How to use Leave-in Conditioner for Type 3 Hair

Type 3 hair can range from loose, large curls to tighter coils and everything in between. Though these curls look gorgeous, this hair type tends to dry out faster than straight or wavy hair. To stave off dryness, breakage, and frizz, it's essential to use a leave-in conditioner on a regular basis. In this article, we’ll fill you in on how to use leave-in conditioner on your type 3 hair. 

How to Use Leave-in Conditioner for Type 3 Hair

You may think using your favorite conditioner in the shower is enough to hydrate your Type 3 curls. That’s not true. You also need a good leave-in conditioner to combat dryness between washings. Learning to use your leave-in properly enables you to keep your curls defined, moisturized, and healthy. In the following sections, we’ll share step-by-step instructions for how to use a leave-in on your curls.

Step 1: Choose a Leave-in

The first step is to choose the right leave-in for the job. If your curls are loose, closer to 3A, then you can get by with a lightweight water-based leave-in conditioner. This hair type doesn’t get as dry as curlier type 3 hair subtypes. 

If you have tighter type 3 curls, closer to 3C, a cream-based leave-in conditioner will likely be the best choice for you, as it will help to preserve your hair’s moisture, reduce frizz, and maximize definition. 

Step 2: Wash & Condition

Before using your chosen leave-in conditioner for your Type 3 hair, wash it first with a moisturizing shampoo. Don’t forget the conditioner, either - type 3 curls often need both a conditioner and a leave-in. While the conditioner is in your hair, detangle it with a wide-toothed comb. Start at the bottom and work your way up to minimize shedding and breakage.  

Step 3: Squeeze Gently

Squeeze the excess moisture from your hair but don’t dry it completely. 

Step 4: Apply the Leave-in

For those using a leave-in conditioner spray, spritz it onto your hair from the ends to about halfway up the hair shaft. This is where your hair needs it most. Gently work it in with your fingers, then scrunch the hair from the bottom up. You can also twirl the hair around your fingers to give it some extra definition.

For creamy leave-ins, take a bit in your hand and rub your hands together to distribute it. Take a section of your hair and apply the leave-in from top to bottom using a praying hands motion. When you’ve coated all the hair with the leave-in conditioner, you can scrunch or twirl small sections of your hair for more defined curls. 

If you’re struggling to keep your type 3 curls moisturized and looking their best, a leave-in can make a big difference. Just make sure that you follow the steps above to get the most out of your leave-in. We hope that this article is helpful to you, providing you with tips that will enable you to say goodbye to frizz, dryness, and damage, and hello to stunning natural curls. 


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, 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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