Curly Hair Types: 3A, 3B, 3C, 4A, 4B, 4C

curly hair types

Type 3 Hair:

curly hair types in general show a lot of similarities and common factors. For those who have type 3 hair or kinky curly hair it appears to be wavy when it is wet. But as soon as it starts to dry it quickly returns to its curly state. Those with type 3 hair tend to have a lot of body, bounce and shine to their hair. The hair is typically high in luster. The hair is typically easy to style, manipulate and straighten. Little hair products are needed to define these curls.


Those with 3a hair have the loosest curl pattern possible. any looser it will be wavy and not curly.  This hair texture usually has a high shine to it meaning it has a high luster. 3a hair textures do not typically do well with our lovely natural hair weave, leave in conditioners or heavy curl creams as this will way down the hair and make it appear wavy instead of curly. This hair texture does best with water based lightweight leave in conditioners. These curls have a wide barrel sized curl. As the hair gets longer curls drop into an “S” shape due to the weight of the hair making it appear to be more wavy than curly. 

difference between 3a and 3b natural hair. 3a 3b natural hair textures. ombre natural hair.

photo credit IG: taty_froever


Those with 3b hair have similar proterties to 3a hair. This hair pattern also typically tends to be high in luster with lots of body and bounce to the hair. The curl pattern of 4b hair is slightly tighter and smaller than that of 3a. The barral of the curl resembles that of a wide crayola marker. #b hair is where you may start to see frizz and puffiness within the hair chart. Those with 3b hair textures may need to sue leave in conditioners and lightweight curl creams to keep the frizz at bay. However it is still very easy to define curls

3b natural hair. the difference between 3b and 3c hair. my natural hair extensions photo credit OG: @naturalhairobsessed_


Ladies with textures such as have tightest of the curly categories. Other than the tightness of the curls 3c hair has a very unique feature that 3a and 3b do not have. 3b hair starts to grow up instead of down. Meaning that it will start to grown straight out in the direction the hair shaft point to then as the hair gets longer and has weight to it it will start to fall creating a rounded shape of the hair. A “curly fro”. Corbin Bleu is a good example of this texture.  3b will require some light weight water based hair care products to help define the curls and keep frizz at a minimum. 

3c natural hair textures. The difference between 3c and 4a hair. My natural hair extensions photo credit IG: curlgoalz

Type 4 Hair 

(See our latest post: Everything You Need To Know About 4A 4B & 4C Natural Hair.)

In general those with Type 4 hair have curly hair as well, however the curls are so small that we distinguish them by defining them as coils. A coil is just a tighter type of curl. Sometimes natural hair types like Coils are so tiny that is then referred to as kinky hair.  Type 4 natural hair textures are harder to manipulate and may require some advanced planning and a little work to change from one style to another.  It has little body and typically appears to have little to no shine or luster without the help of some oil based hair care products.  Healthy type 4 hair has a fair amount of sheen, is soft, and has a good level of elasticity when properly moisturized. 


Those with 4a hair are known to have a tight curly or our brand new coily hair extensions. A curl pattern is still clearly visible and the hair needs products to keep the curls defined and moisturized. Be sure to see the afro kinky curly clip ins for this texture!

3c natural hair textures. The difference between 3c and 4a hair.

photo credit IG: naptural85


Those with 4b hair  may or may not have a hard time defining their curls. It depends on their own personal knowledge of their unique hair. 4b hair is also very soft, fragile, and tightly coiled, those with 4b typically have less defined curls  and  red to add extra moisture to their hair to keep it healthy. Twists, bantu knots and braid outs are typically worn with this hair texture.   photo credit IG: exclusive_afros


Those who have 4c hair will have a hard time finding their curl pattern. It is hard to get the hair to hand due to the tightness of the coils and extreme shrinkage this hair has. Those with this texture will have to do things that stretch out the length of the hair in order to style it. For example twist outs and braid outs. This hair texture loves products and the heavier the products the more the hair will elongate and show off the curls.  4c hair loves moisture and water based products. Water based products work very well when it comes to hydrating the hair however oil based products work well to seal that moisture in and are also great for style manipulation. We now offer 4c hair extensions for women of color

difference between 4a 4b and 4c hair textures. my natural hair extensions photo credit IG: bubsbee




What’s My Curly Hair Type Exactly?

Whether you have natural curls, permed curls, or even a luxurious weave of Brazilian or Mongolian virgin curls, this guide is sure to have an answer to any questions you have regarding curly hair.  When caring for your curly tresses it is important to have a routine that is simple yet effective in the up-keeping of your hair.  You could have a bird’s nest when you wake up and turn it into a voluptuous masterpiece of curl upon curl after reading our guide to help you slay the day!


First step in taking care of your curls is making sure to lightly go through them with a wide-toothed comb getting rid of any and every ghastly little tangle. Using a brush on curly hair will send your curls in every direction making you look like a poofy disaster. A wide-toothed comb is your best option if you have tight curls and you want to keep them combed and shapely. Put your hair up into sections.  Section by section, comb from root to tip smoothing out every last hair. Combing your hair before you wash it is a dire step in perfect curls once washing is all said and done. Once the hair is tangle free it’s time to wash the hair.

When washing your curly hair, it’s best to immerse the hair in cold or warm water and once the hair is completely saturated, add your shampoo and begin to wash in a downward motion.  Try as to not rub the strands together causing ruinous damage to the overall look and entangling the hair once more.  Next, add in conditioner generously, then begin washing in a downward motion until the hair is silky and free of product.

Add Moisture…

Going without a wash is also very helpful in preserving your hairs natural oils. Natural oils do wonders for curly locks. You can also try conditioning only every other day instead of shampooing, this also helps your hair from over-drying and staying moisturized.  if you have an oily scalp the best thing would be to use a dry shampoo, this also adds volume to the roots of your actual hair as it looks and smells wonderful. Using a hair mask at least once or twice a week can assist you in steering your ends away from fraying and over-drying.

Now that the hair is clean and detangled, it’s time to dry the hair.  When drying natural curls its best to avoid the heat. Blow-dryers are a thing of the past unless you know what you’re doing.  Hair diffusers and “Plopping” are better alternatives if you have the spare time.  Plopping is wrapping your hair in an oversized Tee like fancy headwear and just allowing your curls to stay nestled in the center until dry.  This allows the hair to keep volume and have better definition. 

Hair diffusers dry the hair while keeping the curls scrunched and less frizzy.  You can take a fine-toothed comb and twist sections of your curls while you diffuse your hair and add in some product and heat protector for fabulous twisted curls.  Another option, Towel drying, once a go-to for every girl with any hair texture may not be the best for cute kinky curls.  Towel drying actually stretches the curl and takes away from the natural bounce that we are trying to preserve and let’s not start on the frizz that comes along because of the fabric from your towel.  Air drying is best for a Mongolian or Brazilian weave, leaving the hair to hang dry overnight or wrap in curl rollers till dry will keep the curls intact and looking fabulous. If you’re drying your curls overnight you can also tie your hair up with silky fabric, the silky fabric will keep your hair moisturized without letting your cotton pillowcase dry up all the water keeping your curls hydrated. 

Wash It Up…

Now that you have clean and dry bouncy curls, it’s time to prevent frizz and dry ends from ruining your perfect hair day.  A cream hydrator can be excellent for frizz in thick and coarsely textured curls.  A de-frizz serum, from root to tip, and casually twisting your hair up into a bun, for wavy hair, can keep your wild fly-aways at bay.  You can also try a leave-in conditioner for on-the-go upkeep.  Leave-in conditioner keeps the strays laid smooth, where they belong, and the curls from frizzing up in every direction.

Styling curly hair can be done with a variety of products and fashion choices, curls up or curls down, keeping curls tight or combing curls into an afro hair style. Hair texture can play a big part in style choice but it can also be molded with the right products. Twists, braids, add-ins and dreadlocks are many obvious choices and a definite go-to when you want to keep up with fashion. Weaves can also be added into the hair to increase the length and add volume and thickness so you can show off a kinky, voluminous look on the town. Virgin weaves of Mongolian or Brazilian curls are Grade-A quality, having never been processed, this hair is a supreme luxury to be added into your own luscious locks. Curly faux-hawks, afros, fabulous up-dos, engulfed in curls and twists. Oh, so many choices!

This is a guide to helping you tame the beast that is your hair. Wash, dry, and style, add-ins included. Weather will always be the enemy that brings the storm of frizzy-ness into our lives, but with the right product and the right hair care routines, maybe we can be the calm in the storm. Curly hair has always been one with a mind of its own, an agenda unknown to the women who bear the fabulous tresses. It’s time to take charge of our “hair do”, and no longer allow the hair Don’ts to make us feel like the day will be anything less than fabulous. Wash, lather, repeat, you should feel just as lovely as your hair looks! I hope this can help you master your own curls.

We don’t produce your standard natural hair blogs, we aim to ensure our clients get the best content online!


Learn more in our new post covering thin natural hair.



afro kinky curly natural hair clip in extensions. best weave for 4a 4b and 4c natural hair.

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