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How To Care for Lively Type 3 Hair: The Ultimate Guide

8 mins

Tyler Teresi

The best guide on everything you need to know about treating Type 3 Hair. From learning about different subtypes to how to care and style the curly hair.

Type 3 hair can be frustrating, but the payoff is often worth it, as the curls provide a world of natural beauty. The lively natural curls are often enough to make those with other hair types envious, though they do require a more intentional approach to maintain their bounce and volume.

At WOW Skin Science, our goal is to help you keep your hair hydrated, healthy, and happy. This complete guide will help you understand your type 3 hair and the best ways to care for it.

Table of contents:

  • How To Tell If You Have Type 3 Hair
  • The 3 Subtypes of Type 3 Hair
  • Type 3A
  • Type 3B
  • Type 3C
  • What To Expect From Type 3 Hair
  • How To Care for Type 3 Hair
  • How To Style Type 3 Hair
  • What Products To Use on Type 3 Hair
  • Clarifying Shampoo
  • Deep Moisturizing Conditioner
  • Oil Treatment

How To Tell If You Have Type 3 Hair

Hair types help to provide more accurate descriptions of hair structure and texture. Type 3 hair is one of the most lively and distinct hair types. You can tell type 3 hair apart from other types by its S or Z-shaped curls. Tight S-shaped curls are usually enough to tell type 3 hair apart from wavy hair. Curly hair is often bouncier, thicker, and more voluminous, making it hard, if not impossible, to straighten.

A standard test for distinguishing type 3 hair from other types is to use a piece of chalk, a marker, or a pencil. Hold up one of these items to your hair. If you have curls that can easily wrap around one of these items, then you have type 3 hair.

The 3 Subtypes of Type 3 Hair

You can easily distinguish curly hair from straight or wavy hair, but that does not mean that all curls are the same. In fact, curls can differ quite a bit depending on their shape and texture. The different subtypes of type 3 hair help in understanding how to care for them and can usually be told apart by the size of the curls.

Type 3A

Type 3A curls are wider than other subtypes of type 3 hair as they are looser with less volume and thickness. These curls are typically naturally soft and smooth. You can tell whether you have this subtype if your curls can wrap comfortably around a piece of chalk or brush handle.

Type 3A hair

On the bright side, the thinner texture of 3A hair usually makes it easier to work with and style than the other subtypes. Type 3A hair is more likely to respond to a hair straightener than the others. This subtype also responds better to lighter styling products and leave-in conditioners.

Type 3B

Type 3B curls are tighter and stiffer than 3A curls. This stiffness makes it slightly more challenging to work with but also gives it more bounce. These curls are around the width of a permanent marker. With tighter type 3B hair, you need to be more mindful about styling it, as trying to straighten and brush through it can usually damage the hair or lead to frizz.

Type 3C

Following the pattern, type 3C curls are the tightest of the three subtypes. 3C hair may even be mistaken for having a coiled pattern in some instances, but it is identified more by its tight, S-shaped curls. These curls are often defined enough to fit around the width of a pencil.

how to care for type 3c hair

This is the most challenging subtype to straighten because of its natural tight curls, and you will likely need advanced treatments to remove the curls if you hope to do so. Type 3C hair is often overlooked by the hair care industry and grouped in with other hair types, which can make it even more difficult to care for.

What To Expect From Type 3 Hair

Despite their astounding beauty and volume, type 3 curls can present a few challenges. Because curly hair is tighter and stiffer than straight or wavy hair, it is more susceptible to breakage and damage. This is especially the case for 3C hair. Consequently, you need to be mindful that it is more difficult to brush through and style.

The tight curls of type 3 hair mean that the natural oils from your scalp are less able to travel down the entire length of your strands. Since natural oils have a harder time traveling through your hair, your hair is more likely to appear dry and frizzy, especially compared to straight hair.

As a result, curly hair often requires a more rigid and rigorous hair care routine in order to tackle frizz, damage, and dehydration.

3 hair type, what is my hair type

How To Care for Type 3 Hair

Caring for type 3 hair can be more difficult than for straight or wavy hair. In order to preserve the liveliness of hair without causing more damage, you should follow a few essential steps.

Brush Carefully

With tight curls and thick hair texture, brushing through your hair is a challenge. However, it is an important part of an effective hair care routine, helping to work the natural oils through the hair, brush out dirt and other contaminants, and free the hair from tangles. Therefore, you should not neglect to brush your hair, but you should be sure to take extra caution with it.

When you do brush your hair, use a wide-tooth comb, and do not brush through it when it is completely dry. Dry hair is even harder to brush through, increasing the friction between the brush and the hair strands, leading to potential problems.

how to brush your hair easily

Moisturize It Often

Fighting back against frizz is one of the biggest challenges of having type 3 hair. The most significant cause of frizz is dehydrated hair. Dehydration is a common issue with type 3 hair, so moisturizing should be a frequent and common part of your hair care routine.

To keep your hair hydrated, you need to have an intentional process. Even if you do not wash your hair daily, you can take other steps to prevent it from drying. Regular treatments include a leave-in conditioner, co-washes, and hot oil treatments.

Combining these options is often an effective approach. For example, use a leave-in conditioner daily, a co-wash twice a week, and oil treatments once a week.

Wash It Less Frequently

Frequently washing your hair strips it of the natural sebum. Although too much oil can make your hair look greasy, not enough makes your hair dry and more susceptible to damage, so it is important to find the right balance. Secondly, the less natural oil in your hair gives you more grace for washing it since it takes longer to look greasy or oily anyway.

Shampooing is still an important part of a proper hair care routine, but it should be done with some level of caution. When you wash your hair, make sure to use a shampoo that is strong enough to clean through the thick textured hair but gentle enough to keep your hair hydrated.

should i wash my hair frequently

Of course, not everyone’s hair is the same, so you will need to find the right products and routines that work best for your hair. Any good hair care routine takes a bit of trial and error to figure out.

How To Style Type 3 Hair

For many people with type 3 hair, styling can be a hefty challenge. Because curly hair is so lively and voluminous, it can be difficult to tame. Consider the following when styling your hair.

Style With Care

Type 3 hair can be difficult to style, especially with tighter, thicker curls. Using a straightener, curling iron, or blow dryer is risky as curly hair can be more sensitive than other hair types, making it more susceptible to heat damage breakage. Always use these on their lowest setting and minimize their use to once a week, if at all.

You also need to avoid harsh treatments to protect your strands. For example, coloring treatments introduce chemicals to hair that can be drying and damaging. Although your type 3 hair can be more sensitive to chemical treatments, you do not have to forget them altogether. Just try to minimize how frequently you color or treat it.

type 3 hair

Since curly hair can be a challenge to handle, it may seem like a good idea to use strong styling products like heavy-duty hair gel and large amounts of hair spray. However, strong styling products may do more harm than good. When styling curly hair, it is often better to go with the flow rather than push against it.

Tie It Loosely

Although curly hair is voluminous and somewhat difficult to handle, you do not have to wear it down all of the time. The help of a hair tie can be great for styling your type 3 hair in creative ways. Curly hair can look nice tied up in a lively ponytail, in a bouncy bun, or by tying up some of the hair and leaving some bouncy strands to fall.

However, it is important to be careful when tying up your hair, as tying up your hair too tightly can lead to damage and breakage. To protect your hair, make sure to use a loose-fitting hair tie that doesn’t add too much tension to each strand.

how to tie hair without damaging it, best hairstyle for type 3 hair

The type of material used for the hair tie is vital as well, as the material will rub up against the strands and can cause unnecessary damage or wear. Don’t use rough textured hair ties. Instead, use fabric-covered hair ties or satin scrunchies that will be easy on your hair.

Embrace the Lively Curls

Although curly hair can be more challenging to care for, its life, volume, and body are unmatched. Seeing the natural beauty of natural curls makes it easy to embrace the hair as it is. When you use the right products to keep your hair hydrated, you can enjoy bouncy, voluminous hair that falls into place.

What Products To Use on Type 3 Hair

The sensitivity of type 3 hair makes it vital that you use the right products to keep it healthy and lively. The following products are great additions to any effective hair care routine.

Clarifying Shampoo

When you do not wash your hair frequently, it is important that you make the most of it when you do. Clarifying shampoo helps remove all the impurities that can build up in your hair and scalp, like dirt, oil, and other pollutants. Although you want your clarifying shampoo to be strong enough to penetrate through your hair, you also want it to leave your hair soft and flexible.

WOW’s Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo is an excellent option. Charcoal penetrates the hair to remove impurities, while keratin strengthens the hair strands. A blend of natural oils and aloe vera also plays a vital role in nourishing your curly hair. Not only does this formula remove build-up, but it also helps to repair damage and restore strength to your hair.

WOW’s Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo

Deep Moisturizing Conditioner

Because hydrating type 3 hair can be challenging, you need a conditioner that can work deep into your hair. WOW’s Coconut Milk Conditioner is formulated for curly hair, with effective hydrating powers.

With coconut milk, castor oil, sweet almond oil, and argan oil, this formula includes vitamins B and E, fatty acids, and antioxidants to keep your curls soft and flexible. These ingredients are powerful on their own but even more effective together, providing you with remarkable results for your curls.

You should condition your hair at least every time you wash your hair. Apply a generous amount, massage it into your hair, and let it sit for about two to three minutes before rinsing. You can also consider a co-wash treatment in between washes, where you wash your hair with just conditioner to complement the natural oils.

Oil Treatment

An occasional oil treatment can be an excellent supplement to an effective hair care routine. Including an additional oil treatment will take your hair care routine to the next level.

Try WOW’s 10-in-1 Hair Oil for a powerful blend of oils that will provide your hair with vitamins A through E, omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. The active ingredients in this formula include almond oil, extra virgin olive oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and more. This formula will soften your curls, protect them from damage, and hydrate your hair all the way down to the scalp.  

wow hair oil

Simply use a few drops of the oil, massage it into your hair strands and scalp, and leave it in your hair for about 30 minutes before rinsing in the shower. You may choose to leave the oil in your hair even as long as overnight for even deeper hydration. You should incorporate an oil treatment into your routine at least once a week for best results.

Keep Your Hair Happy and Healthy

Despite the potential frustrations that come with type 3 hair, many people are envious of it. Curly hair comes with its drawbacks and challenges, but the right routine can go a long way toward making your hair care simpler and more effective. WOW Skin Science is here to help you take care of your lively, curly hair.

Explore our expert advice page to learn more about how to care for your hair and its specific needs. We offer an extensive collection of hair care products to give your hair the nourishment, hydration, and protection that it deserves. At WOW Skin Science, we pride ourselves on our 100% naturally formulated products. Try them for yourself and see the difference.

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Tyler Teresi

Tyler is a content writer specializing in blog writing, landing page content, and website copy. He is passionate about health and wellness, travel, and B2C content. When not writing, Tyler is riding his bike, playing his guitar, or hiking in the mountains.

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