A head full of beautiful springy curls or tumbling ringlets looks gorgeous. Natural hair has never been cooler, but it takes some effort to maintain 3B hair and keep it looking fabulous.
Hair type 3B can easily suffer from frizz, tangles, and dehydration, so you need to know the right products and the best techniques to keep your 3B locks soft, shiny, and healthy.
This guide contains tips and information to help you know if you have 3B hair, the best way to look after it, and the essential products and tools to keep your curls looking gorgeous.
The Curly Hair Spectrum: What Is My Hair Type?
The Andre Walker Hair Typing System is an easy way to determine your hair type. There are four main hair classifications:
- Type 1 = straight
- Type 2 = wavy
- Type 3 = curly
- Type 4= coily
Then each type is broken down into subclasses A, B, and C, which describe the width of the wave, coil or curl patterns. A is the widest pattern, and C is the tightest pattern in each subclass.
Most people have a mix of curl patterns, but there will often be one dominant pattern.
If you’re unsure which hair type you have, our quick Curly Hair Type Quiz will help you learn more about your hair. It won’t tell your curl pattern, but it will give you the important information you need to choose the right products and techniques. (Knowing your curl pattern doesn’t really help with that.)
What Is 3B Hair?
Type 3B hair is in the middle of the curly hair types and falls between types 3A and 3C. Type 3B curls are pretty tight and springy, with lots of body and movement. They can get dry fairly quickly, so they need plenty of moisture and nourishment.
Before moving on to how to care for type 3B hair, let’s take a look at its typical curl pattern and texture.
3b Curl Pattern
Each curly hair type has its own distinctive curl type: 3A curls are soft, loose curls, while 3C hair has tight curls that are more like springy corkscrews. Type 3B is in the middle of these hair types, with curls that fall in between the two types.
3B hair has curls that are ringlet-shaped, springy and voluminous, and about the width of a sharpie marker. The curls start at the root and continue along the entire length of the hair strands, and they’ll stay curly even when wet.
If you have the 3B hair type, you might also have a few looser curls or tighter corkscrews in some areas.
3b Hair Texture
3B can be fine, medium, or coarse texture hair. it may even have a mix of two.
It will experience shrinkage from wet to dry and can tend to struggle with dry ends and frizz. 3B hair can also become poofy if it’s brushed when dry.
Examples of 3B Curly Hair
The 3B hair type is pretty versatile, so there are plenty of options for 3B hairstyles. However, try to visit a stylist who is used to cutting and styling curly locks as they will know how to treat your curls.
It’s best to cut 3B hair when it’s dry, because wet 3B hair straightens out and appears much longer. Your stylist will also get a better idea of the curl type and your hair texture when it’s dry.
Midlength and Long 3b Haircuts
Adding long layers to 3B hair will take off some of the weight and give you more volume and movement. Your gorgeous ringlets will also look fantastic if you have curly bangs cut in, but make sure you go to a curl specialist for the best results.
Short 3b Hair
A shorter style highlights your gorgeous 3B curls and is easy to maintain. Go for the classic pixie cut to show off your curls, or try adding lots of layers to a shorter cut for a sophisticated look.
3b Mens Hair
Men with the 3B hair type can keep their hair fairly short on top with a fade around the back and sides, or let it grow to mid-length for fabulous defined ringlets.
3B Hair Routine
Shiny, bouncy type 3B curls look fantastic, and it’s easy to achieve them when you follow the right haircare routine for 3B hair.
Of course, everyone’s hair is unique, so you might need to try a few different products and techniques to find your perfect haircare routine. So try these curly hair tips, and soon you’ll have enviable curls that look and feel fantastic.
Identify Your Hair Porosity
Porosity is the term used to describe how easily your hair absorbs or loses moisture. Knowing if you have high-porosity or low-porosity hair will help you choose the right haircare products to suit your locks.
Low-porosity hair needs to stick to products containing light moisturizers like aloe vera, but you can use richer ingredients like coconut oil on high-porosity hair.
If you’re unsure whether you have high or low porosity, read our Ultimate Guide to Hair Porosity to learn more.
Don’t Wash Too Often
Frequent washing can make curly hair even drier and cause frizz. So it’s better to only shampoo your 3B hair once or twice a week with a gentle shampoo designed for curly hair, which means no silicones or sulfates.
In between wash days, you can rinse it with water and use a little conditioner to moisturize your curls.
You might also want to check out the Curly Girl Method, which uses no shampoo or co-washing to care for curly locks. Take a look at our Guide to the Curly Girl Method to find out more.
Pile on the Moisture
The curls in type 3B hair stop your scalp’s natural oils from reaching the ends of your strands, which causes dryness and split ends. Because of this, your 3B curls need as much moisture as possible, so try layering products to give better curl definition and less frizz.
But a heavy hair product can weigh down the 3B hair type, so go for lightweight hydrating conditioners that are sulfate-free and full of nourishing oils like argan oil or jojoba oil.
It’s also a good idea to use a hair mask or deep conditioner regularly for an extra boost of hydration.
Minimize Heat Styling
Heat styling methods can seriously dry out type 3B locks but well-hydrated 3B hair looks amazing if you simply let your curls air dry. Using the plopping method to wrap your hair up in a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt will help to define your curls and dry your hair quicker.
If you decide to blow dry your hair instead of air drying it, or if you want to use heat styling tools, make sure that you use a low heat setting to avoid frizz. Using a diffuser on your blow dryer and adding a heat protectant to your locks before styling will help to reduce the damage caused by hot styling tools.
Read more: How To Diffuse Curly Hair
Take Care at Night
As you move around in your sleep, friction between the strands can cause frizz, knots, matting, or breakage.
So it’s essential to protect your 3B hair while you sleep. You can do this by tying it up in loose buns or braids, sleeping on satin or silk pillowcases, or wearing a silk or satin cap at night.
Read more: How To Protect Curly Hair While Sleeping
The Best 3B Hair Products of 2023
It’s important to choose the right hair care products to keep your hair soft, shiny, and healthy. Here are some of the best products for 3B hair, to use in and after your shower and while you sleep.
In the Shower
Take these essential products into the shower to get your hair care routine off to a great start.
Using a scalp massager can help distribute shampoo through your curls, stimulate the scalp, and improve circulation to your hair follicles. This Kitsch scalp massager is suitable for all hair types and is designed to feel comfortable in your hand.
Wide Tooth Comb or Detangling Brush
It’s best to detangle your 3B curls with a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush when they’re sopping wet to avoid damage. This strong and flexible Tangle Teezer hairbrush is designed to glide through your hair without snagging or breaking the strands.
Another amazing brush for wet detangling. This glides through even the tightest curls.
Shampoo and Conditioner
Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner is essential for healthy hair, and these Maui Moisture moisturizing products are perfect for your 3B curls. The aloe vera, coconut oil, and papaya extract in them will moisturize and smooth your tresses, helping to restore shine, reduce frizz and prevent breakage.
The sulfate-free shampoo cleanses your hair thoroughly while smoothing the strands with aloe vera and coconut oil. The conditioner is light enough to use as a regular conditioner and delivers hydration for fewer tangles and knots.
A regular hair mask or deep conditioner treatment is the best way to get moisture deep into your 3B locks. This Briogeo hair mask contains no sulfates, parabens, or phthalates, and it’s packed with nourishing ingredients like rosehip oil, B-vitamins, and algae extract. It hydrates and nourishes dry type 3 hair, giving bouncy, defined curls.
On Your Counter
Once you’ve finished in the shower, these are the essential tools you’ll need to keep your 3B hair looking great.
Using the right hair towel can prevent frizz and breakage and speed up your drying time. This Tee-Owels t-shirt towel comes in two different lengths and makes plopping much easier.
Reduce frizz and speed up drying time. Every curly girl should have one. Use code HOLISTICENCHILADA to save 15% at teeowels.com.
Brushing dry 3B hair is a recipe for frizz, but a Denman Styling Brush can be used to detangle wet 3B hair. There are a few different types of Denman Styling Brush to choose between. One with fewer rows of pins, like the Denman D14, is better as it won’t snag your curls as much.
A good hair pick is a vital piece of equipment for anyone with 3B curls. These 7-inch plastic pick combs are pretty much unbreakable, have good flexibility, and the size makes them convenient to pop in your purse or bag. Even better, they come in a pack of two, so you can always have one close at hand!
A Leave-in Conditioner is a great way to boost moisture in dry 3B hair. TWIST Curl Goals Moisture-Locking Leave-in Conditioner is enriched with safflower oil and rice protein to help detangle, smooth and strengthen your 3B curls.
Lock in moisture and softness with this lightweight leave-in.
A nourishing hair oil spray will help improve the strength and elasticity of your hair to give you beautifully soft and shiny locks. VERB Ghost Oil is sulfate-free and free from parabens, so it’s ideal for curly hair.
Caring for 3B Hair While You Sleep
Sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase helps to reduce the friction that causes knots, tangling, and breakage. Alternatively, you could put your hair up in a satin bonnet or nightcap overnight.
This satin-lined sleep cap has a low-profile adjustable slide, so you can get a perfect fit. This helps to keep your satin bonnet in place overnight and makes it more comfortable for sleeping.
Satin Night Cap
If you have longer 3B hair, this extra-long satin nightcap is perfect for protecting natural hair, up-dos, or braids overnight.
No Damage Bobby Pins
Bobby pins can help restless sleepers keep a nightcap or bonnet in place. These mini bobby pins have a ball tip to give a secure grip and prevent snagging.
3B Hair Type FAQs
We’ve shared a lot of useful tips about the 3B hair type in this guide. If you would like more info, here are some of your most frequently asked questions:
What’s the Difference: 3A vs 3B Hair?
The main difference between type 3A and type 3B is the size of the curls. 3A curls are wider than 3B curls, generally about as wide as a sharpie, and the 3A hair type can sometimes even look wavy sometimes.
Hair type 3C has tighter curls than 3B, just about the size of a pencil.
How Often Should 3B Hair Be Washed?
3B curls can get dry quickly, and frequent washing will make them drier and cause frizz and breakage. So washing once a week is the best option for 3B hair.
What Does Healthy 3B Hair Look Like?
Healthy 3B hair has clearly defined, springy spirals about the width of a sharpie marker pen.
The ringlets and spirals of 3B hair are dense and full of volume, and you might find some tighter or looser curls in the mix.
The Bottom Line
Finding the perfect hair care routine can take a little time and effort. You might need to try a few different products and techniques before finding the right combination for your hair’s unique needs.
If you have 3B hair, the hair care tips in this guide will help you find the best hair products and hair care routine to keep your ringlets looking their best.
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