What Does 3b Hair Look Like? Discover Defining Characteristics

Have you ever been confused about your hair type? Maybe someone used the term “3b hair” to describe your curls, but you didn’t know what it meant. Understanding your hair type is key to learning how to care for it properly. In this article, we’ll explore what 3b hair looks like and its defining characteristics, so you can better understand your beautiful curls.

What is 3b Hair?

First, let’s define what we mean by “3b hair.” The hair typing system was created by Andre Walker, Oprah Winfrey’s longtime hairstylist, and it categorizes hair into four types based on curl pattern: 2 (wavy), 3 (curly), 4 (coily). Each type is then further divided into subcategories a, b, and c based on the size of the curl. 3b hair is categorized as “tight curls” or “ringlets” and falls under the curly hair umbrella.

Defining Characteristics of 3b Hair

Now that we have a basic understanding of what 3b hair is let’s look at its defining characteristics.

Tight Curls

3b hair has tight, springy curls that clump together and can create a voluminous effect. These curls are typically about the size of a sharpie marker or slightly smaller.

Soft to the Touch

Another defining characteristic of 3b hair is its soft texture. Because the curls are less compact than those of 3c or 4a hair, it can feel softer to the touch.

Pronounced S-shape

3b curls are shaped like an “S” and can be extremely defined. This shape is created by the hair strands twisting around each other and can give the appearance of a tightly coiled ribbon.

Prone to Frizz

One of the challenges of 3b hair is its tendency to frizz. The curls are tighter and more prone to tangling than some other hair types, which can contribute to frizz. Proper moisturizing and styling techniques can help decrease frizz.

Caring for 3b Hair

Now that we know what 3b hair looks like let’s discuss how to take care of it to keep it healthy and beautiful.

Moisturize Regularly

Moisturizing is a critical aspect of caring for 3b hair. Because it’s prone to frizz, the hair needs to stay hydrated to maintain proper curl formation. This can be achieved by using a leave-in conditioner or hair oil daily to add moisture to the hair.


Most shampoos contain sulfates, which can strip the hair of its natural oils and lead to dryness, tangling, and breakage. Co-washing, or using a conditioner to wash your hair instead of a shampoo, can help maintain the hair’s moisture and prevent damage.

Detangle with Care

Because 3b hair is prone to tangling, detangling is an essential step in the hair care routine. However, it’s essential to detangle with care to avoid breakage. Start with a wide-tooth comb or detangling brush, and work through the hair in small sections using a conditioner or detangling spray to help ease knots.

Protective Styles

Wearing protective styles such as braids, twists, or buns can help prevent tangles and breakage, especially at night. These styles can also help the hair maintain moisture by preventing it from rubbing against clothing and bedding.


Understanding your hair type is a crucial step in caring for your natural hair. By identifying the defining characteristics of 3b hair, you can choose products and styling techniques that will help protect and enhance your beautiful curls.

Frequently Asked Questions About 3b Hair

  • What does 3b hair look like?

    3b hair has tight, springy curls that clump together to create a voluminous effect. The curls are typically about the size of a sharpie marker, and the hair is soft to the touch.

  • What’s the difference between 3a and 3b hair?

    While both 3a and 3b hair fall under the curly hair umbrella, the curls of 3b hair are tighter and have a more defined “S” shape. In contrast, 3a curls are looser and have a more defined “S” shape.

  • What products are best for 3b hair?

    Moisturizing products are essential for caring for 3b hair. Look for products that contain natural oils like coconut, argan, or jojoba oil to add moisture to the hair. Additionally, using a leave-in conditioner or hair oil daily can help keep the hair hydrated.


“Hair Types,” AndreWalkerHair.com. [Online]. Available: https://www.andrewalkerhair.com/hair-types. [Accessed: 16-Sep-2021].

“How to Figure Out Your Curl Type,” Byrdie.com. [Online]. Available: https://www.byrdie.com/curl-type-test-5070834. [Accessed: 16-Sep-2021].

“Best Hair Products for Type 3C-4A Natural Hair in 2021,” Allure.com. [Online]. Available: https://www.allure.com/gallery/best-hair-products-for-natural-hair. [Accessed: 16-Sep-2021].

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