Knowing your curl pattern yields insight into hair styling techniques and styling products. If you don’t know your curl pattern yet, take the quiz! And if you have already figured out that you are a Type 3 Curly, here are your next steps to healthy hair.

What is Type 3 hair?

Type 3 curlies are what we would call curly to tight curly. This category tends to be the most defined while also being susceptible to frizz depending on the weather. 3a curlies have a loopy “S” curls that are big and loose. 3B curlies tend to have springier curls that range from ringlets to corkscrews. They also have shrinkage and tend to have a coarser texture. 3C curlies are a combination of curly and coily strands that are tightly coiled and experience the most shrinkage out of the three. They are usually very dense strands and their coils are voluminous and tight.

Porosity & Width

Curl pattern is one part of your hair type, hair porosity and width are two others that will be extremely helpful in learning how to maintain healthy hair. Hair porosity is your hair’s level of ability to retain moisture. There are low, medium, and high porosity levels with either end of the spectrum having their own issues with absorbing or retaining moisture. Hair width refers to the diameter of the individual strands. They can be fine, medium, or coarse, which could aid in styling, especially when it comes to color treating and heat styling. Both factor in for optimal hair health and beauty, but they tend to fall to the wayside of hair typing. The bottom line is there are several dynamics necessary to understand your curls. All require trial and error in product selections, maintenance, hairstyles, color, and cuts, so patience is not only a virtue, it is a necessity for curlies! 

More about porosity: This is Actually More Important Than Your Curl Pattern

More about width: Fine, Normal, and Coarse Hair: Why Width Matters


How to Style Type 3 Curls

Not sure what to do with your hair? Here are some styling options.

5 Everyday Hairstyles

From bobby pins to tube socks, AndreasChoice shares her five favorite everyday styles that are easy, breezy, and fun. These go-to styles are quick, frizz friendly, and great for those days when the weather is not cooperating.

Curly Updos w/ Accessories

Curly girls always look great with updos! Whether pining for the perfect wedding look, a night out, or just to run errands, a quick updo will get you on your way to looking fabulous and moving fast. Accessories are key to the sassy updo, so Bianca Renee shows us how to rock several updos that can completely change with your choice of accessories.

A Flawless Wash & Go

The wash and go is one of the most popular, misunderstood, highly beautiful hairstyles for a type 3 curly. There are several ways to achieve a wash and go. Everyone wants to rock one but many steer clear of them because they fear it is only for certain hair types. Not so curlies! Wavies, coilies and curlies alike garner exceptional wash and go styles. BeautyByLee shares her simple and stunning take on the ever popular style.

Halo Updo

Type 3 curlies love to protective style as much as the type 4’s because the object is to protect your strands regardless of your curl, wave, or coil type! The lovely SunKissAlba shares this super easy and elegant halo updo. No braiding or technical hands necessary for this style. If you can twist then you can create this style with ease. All you need are your fingers, your toned arms (there is a ton of twisting”>, and a host of bobby pins (which every curly girl already has”>. This look can be spiced up with flowers, sparkling hair pins, or a headband. Apply a satin or silk scarf at night for the style to keep.

Heatless Waves: Summer Braid Out

Sara or better known as Waterlily716 has gorgeous type 3 curls that shine and radiate healthiness. We love her tutorials and her simple, yet effective tips that allow you to master some really great styles. As I mentioned before, type 3 curlies can rock the very same styles as type 4’s, so sit back and watch a great video on her braid out that’s perfect for the summer!

Type 3 Products

Each year our editors vote on their favorite products for their hair type in the NaturallyCurly Editors’ Choice awards. We give Type 3 and 3C their own categories as there can be a marked difference in the types of products they reach for. The products that perform well on your hair will also be greatly impacted by your porosity, but this list is a good jumping off point if you’re looking for new products. Here are some of our Type 3 and 3c Editors’ Choice winners from over the years, and you can find this year’s full list of Editors’ Choice winners here.


Clarifying Shampoo

Shampoo Bar

Dry Shampoo

Cleansing Conditioner

Daily Conditioner

Leave-in Conditioner

Deep Conditioner



Styling Cream

Styling Gel

Cream Gel

Frizz Fighter

  • TYPE 3c – None


Hair Oil

 Share your favorite style and product for Type 3 curls below!

If you don’t know your curl pattern yet, take the quiz!

This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated due to discontinued products.

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