Woman with curly 3C hair

Everything You Need To Know About 3C Hair

Your complete guide to caring for your 3C hair and how to care for this hair type.

3C hair is easily identified by its corkscrew curls (which are usually the width of a pencil!) and volume.  As with most natural hair types, 3C Hair is prone to frizz and dryness. This is because it’s high in density and has a structural shape that prevents oils from the scalp from distributing evenly. So, to keep this curly-coily hair type happy, you just need to make sure to amp up your moisture game.

As earlier versions of the hair typing chart didn’t initially include this curl texture, 3C was created and added when it was clear that there was a missing type between 3B and 4A. So, many women aren’t aware they fall under this category.

If you want to find out if you have this amazing hair type and learn how to take care of it, read on for the ultimate 3C hair guide.

The Ultimate 3C Hair Guide

Woman with 3C hair type against a coral background
Credit: Rupert Laycock

3C hair is first and foremost curly hair, so all the litanies hold true: It has a fuller volume and it’s prone to frizz and changes in weather and climate. Since sebum from the scalp doesn’t have a direct highway down the lengths due to obstruction from ringlets, oil doesn’t get distributed as evenly. So, curly hair tends to be more prone to dryness, dullness and yes, damage.

3C Hair Care Guide

Maintaining 3C hair involves keeping your curls nourished and avoiding damage. Follow these expert tips to learn how to get healthy, natural curls.

Step 1: Use a Moisturising Shampoo and Conditioner

TRESemmé Nourish Coconut Shampoo Front



With curly or textured hair, the first day always begins with a good washing. Choose a moisturising shampoo and conditioner like the TRESemmé Nourish Coconut Shampoo and TRESemmé Nourish Coconut Conditioner, which will help removes oils and grease without stripping the curl of crucial nourishment.

If you’re worried about drying your curls, you can co-wash in-between wash days to maintain moisture.

Step 2: Deep Condition Your Hair

Friend view of a Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen Restore Hair Treatment Masque container



No 3C hair guide would be complete without mentioning a deep conditioning treatment. This should be done bi-weekly to keep your mane in tip-top condition.

You can give your locks some TLC with the supremely hydrating SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Hair Treatment Masque. This curly hair mask is packed with nourishing ingredients that support the hair’s elasticity and reduce breakage, leaving it soft and shiny.

Step 3: Moisturise With a Curl Cream

A front view of a SheaMoisture Coconut Hibiscus Curl Enhancer Smoothie container

A styling cream that moisturises ringlets while retaining their bounce and shape, such as the SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancer Smoothie, is similar to what mousse is for straight or wavy hair. It helps keep curls shiny and defines their shape.

Step 4: Treat With Hair Oil

TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Oil Front

If you want your 3C hair to thrive, you’ll need to make sure to layer your hair care and add a hair oil into the mix. The TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Oil is great for smoothing, adding shine and most importantly, giving hair a hydration boost.

Not only can this be used on wet or dry hair, but if you’re planning on detangling your mane, this lightweight oil has the perfect slip.

Step 5: Preserve Your Curls at Night

Want to wake up to the best curls ever? Just apply some curl cream to your hair before you sleep and that’s it!

Step 6: Wear Protective or Low Manipulation Hairstyles

Woman with 3C hair in a braid
Credit: Rupert Laycock

Beyond your 3C hair care routine, you should also make sure to try protective and low manipulation hairstyles. From box braids to two-strand twists, pineapple hair and more, there are lots of fun natural hairstyles you can experiment with.

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