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Home arrow Beauty arrow Hair arrow 3b Hair Type (Curly): Styling Tips and How to Take Care of It

3b Hair Type (Curly): Styling Tips and How to Take Care of It

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: August 1, 2023
8 min read 790 Views 0 Comments
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3b hair is known for its ringlet pattern and curly hair shafts. Caring for this hair type can be easy with the correct regimen. Below, we provide the best tips for styling and moisturizing 3b hair for a healthy, beautiful appearance.

3b hair type

With the many styling creams, products, tools, and tips offered to us by experts, styling and maintaining 3b hair can feel overwhelming. The last thing you might want is more information on how to take care of your curly hair. 

However, with a few clear insights about the type and characteristics of 3b hair, you’ll find it easier to manage and style these tresses. 

Knowing that you have tight ringlets is just the start of being able to create some head-turning hair patterns. Continue reading to learn more about 3b hair and how to look after it.

What Is the 3b Hair Type?

The 3b hair type is characterized by bouncy, spring-like, defined curls that typically form an S shape. 3b hair has more volume than type 3a and can often have an uneven distribution.

Even though its defined curls are not the tightest type and may include some loose waves, they are more prone to dryness than others in the type 3 category.

Pros of type 3b hair

Type 3b hair has many advantages and can draw envious stares due to its thick appearance, especially when you correctly care for this hair type. Here are 3 pros of type 3b hair.

  • Abundant versatility in styles – with 3b curly hair types, you can wear it in various styles, including natural hairstyles and wavy hair options. The style choices are almost unlimited because the curl patterns of 3b hair are loose enough to manipulate, separate, or arrange.
  • Healthy volume – 3b hair can look healthy and thick when you give it the necessary care. With a thick hair type like this, you can avoid spending more on certain products that promise extra volume for a healthy look, as your hair won’t require them.
  • Doesn’t shrink and hangs well – unlike type 4 hair, which has a coil-type hair pattern, 3b hair does not shrink when wet or get as dry. Because of these advantages, 3b hair can grow to a good length and hang well, which also helps with styling versatility and maintenance.

Cons of type 3b hair

Just like most hair types, there are some negative aspects of 3b hair that could help you understand how to better take care of your locks. No hair type is flawless, so here’s what you should know about the downsides of 3b hair.

  • It’s susceptible to breakage – unlike type 2 hair, which may break due to its fragility, 3b hair is susceptible to breakage for a different reason. 3b hair is thick, and because the scalp’s natural sebum oils do not easily make their way to the ends of the hair shaft, it can get brittle. To minimize this, it requires more moisturizing products, such as leave-in conditioners.
  • Humidity can increase the volume although you may initially find it easy to create the hairstyle you like, high humidity can alter the style of your dry locks and make it look more frizzy. Hair oils can help you retain the style despite humid weather, but this might require extra styling work.
  • Experiences a lot of shrinkage – as your curls are tight and springy, you’re likely to see a lot of shrinkage when they go from wet to dry. Alongside frizziness, breakage, and the tightness of the curls, this disadvantage means your hair may appear shorter than it is.

How to Take Care of Type 3b Hair: 7 Tips to Try Out

A few simple curly hair tips will help you take care and make the most of your 3b hair. Continue reading for our top 3b haircare tips to avoid a bad hair day.

#1 Opt for lightweight products

Since heavy products can weigh 3b hair down, it’s best to select lightweight curl cream or oil-based serums when styling. For example, curly hair products that contain coconut oil or shea butter can give you defined ringlets and emphasize your curl pattern while protecting them from humidity.

3b hair can appear greasy with too much product. To avoid this, use lightweight products that contain peppermint oil on the hair strands and not the scalp, as studies suggest this may stimulate hair growth.

#2 Apply gels

3b hair style maintenance can be difficult throughout the day, but you can preserve the style by applying hair gels. Gels and pomades can reduce frizz and help you define your curls. 

However, it’s best to avoid using gels daily as this can make your roots look greasier. This means that you may be tempted to wash your hair more frequently, which can strip it of natural oils.

#3 Fight frizz

Flyaways and frizz are two problems you might experience with 3b hair. However, a few methods can help you fight frizz and maintain healthy-looking hair.

Using a hair diffuser on a blow dryer, you can tame frizzy hair and maintain the shape of your curls. You can also use a wide-toothed comb to separate and detangle your hair or a hairspray to fight flyaways during your haircare routine.

#4 Hydrate hair in layers

The secret to nourishing and moisturizing 3b hair is to apply hydrating products in layers on wash days. Hydrating your hair can be challenging if you have low-porosity hair because the strands do not readily absorb water. 

To ensure your hydrating products penetrate the hair shaft, consider using a deep or leave-in conditioner.

If you don’t have high-porosity hair, hydrating in layers can ensure the hair product nourishes the entire hair surface. You can also combine this with the LOC (leave-in, oil, and cream) method, which involves wetting your curls and applying moisturizing hair oils (such as coconut oil) to seal your cuticles.

Use your fingers to work each product into your hair, as this will help you to achieve more defined curls. This method also allows you to separate your locks into sections, ensuring that products are distributed evenly for proper nourishment and moisturization. 

#5 Use protecting products

Many hair protection products, including heat protectant options, deep conditioner products, and leave-in conditioners, are ideal for 3b hair, as they effectively shield strands against heat styling tools. 

This is especially important for those with frizzy curls, as they are more susceptible to becoming dry and damaged.

Silicone heat protectants can ensure you spread heat along the hair shaft and avoid water boiling. This defensive action limits hair damage.

#6 Avoid heat

Heat styling tools can damage the hair shaft, especially when the temperature is high. Instead, letting your curls air dry puts them at a lower risk of damage.

If you use heat to dry and style your hair, use protecting products beforehand and consider using a diffuser to minimize heat damage. Alternatively, use a wide tooth comb and blow dryer to distribute the heat when you dry your hair.

#7 Limit your washing days

Our final tip for looking after 3b hair is to limit your washing days. Since many shampoos contain specific chemicals, antimicrobial agents, and surfactants that can impair hair health, it’s best to avoid overwashing your hair or choose chemical-free options.

As 3b locks are pretty dry, they’re less prone to getting limp and greasy, so you shouldn’t need to wash your hair too often anyway.

When you wash your hair, consider the curly girl method. This strategy involves cleansing your hair without using sulfates or harsh chemicals, which can help you avoid stripping the hair of natural oils and reduce breakage.

What Hairstyles and Cuts Are Perfect for Type 3b Hair?

From tight ringlets to looser, springy curls, 3b hair has a variety of curl patterns that make it highly versatile when it comes to styling. You have a range of hairstyles and cuts to choose from, and here are 3 of the best:

  • Curly bangs – this hairstyle is a good match for 3b hair as it frames your face and shows off the natural texture of your curls at the front of your head. Curly bangs add an extra dimension to your hair but require extra maintenance and trims from an experienced professional for the best look.
  • Pixie cut – with the classic pixie cut, you will draw attention to your natural curl patterns. This shorter hairstyle is low maintenance and requires less product to protect the hair. If you want to show off your curls even more, consider combining this style with partial curly bangs.
  • Ponytail – a ponytail is a low-maintenance option for medium to long 3b hair. It requires minimal styling and displays the full length of your curls in a refined look. This flattering style will help you avoid handling your hair too much, which may help to reduce frizz.

Best Products and Ingredients for the 3b Hair Type

Since so many products are on the market, how can you find the correct options for your 3b hair? Here are the best products and ingredients for the 3b hair type to maintain and protect your tresses.


No matter if you’re looking for a leave-in treatment, hair mask, shampoo, or a curl-defining cream, the ideal products should moisturize your 3b hair to help minimize breakage. Some of the best ingredients are light-weight oils, which include:

Products for 3b hair

The best products for 3b hair are those that contain zero parabens or silicone and are instead made with completely natural ingredients to help add moisture and control frizz. You should also invest in creams that will help to define your curls without weighing them down completely. 

Moérie Ultimate Hair Growth Shampoo is the best gentle cleansing hair growth shampoo for thick, 3b hair. Moérie contains minerals, vitamins, and amino acids to promote hair growth and does not cause any product buildup on the scalp. It’s suitable for all hair types and doesn’t contain parabens or silicone.

Here are some of the other products that meet the type 3b haircare criteria:


How to determine if I have the 3b hair type?

You can determine if you have 3b hair by looking closely at its curl patterns. The curl patterns are typically a mixture of tight and loose spirals. If it has defined ringlets and is slightly thick, you have 3b hair.

Why is my 3b hair so frizzy?

Studies show tactile friction and temperature changes can affect curly hair types and produce visible frizziness. Water in humid environments can enter the hair shaft and alter the pattern of your hairstyle, causing frizz.

What’s the difference between 3b and 3c hair?

The main difference between 3b and 3c hair is the tightness of the curls. 3c hair has tighter curls than 3b hair, which is more of a loose pattern. 3c hair is also less bouncy and more frizzy than 3b hair.

A Word From a Trichologist

If you have 3b hair, you may notice that it requires a lot of maintenance to keep the curls defined and nourished. It can break due to dryness and become frizzy in highly humid environments. You may also find that this hair type can snap if you apply too much heat to the strands.

Therefore, keeping your scalp clean and avoiding product buildup is the most important way to look after 3b hair. An unhealthy scalp leads to unhealthy hair due to altered cuticles, so you should routinely cleanse your scalp to prevent oil buildup.

Moisturizing is also a key part of avoiding 3b hair breakage. Leave-in conditioner and hair mask options may help you care for your hair, maintain strength, and fight frizz. Framing your face with curly bangs or a ponytail are great low-maintenance styling options too.

Ensure that you eat a balanced diet packed with a variety of healthy fats, proteins, and whole-grain carbs to avoid a vitamin or mineral deficiency, as this can lead to hair loss and unhealthy locks in the long run.


3b hair is thick and curly and can look healthy with the correct care. It’s important to remember that natural oils such as peppermint can nourish tight curls and add luster and shine to this hair type.

For the best natural quality hair, regularly cleanse your scalp with nourishing shampoos and deep conditioner products free of harsh chemicals, and consider air drying your hair to prevent heat damage.

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Rosmy Barrios, MD, is a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, the head of the anti-aging department, and a regenerative medicine specialist in several medical institutions with years of experience in aesthetic medicine and cosmetology.
The article was fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
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Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: August 1, 2023
8 min read 790 Views 0 Comments

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