curly model posing in urban setting

Your Complete Guide to Hair Care and Styling for 3B Hair Type

No curl left behind!

Hey, curlfriend! Need help with caring for your 3B curly hair type? We’re here to make it just a bit easier to care for you—especially if you haven’t already learned about the essential products your hair type needs. It’s time to finally have a routine that you can count on from week to week without fail.

We’ve all been in a position where we try something new on our hair, and it doesn’t come out the way we expected. Finding the perfect routine for you does involve a bit of trial and error; however, if you stick to the basics, you’ll have fewer issues when it comes to taking care of your curly hair on your own.

What is 3B hair?

First things first, what is 3B hair? In the vast world of hair types, 3B hair is the middle ground in type 3 hair, aka curly hair. We like to think the B stands for bouncy — tight and springy curls with lots of volume and texture characterize this hair type. 3B curls can be recognized as they resemble ringlets that wrap around your finger.

To tell 3A vs 3B hair apart, remember that the latter remains coiled no matter what product you use on it and its main issues are dehydration and frizz. If you’re also wondering what’s the difference 3B vs 3C hair, 3C curls are corkscrew-shaped and have a tighter pattern.

You might notice you have looser and tighter curl textures throughout your strands and that’s totally normal! We all have different sub-hair types in our manes.

The Best Products for 3B Hair Types

So, now that we’ve defined what 3B hair is, it’s time to look at the right routine and products to keep those curls bouncy and frizz-free.

1. Best Shampoo and Conditioner for 3B Hair

One of the key points in all curly hair guides, from type 2 hair to type 4, is moisture. Dryness happens because the essential oils from your scalp have more difficulties traveling down curly hair and delivering hydration and nutrients to your strands. That’s why good moisturizing products are key to maintaining your curls.

One of our top shampoo and conditioner combo is TRESemmé Pro Care Curls Shampoo and Conditioner, designed by professionals to lock in moisture and protect you from frizz and humidity to give you the perfect base for your hair-care routine.


2. Best Leave-In Conditioner for 3B Hair

Less hair washing is always good for curly hair, so don’t be scared of sometimes skipping shampoo in favor of a leave-in conditioner treatment. This has the benefit of nourishing and hydrating your mane while keeping it ready for styling throughout the day. We love The Good Stuff Curl Hydration Butter for a moisture boost and breakage protection!

3. Best Hair Cream for 3B Hair

After the shower, it’s time for a styling product like a mousse (if you prefer lighter textures) or a cream. This will have the benefit of maintaining your curl’s volume and shape without weighing it down. For that fresh-out-of-the-salon effect, try Suave Professionals Captivating Curls Mousse Cream.

4. Best Hair Oil for Curly Hair

The final step in your product layering should be hair oil. Just a few drops will be enough to retain moisture and give extra nutrients to the whole of your tresses. Try a rich formula like For Every Hair Type Revitalizing Hair Oil, which contains essential fatty acids, argan and castor oils, the ultimate powerhouse for your 3B hair.

Hair Care and Styling Tips For 3B Curly Hair

blonde curly woman smiling to the camera
Follow these tips for the best 3B hair ever.

You’ve got the products, but what’s the best hair care routine for 3B hair? Here are some key steps to achieve the curls you’re dreaming of.

  • Try a pre-poo treatment: A pre-poo (short for pre-shampoo) treatment is exactly what it sounds like, a deep mask applied to dirty hair before jumping into the shower. It will give your curl the extra TLC to be bouncy and detangled. And if you’re wondering how often to wash 3B hair, the answer is 2-3 times per week, while conditioning can be done more often.
  • Avoid heat as much as possible: Heat styling is usually a no-go for curly hair. Try air-drying your hair and use styling creams and mousses to achieve your desired look.
  • Try the LOC and LCO method: Layering products is key not to add too much weight to your curls. The LOC method stands for Leave-in conditioner, Hair Oil and Cream and it’s the best combination for bouncy, styled curls. You can also try putting the oil last according to what works best for your texture.
  • Squish your mane: After washing your 3B hair with a deep moisturizing shampoo or conditioner, flip your hair upside down and scrunch it with wet hands to retain hydration from your products.
  • Don’t brush: Brushing your hair when wet will do the opposite of detangling. Opt for a wide-tooth comb or just your fingers while your hair is still wet and conditioned instead.

3B Hair Style Inspo

Need some inspiration for your curly 3B hairstyle? Check out these looks to get ideas for your next salon visit.

1. Pixie

Give your curls a sophisticated style — we’re obsessed with the pixie cut! This hairstyle is a cute way to rock a teenie weenie Afro while giving your hair the fresh start it needs and deserves. Also, if you’re looking for a simple way to maintain your hair, then this hairstyle is a beautiful way to do so!

2. Highlights on 3B Hair Type

Add some more color and dimension to your style; try ombré, highlights, or balayage to change things up. The beauty of highlights on curls is the dimensional look that it helps give your hair and the way it helps to emphasize the gorgeous texture of your curls.

3. Hair Flip

street style shot from Parish Fashion week with ginger curly woman in edgy outfit
Go for an intense side part/hair flip look. Photo Credit: Julien Boudet/BFA/Shutterstock

Your curls add a lot of volume and height to your style; achieve even more by rocking a hair flip or deep side part. A side part looks gorgeous when worn in a low ponytail or bun as well! Regardless of how you choose to style the side part, it’s a gorgeous, sleek, and timeless look!

4. Hair Puff

fashionable brown woman with curly puffy updo wearing a bright red jacket
Go for a cute puff updo style! Photo Credit: Look Studio/Shutterstock

Looking for a simple updo that packs a punch? Create a puff hairstyle. The puff is a naturalistas go-to favorite look and is the perfect versatile look for all of life’s different occasions; whether it be a day at the office or a night out, this is a gorgeous way to showcase your curls.

5. Air-Dried

model with brown natural curly hair with silver outfit on pink background
Embrace your natural curls! Photo Credit: Svitlana Sokolova/Shutterstock.

Embrace your natural 3B hair type texture by rocking an air-dried style. A ‘wash-and-go’ without all the extra product! This is a cute hairstyle for naturalistas on-the-go. However, try not to get in the habit of doing this too often without styling and moisturizing your hair, giving it the love it deserves!

6. 3B Hair Afro

street style model with brown curly afro
Tight 3B natural hair calls for an afro. Photo Credit: Pixelformula/Sipa/Shutterstock.

What better way to embrace your curls than allowing them to sit in the way it naturally grows and forms onto your mane? A 3B Afro is the cutest way to showcase your girls without the excessive styling and extra use of products.

7. Curly Ponytail

brown hair curly model with sleek ponytail
Quick updo fix? Ponytail, of course! Photo Credit: Yauheniya Katliar/Shutterstock.

When you want to look chic with no effort, a ponytail is always your BFF. From the office to the after-hours, this sleek style is easy to create and keeps your curls in place. Styling tip: leave a few loose curls to frame your face.

8. Bangs

Photo Credit: Roman Samborskyi.

The only thing better than straight bangs is curly bangs. Not only are bangs a great addition to frame your face, they’re also a great way to frame your ‘fro too!

9. Middle Part Style

young model with eccentric curly 2B hairdo and blue lipstick
Elevate your look with a middle part. Photo Credit: Diana Zapata/BFA/Shutterstock

When all else goes left, a middle part will never go out of style. Part your hair in the middle to achieve a look of symmetry with your gorgeous curls. Help give your curls a boost of energy in their appearance with products such as TRESemmé One Step Styler Curls Crème-Gel.

3B Hair Men

3B curly hair for men follows the same rules as women’s hair, and it’s characterized by a tight pattern that resembles a capital cursive E. The curls start forming at a short hair length, usually 0.5 to 1 inch, but you might notice you have different type 3 strands throughout your mane.

Hair Care Tips For 3B Curly Hair Men

The 3B hair type (and curly hair in general) is more vulnerable and prone to damage and breakage. What’s more, it tends to retain less moisture. That’s why nailing the right hair care will make sure you keep your locks healthy and gorgeous.

  • Comb when wet: We’ll never get tired of telling you that curly hair should be combed (not brushed) when wet, even better if the conditioner is still in. Use a wide-tooth comb for this.
  • Air dry or use a diffuser: Avoid heat styling and drying as much as possible. Let your 3B curls dry naturally or opt for a hair dryer with airflow modes or a diffuser to distribute heat evenly

Read next: Men’s Curly Hair: The Ultimate Guide for Show-stopping Curls

Men’s Hairstyles for 3B Hair Type

Finding the right cuts and styles is as important as hair care to keep your curls looking sleek. Taper fade haircuts or quiffs that are shorter on the sides and longer on tops are ideal if you like your curls short and out of your face. For medium lengths, you could look at a mullet cut that’s coming back en vogue big time in 2024. Or simply enjoy your curls in your natural wave shape.


For styling, a bit of pomade like Dove Men+Care Defining Pomade will go a long way. Make sure you don’t overload your mane at the roots but rather apply a bit of product from the middle of your strands up to the end to shape the curl.

Now 3B hair has no more secrets for you! With these simple hair care and styling tips you’ll enjoy dreamy curls for days.

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