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3C Hair: Haircare & Style Guide for Your 3C Curls

May 30, 2024

1 Min read

3C hair is a beautiful and distinctive curl pattern defined by tightly wound, densely packed coils with a circumference similar to a pencil or straw. It falls under the category of type 3 curls, which are celebrated for their springy nature and voluminous texture. 

To gain a deeper understanding of your hair type, a classification system exists that divides hair into numbered groups based on its shape and texture. Within this system, curl type 3 is split up into three subcategories: 

Curl type 3A:

Loose S-shaped curls with slight definition and bounce.

Curl type 3B:

Medium curls with tighter ‘S’ shapes and more volume.

Curl type 3C:

Tight corkscrew curls with smaller circumference and high density.

Identifying your curl pattern is key to understanding how to give your hair the care it needs. To recognize the 3C hair type, look for tight curls and densely packed S-shaped strands that form distinctive corkscrew shapes. These curls have a considerable amount of bounce and volume that sets them apart from other curl types.

Hair Care Routines for Protecting Your 3C Curls

Moisturizing Is Key:

Hydration is essential for 3C hair due to its tendency to dry out easily. Add moisture, and lots of it, with ultra-hydrating shampoos and conditioners. You can also give yourself deep treatments at home by integrating hair masks into your wash routine. This will keep your beautiful curls nourished and healthy.

Wash Day Essentials:

When washing your curls, it’s important to use sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping the natural oils from your hair. A light touch is key, so remember that gentle care and cleansing will help prevent frizz and knotting. After washing, gently squeeze out excess water with a microfiber towel or an old cotton T-shirt.

Detangling Without Damage:

How you detangle comes down to personal preference. Try using a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to separate your curls gently when wet or coated with conditioner. This method works best when you divide your hair into sections and start slowly and carefully from the ends, before working your way up to the roots.

Protecting Curls From Damage:

Try to limit the use of heat styling tools and opt for gentler solutions, like air-drying or diffusing instead. If you want to heat style your hair, make sure to always use a heat protectant, as this hair type can be prone to damage.

The Best Products for the 3C Hair Type

Must-Have 3C Hair Products:

It’s important to choose high-quality shampoos, conditioners, and styling products specifically formulated for curly hair. Look for curly hair products enriched with natural moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, or argan oil that work to keep your curls hydrated and defined.

The Importance of Ingredient Choices:

Be mindful of the ingredients in your hair care products, and avoid harsh sulfates and silicones that can weigh down your curls or cause buildup. Opt for formulas that promote moisture retention and have strengthening properties to nurture your 3C curls.

Product Recommendations:

Explore different products formulated to meet the needs of your 3C hair, such as hydrating shampoos, deep-conditioning masks, and curl-defining creams. Since everyone’s hair is unique, feel free to switch up your routine with different products and formulations until you find the perfect combination for your curls.

Prose Custom BeautyDiscover your custom curl routine today.Take the free consultation.

Managing High Porosity

Understanding High Porosity Hair:

3C hair tends to have high porosity, which means it can easily absorb moisture but struggles to retain it. This can lead to unwanted dry hair and frizz if it isn’t properly managed and cared for.

Sealing In Moisture:

Implement the LOC method (an abbreviation of leave-in, oil, and cream) to seal moisture into your hair. Start by applying a water-based leave-in conditioner, followed by a nourishing oil such as jojoba or avocado oil, and finish with a rich, creamy styling product to hydrate and smooth your curls.

Creative Hairstyles:

3C hair offers endless styling possibilities to match your vibe. Whether you prefer a natural look or want to put in a bit more effort, there are countless 3C hair styling looks to complement you perfectly. Low-maintenance hairstyles like wash-and-go’s, braids, buns, twist-outs, or bantu knot-outs are effortless choices for everyday wear.

Protective Styles for Growth:

Consider protective styles such as box braids, crochet braids, or faux locs to give your curls a break from daily manipulation and promote hair growth. Additionally, these styles can help minimize damage and breakage caused by excessive styling, allowing your curls to thrive and grow.

Occasion hairstyles:

For special events or fancy occasions, experiment with elegant updos and sleek braided ponytails. Alternatively, go glamorous and let your voluminous curls fall loosely to showcase the natural beauty of your 3C hair.

Essential Tools for 3C Hair Care

Detangling Without Breakage:

It’s great to invest in a wide-tooth comb, a detangling brush with flexible bristles, or a seamless comb to gently remove knots and tangles without causing damage to your curls.

Styling Tools:

Use a diffuser attachment when blow-drying your hair to minimize frizz and enhance curl definition. To avoid heat damage, use low heat settings and apply a heat protectant spray before styling.

Must-Have Accessories:

Get creative with cute satin scrunchies, silk scarves, and hair clips to accessorize your hairstyles while protecting your curls from friction and breakage.

By following these curly hair care tips and adding the right products and techniques into your routine, you’ll keep those 3C curls healthy and hydrated. And don’t forget to enjoy the process, have fun, and experiment with different styles along the way while discovering which products work best for you. We’re all about celebrating each and every curl and coil.



The Prose Staff is here to share the best hair tips and tricks to help you achieve all your hair goals with custom hair care, breakthrough innovation and more

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