May 31, 2023
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3c hair is my personal hair type, and when I started my hair transition (moving away from straighteners, relaxers, etc.), I noticed that my hair was severely damaged and even looked more like 3b. over time, I’ve found a great hair care routine that transformed my hair back to health.
3c hair is the curliest of type 3 with ringlet-shaped, voluminous curls. It can be dry, frizzy, and damaged and require a lot of hydration. 3c hair also needs quality, lightweight, nourishing products and appropriate accessories and tools that won’t cause friction and breakage.
In this comprehensive hair care guide, we discuss the characteristics of 3c hair and helpful routines and products to give you the best natural results. Whether you’re just starting your haircare journey or want to improve your current practice, read on for helpful advice and information.
3c hair is a subtype for the hair type chart created by Andre Walker. The subtype comes from type 3 hair, classified under curly patterns. From subtypes a, b, and c, 3c is the curliest type 3 hair. The curls are tight ringlets with a diameter of a pencil.
This hair type is dense, voluminous, and has substantial shrinkage. Once dried, 3c hair is almost half in length. These curls are prone to breakage and frizz. The hair texture is typically coarse and dry because the sebum struggles to pass down as it does with less curly hair types.
Here is how to determine whether you have 3c hair.
Many people confuse 3c hair with 4a because they are closely similar. Type 4 hair falls under the coily/kinky category, and 3c often looks significantly coily with its dense, tight curls. So how do you determine the difference?
The reality with all hair types is that hair chemistry, porosity, and texture vary between people, even those with the same subtypes. Each hair type requires special care, including 3c curls.
There is no one-size-fits-all when following a hair care routine. Different products and styles work better for some than others. You can always find what works for you by experimenting and keeping what suits your hair while letting go of what doesn’t.
Below are some tips to help you care for your 3c curls:
Moisture through water is your curly hair’s best friend. It helps keep your hair hydrated and makes styling easier. Promotes healthy hair growth and reduces bad hair days. Proper hair moisturization helps to keep your curls looking their best.
Focus on products that help to boost hydration, such as humectants. These ingredients draw moisture to the hair and help it stay hydrated for longer.
There are three main categories of porosity: low, normal (medium), and high. Understanding your hair’s porosity will help you choose the right products that work best for you. Porosity determines how easily your hair can retain moisture.
Hair with high porosity has many raised or lifted cuticles, quickly absorbing water and losing moisture just as rapidly. Low-porosity hair is challenging to moisturize and style. The tightly packed cuticles do not allow moisture to penetrate your strands easily.
Medium porosity typically means your hair cuticles are aligned, resulting in less of an issue with moisture retention. Additionally, don’t assume that your hair’s porosity is the same as someone else’s just because you have a similar curl pattern.
A healthy scalp equals healthy hair. although it may not seem apparent, the scalp is skin comprised of five layers. It differs from other body areas due to many lipid and sweat glands. it is also home to around 100,000 hair follicles.
Did you know that our scalps are dirtier and sweatier than other parts of our bodies? It’s true! the combination of lipids, sweat glands, and hair strands means dirt and sweat can quickly build up on our scalps. The key to beautiful, healthy hair is simply keeping your scalp clean!
Don’t overlook trims. Split ends are inevitable, no matter your hair type. The ends are the most fragile and oldest part as your hair grows. Regular trims are essential for maintaining your curls. They can also help with length retention, so skipping too many trims might not be the best idea.
Be gentle with your hair. Curly hair is always more fragile than wavy and straight hair, so yanking through your strands because you’re in a hurry is not a good idea. I have found it best to ensure that my hair is completely soaked with a conditioner or detangler with lots of “slip” before detangling my hair.
Another great way to detangle your hair is a pre-poo oil treatment. Not only do pre-poo treatments make hair easier to detangle by using oils, but they also help hair retain moisture and reduce breakage during the process. You can say goodbye to frizzy hair, too!
There are a few tools that make 3c hair easier to detangle. My personal favorites are wide tooth combs and a couple of detangling brushes below.
Curly hair is very delicate and needs to be handled with care. The type of material you lay your head on at night matters. The right pillowcase can help maintain your curls, while the wrong one might be a recipe for tangles, breakage, and frizzy hair in the morning. Invest in these sleep accessories:
There are several fun hairstyles for 3c hair. Some of them include:
Below are a couple of helpful youtube tutorials to get you started. You can use these hairstyles on type 3 and 4 hair:
Many 3c hair products today will help you achieve those healthy and hydrated curls. The following product suggestions are not comprehensive, but they are a great starting point if you don’t know where to begin.
When trying out new products, always test them on a section of your hair first. This will help you determine if they suit your 3c hair type.
Here are some 3c curly hair favorites:
3c hair is beautiful and looks stylish without much effort. If you care for your 3c hair correctly, it will look even better and bouncier, and your luscious locks will be perfectly defined. Don’t forget to experiment with products and routines that suit your hair needs. and enjoy your curls!
I had to listen to what my hair needed...my curls are finally ready to take in some moisture again!!!
- renee, Stylist Liaison
“I truly couldn't have gotten through this without her knowledge, advice and support...after suffering from Hygral Fatigue and getting tons of advice @themestizamuse.”
“@themestizamuse: for ESSENTIAL information you will NEED TO KNOW in order to see results.”
See how easy the topics are to find on her page (a few posts screenshot)? There is no topic Verna hasn't covered.
- dominique P, wavy hair enthusiast
“I have learned a whole heap of knowledge from @themestizamuse.”
Inspiring hair tutor, grateful for what she offers the Curly Community in authenticity, passion, and knowledge.
- zoe F, Producer & Host of The Curl Squad
“I was so excited to embrace my curls and take better care of them. As I started to dive in, I immediately became overwhelmed with the information.”
I read books and tried doing things because "that's what I'm supposed to do," but it didn't always work and I didn't understand why. I'm so grateful for Verna and her blog. Her info. actually helped me understand more of the science of why some methods helped and what products or ingredients to use and why. Anyone that compliments my hair and wants to start a curly journey, I tell them to start here. My hair is so much healthier and I'm so happy with it.
- stephanie, Curly hair enthusiast
One day you will wake up and there won't be any more time to do the things you've always wanted.
Do it now.
- Paulo coelho