When it comes to having 3A hair, it can be a little tricky finding the perfect products. We seem to fall in a category that is a bit curlier than a wavy yet not exactly coily.
Since most products are marketed to either or, choosing the perfect product to add moisture without making your curls stringy can be…well..challenging.
After testing and experimenting on my 3A curls for many years, I’ve compiled a list of products that make my curls thrive!
If you want to go from dull, stringy, 3A’s to soft, shiny, bouncing 3A’s then keep reading….
Hello! My name is Colleen, and I am a Curly Hair Enthusiast! You can read my complete bio here!
Feeling a little overwhelmed and confused about curly hair care (or the curly girl method? I have a special gift for you!
I put together a little “curly girl cheat sheet” to help streamline the process. This is a step-by-step guide to curly hair care and is broken down into actionable steps.
What is Type 3a hair?
Type 3A, 3B, and 3C are identified by the size of the spirals throughout your hair.
If your spirals are the size of sidewalk chalk they are 3A. If they are the size of a permanent marker then they are 3B and if they are the size of a pencil, they are 3C.
It is normal to have many different curl types throughout your head which is why I focus more on porosity and your hair’s overall needs than curl type alone.
For example, you will find 2C-3B curls throughout my head depending on the day.
What products are good for 3a hair?
Using the right products for your specific hair type is a key component for producing healthy, long lasting curls.
When it comes to 3A hair specifically, there are a few different products and treatments that will help moisturize, promote hair growth, and repair damage.
But within each product and treatment, there a few things you should look for to make sure it will be a good fit for your 3A’s hair.
Products formulated for curly hair
When choosing a product, the first thing you want to do is read the label. If it says “for beachy waves” there is a good chance that product won’t be a good fit for your curls.
If the label reads “Intense moisture for coily hair” then that product will probably be too heavy for your curls.
With curly hair care on the rise, product lines typically do a really good job marketing to the direct user.
Stay away from butter and oil
Most butters and oils tend to be a bit too heavy for 3A’s. Of course there will always be an exception to the rule, but generally speaking, using products with heavy oils can weigh your curls down and make them stringy.
Ingredients you should be careful of with 3A’s curls are:
- Coconut oil
- Jamaican black castor oil
- Shea butter
- Avocado butter
Note: On occasion, I have found products that contain some of these ingredients but still work on my hair. In those cases the oil/butter was toward the bottom of the ingredient list which means that there is a smaller amount. If it is one of the top 5 ingredients, that is a good indication that there is a large amount in that product.
If you do find a product that contains this ingredient (like Shea Moisture for instance) and does work on your hair, be sure to use a clarifying wash every once in a while to strip any build up off your hair.
Deep conditioner is your bff
3A curls have a way of drying out quickly. Especially if they are high porosity like mine. You will want to incorporate a deep conditioning treatment into your weekly or bi-weekly routine to help reestablish moisture and repair damage.
Using a deep conditioner is also a great way to help train and re-establish curl clumps which enhances your natural curl pattern.
You’ll probably need some protein
Your hair is made up of 95% of a protein called keratin. Protein is what gives your hair the structure it needs to form and hold its curl pattern.
If you find that you are losing your curl pattern and your curls are limp shortly after you styled, there is a good chance they need a protein boost.
How do you treat type 3a hair?
When it comes to treating 3A hair, there are a few different treatments you can do to add moisture, balance protein, and moisture and reduce frizz.
Add a clarifying treatment into your routine whether that be once per week or once per month. This helps get your hair squeaky clean and removes build-up from products and oils.
My favorite clarifying wash are:
Use a deep condition to repair, restore and add moisture. This will help keep your hair healthy long term.
My favorite deep conditioners are:
- THE MANE CHOICE Heavenly Halo Herbal Hair Tonic & Soy Milk Deep Hydration Mask
- Jessicurl Llc. Llc. Deep Conditioning Treatment
- Jamaican Black Castor Oil by Shea Moisture Strengthen, Grow, and Restore Treatment Masque
Don’t forget protein. It’s common to confuse the need for protein with the need for moisture. While in reality, your curls need both to thrive. If you have been experiencing excessive frizz, loss of curl pattern, or inconsistent results, you may need to add protein to your routine.
My favorite products to boost protein are:
- Rice water rinse – This is one of my favorite DIY recipes that does an amazing job at snapping your curl pattern up and giving it structure.
- Eco slay matcha boost
Beautiful hair starts with a healthy scalp. In order to grow strong, healthy curls, you need to prioritize scalp care.
Add a scalp treatment using a quality oil a few times a week to nourish your scalp.
There are my two favorite oils:
How do you define 3a curls?
When it comes to creating more definition for 3A curls, there are three main techniques that work. Curl training, brush styling, and using a strong hold gel.
Train your curls
I was skeptical about curl training so I gave it a solid try about 8 months into my curly journey. What I found was that taking the time to train your curls during the deep conditioning and styling phase can absolutely increase your curls pattern.
Results will vary depending on your specific hair type but if you work and training your hair to curl a certain way, you can definitely see an increased curl pattern.
I’m not at all saying that if you have wavy hair you can train it to have perfect ringlets. More than if you have wavy hair you can train your waves to become smoother, hold more of a curl pattern, and even become more curly (possibly)
Use a brush to style
Brush styling is a great way to increase curl pattern because it helps distribute products evenly and gather natural curl clumps.
Use gel to lock in your curl pattern
Lastly, when it comes to definition, it’s important to lock in your curl pattern with a strong hold mousse.
Aussie instant freeze is my favorite strong hold mousse.
3A hair is unique and requires a bit of understanding in order to master it. Be encouraged that if you take the time to learn about your 3A curls, carefully choose the right products, and implement a consistent healthy hair care routine, you will be well on your way to having curls you love.