This Guide Contains Everything You Need to Know About Your 3B Hair Type

Written by Ashley Locke

Happen to have curly type 3B hair? You’ve just stumbled upon the best guide to everything you need to know about your hair type. From what 3B hair is and how it compares to the other curly hair types to the best way to style it and optimal products to use, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better grasp on how to care for your hair type to keep it looking its best 24/7 365.

Female-presenting person with curly 3B hair with their hand resting on their chin
(via Unsplash)

What Is 3B Hair?

Type 3B hair belongs to the curly hair family. Your ringlets are perfectly spiraled and about the width of a marker. Some curls may be a bit bigger than others, while some can be a bit tighter. But on average, the ringlets are a bit stretched out and have a circumference close to a Sharpie. Your hair tends to be fine to medium in texture with quite a bit of body and movement.

Your curls do require a ton of moisture, however, as they tend to get dry fairly quickly. Ultimately, with the right products, your hair will be nourished and able to thrive. We’ll get to the best products for your hair type in just a sec. Before we move on, we do want to help you differentiate your hair type from the other type 3 categories.

3A Hair vs 3B Hair vs 3C Hair

It can be a bit difficult to distinguish type 3A from type 3B, as the two get confused rather often. One noticeable difference is in the size of the ringlets. Anyone with type 3A hair has much larger spirals than those with 3B hair. In fact, 3A hair type can often appear wavy to the untrained eye.

Type 3C hair has tighter curls than type 3B hair as well. They tend to be about the size of a pencil. So if your curls aren’t that tight, you likely have 3B hair.

3a hair type versus 3b hair type versus 3c hair type
(via Unsplash)

How to Care for 3B Hair

When you know how to care for your hair, that’s when it shines. You’ll be able to create envy-inducing 3B curls with movement and bounce so long as you follow the right haircare routine. While we have a few suggestions for how to best maintain your 3B hair, these tips aren’t one size fits all. Try all of them, try one of them—the most important thing is you find a routine that works for you and your hair.

1. Focus on conditioning your hair.

As far as your hair washing schedule goes, we’d recommend only washing your hair once or twice a week. Your curls tend to get dry rather quickly. Washing them frequently will only lead to more dryness and cause frizz and damage. So stick to using shampoo once a week. But, condition two to three times a week. Your curls need all the moisture they can get. Using a conditioner more often than shampoo will aid in ensuring they receive the moisture and hydration they crave.

2. Use fewer products.

You may think that your hair can handle a ton of product, but you’re sorely mistaken. The more you add into your curls, the more weighed down they’ll be. Your stunning ringlets won’t be able to cascade out of your scalp as they should, so stick to using only the essential hair products.

3. Get familiar with your hair’s porosity level.

Understanding if you have high or low-level porosity hair can make a world of difference when it comes to your haircare routine. Those with low porosity hair should stick to more lightweight products, while those with high porosity hair can benefit from richer, more moisturizing hair products. Coconut oil is great for high porosity curls, but not so much for low porosity ringlets. And aloe vera will strengthen low porosity hair, though won’t do too much for high porosity hair. To discover which porosity level you have, head over here for our breakdown.

4. There’s no such thing as too much moisture.

It’s often understated how much moisture your hair type needs. You need about as much as someone with type 4 hair, so you’ll want to utilize moisturizing products as often as possible. If you don’t, your hair will become incredibly frizzy and lose its definition.

5. Minimize heat styling.

Because your curls tend to be dry, heat styling isn’t your best bet. It will only lead to more damage that you don’t need or that you may be unable to repair. But lucky for you, your hair looks best when you don’t heat style it at all. If you do have to use heat, make sure all the settings are on low. With a blow dryer, be sure to use a diffuser. And always, always, always use a heat protectant before using hot tools on your ringlets.

How to Style Your Hair Type

Contrary to popular belief, there are many ways to style type 3B hair. What it really comes down to is your post-shower routine. Because you shouldn’t be washing your hair that often, you’ll need products to keep your hair moisturized and curls defined. You can then use the plopping method or diffuser styling to style your curls after you get out of the shower. There’s also the squish to condish method, which hydrates and clumps your curls using a lot of conditioner. When your hair is still wet, you’ll want to apply a good amount of conditioner to your strands then flip your head upside down. You’ll then cup some water in your hands and use it to squish the conditioner out of your hair going from root to tip. Make sure all the conditioner is washed out so that you’re left with moisturized, defined ringlets.

Again, when you choose to use hot tools, be sure they’re on a low setting. And don’t use them more often than necessary. Your hair type is already prone to frizz, so using hot tools regularly will worsen the problem.

The Best Hairstyles for 3B Hair

As far as hairstyles and haircuts go for 3B hair, there are a number we highly recommend. These styles will accentuate your genetically-blessed ringlets and are also easy to create. Plus, literally anyone with the 3B hair type can pull them off.

1. Pixie Cut

The classic pixie is by far the best haircut for your hair type. Shorter styles will allow your curls to shine and they’re so much easier to maintain. A pixie requires less product, so you won’t run through a leave-in treatment every two weeks.

2. Air-Dried Curls

When in doubt, let your curls air dry after stepping out of the shower and applying the necessary products. You’ll notice less frizz if you do so, we promise. And, it creates a gorgeous style for your ringlets. Talk about definition!

3. Curly Bangs

Your ringlets are nearly perfect, which makes them the perfect contenders for curly bangs. Be sure you get them cut by someone who specializes in cutting curly hair. If you don’t, they may not turn out how you’d expect them to. Save yourself the tears (and money) and make an appointment with a curl specialist.

4. Fluffy Updo

When you’re in between wash days and don’t feel like letting your hair down, opt for a fluffy updo. All you’ll need is a trusty hair tie and potentially some bobby pins to keep your curls in place.

5. Rounded Cuts

Give your curls an extra bit of dimension and movement with a rounded cut. Again, we stress that you get this cut from a curl expert and not just any ol’ salon.

The Best 3B Hair Products

The most important part of haircare is using the right products. For your 3B hair type, we rounded up a handful of products you absolutely need in your haircare arsenal. These staple hair products will create a foundation for your curls to thrive.

Designed specifically for your tight ringlets, this moisturizing conditioner from Ouidad offers intense nourishment. A combination of vitamins and botanicals offers hydration beyond compare without weighing down your strands. You’ll notice a difference after one wash.

Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Conditioner for 3B hair types
(via Ouidad)

Dryness will no longer be an issue, so long as you use this mask once a week. Formulated with matcha butter, beetroot extract, and sweet almond oil, these moisturizing ingredients leave your curls feeling and looking super shiny and soft.

DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Green Tea Butter Conditioning Mask
(via Walmart)

When you’re in between wash days, use this lightweight mist from Maui Moisture to add some definition back into your ringlets. Aloe vera, flaxseed oil, and coconut water offer the refresh your curls need by conditioning, hydrating, enhancing, and even strengthening.

Maui Moisture Gentle & Lightweight Flaxseed Curl Defining Mist
(via Walgreens)

Both a leave-in conditioner and detangler, this product is ideal for your 3B hair type. It supplies plenty of moisture to your ringlets, while also offering plenty of slip for you to rake your fingers through your curls. If you aren’t already using this product, get on it.

Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-In Detangler
(via Rite Aid)

Gel often gets a bad rap in the curly-hair community for being crunchy and sticky. But this one isn’t, and yes, you definitely need a gel to keep that definition in your curls. Free from alcohol, this gel provides all-day definition and hold without leaving your curls crunchy.

TRESemmé Flawless Curls Hair Gel
(via Walmart)

There are a number of other products we’d like to recommend that work for every budget. Find the best drugstore products for curly hair HERE!

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.