Our classification of hair types has diversified greatly over the past few decades. What was previously known as merely straight, curly or kinky has now been subcategorised into several groups.
Identifying Your Type 3 Hair
To ensure you’re caring correctly for your hair it’s first important to know you’ve identified your hair type correctly. If you’re unsure of yours check out our previous blog post, where we did a breakdown of all the hair types from 3a-4c. Type 3 hair is often categorised by spiralling s-shaped curls. The A-C subcategories further define the tightness of the curl pattern:
3A has the loosest curl pattern
Whereas 3B is little tighter
and 3C hair has the tightest, S-shaped curls, generally around pencil-width
It’s important to remember that no two heads of hair are exactly the same, and even within the same hair type there can be several different factors that influence the way your curls can look.
Starting Your Haircare Journey
Learning to care for your curly hair is a journey, and can be a fun and exciting experience once you begin finding what works. This might include some trial and error as you experiment with different techniques and products and it’s important to be patient. The haircare journey is a marathon, not a sprint.
Purifying and Cleansing
One of the pillars of healthy hairs is cultivating a solid washing and conditioning routine. When it comes to curly and kinky hair types, one important thing to remember is this: limit your exposure to sulfate-containing shampoos. Shampoos which contain laureth/lauryl sulfate are strong detergents, these chemicals are what is responsible for the frothing, foamy suds that you get when washing your hair. Now, commercial shampoos with sulfates are great at that they propose to do. They will certainly remove the dirt and oils from your hair as desired, it’s just important to note that they will strip your hair of all it’s good oils in the process.
This isn’t a huge problem for straight-haired guys and gals who often prefer to wash their hair every day to rid it of oils, but for those with curlier hair types, this is a big no-no. We need to retain the natural oils in our hair because curly, kinky hair needs to retain it’s natural oils for it to retain its moisture and softness. One way to combat this dilemma is to dilute your regular shampoo with water, this will remove some of the potency of the sulfates and be gentler on your hair. If you’re looking to completely avoid any potential sulfates, you can opt for a co-wash. Co-washing is simply using your standard conditioner to clean your hair and scalp. This will cleanse your hair, removing all the major dirt, grease and oils but is gentle enough that is does not strip your hair completely of all its natural oils.
We recommended washing your hair with sulfate-containing shampoos no more than once every 2 weeks for optimum hair health. If you feel a build-up of dirt and grease perhaps opt for a co-wash or half-strength shampoo, so as to not be too harsh on your hair.
Moisturising and Conditioning
Vital to growing strong, thick and healthy type 3 hair is, undoubtedly - moisture. Your hair might survive without proper moisturising but it certainly won’t thrive. Type 3 hair may repel water more than straighter hair types, this means that hydration and moisture retention are key. If you’ve been moisturising your hair sporadically and haven’t been seeing outstanding results, this isn’t too surprising. Moisturing your hair daily will see your curls looking bright, bouncy and buoyant.
Try spritzing your hair lightly with water and then sealing with your favourite moisturising cream. Your hair will thank you for the extra moisture and you’ll notice a new vibrancy with your hair that you may not have seen before. However, when moisturising avoid very thick and heavy creams as this can weigh down your curls and cause build up.
On top of your daily moisturising, you can deep condition your hair for even greater moisture penetration. Deep conditioning with treatments that contain hydrolyzed protein will help fill in the fragmented gaps in your hair strands, helping to fortify the hair, retain moisture and prevent breakage. Taking care when detangling your hair is also very important when is comes of reducing breakage. Be gentle with your curls and don't detangle from the roots, start with the ends and avoid detangling on dry hair.
It’s easy to overlook the impacts of your chosen styles on the health of your hair but it’s one of the most important factors, especially when it comes to retaining length. A choosing styles that also helps to protect your hair as much as possible from harsh elements, tugging or snagging will lead to much happier hair than the alternative. Avoid hairstyles that pull on your edges or allow your curls to become matted and tangled will ultimately damage your tresses. Finding great protective styles can make all the difference to your hair health. It doesn't have to be complicated either, it can be simply putting your hair up in a pineapple with a scrunchie or hair tie.
Remember that not all protective styles are created equal and just because a style allows you to shield some of your natural hair, it doesn’t mean it’s doing so effectively. If you’re looking to add some new protective styles to your inventory have a look here for some of our suggestions on some stunning and effective protective styles you can try out.
Selecting the right styling products will help give volume and definition to your curls as well as reduce frizz. For instance, curling custards and leave-in conditioners will help your curls to pop and bring them to life. You can also increase the volume of your hair by fluffing it at the roots with a hair pick or using a diffuser.
Type 3 curly hair can be tricky learning to care for sometimes, but with more resources becoming available, it’s becoming easier and easier. Remember it’s a learning curve for many and know that with the right hair care regime you will have a beautiful head of healthy curls before you know it!