3A Hair: A Thorough Guide for the Hair Type

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Once you finally determine your hair type, it becomes a heck of a lot easier to care for your strands. We’ve put together this guide for the 3A hair type to aid all our curly-haired readers in giving their ringlets the attention they deserve. If you’re still unsure as to whether or not you have the hair type, don’t fret. We’re diving into what 3A hair is, how to style the hair type, the best haircare routine, and products you should use. Keep scrolling for all the deets on your curly hair type!

Closeup of curls on person with 3A hair as they glance over their shoulder
(via Unsplash)

What Is 3A Hair?

This hair type belongs to type 3 hair, which is a group of curly hair types. Type 3A hair tends to look like loose spiral curls. As we move from type 3B to type 3C hair, the curls get tighter and tighter. So if you have ringlets that are a bit loose, you likely have 3A hair. Both Allure and Function of Beauty note that your coils tend to have a diameter similar to that of a piece of sidewalk chalk. Your texture errs on the fine to medium side, which can make your curls appear a bit flat. You don’t often have too much body or volume in your hair, though that can be added with the right products. Plus, this means your hair is less likely to be as frizzy as type 3B and 3C hair.

Often, this hair type does get confused with 2C hair. Though one is wavy and the other is curly, they do appear incredibly similar to the naked eye. What sets the two apart is the hair pattern. Type 2C hair has an S shape that is more bent and almost like a zig-zag, whereas type 3A hair has an S shape that is a spiral.

3A Haircare Routine Tips

If you’re not sure how to care for your 3A hair, we’ve got you covered. Below, we rounded up a few suggestions to keep your curls in tip-top shape. We do want to note, however, that these tips aren’t extensive. Rather, they should be viewed as a jumping-off point.

1. Follow the Curly Girl Method.

The Curly Girl Method is a three-step process designed for those with wavy, curly, and coily hair types. All it requires is that you cleanse, condition, and curl your hair accordingly. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to this method, however. it’ll require some trial and error to find what works best for you.

2. Go sulfate-free.

Sulfates tend to be incredibly drying and damaging for your strands. And your curls are already prone to being fairly dry, especially at the ends. Avoid products that contain sulfates to protect your tresses.

3. Maintain hydration.

Your curls tend to dry out rather quickly. To prevent them from doing so, focus on hydrating your hair often. You’ll want to utilize leave-in treatments and conditioning products to nourish your strands. The more moisturized they are, the less damaged they’ll be.

4. Know your porosity level.

Focusing on your hair’s porosity will help you better determine which types of products to use. Whether you have low or high porosity, your type 3A hair needs lightweight products as it tends to be somewhat flat and easily weighed down. However, some of you. can benefit from a heavier oil like coconut, while others require a product like aloe vera to nourish their curls.

5. Be gentle with your strands.

Again, your hair tends to be dry. Dry hair is more prone to breakage than oily hair types. It’s of the utmost importance you’re gentle with your strands. Don’t be too harsh, especially when you first step out of the shower—that is when your curls are most vulnerable.

How to Style the Hair Type

Styling your 3A hair actually starts in the shower. Working some curl-defining cream and curl-enhancing mousse through your wet coils will set you up for success. After you’ve applied the product, you can either use the curl plopping technique or try a diffuser to define your ringlets. Even air-drying your tresses is a possibility, it all depends on the day.

With your hair type, you’re blessed with not having to use a curling iron regularly. You can straighten your strands with a flat iron, but why? You’ve got gorgeous ringlets for a reason, show them off! All that’s required of you is using the right products to prevent frizz, add volume, and define your curls.

The Best Hairstyles for 3A Hair

We know a thing or two about the best hairstyles for your 3A hair, so we wanted to share some of our favorites for you to try out.

1. Shoulder-Length Cuts

You can go a bit shorter too with your curl type, though shoulder-length tends to be just right. It’s a great length to highlight the bounce of your ringlets, while also not being too long so that they get weighed down. You’ll have plenty of movement and volume with a shorter cut like this one.

2. Defined Ringlets

Show off your stunning curl pattern by doing your best to define your ringlets. This look may not be achievable every day, though it certainly is after a wash day. All it takes is the right products to give your coils plenty of definition.

3. Pineapple Updo

When you’re in between wash days, opt for a sweet pineapple updo. Not only is it a great style to sleep in if you want to wake up with defined curls, but it’s easy to glam up for a night out.

4. Curly Bangs

Everyone is getting bangs these days and we want to remind all you curly-haired individuals that you can too. In fact, curly bangs are becoming quite the trend. We suggest you hop on it, especially with your loose ringlets.

5. Bouncy Blowout

When you want straighter strands, we suggest going with a blowout. While your curl type is fairly easy to straighten with a flat iron, a blowout does it better. It gives your hair that extra bit of volume and bounce.

The Best 3A Hair Products

When you use the right products for your curls, you’ll notice a huge difference in their appearance. Below are some of the best products for your 3A hair type.

1. SheaMoisture Restorative Conditioner: $8.29

The raw shea butter in this nourishing conditioner detangles, moisturizes, and restores dry, damaged curls almost instantly. Seriously, you’ll notice a difference in your coils after one wash. It’s also formulated without all the bad stuff to ensure nothing messes with the integrity of your ringlets.

SheaMoisture Restorative Conditioner for Dry Damaged Hair Raw Shea Butter - 13 fl oz
(via Target)

2. Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Crème: $20

This curl-defining cream truly does it all. From boosting hydration to minimizing frizz, applying this leave-in to damp strands before you style will give you the definition you crave.

Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Crème
(via Ulta)

3. Herbal Essences Curl-Boosting Mousse: $2.97

Mousse is a product you should always have on hand for your 3A curls. Offering definition and volume, we love this Curl-Boosting Mousse from Herbal Essences. The product also offers all-day humidity protection and frizz control. For its price tag, this is a major steal.

Herbal Essences Curl-Boosting Mousse
(via Walmart)

4. Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray: $11.99

Environmental aggressors are no match for this hair milk spray. The lightweight mist gives day-old curls a refreshing boost to lock in moisture and control frizz. No one will be able to tell you haven’t washed your strands at all.

Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray
(via Carol’s Daughter)

5. Sun Bum Limited Edition T-Shirt Hair Towel: $24.99

When it comes to plopping your curls, using a T-shirt is always the way to go. We suggest going with the T-Shirt Hair Towel from Sun Bum to help define those ringlets of yours. Once it’s dry, you can even wear it out. Talk about sustainability!

Sun Bum Limited Edition T-Shirt Hair Towel
(via Ulta)

Need even more products in your haircare arsenal? Try THESE drugstore products for curly hair!

Hey, mane muse! We wanted to give you a heads up that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that Mane Addicts will collect a small share of the sale from any purchase you make from the products we recommend.