Afro hair

How to Take Care of 3c Hair

Published By: Kennedy

Last Updated: January 13, 2022

3c hair was not included in the original curl type chart but was later added because many women have this hair type

Though there is still much to be discovered about hair textures in general, there are many things that are still helpful to do to take care of your hair. 

What is 3c Hair?

3c hair is a type of texture where the curls have the width of a pencil. The strands of this hair are tightly packed together- which gives the hair a lot of volume. 

It borders kinky hair but is more defined than type 4 hair. 3c hair has S-shaped curls and is the tightest curl pattern of Type 3. 

There are several ways to care for 3c hair to maintain its volume and curl definition. Today, we’ll look at 5 helpful tips for your healthy hair journey!

Also read: What are Curl Types and Charts?

Tips on Caring for 3c Hair

#1 Wash and Condition

Shampoos are known to be particularly bad for curly hair, because they strip the hair of its natural oils, and therefore dry out the hair. It is entirely possible to not use shampoo at all. Instead, you can use a no-poo, which is a cleanser that isn’t a shampoo. No-poo does not strip your hair like shampoo does while leaving it clean and moisturized.[1

It may take a bit more time to completely cleanse your hair using a no-poo, due to the fact that it doesn’t lather (or bubble) like shampoo does, but it is sulfate-free. 3c curls have the potential to be very defined, but if they are dry or not clumped together well, then they will be frizzy. 

One way to ensure you are not adding any extra frizziness is to finger detangle. Finger detangling is done by raking your fingers through your hair to comb out your hair instead of using a brush or comb. By using your fingers to detangle, your hair turns out much less frizzy than if you were to use a brush, and you pull out less of your new growth. The easiest way to finger detangle is while you are conditioning your hair. 

Conditioner has more slip, which allows your finger to run through your hair with ease. Conditioner is very important after washing your hair, especially if you do use shampoo. Conditioners add moisture back into your curls, which will help with definition and healthiness. Good conditioners are those that are sulfate and paraben-free. 

You should wash your hair every week, but if you have high porosity hair, then instead of washing the hair you alternate it with co-washing. Co-washing is simply washing the hair with conditioner. It is easier on your hair and will cleanse it while keeping it moisturized. It is best after washing that you let your hair air dry as much as possible. 

To avoid walking around with a drippy head, then use a microfiber towel. Cotton towels tend to make the hair way frizzier than it needs to be, to avoid this, pat dry with a microfiber towel, and your curls will stay super defined.  

#2 Deep Condition 

After your routine wash and condition, you should then deep condition at least every 2 weeks. Again, the key to healthy and defined curls is moisture. Deep conditioners impart extra moisture into the hair that will last throughout the week. 

Deep conditioners work best with heat. After applying a deep conditioner, it is best to cover the hair with a shower cap and let it sit on your head for at least an hour. When the shower cap is on your head, it will create a steamy effect inside and help the deep conditioner penetrate the hair shaft. 

Using heat for deep conditioning is especially useful for low porosity hair. It is difficult to impart moisture into low porosity hair, so using heat will really help you accomplish that. There are many different types of deep conditioners you can use, but I highly recommend going as natural as possible. 

You can even try homemade deep conditioners. When creating homemade hair masks, I recommend using at least one ingredient that contains protein, such as eggs. Protein softens and strengthens the hair. Olive oil is also a good moisturizing ingredient to use when creating a hair mask.[2]

#3 Moisturize

Moisturizing your hair daily is also necessary for great curl definition. Spraying your hair with water daily is one way you can ensure that your hair stays hydrated. 

Your hair will always need water, and not just externally. The key is to hydrate! Drinking water will also help your hair to be healthy and moisturized. The average person should be drinking about 2 liters of water a day, so if you are slacking on your water intake, you will see a difference in your hair as well.  

While you are drinking water, you may as well take some vitamins too. Vitamins such as biotin and Vitamin A are known to be great for hair, and they can be taken as supplements as a part of your morning routine.[3]

Also, using curl creams will not only moisturize your hair but keep the curls from becoming frizzy. On the days that you are not doing much, you can apply a curl cream and twist your hair. Twisting your hair will lock in the moisture and encourage the curls. Using oils such as avocado and jojoba oils will seal the moisture into the hair even more throughout the day. 

#4 Diffuse

If you don’t have time to air dry, a diffuser is a great option for adding volume and definition to your curls. 3c hair tends to be weighed down, so to achieve the bouncy look, try a diffuser! 

You want to use your diffuser on low strength, depending on how fine your hair is because putting a diffuser on a high setting can make your hair frizzy. When you use a diffuser, you want to make sure you are not just using it on the ends of your hair, but placing it on your scalp as well. 

By drying the hair from root to tip, your curls will turn out springy. 

#5 Protective Styles 

It is always best to leave the hair alone as much as possible, and protective styles help that to happen. Twisted buns are really good for not only locking in moisture but also keeping your ends tucked away. Buns are also a great protective style for nighttime because they keep the hair in one place – instead of rubbing on the pillowcase – and keep the hair moisturized.

French braids or cornrows are also great styles to do for 3c hair, provided that the braids are not too tight and excessively pulling on the scalp. Flat twists are also helpful in locking in moistures and keeping the hair in place. 

You want to do a protective style as much as possible, especially for your ends. If your ends become damaged, such as split ends, then that damage will run up the hair shaft causing breakage and stunting growth. Making sure that the bottom of your hair is kept from rubbing against your clothes too much is also something to be aware of. 

Protective styles also keep the hair from heat and chemicals which is very bad for 3c hair, especially if the hair is fine-textured. Avoiding heat and chemicals means that the hair curls to its fullest potential and stays healthy and strong.

Also read: How to Style 3c Hair

The Final Word

Knowing how to care for your hair is the best way to achieve healthy, bouncy curls. Not only will your hair look great, but it will feel great and stay strong for a long time. 

The important thing is to know your individual hair, spend time with it, and figure out what it needs. At the end of the day, we will each have to customize the hair routine that is right for us!


I have always had a love for writing and have been blogging for about 3 years now. I have a passion for teaching what I have learned over the years, especially about hair. I have had almost every hairstyle - typical of a cosmetologist’s daughter- including the big chop in 2015. With all the knowledge I have gained, I feel it is my duty to help others on their healthy hair journey. I believe education can be fun, and I strive to make it fun to learn about beautiful black hair.

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