3C Hair Type: What Is It & How to Care For It

Learn about the 3C hair type with John Frieda. Explore the 3C hair type, celebrities with 3C hair, 3C hair care tips, and hair styles to consider!
woman with 3c curly hair type

You may think curls are just curls, but curly hair comes in many different types, all with their own set of characteristics and needs. Understanding which products and routines work best for your curl type can leave you with softer, more manageable curls.

So, what makes the 3C hair type different from other curl types? Read on for everything you need to know about 3C hair care.

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What Is the 3C Hair Type?

long loose waves haircut

The 3C hair type is characterized by “S”-shaped coils that resemble a corkscrew. The coils formed by 3C hair have roughly the diameter of a pencil, and the individual strands are usually fine to medium in texture.

The 3C hair type is characterized by “S”-shaped coils that resemble a corkscrew. The coils formed by 3C hair have roughly the diameter of a pencil, and the individual strands are usually fine to medium in texture.

How to Care for 3C Hair?

Here’s how to keep your beautiful curls happy:

  1. Don’t overwash. Because curly hair depends on the natural oils from your scalp to keep it healthy, shampooing just once or twice a week should be enough, but feel free to experiment with a routine that works for you. When you shampoo, focus on cleansing your roots and scalp with a hydrating, sulfate-free formula to minimize tangling.
  2. Deep condition. Between shampoos, try co-washing with a thick, deeply moisturizing conditioner formulated just for curls. Once a week, deep condition with an oil treatment.
  3. Use a leave-in conditioner. Type 3C hair is prone to frizz, so use a frizz-fighting leave-in conditioner or a bottle of water mixed with hair oil to tame frizz throughout the day.
  4. Focus on curl definition. Encourage your corkscrews to behave without weighing them down by gently working in a light styling foam or curl cream, then scrunch or wrap individual curls around your finger to add definition.
  5. Minimize heat styling. Because curly hair is so dry and fragile, minimizing heat styling will result in softer, healthier hair. Focus on curl-defining products rather than heat tools to style your hair and air dry whenever possible. If you must blow-dry, coat your curls with a heat-protecting serum and use a diffuser.
  6. Be gentle. Separate and detangle your curls with a wide-tooth comb or your fingers and a curl cream or oil. Avoid touching your hair too much because it causes frizz.
  7. “Pineapple” or “plop” your curls to dry. Protect your curls at night by “pineappling.” Pull your curls into a high, loose ponytail or bun, and secure with a soft scarf or scrunchie. After showering, gently towel-dry and “plop” damp curls into the center of a soft microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt and tie up to dry.

5 Hairstyles to Try With 3C Hair

Here are a few of our favorite hairstyles for 3C hair to help encourage volume and definition.

  1. High Bun: Coil your curls into a loose, high bun for a style that’s full of body. Pull down a few face-framing corkscrews to soften the look.
  2. Hair Claw: For a simple, chic updo, twist your curls into a loose knot at the back of your head and secure with a fun claw clip or barrette.
  3. Half-Up Top Knot: Give the classic half-up, half-down style extra volume with a loose bun or knot at the top of your head.
  4. The Pineapple: Pull your curls into a high ponytail on the top of your head and let them cascade down.
  5. Natural: Don’t be afraid to rock your natural 3C hair.  Just use a curl-reviving styling mousse or cream, scrunch, and go!

Key Takeaways

  1. The tight coils formed by 3C hair resemble a corkscrew and are about the diameter of a pencil. 3C hair can be fine to medium in texture and is prone to damage, breakage, and frizz. It can also lack volume.
  2. To care for 3C hair properly, you need to use products that balance moisture with volume.
  3. Try volumizing styles for your 3C curls–top knots, buns, "pineappling," and hair claws are all perfect.

Now go forth and rock that 3C hair type. Check out more John Frieda hair care tips for curly hair.

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