At some point in every curly-haired person’s life, there comes the urge to chop it all off. And sometimes, you actually go through with it. It’s a solid decision – lots of women look amazing with short haircuts or no hair at all, and the haircare is a breeze. But when it comes time to grow your hair back out? That’s when the regret seeps in.

Time never passes more slowly than when you’re waiting for your short hair to grow out. It seems like it takes a million years just to see another inch. And when you have 3b hair, you experience some unique growing pains.

3b curls are too loose to form a standard afro shape. Then there’s that awkward in-between stage, when it’s too long to be an afro but too short to pull back into a ponytail. And when your hair (finally) gets past your ears, you may end up with the dreaded triangle shape.

But all is not lost! There are plenty of easy 3b haircuts and hairstyles to wear while you’re growing out your cute haircut. Here’s some inspiration to give you hope.

The “TWA”

If you’ve been rocking a baldie, the next step is the “teeny weeny afro” or TWA. 3b curls can be a little tricky at this stage – whereas afros rely on a reliable, consistent shape, 3b curls tend to look different every single morning. But they simply need some definition to make it work. Gel or mousse is your friend!


Photo via @janibellrosanne

And don’t forget to lay those edges.

Brittany TWA

Photo via @_brittanybarker_

Good Ol’ Tapered Sides

Once your hair begins to grow past the afro stage, you’ve entered the No Man’s Land of the in-between length. Your hair isn’t an afro, but it’s not not an afro either. One easy way to make it work is to keep the top long while trimming the sides.


Photo via @niathelight

I know, it hurts to cut your hair when you desperately want it to be longer, not shorter. But if you want to look cute, it’s a surefire, reliable style.


Photo via @eunthyp

The Happy Halo

An alternative to tapering your sides – one that doesn’t involve cutting your precious, precious length – is to grow out your hair evenly and just bask in your halo of curls. Trust me, it works.


Photo via @earthwindandflowers_

Side-Swept Baby Bob

Once your hair grows out a bit more, it may still be too short for a ponytail. That’s OK! I like to call this a “baby bob,” because it’s so cute and little. Part your hair on the side, and again, define your curls as much as possible.


Photo via @cora_bfitgirl

Space Buns

Remember when you were a kid and your mom would simply part your hair in the middle, pull your hair into two ponytail holders, and call it a day? You, too, can harness the power of the afro puff, or its modern older sister, the space bun. You can put the top of your hair into two puffs and leave the bottom out if it’s not long enough.

space buns tatyana

Photo via @tatyanaaceleste

If your hair is long enough, you can make two actual buns and leave some bangs out.


Photo via @lisette

Finger Coils

If you want your hair to be extra-defined while retaining some length and shape, try finger-coiling your hair. You can do the front sections, or do your entire head of hair. It’ll look great either way! For a more natural look, just separate and fluff the finger coils. Not sure how to finger coil? Here’s a tutorial.


Photo via @modelesque_nic

For-Real Bob

Finally, you’ve made it into the land of bobs! You can basically do anything with your hair at this point. Congratulations!

Curls First TWA

Photo via @Curlsfirst

Stretch your hair a bit for a wavier bob, a la Princess Nokia.

Princess Nokia

Photo via @princessnokia

If you don’t still have quite enough hair for the ponytail or bun of your dreams, just use some extensions to add length, like in this tutorial. Voila!

The “I Give Up” Braids

When you really need a break from styling your growing 3b hair every morning, go ahead and install some braids or faux locs. They can give both you and your hair some much-needed rest. Choose a fun color to really mix it up. If you like, you can also go extra-long to remind yourself what it’s like to have long hair (and remind yourself that having shorter hair definitely has its pros).


Photo via @kersti.pitre

Using these 8 hairstyles, you’ll be back to long hair in no time!

What are your favorite tricks for styling your hair while growing it out? Share them with us in the comments below!