What is Type 3 Hair? Differences Between 3a, 3b, 3c Hair Types

Curly hair is at the center of the most common love-hate relationship in hair care. In moments of hate, you battle your curls with a blow dryer or flat iron. In moments of love, you struggle to keep your curls moisturized and frizz-free. The trick to happiness with curly hair is to truly understand your hair type.

What is Type 3 Hair?

Naturally curly hair is classified as type 3 hair in celebrity stylist Andre Walker’s Hair Typing System. He determined that hair falls into four categories that break down into subtypes. What’s more, each type of hair needs different treatment based on its specific structures and characteristics.

  • Type 3A is loosely curly hair with S-shaped curls that may lack volume.

Type 1C

  • Type 3B is more tightly curled S-pattern curls or loose spiral curls.

Type 2C

  • Type 3C is tight spiral curls and coils that are densely packed yet prone to dryness.

Type 3C

Not sure which type 3 hair you have? Here’s a simple test to figure it out.
  • Step 1: Simply grab a pencil, a permanent marker, and a piece of sidewalk chalk.
  • Step 2: Loosely wrap one of your curls around each item.
  • Step 3: Evaluate which item fits the best in your curls.

If your curls easily wrap around the sidewalk chalk, then you have type 3A hair. If the permanent marker is the best fit, then your hair type is 3B. And if your spiral curls are the size of a pencil, you’ve got type 3C hair.

What are the Best Styles for Type 3 Hair?

Curly type 3 hair is best suited to medium-length or long hair cuts. You can straighten your curls with a flat iron or blow dryer. To achieve more volume, blow dry your hair upside down or use duckbill clips at the roots of your hair. These tricks work whether you’re straightening your hair or enhancing your natural curls. Just be sure to use a diffuser when blow-drying curly hair.

What is the Best Hair Care for Type 3 Hair?

Heat styling may give you the look you desire for a day, but over time it can damage your type 3 hair which is naturally dry to begin with. That’s because the structure of type 3 curls prevents scalp oils from traveling down the hair shaft effectively. Too much heat styling leads to dried-out curls, split ends, and breakage. Shampooing too frequently also dries out your naturally curly hair.

To keep your type 3 curls moisturized, frizz-free, and healthy-looking, choose high-quality hair products and consider using a lightweight leave-in conditioner. Wear a satin bonnet over your curls to preserve your hair’s moisture when you go to bed, or sleep on a satin pillowcase to avoid snagging your curls in rough fabric fibers.

What is Daily Dose?

Are your bathroom shelves full of curly hair products that just didn’t do it for your type 3 hair? Daily Dose is the leave-in conditioner that will put all your half-empty bottles of product to shame.

Light-weight and cruelty-free, Daily Dose™ Miracle Moisture Leave-In Conditioner is an easy-to-use mist spray that nourishes and moisturizes your type 3 curls without dragging them down. Daily Dose cuts down on frizz with no buildup, so your natural curls are always soft and shiny. Use it every day to boost and refresh your curls.

Related Hair Type Articles and TIPS

How to Manage Type 3 (Curly) Hair

Type 4 Hair (Coily, Kinky) Overview and How to Manage Type 4 (Coily, Kinky) Hair

Type 2 Hair (Wavy) Overview

Type 1 Hair (Straight) Overview


Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.


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