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3C Hair Guide: How To Identify, Style & Care for Curly Type 3 [NHP]

3C hair is one of the many glorious natural hair types that grace the heads of the beautiful women in our community.

Each distinct pattern and hair type from 4C hair texture on down has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Same goes for the bouncy, voluminous tight curls in the type 3C hair texture group.

And if you aren't sure if you really have type 3 tresses check out this 3C vs 4A hair explanation.

Funny thing is:

3c hair NHP Tutorial3C Model: Yvanna Brooke

It is not uncommon for many natural-haired honeys to be somewhat confused about what it means to have type 3C naturally curly hair, understand the various terms for different hair types, hair porosity issues, and to know which curly hair care products are best for treating, maintaining and styling their hair.

So you’re going to get a great NHP hair knowledge and regimen education today. Everything you need is right here. 

With this hair guide, I will give you the inside scoop about your 3C hair and how to care for it so that it’s healthy and you can enjoy styling your luscious locks. You might also like our article about Moroccan Oil shampoo and conditioner reviews.

What Does It Mean to Have 3C Hair?

Type 3C tresses are sometimes called “curly-coily” hair due to its density. It’s made up of tightly-packed corkscrew-like curls that tend to be as big around as the circumference of a pencil. 

3C hair is the tightest curl pattern of all type 3 hair varieties, it looks like the curly end of a corkscrew.

There are 2 ways to identify if you have type 3C hair, on close examination, you will notice that 3C hair has tight S-shaped curls, and if you can test this by fitting a regular-sized pencil inside one of your curl loop, 3c curls should wrap snugly around it.

It's also possible to have more than one hair type, you could have a combination of two or more hair types, including coarse hair, and your curl pattern may even change from front-to-back, or side-to-side.

3C hair tends to have tons of body and volume, yet can show shrinkage because of its coily nature. One way to fight against shrinkage is to stretch and enhance gently without heat by using a flexi-rod set, a set of perm rods or rocking a twistout.

Is 3C Hair Good Hair?

Yes, like all hair types that were created by God, 3C hair is “good” hair. There are no “bad” natural hair types that grow from a woman’s scalp.

The “good hair, bad hair” mindset fallacy is something invented and promoted by Western society in a warped and invalid attempt to create a sense of superiority among those with naturally-straighter hair.

In terms of hair care and practicality, 3C hair is soft to touch but can be prone to frizz, dryness, and breakage.

At whatever stage you are in your natural 3C hair journey, learning about your hair type and its needs will make a major difference in your hair care regime and maintenance routine.

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3C Hair Products from Black-Owned Companies 

If you’re looking to buy 3C hair products from Black-owned brands, you’ll like what you’re about to see. Trust is, not every natural hair care product brand that is marketed almost exclusively to Black buyers is Black-owned.

For example, though originally founded by Black folks, companies like Carol's Daughter and SheaMoisture aren’t Black-owned anymore.

The fact that all these natural hair care companies aren’t 100% Black-owned isn't necessarily a problem, yet, in an industry that largely still struggles to recognize the unique needs of Black hair, it has caused skepticism among some Black consumers.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of high-quality, Black-owned hair brands. To tell the truth, many also cater to all hair types, so they’re able to profit from communities with straight or wavy hair too.

Still though, this article is about 3C hair, so let’s look at some of the best 3C hair products from Black-owned businesses. (also great for 4b hair)...

  1. Bask & Bloom Essentials Mango Castor Twisting Creme For Thick & Coarse Hair
  2. Uncle Funky's Daughter Curly Magic
  3. Canviiy ScalpBliss Sea Mineral & Organic Herb Infusion Restorative Growth Serum
  4. Alaffia - EveryDay Shea Shampoo & Conditioner Set
  5. Oyin Handmade Frank Juice Nourishing Herbal Leave-in Hair Toni
  6. Naturalicious Moisture Infusion Styling Creme (For Medium to Loose Curls + Waves)
  7. Ecoslay Orange Marmalade Curl Definer Gel
  8. The Wrap Life Turbans and Headwraps
  9. Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Natural Curl Enhancing Mousse 

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What Does 3C Hair Look Like?

In a few words, 3C hair is identified as a very curly look. Not straight, not wavy like type 2 hair, not kinky, but very pronounced and spiraled coils. 3C hair looks to have great volume and the hair strands look tightly packed together to create this curly-coiled hair texture.

The stands are densely packed together, tightly curled and sit just outside the borderline of what kinky hair looks like. Check out this video that shows how a wash-n-go looks on 3C hair in comparison to other natural hair textures...

How Do I Stop My 3C Hair From Shrinking? 

The shrinkage is real sis! And type 3C hair is no exception to this natural hair rule. The tutorial video below will help you avoid shrinkage with some smart hair care and styling methods. Take a look...

You Have Dry Brittle 3C Hair? Here’s How To Moisture and Seal It!

Here is a 3C hair tutorial video showing you how to keep natural 3C hair moisturized for the best and cutest natural hairstyles as well as make your protective styles more effective.

Learn how to use this method to moisturize and seal your natural 3C hair. By using this method, you’ll help retain length and encourage faster, more consistent hair growth!

FAQs About 3C Hair

What is the difference between 3c and 4a hair?

The main difference between type 3C and 4A hair is that 3C hair has a looser curl pattern and 4A has a tighter curl which enter the range of kinky-curly hair.

Is my hair 3C or 3B?

Here’s a simple test to figure out if you have type 3B or 3C hair.

  1. Step 1: Simply grab a pencil, a permanent marker.
  2. Step 2: Loosely wrap one of your curls around each item.
  3. Step 3: Evaluate which item fits the best in your curls.

If your curls easily wrap around the permanent marker, then you have type 3B hair texture. If your spiral curls are the size of a pencil, your texture is type 3C hair. 

How often should you wash 3C hair?

It truly depends on the type and quality of hair products you’re using, but as a general guideline, you should shampoo wash your type 3C hair once a week and co-wash mid-week if needed.

Women with type 3C hair can probably testify to how fast their hair dries out. It's for this specific reason that you should be sure to use a premium-quality shampoo and a deeply moisturizing conditioner consistently, every week.

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Melissa Lee is a Contributing Editor to NHP and a former owner of the BlackhairOMG website. She formed 4C Trichology Growth Services, LLC., a US based hair care consultation service. She has also contributed as a writer and consultant for various hair and beauty websites. Melissa can be followed on Twitter here.


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