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3A Hair Type: What It Means And How To Tell If You Have It

August 10, 2022


Verna Meachum

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 We treat our blog with a curious, open-minded, and customer-focused attitude. We ask lots of questions about everything.

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Last Updated on September 5, 2022 by Verna Meachum

As you may or may not know, there are four common types of hair: straight, wavy, curly, kinky/coily. Then there are subcategories within each of those hair types.

For example, 3A hair is a type of curly hair. But what does that mean, exactly?

It’s a question that has been asked by many an individual, puzzled by their unique coil pattern. Lucky for you, we’re here to answer all your questions!

So read on to learn everything you need to know about 3A hair type, what it means and how to tell if you have it!

What Is the 3A Hair Type?

Knowing your type will help you care for it and make the most of your hair products. Curly hair comes in many different textures, shapes, and lengths. There are wavy, kinky, tight, loose coils, to name a few.

The 3A hair type is one of the most common curl types. What does that mean, though?

How can you tell whether you have it?

Here are a few ideas for your 3A hair type to consider.

  1. Type 3A hair, often referred to as a “combination” hair, is characterized by its defined s-shaped curls, usually the diameter of a piece of sidewalk chalk.
  2. It is the loosest variation of type 3 curls and usually appears to have very soft curls. The hair of 3A heads tends to shine more than that of 3B or 3C.
  3. Type 3A hair is usually easy to manage and style, but it is also susceptible to frizz and can be dry.

How to Figure Out Your Curl Type

Understanding your curl type can often be tricky. To make matters even more complicated, one head of curly hair can exhibit a wide range of variations in texture.

Celebrity hairstylist Andre Walker’s current curl typing system is a solid starting point for determining your curl type.

There are four basic hair types according to Walkers’ classification system:

●     Type 1: Straight

●     Type 2: Wavy

●     Type 3: Curly

●     Type 4: Coily

These types are then broken down further into sub-categories from A to C, depending on their width or diameter. The pattern sizes for Type A are wide, Type B are medium, and Type C are the smallest.

Maintenance and Care Tips for 3A Hair

3A hair is one of the most delicate textures out there. While it can be a lot of work to maintain and care for 3A hair properly, it’s definitely worth it in the end.

Make these recommendations part of your normal hair care routine if you have hair type 3A to maintain healthy, beautiful hair.

Hydrate your curls

Having dry hair is a major challenge for curls, so give your hair that much-needed moisture with lightweight products.

Moisturizing your hair with lightweight leave-in conditioners will help keep your hair moisturized without flattening your loose curls.

Protect your strands

This is an important part of overall hair health. Use a heat protectant spray when using hot tools and a daily cream to prevent damage caused by the sun. Also, wear hats and sunscreen whenever possible.

Get regular trims

Trimming your hair regularly keeps it looking great. If you don’t use heat styling, chemicals, or wear it curly most of the time, every 10 to 12 weeks is ideal.

Signs it’s time for a hair trim

1. Split ends are a problem. Split ends are a big indicator that you’re due for a haircut. When your ends are split, they’re more susceptible to damage, which can lead to frizz, breakage, and hair appearing thinner.

2. Weighted down and lifeless hair. If your hair feels heavy, looks limp, and lacks volume, it’s probably time for a trim. Over time, you’ll notice that your curls don’t hold styles as well as they used to.

3.Your hair is extremely dry on the ends. If your ends are drying up faster than the rest of your hair after washing it, it’s time for a trim. Dry ends cause tangles and frizz, making it difficult to comb through your locks.

4. You’re seeing more flyaways. If your hair is prone to flyaways, it’s likely because the ends are damaged. Once your ends are healthier, you’ll see fewer flyaways.

5. You’re experiencing more breakage than usual. If you’re seeing more hair in your brush than usual, it’s time for a trim. Breakage occurs when the hair is weak and snaps easily.

Sleep on satin

Satin pillowcases help retain moisture and add shine to your locks. If you use a silk or satin pillowcase, you won’t need to worry about frizzing out your curls.

Avoid over washing

Keeping your hair clean is important, but over washing dries out your hair, leaving it brittle and prone to breaking. Depending on your lifestyle, wash your hair every 3-4 days (or as needed).

Use gentle shampoos and conditioners made specifically for curly hair that contain ingredients such as, shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, or jojoba oil.

Also, check out my list of the best shampoos for curly hair.

Be gentle when styling

Always be careful when styling your hair. Avoid pulling or tugging on wet hair too much. Instead, use a detangling brush to detangle from tip to root and gently brush through.

Be sure to use a diffuser attachment when blow drying your hair. This will create more air flow and reduce frizz. Avoid diffusing hair when soaking wet if you want more volume.

Check out this post for a list of the best detangler for curly hair.

Nourish your scalp

A healthy scalp is essential to having healthy hair. Use a clarifying shampoo at least once a month to remove build up.

A great clarifying shampoo that works for every hair type is the Kinky Curly Come Clean. This shampoo doubles as a chelating shampoo, which means it is great for removing build up from hard water minerals, product residue, and oils. There is nothing but clean ingredients with this one! You’ll want to keep this one in your regular rotation.

How to Cut and Style Your Type 3A Hair

It can be challenging to style your 3A hair, but it doesn’t have to be! Try these favorite hairstyles that will work best on this type of hair.

The low ponytail

Video credit: Yaliana Enid

If you don’t want to go too far out of your comfort zone, try pulling your hair back into a low ponytail instead. It’s good for 3A hair types because it adds volume while keeping your hair out of your face.

The textured top knot

Video credit: Jade Godbolt

Textured top knots are a great option for anyone with 3A hair. They come in various sizes and forms and are simple to maintain.

Simply take a tiny strand of hair and twist it over itself to create the textured top knot. Next, pull the ends of the twisted section toward the center of your scalp. Finally, secure the end with a clear elastic.

The half updo

Video credit: Bree Stobbe

Half updos are perfect for any occasion because they give you great versatility. They also make it easy to change your look without worrying about messing up your hair.

The curly lob

Photo credit: Hair Adviser

Curly lobs are a great way to spice up your look. Curly lobs are similar to a pixie cut, except they tend to be longer and wider.

The short cut

Photo credit: The Right Hairstyles

Short cuts are always popular for those 3A curls. A short cut allows you to embrace those natural curls and add length and volume to your hair while still keeping it manageable.

The Best Products for Type 3A Hair

It is equally important to know how the right hair products could help you to achieve the perfect hair care routine.

For example, some types of products designed for curly hair tend to be too heavy on your hair, causing them to flatten instead of enhancing your bouncy curls.

Here are some of the best products for type 3A hair:

ShampooBriogeo Curl Charisma Hydrating Shampoo, Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Shampoo, Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Shampoo 

Clarifying shampoo: Kinky Curly Come Clean

ConditionerBriogeo Curl Charisma Conditioner, Curl Junkie Daily Fix Cleansing Conditioner, Righteous Roots 2-n-1 Conditioner, SheaMoisture Restorative Conditioner

DetanglerAunt Jackie’s Knot On My Watch Instant Detangling Therapy, Righteous Roots 2-n-1 Conditioner.

Leave-in ConditionerCurls Blueberry Bliss, Kinky Curly Knot Today, Righteous Roots 2-n-1 Conditioner,  Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Crème

Curl Cream:  Ouai Fragrance Free Curl Creme, Cantu Shea Butter Curl Activator, Shea Butter Curl Enhancing Smoothie

GelJessicurl Spiralicious, Eco Style Gel, Kinky Curly Custard Gel

Foam/MousseSheaMoisture Curl Mousse for Frizz Control Coconut and Hibiscus with Shea Butter or AG Hair Natural Cloud Airlight Volumizing Mousse

Deep ConditionerBriogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!, Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

OilRighteous Roots Oils


There are lots of factors that determine what hair type you have, and each person has their own unique combination of genetics and lifestyle choices that determine what happens to their locks.

Knowing your hair type is the first step to keeping your hair looking and feeling great! With the right products and styling techniques, you can maximize your hair’s natural beauty. Embrace your 3A curls and let them shine!

Hopefully, these tips helped you learn more about 3A hair type and what you need to do to get the most out of it. Be sure to experiment with different products and styles until you find what works best for you!

Curl care

 We treat our blog with a curious, open-minded, and customer-focused attitude. We ask lots of questions about everything.

We think that people should take what information they need and leave what they don't. We suggest things we enjoy and believe are worth your attention.

Above all, we value your trust above anything else. We're so glad you’re here!

Hi,I'm Verna

product reviews

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