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Type 3a Curly Hair: How to Identify and Maintain

January 2, 2023
this image shows a boy with 3a-curly-hair type and curl types in men

Type 3a curly hair is the first level of curls after you pass from the wavy hair zone to an official card-carrying member of the curly hair club.

Because this is the first level of curls, people often feel they can get away with using low-quality products, products not designed to handle the unique maintenance required for curls, or a lackluster upkeep routine.

However, this will give you a first-class ticket to bad-hair-day Ville. Instead, follow our below type 3a curl guide to make sure type 3a curls look fantastic and turn heads.

What is type 3a curly hair?

this image shows 3a curly hair type and more curl types

It can be challenging to determine your curly hair type as most have a combination of different curl types. However, for classification's sake, we look at the most prevalent curl type to classify the whole. The 3a curl pattern is defined as large diameter curls with a loose corkscrew shape.

The below picture is a classic example of type 3a curls.

this image shows a boy with 3a curly hair type

If the above curls are similar to yours, read on! We're getting into the key requirements to keep your type 3a curls healthy, strong, and looking their best.

The Type 3a Hair Commandments

Whether you're a man or a woman, it can be difficult to determine what to do to take care of your type 3a hair and what's "fluff."

We've broken down the six most important steps for taking care of type 3a curls.

1) Eliminate Harmful Chemicals

Avoiding damage from harsh chemicals in low-quality haircare products is critical for any curly hair type.

These chemicals irritate the cuticle, raising your keratin plates and causing damage to your hair bonds and the inability to regulate the moisture content of your hair strands.

In English? Harsh chemicals result in frizz, limp hair, breakage, and slower growth. Not Good.

Search the ingredients of your products to confirm they contain none of the below harsh chemicals.

  • Sulfates
  • Silicones
  • DEA
  • Drying alcohols (propanol, isopropyl, Benzynol)
  • Phthalates
  • Parabens

2) Keep Hair Hydrated

If you googled "taking care of type 3a curly hair," you'd find keep curls hydrated in every single article. And for a good reason, healthy curls require hydration!

Make sure to utilize a moisturizing or deep conditioner every time you wash your hair. But remember, watch out for harsh chemicals. In particular, silicone is often found in low-quality conditioners.

3) Protect from UV damage

UV damage can be a silent bringer of the dreaded bad hair day. Like your skin, your hair is also damaged from sunlight. UV light loves to attack and break the oxygen and carbon double bond found in Keratin.

This weakens the hair shaft of your type 3a hair, creating lifeless and dull curls.

To reduce UV damage on your hair, utilize a styling product that contains a polymer-type styling agent. This will help to block UV light and keep your type 3a curls bouncy and vibrant.

4) Avoid Friction

A hidden irritant of type 3a curls-friction. That's right, your towel, pillowcase, or even your favorite hat could be leading to your hair going into frizz overload.

A simple solution to reduce frizzing problems is grabbing a micro-fiber towel to dry your hair (found easily on Amazon). Another way to help reduce frizz is by trading up your pillowcase for satin.

These will help keep your type 3a hair frizz-free and looking its best.

You can read more about How to Deal with Frizzy Curls in Men here.

5) Avoid Over Washing

Over washing is a common source of dry hair in individuals with type 3a curl patterns. For the loose curls of type 3a, it's best to wash once every 1-3 days using a gentle cleanser followed by a hydrating cleanser.

6) Don't Forget the Scalp

Something that's not touched on enough and is especially important for men with curly hair is scalp health. A healthy scalp is vital for hair growth. A dry, flaky scalp is not only embarrassing and itchy but also contributes to hair loss.

Look for 3a hair products containing green tea extract, coffee extract, Aloe, Safflower seed oil, Nori fruit extract, and Sesame seed oil.

You can read more about The Complete Curly Hair Routine for Men here.

Recommended Best Products for Type 3a Hair

The three key products for 3a hair are a gentle shampoo, hydrating conditioner, and a protecting styling product. Creating a hair care routine around these build the foundation for healthy hair.

Below are the best products for 3a hair.

Best Shampoo for Type 3a Hair

Shampoo for men with curly hair

For type 3a hair, we recommend Formula f=kx shampoo. The shampoo is specially formulated without harsh chemicals. Instead, the "cleaning ingredient" is Decyl-glucoside, a gentle cleanser derived from coconuts that removes dirt and oil without irritating the cuticle. Due to its low risk of skin irritation. Additionally, the shampoo is infused with ingredients for scalp health, such as nori fruit extract, coffee seed extract, and green tea extract, making the ideal cleanser for both men and women with type 3a hair.

Best Conditioner for Type 3a Hair

Keratin Conditioner For Men With Curly Hair

The Formula F=kx keratin conditioner is ideal for curly-haired individuals with type 3a hair.

The conditioner is free of silicones (often found in cheap conditioners) and other harsh chemicals that might irritate or damage your curls.

The aloe and coconut hydrate and lock in moisture. The hydrolyzed keratin repairs broken bonds from everyday wear and tear. Finally, the Safflower oil, Nore Extract, and Coffee seed extract work to keep your scalp healthy. Combined, it creates a knockout conditioning experience for your curls.

Styling Product for Type 3a Curls

defining gel for men with curly hair

Our recommendation for type 3a hair is Formula F=kx defining gel. Because most 3a hair is on the finer side, it is best to use a lightweight, low hold styling product to limit while creating bouncy curls.

The Formula f=kx defining gel is produced without any drying alcohols prevalent in low-quality gels. It is also formulated not to flake and keep its hold throughout the day.

The gel is also infused with potent botanicals that keep your hair moisturized throughout the day and protected from the sun.


Type 3a curls offer the best of both worlds between wavy hair and tight coils. This allows you to sport a number of kick-butt haircuts and styles. However, because type 3a curls have broken through the curl plane into true coils, they require more care than standard straight or wavy hair. You'll soon find your type 3a curls frizzing, laying flat, or even having issues with breakage if not properly cared for.

Fortunately, if you follow our tips and utilize the Formula F=kx products for curly hair, you'll soon be on your way to natural curls that turn heads.

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