11 Styling Tips For 3A Hair Type And How To Take Care Of It

6 Mins read

Do you remember the curls sported by Zendaya in the 2017 teens choice awards? Those gorgeous wobbly spiral curls are known as 3A hair type. There are different curly hair types, ranging from 3A to 4C hair types. Keep on reading if you want to know more about 3A curls, what type of curly hair you have, and ways to style it.

In This Article

What Is 3A Type Hair?


Your hair type is defined by the tilt of the follicle bulbs. If the bulbs are not tilted, you have straight hair. If they are slightly tilted, you have wavy hair. Curly hair has tilted bulbs. Curly hair ranges from 3A to 4C, with each hair type becoming tighter and smaller.


3A type hair is the first curly hair type. It is characterized by loose, well-defined, and spring-like curls. 3A hair is famously said to have the thickness of side-walk chalk. It is shiny and has a natural bounce. It looks amazing when naturally worn down.

However, the primary issue with 3A hair (like all curl hair types) is frizz. It also may feel dry at times. However, taking care of it the right way can boost your hair health.

How To Take Care Of 3A Type Hair?

  1. Comb regularly. Curly hair is prone to an oily scalp and dry locks. Regularly combing and brushing your hair can help spread the sebum from the roots to the tips.
  2. Oil your hair at least once a week. This ensures your dry strands get the needed nourishment.
  3. Avoid chemicals. Chemical straighteners and relaxers penetrate the hair strands and change their structure, causing hair to stretch, lose shape, and become damaged.
  4. Use the right products, as they help repair that damage. Look for products that cater to the needs of your specific hair type. Find shampoos and conditioners specific to your curly hair. Use serums, creams, and oils that reduce frizz and dryness and enhance curl-definition.
  5. Use conditioners and leave-in products as they moisturize hair.
  6. Curly hair can more easily accumulate build-up and dirt. That said, remember not to over-shampoo your curly tresses. Use co-washes or cleansing conditioners once or twice a week. Wash your hair with regular shampoo in between co-washes.
  7. Use a silk or satin pillowcase while sleeping. It reduces frizz and enhances the curl structure.
  8. Allow your hair to fall naturally once or twice a week. Tight hairstyles pull on your hair roots and lead to hair breakage and loss.
  9. Use edge control creams while styling. You may also use coconut cream to smoothen hair.
  10. Protect your hair from the sun and heat. Photo- and heat-damage can ruin hair structure. Use protectants, SPF products, and caps or scarves to protect your tresses.
  11. Be gentle while towel-drying your hair. Pat or scrunch dry your hair. Though time-consuming, it can prevent hair breakage or hair loss.

In the following section, we have listed certain tips that can help you style your 3A type hair.

How To Style 3A Type Hair?

  1. Avoid using harsh brushes. They may open your curls out and make your hair frizzy. You can instead wash your hair, spritz on some curl definer, and scrunch your hair for more definition.
  2. Avoid tight hairstyles like tight ponytails, braids, and buns that pull at the roots. These hairstyles also loosen your curl structure.
  3. Use a hairspray to keep your hair in place and prevent fly aways.
  4. Keep a curl-refresher spray handy. You might need it at any time! It builds curl-definition and makes your hair look fresh.
  5. Loose hairstyles, like a loose crown braid half-ponytail, might enhance your hair type while adding some style.
  6. Spritz on some curl definer after washing your hair at night. Wrap your hair in a thin cotton shirt. This will enhance your curl structure and leave your hair frizz-free.

Products For 3A Type Hair

  1. Curl Definer: Curl definers enhance curl structure. Spray through your hair and scrunch it.
  2. Anti-Frizz Products: These will protect your hair from frizz even in humid conditions. They also prevent flyaways and static.
  3. Leave-In Products: Natural and leave-in products work best for curly hair as they keep it moisturized.
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar: You can either pair apple cider vinegar with water or add it to your shampoo. This mixture will remove all product residue, sweat, build-up, and dirt from your scalp and hair.
  5. Refreshers: Refresher sprays or mists add a little moisture to your curls and keep them from getting dry or frizzy.
  6. Curl-Type Shampoos And Conditioners: These will cater to all your curly hair needs without stripping your hair dry.

Using these products as directed will help boost the health of your 3A type hair. Before we close, let us quickly understand the types of curly hair and how they differ.

Differences Between 3A, 3B, And 3C Hair Types


These three types of curly hair differ in their shape.

3A: These are loose curls with a well-defined S-shaped pattern.

3B: These are voluminous curls that are a little smaller and tightly wound. They are as thick as a marker pen.

3C: These are corkscrew or ringlet curls that are as thick as a pencil.

The well-defined, loose, and spring-like curls are 3A curls. The 3A hair type is the first curly hair type after straight and wavy hair. Though it looks amazing and gorgeous when you wear it down, it isn’t easy to manage as it is prone to frizz. However, with the tips discussed above, you may be able to take care of the 3A hair type effortlessly and perfectly. Knowing how to style curly hair, using the right products, and following a proper hair care routine are equally important for getting well-defined and bouncier curls.

Frequently Asked Questions

What ethnicity is 3A hair?

Type 3 and 4 hair types are most commonly noticed found in people with an African heritage. Hispanic and Middle-Eastern people may also have 3A hair.

Can 3A hair get braids?

You can weave 3A hair in multiple protective braid styles. However, it is not recommended to weave this hair type in tight braid styles like cornrows as they can pull at the roots, leading to hair loss. Similarly, it is not recommended to tie this hair type in other tight hairstyles, like sleek ponytails, for a long period of time.

How do you get 3A curls?

You can make straight and wavy hair curly by using certain hair styling tools or a chemical treatment. To make your hair permanently curly, you will need to get a perm. A perm requires regular maintenance to keep your hair curly. Once you wash your hair, it loses the curly structure. You can also try using curling irons and rollers to achieve 3A hair curls, but these curls will be temporary.

Can 3A hair get waves?

3A hair is naturally curly with a ‘S’ shaped structure. To make this type of hair wavy, you have to straighten out your hair to loosen its curly structure. Then, you can use a big curling iron or jumbo rollers to make it wavy.

How often should I wash 3A hair?

3A hair tends to get dry, while the roots might get oily and clogged with dirt, sebum, and product residue. To prevent your hair from getting too dry, avoid washing it every day. Wash 3A hair every 3 to 4 days to keep your roots and hair clean and prevent any dryness and other hair issues.

Which shampoo is best for 3A hair?

When choosing a shampoo for your hair, consider your scalp issues. 3A hair tends to have an oily scalp clogged with excess sebum, product residue, and dirt. A clarifying shampoo removes any impurities and excess sebum, leaving your scalp and hair clean and healthy. Avoid moisturizing and hydrating shampoos as they can make your scalp oilier. To keep your strands from drying out, use a hydrating and moisturizing conditioner.


Key Takeaways

  • 3A type hair has loose, well-defined, and spring-like curls.
  • People with 3A type hair usually have oily scalp but dry locks.
  • Combing regularly to spread the sebum from the roots to the tips is important for 3A type hair.
  • However, you should not use harsh brushes as they can make your hair frizzy.

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Anjali Sayee

Anjali specializes in hairstyles and hair and skin care and has written over 200 articles in these domains. Her philosophy… more


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