Curly Hair Texture: Identifying and Caring for Type 3 Hair

If you’re a hair enthusiast (or anything close), you’ve definitely come across “curly hair texture” more than once.

This hair type is all the rage in hair care. 

Although often grouped with wavy and kinky hair, curly hair is a distinct hair type called type 3 hair on Andre Walker’s classification chart. 

Keep reading to learn everything about type 3 curly hair texture – types, pros, cons, hair care tips, and best products! 

What is the curly hair texture (or type 3 hair)?

curly hair texture

The curly hair texture refers to hair that is springy in nature. 

The hair strands resemble interwoven Cs or tight Ss.

 Curly hair is usually bouncy and full. 

This hair type is common among African Americans and some Africans. 

Curly hair is different from wavy (type 2) hair and kinky (type 4 hair), even though all three are curl types. 

Types of Type 3 Curly Hair Texture

Depending on the tightness of the curls, type 3 curly hair can be further classified into these three types. 

Type 3A Hair 

type 3a curly hair texture
shape of 3a curly hair texture

3A hair has big, loose curls. The curls are so big it’s easy to mistake them for tight waves.  

Because the curls are loose, 3A hair appears super bouncy.

It’s easier to manage than other type 3 hair types (you can easily wash and go) and doesn’t get frizzy easily.

It also has a shiny, soft, and fine texture.

This hair type needs lightweight, moisturizing products to enhance curl definition.

Avoid heavy oils and hair butter that can flatten the curls.

Type 3B Hair 


Reduce the size of the curls in 3A and tighten them a bit, and you’ll have 3B hair.

3B hair is thicker and denser than 3A hair.

So, you can expect it to be a bit harder to manage and more frizzy.

However, the curls are more defined.

With its bouncy coils, it’s easy to tell that this is curly hair.

You need heavier and more hydrating products (like curl creams and butter) for this hair type. 

Type 3C Hair

type 3c curly hair velacurls

You guessed right — 3C hair has the tightest curls here.

The diameter of the curls is smaller, and they are closer to each other, like when you tighten a spring.

3C hair is the most prone to shrinkage, as well as the thickest and most dense.

It’s also dry and coarse compared to 3A and 3B.

However, it’s not as dry or coarse as type 4 hair.

You need rich, emollient hair products, regular deep conditioning, and protein treatments to keep 3C hair healthy. 

How do you tell if your hair is curly? 

To confirm if you have curly hair, pull out a hair strand and stretch it with your fingers.

If it bounces back and forms loose ringlets, that’s it!

You have curly hair. 

Should you check your hair type when your hair is wet or dry?

Wash your hair, then let it dry naturally without applying any hair product.

The resulting texture is your natural hair type.

Pros of Type 3 Curly Hair Texture 

Here’s what’s good about curly hair.

Natural Volume and Bounce

Type 3 curly hair naturally has a full, voluminous look, more than wavy and straight hair.

The curls’ natural bounce creates a lively and youthful appearance, making your hair stand out in any crowd.

Versatility in Styles

From wash-and-go looks to elaborate updos, Type 3 hair is very versatile.

Braids, twists, and buns all hold beautifully in Type 3 hair, so you get endless styling options.

Less Frequent Washing

You don’t need to wash type 3 hair daily.

In fact, washing it too often can strip the hair of its natural oils, making it dry and frizzy.

So, lower maintenance, less stress!

Natural Protection

Curly hair provides a natural barrier against environmental elements (like harsh rays from the sun, dust, and debris).

While all hair types protect the scalp, research shows that the curlier the hair, the more the protection against sun rays.

Pure, natural flex! 

The Cons of Type 3 Curly Hair

On the flip side, here’s what’s not-so-good about the curly hair texture. 

Tangles and Knots

One of the biggest issues with type 3 hair is tangling.

People with curly hair deal with tangles and knots more often than people with straight and wavy hair.

Detangling can be both time-consuming and painful, especially when you don’t do it gently and with the right tools. 


Another major challenge is managing frizz.

The curlier the hair, the more prone it is to frizz.

And finding the right products and methods to combat frizz is, honestly, not so easy.


Curly hair is usually drier than other hair types because the natural oils from the scalp have a harder time travelling down the curls (unlike straight hair, where it travels down easily).

If you don’t moisturize the hair properly, it can easily become dry and brittle.


Curly hair is also prone to shrinkage.

Because of the tightness of the curls, the hair appears much shorter than it actually is, especially after washing.

This can make it difficult to achieve certain styles or accurately gauge the hair’s length.

How to Care for Type 3 Curly Hair Texture 

Here’s how to get the most out of your type 3 curly hair, whether it’s 3A, 3B, or 3C.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize  

Type 3 hair is prone to dryness, so it needs good-quality moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, as well as a daily leave-in conditioner. 

By the way, water is the best form of hydration. So, keep a spray bottle to spritz your hair and hydrate your curls regularly. 

Keep your Hair Clean 

When your curls are clean, they look healthier.

So wash your hair once a week (or depending on how often it gets dirty). Make sure you don’t keep a stack of product buildup or dirt on your curls for a long time. 

Remember that curly hair is prone to dryness?

So, moisturizing and sulfate-free shampoos are best for washing your curls.

Check the product label before choosing a shampoo and conditioner for your hair and make sure it doesn’t contain sulfates as part of the ingredients. 

Practice Good Washing Habits

Here are a few tips for washing type 3 curly hair texture:

  • Don’t rub your hair with a regular towel after washing. Use a cotton t-shirt or invest in a quality microfiber towel
  • Use moisturizing and sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners only.
  • Always follow up washing with a conditioner. Don’t just shampoo your hair, rinse, and move on. 

Minimize Heat

Air dry your hair as often as possible, instead of using hair dryers or flat irons.

Excessive heat styling can damage type 3 hair curl pattern and cause breakage.

The few times you use heat tools, make sure to apply a heat protectant first. 

Detangle with Care 

Treat your hair gently whenever you’re detangling it.

Don’t just drag and snag your hair when trying to separate entangled strands.

Here are a few tips:

  • DO NOT detangle your hair when it is dry. Spray some water + conditioner mix from a spray bottle or apply a water-based leave-in conditioner first, then detangle. 
  • Finger-detangle first. Don’t just dip a comb into a mass of curly hair and try to pull it out. 
  • After finger-tangling, use a wide-tooth comb to gently remove hair knots. 

Practice Nightcare 

Hair night care means you wear a silk/satin scarf or bonnet to bed to reduce friction and prevent breakage.

Alternatively, use a silk or satin pillowcase. 

Embrace Trimming 

Trimming helps to remove split ends and maintain the hair’s health.

Check for split ends and trim every two to three months. 

Embrace Conditioning 

Condition your hair:

  • Daily with a leave-in conditioner
  • Monthly with a deep conditioner 

The goal is to keep your curly hair moisturized and prevent dryness. 

Best Hair Products for Type 3 Curly Hair Texture

These hair products are the best for healthy, beautiful curly hair texture! 

Turbie Microfiber Towel for Curly Hair

Looking to make wash days easier? 

You’ll need a microfiber towel that’s nice to your hair strands, absorbs water well, and is easy to use

This Turbie towel is all that. 

Plus, it has a hook at the back, which helps it stay on the hair without falling off. 

However, some people (especially those with long and thick hair) complained that the towel got wet too quickly and didn’t cover all their hair.

BESTOOL Detangling Brush 

This hair brush is specifically made for curly hair, and past buyers swear by its effectiveness. 

They say it went through their hair easily (even those with thick, kinky hair), making detangling less of a hassle. 

Plus, it comes at a fair price too. 

However, some had issues with the bristles on the brush. 

SheaMoisture Curl & Shine Conditioner 

Over 22,000 people have rated this hair conditioner on Amazon, giving it a 4.3-star rating in total. 

It’s specifically made for curly hair and reviews say it detangles and softens curly hair really nicely. 

It’s made with coconut and hibiscus, a mix that gives it a lovely smell that many past buyers love. 

OGX Quenching + Coconut Curly Hair Cream

This styling product for curly hair softens hair, defines curls, and removes frizz.

It is paraben and sulfate-free

Customers also say it has a nice, moderate fragrance.

However, some users said it left their hair dry after sometime, while some said it made it greasy

I think it varies according to the exact hair type. 

Moroccanoil Curl Enhancing Shampoo

curly hair shampoo

This Moroccanoil shampoo is sulfate and paraben-free, so it doesn’t dry out the hair. 

One of the biggest issues with shampooing curly hair is the dryness that comes after. 

Many past buyers say it moisturized their curls.

However, this product is kind of expensive and may not be suitable if you’re on a budget. 

Embrace Your Curls

Type 3 curly hair texture is beautiful and unique. 

It offers a wealth of styling possibilities, natural volume and requires less frequent washing. 

While it does come with challenges like frizz, dryness, and tangles, the right care routine can help you embrace and enhance your curls. 

If you’ve got this hair type, celebrate the unique beauty of your curls and rock them with confidence!

Hey, hair lover, this post may contain affiliate links. So if you buy a product through a link in the post, I’ll earn some commission at no extra cost to you.

Website | + posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *