Afro Hair Guide: Type 3 Hair

Contributor: Dinan Saeed (@dinan249)

Type 3 hair is rumored to be on the easier spectrum of natural hair to care for, but while it is relatively lower maintenance than type 4 hair, it still requires a routine that includes protection and nourishment to keep those curls healthy, luscious and manageable. 

Whether you opt for an easy wash-and-go or you choose to put in more effort with a braid-out or a twist-out, this simple routine will maintain your curls between wash days and protect them in the long run.


One of the major challenges with type 3 hair when you take it down in the morning is that it deforms in your sleep and the curls often flatten or clump together. Don’t despair – this problem is solvable! A few sprays of water from a spray bottle will revive your curls and prepare them for the day. Apply the water and flip your hair, scrunching it up where it is particularly flat. For extra shine, put some leave-in conditioner or any hair moisturizer in the bottle.

Alternatively, you can apply a daily hair moisturizer, a little bit of curl cream or your leave-in conditioner of choice. You and your crown are now ready for the day!


Type 3 hair is very versatile. You can wear it any way you like. If you’d like to wear it as it is, just part it as you please and wear it down. You can try adding a hair band or a few pins if you wish to accessorize.

Another quick style is a curly ponytail or bun. Simply slick back your hair with a brush while it is still damp from your morning revival routine and secure the slick-back with some gel to prevent fly-aways during the day. Be careful to avoid wearing pulled back hairstyles too often as it might cause your hairline to recede or thin out your edges.

If you’re feeling more glamorous, you can wear your hair half-up and half-down, which is an easy hairstyle that makes your hair look fuller and longer. Slick your hair back as if you’re doing a ponytail, but only tie up the top half, and there you have it!

You can also always incorporate braids into your hairstyle for a cool look. Don’t be afraid to experiment. The possibilities are endless!


If you’re going out and want to switch up your hairstyle, follow the morning revival routine to “reset” your hair and style it into your desired night look. You can’t go wrong with a simple slicked back look! The half-up-half-down is a perfect day to night style, as it can be dressed up and dressed down with your makeup and accessories. For a less tame and sultrier look, fluff up your curls at the roots with an afro-comb and part it to the side. Use a toothbrush and edge-control to slick down your baby hairs and you’re ready to go!


Night time care is essential for type 3 hair to protect it from damage. As you wash your face, wipe off any residual edge control cream so it doesn’t seep into your skin. Then, to preserve your curls overnight, put your hair up with a scrunchie (a hair band covered in soft fabric, preferably silk or cotton). This is famously known as “the pineapple”. Once your hair is in a pineapple, wrap a silk or satin scarf around your head. If you have longer hair, some curls will peak out of the scarf, and that’s okay, as long as your roots are protected. Alternatively, you can sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase or put on a bonnet. I find the silk scarf to be the best choice for me.

Weekly: Detangle your hair using a wide-tooth comb then wash or co-wash it. It’s better to minimise the heat you expose your hair to, so try to air dry or use a diffuser rather than a hairdryer.

Every 2 weeks: Deep condition your hair. This is great for moisturising your hair regularly.

Every 3 months: Trim off damaged ends. It’s best to get your trim done professionally, so the right amount of hair is trimmed (rather than guessing!).

Hair products:

Because type 3 hair is finer in nature than type 4 hair, many afro hair products may be too heavy for it and do more harm than good when used. This also means that certain mainstream brand products may work for you. Your hair needs may change with the weather; for example if you start exercising or if any aspect of your routine changes, you will need to observe your hair carefully and respond to its needs.

My favorite 3 products are:

  1. Auntie Jackie’s Curl La La Defining Curl Custard
  2. Garnier Ultimate Blends Argan Richness Conditioner
  3. Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Restore Treatment Masque

Every head of hair is unique, so experiment and see what works best for you!