3c hair love

3C Hair: A Complete Guide to This Hair Type and How to Care For It

Twist and shout and wear it all out.

3C hair is a curly hair type consisting of tight coils with volume, with lots of strands packed together to create texture. 3C was created and added to the hair type chart when it was clear that there was a missing type between 3B and 4A.

Many women fall under this category but don’t know what it means when it comes to which hair care products they need to add to their lineup and how they should be implementing these products into their routines. We love 3C hair and know that it deserves lots of love and hydration.

Hair Classification: 3C Hair Type

When it comes to natural hair, more and more women are proudly embracing this hair type, but some still don’t for fear of experiencing discrimination. We conducted a survey among our readers and asked them what could be improved to have the biggest positive change for natural hair and her answers below are very telling.

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Caring for 3C Hair

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The tighter the curl, the bigger the need for consistent moisture from root to tip. Photo Credit: Arianna Sharfman

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, and 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.

What is 3C Hair?

The void between 3B and 4A hair was eagerly filled by subsequent hair typing systems, which created 3C hair. This hair type is defined as very curly hair that 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.

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3C hair has a distinct S or Z-shaped coil. Photo Credit: Arianna Sharfman

In case you do fall into this hidden category, you’ll need to 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: like 3B hair, 3C hair 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. 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 Type Care Guide

Making sure to use your products in the correct order is so important for any hair type, especially 3C hair. By doing this, you’ll be able to ensure your hair stays moisturized and nourished between washes.

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. We love SheaMoisture Sugarcane Extract & Meadowfoam Seed Miracle Multi-Benefit Shampoo and Conditioner because it contains a blend of sugarcane, meadowfoam seed, marshmallow root, and Phyto-proteins to leave your hair feeling smooth and healthy. Plus, it’s safe to use on color-treated hair.

Step 2: Deep-condition.

3C hair is the curliest that hair can get without stepping into the dry, delicate, kinky territory. This means that on the thirsty scale, your strands are pretty much parched. Don’t worry about deep conditioning after using a regular conditioner. A quality hair treatment, such as The Good Stuff Intensive Nourishment Cream, won’t weigh strands down but will impart much-needed slip.

Step 3: Choose a curl cream.

A styling cream that moisturizes ringlets while retaining their bounce and shape, such as Suave Curl Defining 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.

It isn’t recommended for curly or natural-textured women to wash their hair daily. Therefore, 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.

A leave-in conditioner also helps keep a consistent level of moisture in curls, if that’s more your speed. We like the definition and hydration we get from SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment when spritzed onto ringlets before drying.

Best Hair Products for 3C Hair

Looking for new products?

1. Dove Curls Defining Mousse

Add some major definition to your 3C curls by running Dove Curls Defining Mousse through your curls after you wash them. This mousse nourishes and protects curls from root to tip while adding definition and bounce to your hair!

2. TRESemmé Flawless Curls Defining Gel

TRESemmé Flawless Curls Defining Gel is a humidity-resistant, alcohol-free product that delivers defined and hydrated curls every time. it’s a must-have product for curly-haired girls.

3. Suave Professionals Castor Oil & Mango Butter for Natural Hair and Scalp Oil

Finally, we suggest Suave Professionals Castor Oil & Mango Butter for Natural Hair and Scalp Oil. This rich oil is perfect for anyone dealing with damaged strands or a dry scalp. It uses castor oil to help nourish your hair while the mango butter helps your hair look healthy.

Once you understand this hair type and learn how to care for  3C hair, you’ll be able to have the healthiest curls possible!

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