’ve got a head full of bouncy, spiraled locks that seem to have a life and personality of their own, you’re in the right place. We’ll unravel the mysteries of curly hair, help you identify your specific curl subtype, and provide invaluable tips to keep your hair looking its best. So let’s dive right into this fascinating world of curls!

Understanding Type 3 Hair

When we talk about type 3 hair, we’re referring to a category within the widely accepted hair typing system that encompasses various types of curly hair. This classification system, which ranges from type 1 (straight) to type 4 (kinky or coily), helps us understand our hair’s unique characteristics and needs better.

Type 3 hair is characterized by a definitive ‘S’ pattern and includes hair textures that range from loose, bouncy curls to tight, springy spirals. The hair follicles are oval, causing each strand to curl. This hair type typically has a thicker, coarser, or medium texture and tends to have more volume at the root and length.

The beauty of type 3 curls lies in their adaptability and distinctive texture. They are well-defined and springy, often boasting more height and volume than other curl types. However, they are also susceptible to frizz and can be prone to dryness, especially at the tips where natural oils from the scalp struggle to reach.

Understanding the individual subtypes within type 3 hair is crucial to managing and maintaining your curls effectively. Let’s delve deeper into the unique characteristics of type 3A, 3B, and 3C hair.

Identifying Subtypes of Type 3 Hair

Type 3 hair is further divided into three distinct subcategories: 3A, 3B, and 3C. Each subtype has its own unique traits, challenges, and requirements when it comes to care and styling.

Type 3A Curls

Type 3A curls are the loosest among type 3 hair. They display a well-defined ‘S’ shaped pattern and are typically the size of a thick piece of sidewalk chalk. 3A ringlets have a fine to medium texture and benefit from lots of body and movement. However, these loose, large, and bouncy curls are prone to frizzing and dryness.

To care for type 3A hair, opt for lightweight hydration and avoid heavy styling products that can weigh down the curls. Regular finger combing and oiling the hair can help maintain its health. Using products that help repair damage and deep conditioning every other week is also beneficial. Furthermore, shampooing only two to three times per week allows the curls to benefit from natural oils from the scalp.

Type 3B Curls

Type 3B curls are tighter and denser than 3A curls. These well-defined spiral curls range from bouncy ringlets to tight corkscrews, with each curl roughly the size of a Sharpie or a thick marker. They have a fine to medium texture and benefit from lots of body and movement but are prone to frizzing and dryness.

Styling 3B curls requires proper hydration, and it’s best to air-dry this hair type if it’s of low density. For high-density hair, a combination of air drying and diffusing is ideal.

Type 3C Curls

Type 3C curls are the tightest among type 3 hair. Their corkscrew-like shape is about the width of a pencil, and they’re more prone to damage, breakage, and frizz. They are also the most voluminous compared to other curl types within this category.

To care for type 3C curls, use products that balance moisture with volume. Washing and conditioning thoroughly, deep-conditioning the hair once a week, using a curl cream or leave-in conditioner, and applying a curl refresher are a few recommended care tips.

Caring for Type 3 Hair

Now that we’ve identified the subtypes within type 3 hair, let’s explore some essential tips for maintaining and styling these beautiful curls. Here are general pointers that apply to all subtypes:

  1. Use a conditioner every time you wash your hair and a deep conditioner as needed.
  2. Apply a leave-in conditioner to hydrate your curls throughout the week.
  3. Avoid using high heat on your hair, which can damage the curls.
  4. Be gentle when brushing or combing your hair, especially when detangling it while wet.


Detangling type 3 hair can be tricky, but it’s crucial to prevent breakage and maintain the curls’ health. Always ensure the hair is moisturized and has lots of slip by using a conditioner with plenty of slip or applying a pre-poo, such as coconut oil, the night before washing and detangling. To detangle, start by dividing the hair into small sections and working on one area at a time. Use a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush to gently comb through the hair, starting from the ends and working your way up to the roots.


When it comes to drying type 3 hair, it’s best to air dry the hair or carefully wrap it with a towel without rubbing. Towel drying should be avoided as it can create friction and cause breakage. Instead, use a cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel with a smoother fiber to dry the hair gently.


Styling type 3 hair while it’s still wet is recommended. Strong-hold styling products such as leave-in conditioners and gels can help reduce frizz and define curls. It’s also important to note that the hair typing system could be better – naturally curly hair often has more than one type of pattern. Therefore, understanding your unique curl type is crucial to finding the right products and habits for managing your curls.


If you want to color your type 3 curls, opt for semi-permanent hair dye or temporary color as they are ammonia-free and have more gentle ingredients. Refraining from washing your hair 2-3 days before dyeing is also suggested, as natural oils protect the hair.

Embrace Your Type 3 Hair

Identifying your unique curl type within the type 3 category is essential to find the right products and habits for managing your hair. When adequately hydrated, type 3 curls look amazing air-dried. Using the plopping method to style hair post-shower can help minimize heat damage.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with Type 3 Hair

Styling type 3 hair can be challenging, but certain common mistakes can be avoided to keep the curls smooth, shiny, and intact.

  1. Over-cleansing by washing too often.
  2. Skipping conditioner, which helps moisturize and detangle the curls.
  3. Waiting too long to apply styling products.
  4. Using high heat styling tools that can permanently damage your natural curl pattern.

To avoid damage to type 3 hair, clarify regularly and use conditioners and styling products specifically designed for curly hair. Also, gently detangle your hair with a wide-tooth comb or your fingers while it’s still wet with conditioner.


Caring for type 3 hair might seem overwhelming, but once you understand your curl type and learn the right techniques, it becomes an enjoyable journey of self-discovery and self-love. So, whether you have type 3A, 3B, or 3C curls, remember to embrace your natural texture and treat your hair with the love and care it deserves. Happy curling!

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