I have 3b hair type and here is a simple guide on how to take care of your 3b hair and how to style it. I’ve also recommended a few products for 3b hair that will come handy in taming your curls!
I love my curly hair. But the thing is, this hair texture can get really difficult to manage, especially if you’re not taking care of it right or using suitable products.
On top of that, you need to understand that not all curls are alike.
You see, curly hair (usually called type 3 hair) can be classified into type 3a, 3b and 3c textures based on the Andre walker taping system.
Related: Guide To 3a Hair Type
Related: Everything You Need To Know About 3c Hair Type
And today we are going to talk about 3b curls, which is also incidentally my hair type.
3b curls fall somewhere in the middle of the curl spectrum so it can get hard to identify it and also to select a suitable hair care routine for it.
So today I’ll be sharing how I take care of my 3b curls, some tips on how to style them and recommend a few products you can use.
How To Take Care Of 3b Hair
I have found that the Curly Girl Method works very well for 3b hair. This is a hair care routine formulated by hair specialist Lorraine Massey and involves the use of mild hair cleansers with a focus on moisturizing hair.
But I have tweaked and tailored this method a bit to suit my own curls. So here’s the hair care routine for 3c curls that I follow:
I shampoo my hair using a sulfate-free product
Yes, I still shampoo my hair. I have tried co-washing in the past, but my scalp tends to get greasy and dandruff-prone so I have decided it’s not for me.
Co-washing is the process of washing your hair with just conditioner or a very mild moisturizing product called co-wash instead of shampoo.
I use a sulfate-free shampoo to prevent my curls from drying and limit my hair washing to 2-3 times a week, depending on how grimy and sweaty my hair gets.
My go to shampoo for washing my 3b curls is the SheaMoisture Coconut and Curls Shampoo. I’ve found that this sulfate-free product is just moisturizing enough but isn’t too rich like the Jamaican castor oil shampoo which is more suited to the type 4 hair.
Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful clarifying agent
I clarify my 3c hair often. I find it very necessary to remove dirt and product buildup as the Curly Girl Method involves the use of a lot of heavy creams and oils.
If you find that there is too much product buildup on your hair, you can use a clarifying shampoo once a fortnight to get rid of the residue.
But if you are, like me, skeptical about using harsh shampoos for curls even once in a while, I suggest trying an apple cider vinegar rinse.
I mix apple cider vinegar and water in the ratio 1:3 and wash my hair with it after shampooing and conditioning.
It gets rid of most of the grime and product residue and gives the added benefit of sealing my hair cuticles thanks to its acidic formula.
Always detangle in the shower
I know, I know. This might go against everything you’ve heard about hair care, but curly hair is best detangled and combed through in the shower when it’s wet.
If you’ve tried brushing your 3b curls you’ll know why.
I use a Tangle Teezer brush for curly hair and detangle my tresses after I’ve applied conditioner.
The conditioner gives an added slip to my curls and prevents breakage due to friction.
Detangling in the shower also helps distribute the product through my curls better.
Never use heat to dry your hair
I probably don’t remember the last time I’ve used a blow dryer on my curls.
After I’ve washed and conditioned my curly 3b hair I plop my hair using an old t-shirt of mine. But if you’re really particular you can invest in a microfiber cloth as well.
Plopping involves gently dabbing the excess moisture from your hair and not rough towel drying.
You can then apply the hair products like leave-in conditioner or hair oil and wrap this towel/t-shirt around your hair by first laying it on the best and then flipping your hair over the cloth and rolling it over your head.
I usually keep this towel on for 10-15 minutes to make all the water get absorbed and then I simply air dry my hair or use a diffuser if I’m in a hurry.
Leave-in conditioners and creams are very, very important
If it’s one thing you shouldn’t skimp on when you’re dealing with 3b hair, it’s the moisturization.
3b curly hair is very prone to dryness because of its texture. Your scalp’s natural oils do not get distributed through curls the way they get through straight, fine hair.
And this natural dryness can increase the likelihood of frizziness.
So it’s important to use rich conditioners and creams to first hydrate your curls and then to lock in that moisture.
I tend to follow the LOC routine from the Curly Girl Method.
Here L stands for leave-in conditioner, O stands for oil and C stands for cream.
So after I have washed my hair I first use a hydrating leave-in conditioner preferably with a water base or which contains enough humectants like hyaluronic acid or glycerin to add moisture to my hair.
Then, I use oil to lock in this moisture. I prefer using argan oil or grapeseed oil as these are lightweight and coconut oil tends to weigh my curls down.
However, if you have a very dry scalp and hair then by all means go for coconut oil.
I finally finish off with a curl-enhancing hair cream preferably one with a medium hold to it to define my curls and keep them in place.
If I am going out and require my curls to keep in shape I add in a little bit of styling gel at the end to hold my curls definition. But this is totally your choice.
How to Identify 3b Hair Type
Type 3b hair is a subset of curly hair textures. If you have curly hair, you’ll notice that the hair starts curling right from the root near the top of your head.
Another way to identify if your hair is 3b is to check the circumference of the curls. 3b curls are wide enough to fit a sharpie marker.
On the other hand type 3a curls are looser and are about the width of a sidewalk chalk and type 3c curls are tighter and about the size of a pencil or knitting needle.
Also, 3b hair lacks the volume 3c hair has got. Type 3c hair often appears “poofy” like an afro while 3b hair tends to fall down your shoulders.
It’s not as coarse as 3c hair but it definitely gets more dry than 3a hair.
Another defining trait of 3b hair is that it has a strong curl pattern. So unlike 3a hair which might appear wavy, 3b hair looks like curls even when it’s dry or frizzy.
FAQs about 3b Hair Type
Is my hair 3c or 3B?
If you want to know if your hair is a 3c or 3b hair type then you need to check the diameter of your curls. 3b hair is looser and has the width of a sharpie marker while 3c hair has tighter curls about the width of a pencil. Also, 3c hair is coarser and tends to have more volume. It stands out from the head as it gets “poofy” very easily.
Can 3B hair be an afro?
No 3b hair cannot be called an Afro as an “Afro” suggests having coily, coarse hair that stands out from your head. 3b hair is curly, not coily and doesn’t have enough volume to form an Afro. However, this shouldn’t be confused with whether 3c hair African American or not as a lot of black people do have 3b hair.
Can I use the Denman hair brush for 3b hair?
The Denman brush is a very popular hair brush for curly hair types that is supposed to detangle your curls and add definition as well. And yes, you can use this brush on 3b hair without a doubt. There are several different models of the Denman based on their suitability for a particular hair type and you can choose one that suits your 3b hair.
Summary on How To Care And Style The 3b Hair Texture
I know that styling and maintaining 3b hair can take time and discipline but I swear the results are so worth it.
A lot of curly-haired folks simply get their hair straightened chemically to avoid all the lengthy routines. But this can damage your curls in the long run.
Plus, spending a bit of time on your curls now can ensure they stay healthy and look good at the same time.
With the right hair care and styling products and 15 minutes extra on wash day, your curls can look so bouncy and beautiful!