Main content

Everything You Need to Know to Take Care of 3A Curls

Easy-to-follow tips for having healthy 3A curls
Not all curl types are easily identifiable, and those with 3A curls know the struggle. With a mix of waves and beautifully plump, but loose spirals, gals with 3A curls may wonder if their hair is wavy or curly. The truth is, 3A curls can be a mix of both.

3A curls are the first of the type 3 curl patterns and the loosest spirals of the them, too. Not all 3A curls look the same, but there are some key indicators to point out. If you’re unsure about your luscious ringlets falling into the 3A category, look no further. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about 3A curls including how to know if you have 3A curls, what 3A hair looks like and a few tips and tricks to making this curl type flourish with the best curly hair products. Keep reading to learn more.

How do I know if I have 3A hair?

If your hair is wavy and slightly curly at the same time, chances are you fall into the 3A category. 3A curls are large, loosely-looped spiral curls. At the root of the hair, 3A curls may start with a wave pattern, but the mid-shaft to ends are loose coils and even though you might have both waves and curls on your head, 3A curls will err more towards the curly side. 3A curls have a circumference the width of a stick of sidewalk chalk.

Even though 3A curls have a set of concerns unlike their curlier counterparts (4A, 4B and 4C curl types), these loose spirals have the tendency to lack moisture and definition and be prone to frizz (more on this below).

What are some tips for how to take care of curly 3A hair?

Type 3A curls are unique, but with a few tips and tricks you can have healthy-looking, defined and shiny spirals. The key to success is in your hair care routine. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to care for 3A curls—and the best 3A hair products.

Reach for sulfate-free shampoo

It’s no surprise that sulfates can be uber drying. And since curly hair, 3A curls included, tend to be drier than other hair types, avoiding excessively drying products will help keep your curls in tip-top shape. The best shampoos for curly hair are gentle cleansers and won’t strip the hair clean of its natural oils. Formulas like the Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Shampoo add moisture, shine and softness without any sulfates, silicones or parabens. To keep the hair and scalp healthy and avoid product buildup, consider shampooing your 3A curls once or twice a week.

Don’t skip conditioning

We cannot stress how much moisture curly hair needs. Dry, brittle strands are like eyesores on curly heads because they stick out like a sore thumb. Conditioning is non-negotiable. After cleansing your hair of dirt, impurities and buildup, it’s time to impart moisture back into the hair before styling. The Goddess Strength Fortifying Conditioner with Castor Oil intensely restores moisture and makes hair 15 times stronger in just one use.

If your strands need a little extra TLC, reach for a hair mask like the Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Hair Smoothie. It’s buttery rich and helps to deliver extra moisture and makes curls more manageable, too. For a more intense treatment, apply a mask like Goddess Strength Cocoon Hydrating Hair Mask and allow it to sit on your hair for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing out.

Grab a styling product with hold

Two major issues with 3A curls are lack of definition and frizz. Thankfully, these can both be combated with the right styling product. After applying your favorite styling cream or leave-in conditioner for curly hair (the Black Vanilla Leave-In is our go-to), add a few pumps of a gel or mousse to keep frizz at bay and curls locked-in place. Wash Day Delight Gel-to-Foam Styler has the perfect amount of hold to keep curls defined without making them crunchy or stiff.

Remember, scrunching is your friend

Definition can take your 3A curls from meh to marvelous, and this is why scrunching is your friend. Once you’ve shampooed and conditioned your hair, it’s time to scrunch. Curious how to scrunch hair? Put some product in your hands, flip your head, and start grabbing strands at the ends, pushing upwards. This will scrunch in your styling product and gel; continue scrunching until you see major definition pop. But be gentle here. You don’t want to create frizz. The goal is to create definition, so slow and steady wins the race. For a boost of shine, scrunch a dime-size amount of the Black Vanilla Softening Hair Oil on top of your curly cocktail or use it to smooth out unruly or frizzy pieces.

Keep hair touching to a minimum

Since frizz is of top concern with 3A curls, playing with your curls while they dry is a big no-no. Once your styling products are scrunched into your hair, keep your fingers away. Trust us, avoiding the temptation will result in picture-perfect 3A spirals every single time.

For more hair care tips, check out How to Wash Curly Hair (And How Often To Do It). And if you still have questions about your curl type, check out our Curl Type Quiz.

Related Products


For the best experience, please turn your device