3C Hair and How to Love It

Eunice Lucero | 20 April 2016
3c hair and how to care for it

Twist and shout and wear it all out.

As every woman knows by now, no beauty regimen is created equal. We all have different genetic histories and come from different walks of life, and this variance translates to our looks, personalities and habits. Nothing shows how true this is more than our hair. Straight hair, curly hair, wavy hair, 1A hair, 3C hair—we should all feel confident with our unique style.

One of the newest innovations in hair care and styling is a category for hair with the hair type chart that has become a game-changer in terms of how women perceive their natural locks and how they approach curly hair care and styling thereafter. Read on to learn more about 3C hair types and how to take care of them.

Hair Classification: No 3C Hair Type?

3c hair afro tips
The tighter the curl, the bigger the need for consistent moisture from root to tip.

According to this charting system, hair is classified into four types depending on texture and level:

Straight (1A, 1B, 1C)
Wavy (2A, 2B, 2C)
Curly (3A, 3B)
Kinky (4A, 4B)

What earlier versions of this system allegedly failed to address was type 3C hair, an apparently unfortunate oversight, as there was a considerable number of women who fell between super curly, which was a 3B, but not kinky, which would be a 4A. This void was eagerly filled by subsequent hair typing systems to mean very curly hair that stubbornly held on to its S or Z-curve shape even after being stretched out, and one that still retained a definite curl pattern and texture that isn’t a frizzy coil.

3c hair tightly coiled
3C hair has a distinct S or Z-shaped coil.

Caring for 3C Hair

In case you do fall into this hidden category, you’ll need figure out how to take care of this particular natural hair type. 3C hair is first and foremost curly hair, so all the litanies hold true: It has a fuller volume, it’s prone to frizz and changes in weather and climate (humidity is the enemy) and 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. Curly hair is then said to be more prone to dryness, dullness and yes, damage than straighter types. It’s also rather sensitive and particular in terms of how much moisture is optimal.

3C hair, in particular, requires a rather fastidious hair care regimen. We’ve broken it down into bite-size steps below:

Step 1: Wash and condition thoroughly.

With curly or textured hair, the first day always begins with a good washing. Choose a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner that removes oils and grease without stripping the curl of crucial nourishment.

Step 2: Deep condition your hair.

3C hair is the curliest hair can get without stepping into dry, delicate kinky territory, which means on the thirsty scale, your strands are pretty much parched. Don’t worry about deep conditioning after using regular conditioner, as a quality hair treatment, such as Suave Professionals Coconut Oil Infusion Damage Repair Oil Treatment, won’t weigh strands down while imparting much-needed slip.


Step 3: Choose a curl cream.

A styling cream that moisturizes ringlets while retaining their bounce and shape, such as TRESemmé Make Waves Shine Enhancing Cream, is similar to what mousse is for straight or wavy hair. It helps keep curls shiny and defines their shape, imparting that telltale highlight to each coil.



Step 4: Apply a curl refresher.

Since it isn’t recommended for curly or natural-textured women to wash their hair daily, most resort to a product akin to a leave-in conditioner to reconstruct or maintain their manes. For type 3s, this is commonly referred to as a curl refresher—and as the name suggests, a curl refresher like Bed Head by TIGI On the Rebound Curl Recall Cream revives your ringlets without water and keeps things feeling smooth while offering some control and bounce for day 2 and beyond.


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