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. Some days you hate your hair as you battle frizz. But when the humidity is low, love for your hair is in the air. Your curls are voluminous and you are the envy of every straight-haired girl.

Still, type 3 curly hair can be hard to manage even on good days. The trick to keeping your curls consistent is understanding your hair and knowing what are type 3 curls.

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, which he breaks down each category into various subtypes. 

However, each subtype 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 and appear flat.

Type 1C

  • Type 3B has more tightly curled S-pattern curls or loosely spiraled curls with more volume than type 3A.

Type 2C

  • Type 3C is tight spiral curls are densely packed, have a tendency to coil, yet are 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. If your spiral curls are the size of a pencil, you have 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 a more voluminous look, blow dry your hair upside down or use duckbill clips at the roots of your hair as you blowdry.

These tricks work no matter if 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 naturally dry type 3 hair.

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 as well. Wear a satin bonnet over your curls to preserve your hair’s moisture when you go to bed. Another tip is to sleep on a satin pillowcase to avoid snagging your curls in rough fabric fibers.

What is Daily Dose?

To keep your type 3 curls moisturized, frizz-free, and healthy-looking, you want to choose high-quality hair products. Consider using a lightweight leave-in conditioner that cruelty-free, like Daily Dose™ Leave-In Conditioner.

It 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 can even 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.



Daily Dose Team

Hi Erika, Melody, and Shyanne!

Identifying your hair type can be tricky at first, but the best way to find out what type of hair you have is right after the shower, before applying any product! If your hair dries straight without any curls or waves, you have type one hair (or straight hair). If your hair dries with a subtle wave (in an S shape pattern), then you have type two hair. If your hair dries with a curl, you either have type 3 or type 4 hair, depending on how tight the curl is!

It is also totally normal for your hair type to change over time. As you get older, your hair can become more wavy, curly, straight, or coarse.

Hope this helps! :)

Melody S. Johnson

I need help identifying my type hair
Thank you


Hey! im 21 years old and i used to have straight hair and now i have a curl pattern and I have no idea how to know what i have and ive been looking and watching tutorials and I am just confused please get back to me


Please help me! I need help identifying what type of hair my 6 year old daughter has . Thanks in advance! 😊

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