3B Hair Guide: All About Caring for + Styling This Hair Type

3B Hair Guide: All About Caring for + Styling This Hair Type

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When you think of curly hair, what comes to your mind?

It might be a head full of small ringlets or one with long, loose waves — or curls that fall somewhere in between! 

a young petite woman wearing sparkly top with her enhance 3b hair while looking sideways in a pink background

It can be a bit hard to come up with one universal image for curly hair. And that’s because there are different types or subcategories of it out there.

In this article, we will be looking at one type in particular: 3b hair. 

We will explore the characteristics of the 3b hair type, offer suggestions for fantastic 3b hairstyles, and give you guidelines on how to care for 3b hair in the comfort of your home. 

All About Curly Hair

Before discussing 3b hair, let’s first look at the basics of curly hair and why certain people have it. 

Why Do You Have Curly Hair?

Your genes determine a lot about you and your physical traits, including your hair. 

So if you have curly hair, it’s probably because both or either one of your parents were born with curly hair too. 

Curly hair is a dominant gene. So even if one of your parents passed down the straight hair gene to you and the other the curly hair gene, you’ll likely have curly hair

There’s also the matter of follicles, where each of your hair strands grows out. There are actually different follicle shapes that each produce a corresponding hair pattern. 

Round follicles produce straight hair, while oval follicles produce curly to coily hair. 

What Is Your Curl Pattern?

Given that there are different curl patterns out there, several hair typing systems were eventually developed by different individuals. 

The most common one called the Andre Walker Hair Typing System — which was created in the ‘90s — categorizes hair into four basic types:

Type 1Straight
Type 2Wavy
Type 3Curly
Type 4Coily

Eventually, these hair types were further broken down into three subcategories: A, B, and C. 

Based on the table above, we can see that type 3 hair is curly. It also has three subcategories: 3a hair, 3b hair, and 3c hair

3A hair is characterized by S-shaped, loose spiral curls that are about 1 inch in diameter.

3C hair is the curliest of all curly hair types. It has the diameter of a pen, and its curls look like tight and stiff ringlets on your head.  

curl pattern chart infographic

What Is 3B Hair?

Curly 3b hair, on the other hand, looks like corkscrew curls that are springy and well-defined. These curls have a diameter similar to that of a permanent marker.

Natural 3b hair is also characterized by voluminous ringlets looser than those of 3c hair.

It experiences a bit of shrinkage as it goes from wet to dry.

Being in between the two other subcategories of type 3 hair, don’t be surprised if some people with 3b hair have some loose spiral curls that look like those of 3a hair and some tight curls that resemble those of 3c hair.

But all in all, the curls of 3b hair tend to be very well-defined.  

The texture of this hair type can also be described as medium to coarse, meaning each strand tends to be thick rather than fine.

What Are Some Issues With 3B Hair?

With its volume and well-defined curls, 3b hair looks gorgeous and full of life.

If in good condition, your hair will look glorious as it bounces up and down when you walk! 

However, having 3b hair also comes with its own set of issues. 

3b hair has medium porosity, meaning it may encounter some issues when it comes to holding in and absorbing moisture. 

Because of this, the most common issues when it comes to 3b hair are frizziness and hydration.  

Frizziness

Frizz occurs due to various factors. It may be a result of exposure to environmental elements like high humidity, which can cause your hair cuticles to swell, resulting in frizz. 

However, it can also be caused by your hair cuticle getting damaged and broken, resulting in an unnatural lift or even significant breakage in your hair. 

While the causes may differ, the outcome is still the same: your curly hair looks like a puffy, fluffy mess — and no one wants that!

Hydration Issues

Hydration is another factor that may adversely affect your 3b hair. 

Curly hair like 3b hair tends to be dry since the oils from the scalp don’t pass down the strands as easily as they do on straight hair.

This is due to the shape of the curls, which makes it harder for the oils to cover each strand completely.  

As a result, 3b hair tends to be dry. 

However, other factors may contribute to the dryness of your curly hair, such as the following:

  • Applying too much heat to your hair regularly. This includes using a blow-dryer to dry your hair or flat irons to straighten it, which exposes your hair to excess heat, further drying it out. 
  • Overwashing your hair. Washing your 3b hair too often may also strip your hair strands of natural oils. 
  • Skipping conditioner. Conditioning your hair is vital to maintaining optimal hydration levels, so if you’re skipping this step, then it may exacerbate the dryness of your curly hair.

If left untreated, these issues may lead to you having to deal with hair breakage and split ends — not to mention they’ll prevent your curly hair from looking its best!

a woman with white top and a soft glam make up is looking happily while looking up and flaunting her 3b hair

How To Take Care of 3B Hair

As with all hair types, caring for 3b hair is important. 

To combat frizziness and hydration issues, you must maintain a routine that will help you keep the right amount of moisture in your hair — and always keep your hair looking gorgeous!

Here are some useful tips for caring for your 3b hair:

1. Minimize Heat Styling

Are you the type to regularly blow-dry your hair or straighten it with a flat iron?

If you have 3b hair, you should avoid exposing your hair to heat with these techniques as much as possible. 

As mentioned previously, constantly exposing your curly hair to heat may dry it out and damage it, causing it to frizz or appear limp. 

Plus, using a flat iron carelessly may lead you to burn your scalp or damage your follicles. 

Now on occasions when using heat to style your hair can’t be avoided, make sure to use a heat protectant on your hair before using your heat-styling tools to minimize heat damage. 

2. Use Good Hair Products for 3B Hair

It’s always a good idea to choose hair products that are made specifically for 3b hair.

If you’re experiencing significant frizz, dryness, or even damage, using the right 3b hair products will help your hair combat and bounce back from these issues!

This is why the most ideal hair products for 3b hair are hydrating ones that help keep dryness, frizz, and damage at bay.

They should have moisturizing and nourishing ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, argan oil, and coconut oil that keep your curls healthy from their roots down to their tips. 

Shampoo

The best shampoo for 3b hair is one that can clean your hair and scalp well without stripping it of natural oils. It should also allow you to detangle it with your fingers with ease. 

So it’s best to look for a shampoo without many chemicals like sulfates, which can remove moisture from your curls and dry them out.

You can try the Maui Moisture Lightweight Hydration + Hibiscus Water Shampoo, which can cleanse, revive, and refresh your curly hair without much fuss! 

Conditioner

Conditioning your hair every day with a high-quality, curl-loving conditioner will help keep your hair soft, smooth, and properly hydrated! 

Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Curl Quenching Conditioner is a great option for everyday use, as it’s designed to moisturize curls and prevent dryness. 

Using a deep conditioner on 3b hair is also important. Not only will deep conditioners keep your hair moisturized, but they may also help repair damage and strengthen it. 

For this, you can try the SheaMoisture Intensive Hydration Hair Masque to deep condition your curls and infuse them with a fantastic dose of moisture.

You may also want to use a leave-in conditioner for 3b hair to add more moisture to your hair. This will also help tame the frizziness that you may experience. 

A great product to try is the Mixed Chicks Curl Defining & Frizz Eliminating Leave-In Conditioner, which fights frizz and protects your hair against frizz-causing environmental elements.  

Styling Products

Love using other curl-specific products besides shampoo and conditioner, like hair gel, curl creams, or styling pomades? Not a problem! 

Just remember to use lightweight styling products for curly 3b hair, such as the Curlsmith Hydro Style Flexi-Jelly, which is designed to define and smooth out your curls without feeling heavy on the hair. 

This will allow your curly hair to retain its body and definition without the curls looking like they’ve been weighed down by too much product. Limp and lifeless curls are a big no-no, after all!

3. Practice Good Hair Care

Caring for your hair is very important.

You can practice the following in order to protect your curly hair:

  • Wash your hair only once or twice a week. Your 3b hair needs your natural hair oils to remain healthy and soft. Shampooing every day washes away those oils, which may leave you with dry hair. 

    So if you’re the type who loves to shampoo often, try cutting back and shampooing your hair just once or twice a week, depending on how grimy your scalp and hair get. 
  • Co-wash your hair. You can also opt to co-wash your hair or wash it using conditioner to cleanse it without drying it out.

    If you choose to do this, you can wash your hair with regular shampoo once a week and co-wash it two to three times a week to keep it clean and well-moisturized. 
  • Deep-condition your hair once or twice a week. Deep conditioning your hair regularly can help further combat dryness or frizziness. 
  • Detangle your hair gently. Try to avoid being too rough when brushing or detangling your curls, especially when they’re wet. Doing otherwise may damage your hair.

    Go through each tangle slowly: start at the ends of the hair and work your way up. You can also use a detangling brush instead of a regular brush to ensure a gentle detangling process.
  • Protect your hair from sun exposure. Just as you wear sunscreen to protect your skin, protecting your hair from the sun’s harmful rays is also important! 

    Limit your sun exposure as much as possible, but if it can’t be avoided, try covering your hair with a hat or scarf whenever you go outdoors.
  • Use silk or satin materials. Lastly, use silk or satin pillowcases when you sleep or use silk or satin scrunchies when tying your hair. 

    Silk and satin aren’t as absorbent as cotton, which means they won’t absorb any precious moisture from your curls and cause them to become dry as a result. 

    Also, they’re designed to minimize friction between your strands and the fabric. As such, they can help reduce frizz and even prevent breakage caused by friction. 

What Are Examples of Great 3B Hairstyles?

Unsure about how to style 3b hair? Look no more, as we have some suggestions for you!  

The good news is that the natural texture of 3b hair looks good with any hair length, so you can go for as long or as short as you want. 

Short 3B Haircuts and Hairstyles

You can opt to get the following haircuts for your short 3b hair, which will give you a sleek and naturally edgy look that’s easy to maintain:

  • High top. This is a haircut where your curls are piled on top of your head while the sides and the back of your hair are cut close to the scalp to create a faded effect. This cut is low-maintenance but extremely flattering.
  • Pixie cut. With a pixie cut, your hair will be cut shorter on the sides and back while being kept slightly longer up top. This cut helps emphasize the volume and enhance the appearance of your curls. 
  • Classic bob. To achieve a classic bob, your curls will be cut to a uniform length — usually an inch or two below your chin. A bob like this will help your curls look sleek and tidy. 

Long 3B Haircuts and Hairstyles

If you want to keep your long 3b hair well past your shoulders, feel free to do so!

Here are some hairstyle and haircut ideas for your long curls:

  • Layered haircut. Adding layers to your long hair is a great way to give your curls additional body and movement.
  • Bangs. Curly bangs look fantastic with long curly 3b hair! You can go for curtain bangs to frame your face or blunt bangs to achieve a trendy hairstyle.  
  • Clips. For a low-effort but fun look, you can use different accessories on your hair, like hair clips or headbands. 
  • Ponytail. You can also tie your hair back in either a tight ponytail for a chic, sharp look or a loose ponytail for a casual look. 

As you can see, the possibilities for styling 3b hair are almost endless!

a young woman wearing a formal top is smiling at the camera with her 3b hair in a loose behind a blue background

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Comb 3B Hair?

Yes, but be careful, especially when it’s wet!

Make sure to comb gently and use a wide-tooth comb that will go through your curls without snagging on them to avoid breakage or damage.

How Do You Sleep With 3B Curly Hair?

If you have mid-length to long 3b hair, the easiest and most optimal way to protect your hair while you sleep is by tying it up into a pineapple bun. 

Gather your curls into a loose ponytail above your head using a scrunchie. Next, get a scarf, fold it into a triangle, and completely cover your hair with it before tying the ends at the back. 

This helps protect your hair from tangles and knots that can form while you sleep. 

Gorgeous 3B Hair Right at Your Fingertips 

3B hair is beautiful, whether you keep it short or long — especially if you keep it healthy and well-maintained! 

That’s why it’s essential to use products specifically made for 3b hair and take steps to manage dryness, combat frizz, and prevent damage.

Once you’ve mastered the art of taking care of your 3b hair, then you can definitely show off your springy, bouncy, lively curls and be the envy of all you meet! 

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