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

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

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: July 31, 2023
9 min read 791 Views 0 Comments
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Curly hair, also known as the 3c hair type, requires careful styling and washing techniques to prevent unwanted damage. Explore our list of styling and haircare tips, including hairstyles that make your curls appear healthy, shiny, and beautiful.

3c hair type

People with true curly hair might struggle to achieve manageable curls. The tight coils can look voluminous and full, but they aren’t always easy to tame on a daily basis. Creating the perfect haircare routine can help with this problem. 

Every hair type requires different treatments and styling methods. For 3c hair, it’s about retaining moisture to prevent dryness and breakage. If you’re wondering what products to use for your hair, then you’ve come to the right place.

Discover ways to maintain and hydrate your curl type, including a list of hair products that can give you the healthiest curls. 

What Is the 3c Hair Type?

People with the 3c hair type have tight ringlet curls that resemble corkscrews. The curl pattern usually forms S-shaped coils, even in wet hair. 

3c hair is especially dense and may be drier because the curls struggle to maintain hydration. This hair type also has fine to medium texture that can feel rough without the right nourishing treatment.

Pros of Type 3c Hair 

Type 3c hair has a few advantages due to the curl definition and tight coils. Below are some pros of this specific hair type. 

  • More volume: Due to the curl type, people with 3c hair have more volume and body. The curls make your roots more bouncy, which can give you thicker strands without the need for curling creams, hair masks, or volumizing spray. 
  • Thick curls: This curly hair type has more defined curls compared to type 2 hair. The thick curls hang nicely around your face and don’t drop throughout the day. Even with wet or damp hair, the natural hair fibers will retain curl definition. 
  • The curls don’t shrink: Shrinkage is usually common for type 4 because of how compact the coils are. Those with 3c hair may have a consistent curl pattern that doesn’t change or fall flat. You can flaunt your natural hair all day without having to worry about messy or floppy curls. 

Cons of type 3c hair 

All hair types have some disadvantages since hair is never perfect. You can learn more about the cons of 3c hair to help you build a sustainable and easy haircare routine.

  • Prone to dryness: Dry hair is common for 3c hair because each hair strand is fragile. The delicate curls make it harder for your natural oils to reach your ends, which increases dehydration. You can overcome this by using a deep conditioner that contains shea butter or coconut oil. 
  • Susceptible to breakage: Since 3c hair has dry fibers, it is also more susceptible to breakage. You may discover split ends or pieces of thin hair that snap off when you’re brushing or washing your hair. It’s important to hydrate your hair shaft regularly to ensure the natural oils can penetrate your mids and ends. 
  • Can knot and tangle: 3c hair is a curly hair type consisting of tight curls, meaning it can tangle and knot easily. Not detangling your hair properly could lead to breakage and thinning hair strands. Therefore, aim to use a leave-in conditioner that keeps each hair strand separated after a wash. 

How to Take Care of Type 3c Hair: 9 Steps to Follow 

There are many ways you can take care of 3c hair without ruining the curl shape. It may take a while to perfect your routine, but with the right steps, you can enhance the feel and appearance of your curls. 

Below are some ways you can take care of type 3c hair at home: 

#1 Don’t overwash 

Overwashing can lead to breakage and hair loss, especially when you don’t use the right products. People with greasy roots tend to wash their hair once every day, but this can actually make the hair worse. Instead, to maintain good hair health, thoroughly shampoo your roots one to two times a week. 

#2 Condition and condition again

Leave-in conditioner is your best friend when it comes to nourishing your curls. This hair product penetrates each hair strand to ensure optimal hydration. Deep conditioning treatments will also detangle curls and reduce breakage. 

Aim to use conditioners containing avocado oil, coconut water, or shea butter, as these ingredients provide intense hydration. 

#3 Use curl creams 

A curl cream can help your tight coils retain moisture throughout the day. It also smooths down your hair, so you don’t have to deal with flyaways and messy baby hairs. On wet hair, apply the curl cream through your mids and ends and then brush gently. You can do this step after completing your normal hair wash routine. 

#4 Focus on moisturizing 

People with this curl pattern usually have ‌low-porosity hair, which means the hair doesn’t absorb water and treatments. Therefore, you need to focus on moisturizing your hair to ensure it doesn’t snap off. 

The best moisturizing ingredients include honey, aloe vera, and agave nectar. These humectants protect your curls while reducing dryness. 

#5 Detangle with care 

You should use a detangling brush or a wide-tooth comb to brush your curls. These tools can help separate knots and curls without causing split ends. Spray some water through your hair and gently use the detangling brush. Never use these tools when your hair is soaking wet, as wet hair strands are more fragile. 

#6 Avoid heat  

Heat styling might seem easy and quick, but it isn’t good for your hair. Research suggests that using too much heat can ruin your curls and encourage breakage. Instead, dry your hair with a microfiber towel or cotton T-shirt to retain moisture and a soft texture. 

If you do want to use heat at any point, always use a heat protectant. These sprays stop styling tools from inflicting damage on your curls. 

#7 “Pineapple” your hair at night 

Pineapple is a protective style that stops your curls from rubbing against a pillow and breaking during sleep. 

Gather your hair into a high but loose ponytail. Use a silk scrunchie to tie your hair up, as these bands prevent tension in your scalp. Your curls should fall to the side at the top of your head, which resembles the pineapple shape. 

#8 Preserve your curls 

You can use a hair diffuser to preserve your curls after a wash. When your hair is wet, apply curl-boosting products, such as a leave-in conditioner or curl cream. Then, put the diffuser attachment on your hair dryer and put your curls into the diffuser. It’s better to tilt your head upside down and dry the curls away from your roots. 

#9 Get regular trims 

Regular haircuts can reduce split ends and encourage healthier hair. To maintain good curls, you have to get rid of dead hair that makes them look frizzy. You can get your hair trimmed every 6–8 weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows

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

There are many hairstyles that can show off your curl patterns without causing damage. It’s important to choose a style and cut that doesn’t pull on your scalp. We have put together a list of hairstyles and cuts that suit people with the 3c hair type. 

  • Half-up top knot this hairstyle keeps some hair out of your face without hiding your natural curls. You can put one section of hair into a bun shape on the top of your head to create an effortless appearance.  
  • Layers with bangs adding layers to your hair will enhance curl definition and give you an easier time styling. You can also get bangs to break up the hair and shape your face naturally. 
  • Normal high bun – there’s nothing wrong with throwing your curly hair up into a loose bun. Even though it does hide most of your curls, you can still pull out some strands from the bun to give it a messy look. 
  • Long curly ponytails another quick hairstyle is to tie your hair back into a low ponytail. This style is great for when you’re in a rush or want to keep the curls out of your face for the day. 
  • Bob cut – this short to medium length haircut makes for easier and quicker hair washing and drying. You can trim your curls to just above your shoulders if you want to get rid of more split ends. 

Best Products and Ingredients for the 3c Hair Type 

So, you want to build your haircare routine, but you don’t know what products to use. Below are some ingredients and products to consider when strengthening and nourishing your textured hair curls. 


Using the right ingredients ensures your curls remain nourished and soft. You don’t want to dry your hair out with harmful chemicals and sulfates. Therefore, always check the label of each product before buying it, as you need to stay cautious of what you put in your hair daily. Some of the best ingredients include: 

  • Jojoba oil 
  • Shea butter 
  • Avocado oil 
  • Marshmallow root
  • Jamaican black castor oil
  • Olive oil 
  • Provitamin B5


The products you choose will determine how healthy your hair is. Shampoos and conditioners should always contain natural ingredients that promote growth, shine, and hydration. To take good care of 3c hair, consider the following products: 


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

You can determine your curl pattern by studying a single strand of hair. If it has a distinct S or Z-curve shape, then you have type 3c hair. It’s also worth letting your hair dry naturally to see how the curls form without heat or styling products.

Is 3c hair fragile?

Yes, type 3c hair is fragile because the curls tend to be dry and weak. Following the wrong styling and washing routine could create split ends. It’s important to nourish your hair strands to strengthen the curls.

Can you brush 3c hair?

A high-quality brush can stop your curls from knotting and breaking. Consider getting a wide bristle brush and gently running that through your hair. Soft bristles protect your hair and detangle stubborn knots.

A Word From a Trichologist

Curly hair is fun and voluminous, but it is also challenging when it comes to styling. You have to choose the right products and hairstyles to maintain the curls. Everyone’s hair has different needs, so it’s important to build a routine that suits your hair’s porosity, texture, and thickness.

To improve long-term hair health, consider massaging your scalp daily to encourage your natural oils to penetrate more hair strands. This can reduce dryness, meaning you don’t have to deep condition your hair constantly.

It’s also worth using more oils, such as coconut, avocado, grapeseed, and argan. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that promote hair growth and softness. Apply a few drops of your chosen oil to your scalp and leave it on for 1–2 hours before washing it out with a moisturizing shampoo.


Type 3c hair has the tightest curl in this category. Each curl resembles the curly end of a corkscrew, making it voluminous and fluffy. You can maintain these bouncy tresses by using nourishing hair products, especially ones that contain shea butter, amino acids, avocado oil, and coconut oil. 

It’s also important to moisturize your hair regularly and eat nutritious foods such as eggs, walnuts, avocado, berries, and sweet potatoes.

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 Donika Vata, MD
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Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: July 31, 2023
9 min read 791 Views 0 Comments

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