Taking care of your curly hair isn't an exact science. But understanding your curl type is a good place to start. 3C hair is made up of well-defined corkscrews or coils with densely packed strands, about the circumference of a pencil. 3C curl textures range from fine thin hair to coarse, with lots of volume at the root. It’s the tightest curl pattern of the type 3 curls, but also the most versatile. It can be styled to a looser 3B curl or a tight 4A spiral. But just like type 4 hair, it’s prone to frizz, dryness, tangles and damage. So keeping your 3C curls hydrated and limiting breakage is the goal of your hair care routine. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about 3C hair, including the best curly hair care tips and products to use.
Wondering how to tell if you have 3C Hair? You can identify your curl type by closely examining it. Keep in mind every head of curly hair usually has a combination of two or more curl patterns in different areas. So if you’re not sure exactly where your pattern fits, don’t worry. 3C curls are:
Another way to tell if you have 3C hair is by testing its porosity. Hair porosity describes how the hair's cuticle absorbs and holds on to moisture in its pores. Type 3C hair is low porosity, leading to a lot of shrinkage and breakage. When too little moisture penetrates your hair, you end up with dry brittle curls. If this is you, you’re likely a 3C. If you’re not sure if your curls are porous, drop a strand of hair into a glass of water and leave it for four minutes. Then, observe the following:
The best products for 3C hair include deep conditioning treatments like hair masks and hair oils to seal in moisture and nourish. Leave-in conditioner and curl defining gel to make 3C hair more manageable. Heat protectant products to reduce heat damage from heat styled hair looks, and a curl spray and dry shampoo for second and third day hairstyles. These are our favorite products for 3C hair.
These styling tips will help you define curls and reduce frizz on your 3C curly hair.
Your hair care routine should focus on adding moisture back into your curls. Curly hair is prone to getting dry and frizzy, so it needs all the extra hydration it can get. This means using moisturizing products to keep your curls soft and hydrated.
Anyone with a 3C curl type or curlier should make co-washing a regular part of their hair care routine to moisturize curls, boost hydration and reduce frizz. You should shampoo once a week at most. Co-wash in-between and your ringlets will thank you.
Curly hair is naturally a lot drier than other hair types so It’s crucial to use a sulfate-free shampoo in between your co-wash days. Sulfates can strip your 3C curls of their natural oils, increasing frizz. Avoid sulfates in your shampoos and other products at all costs.
Apply styling products to sopping wet hair to help distribute it evenly and smooth frizz.
Start with L – Apply a leave-in conditioner for hydration. Follow with O – Use a hair oil to smooth and seal in moisture. Finish with C – Add a curl cream or mousse through curls for styling.
Increase curl definition by running a curl gel through your 3C curls and air-drying your strands.
Using wide-toothed combs, satin scarves and protective hairstyles like braids can help you avoid your natural hair getting tangled or kinked.
Heat can leave your 3C hair brittle, so on days when you must blow dry, remember these tips:
The curlier the hair shaft, the less sebum can travel the twists and turns all the way to the ends. The result is drier strands that are vulnerable to damage. Since 3C curls are the curliest of the type 3 curly hair family and closest to type 4 curls, they’re prone to getting frizzy, tangled and damaged. The more raised the cuticle, like with C3 hair strands, the faster moisture is lost due to its porous nature.The more porous and brittle the hair becomes, the more damage is possible. To combat breakage on your 3C curly hair, use moisturizing products, trim your ends regularly, avoid heat styling and use a wide-tooth comb.
Styling your 3C curls requires a little bit of effort but when done correctly, there’s nothing quite like beautiful bouncy spirals and corkscrews.It all comes down to the products you use. Applying leave-in conditioner, oils, and creams to your curls will keep them hydrated. Use lightweight styling products to keep your curl shape and frizz-free. Avoid heat, but If you must use a blow-dryer, prep your strands with heat protection and use the lowest heat setting. And don’t overlook protecting your curls before bedtime with satin scarves and protective hairstyles.
All curly hair needs moisture, and 3C curly hair types are no different. From shampooing and conditioning to styling, choose moisture-rich products and formulas for curly hair. Use a sulfate-free shampoo once a week and co-wash in between. Deep condition by using a hydrating hair mask twice a week. Eat a balanced diet full of protein, healthy fats and leafy green. Last but not least, drink lots of water daily.
To promote healthy hair growth and prevent breakage in 3C hair you should:
3C curls aren’t as tight as type-4 coils, but it’s still prone to frizz, dryness, tangles and damage. If you’re not using the right products and styling the right way, you’re not making the most of your 3C curly hair. Remember to use only high-quality hair moisturizing products to maintain your curls — and share your other curl-care tips with the Davines community in the comments below.
by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor