20 Best 3c Hairstyle Ideas for 2021

3c hairstyles on zazie beetz and yara shahidi

@lacyredway, @emilychengmakeupInstagram

Fact: Styling your hair can feel like an actual chore when you’re lacking in the inspiration department. But there’s a pretty easy fix—and it all starts with this list of stunning hairstyles specifically picked for your 3c hair. Whether you’ve working with strict 3c curls or you’ve got a mix of types 3 and 4 hair, you’re bound to find something you love when you scroll through these celeb-approved updos, sleek braids, and perfectly accessorized looks. So the next time you’re about to pull your hair into the same old top knot and call it a day—don’t. Keep reading for the 20 prettiest (and, TBH, easiest) 3c hairstyles of all damn time.


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How do you style 3c hair?

Before we get to the looks, a quick reminder: 3c hair is typically defined by its tight curls that are tightly packed together. The best products for your hair are going to be super moisturizing formulas like leave-in conditioners, curl creams, gels, and oils (though your hair’s porosity—aka its ability to get and stay hydrated—will determine your exact product lineup). How you actually apply them will come down to personal preference, but 3c hair usually does best when you finger-rake your conditioners and leave-ins through damp hair, then apply your stylers by scrunching, plopping, or using the praying hands method.

Got it? Cool, now let’s get to what you really came here for: the best 3c hairstyles.

1

This Pineapple Hairstyle for 3c Hair

TBH, Yara Shahidi can do no wrong (especially when it comes to her beauty game) and this cute pineapple hairstyle is proof. After hydrating your curls with a lightweight cream, gather your hair at the top of your head and leave out a few pieces in the front like Yara for a faux-bangs look.

2

This Accessorized Style for 3c Hair

When in doubt, add a couple accessories to your 3c hairstyle and call it a day. Follow the lead of Zazie Beetz and slide a few pearl-adorned pins through your curls for a look that’s lowkey and super pretty.

3

This Sleek and Curly 3c Hairstyle

Not sure you want to go the sleek or curly route with your 3c hairstyle? This look offers the best of both worlds. Swirl your edges with a non-flaky edge control, slick down your part with a dollop of gel, and play up your natural texture and volume through your mid-lengths and ends.

4

This Sleek Hairstyle for 3c Hair

Here’s a cute idea: Slick back your 3c hair into a bun at the nape of your neck and leave out a few face-framing curls just in the front. A sleek middle part is the key to recreating this look, so make sure you have a rat-tail comb on deck.

5

These Golden Ends for 3c Hair

Whether you’ve got type 3 or type 4 hair, you can’t go wrong with a few golden highlights on your ends. I mean, what better way to kick off the spring and summer than with a fresh new hair color?

6

This Pigtail Hairstyle for 3c Hair

Those pigtails you wore everyday of kindergarten just got a major upgrade. Pull a Yara Shahidi and slick your 3c hair right down the middle, lay your baby hairs with an edge tool, and secure two long and curly ponytails just below your ears.

7

These Mini Buns for 3c Hair

Looking for an easy way to level-up your favorite 3c hairstyle? Go for this mini bun look, which incorporates natural volume, laid edges, and cute cuffs throughout your hair. Consider this one a staple—it’s relatively easy but the payoff is major.

8

This High Bun for 3c Hair

Not only does this style take 10 or so minutes to recreate, but it’s also a great option for getting your hair off your neck during the summer. Just gather your curls at the top of your head, leave out a couple pieces (or don’t), and you’re good to go. BTW, styling milks are pretty genius for hydrating your hair without weighing it down.

9

This Half-Up Style for 3c Hair

Half-up hairstyles are never not relevant, but they’re especially great for those days when you want an easy but cute style for your 3c hair. This look features super-defined curls and two face-framing pieces for the ultimate vibe.

10

This Short 3c Hairstyle

Here, Gabrielle Union makes an excellent case for cutting your 3a/4a hair into a cute and healthy bob. If you’re dealing with heat or chemical damage (or you’re just in the mood to mix things up!) and considering cutting it, take a peek at our guide on how to do the big chop for expert-approved tips.

11

This Hair Clip Style for Type 3 Hair

Presenting: the prettiest hairstyle for type 3 hair that looks like you put in way more effort than you actually did (and, like, who doesn’t want that?). Gather your favorite glitzy hair pins, load up on a curl-defining cream, and slide your clips on either side of your part for a no-fail look.

12

These Double Puffs for 3c Hair

Sometimes all you need is two puffs to put together a super-cute style for your curly hair. Don’t you love how this one looks with a set of curly bangs grazing just above her eyes? Bonus points for recreating her yellow eyeshadow look too.

13

This Middle-Parted 3c Hairstyle

What do you get when you combine a middle part, two braids, and two buns? This ridiculously pretty 3c hairstyle, duh. You’ll want to use a super-lightweight edge control when recreating this look (something that doesn’t clog your pores or flake off).

14

This ’90s Style for 3c Hair

In case your Instagram feed hasn’t already informed you, ’90s hairstyles aren’t going away any time soon. Deck out your 3c hair with snap-on clips in a handful of colors—don’t be afraid to really make this look your own.

15

This Headband 3c Hairstyle

Take it from Tamera Mowry: Headband hairstyles are always a winning look, whether you’re working with 3c hair or 4c hair. The best part about this style? You can work with day three (or four!) hair—just lightly mist a curl-refresher spray through your mid-lengths and ends for a boost of hydration.

16

This Purple Color for 3c Hair

17

This Red Color for Type 3 Hair

Another hair color that’s worth having on your radar? This lowkey, ultra-dimensional red for 3c hair. If you’re going for something more permanent, book an appointment with a professional colorist to prevent damage or breakage.

18

This Half-Up Hairstyle for 3c Hair

Section off one third of your type-3 or 4 hair to channel this cute style from Nathalie Emmanuel. It’s basically the perfect half-up look for shorter lengths, regardless of your curl type, and it’s bound to be a staple in your year-round routine.

19

This Easy Braided 3c Hairstyle

Sorry, but how freakin’ cute and lowkey is this 3c hairstyle? All you need to do is create two braids along your part and leave the rest of your hair down and loose. Pro tip: A lightweight oil is great for locking in moisture.

20

This Double Braided 3c Hairstyle

Part your 3c hair down the middle and create two sleek braids (a non-crunchy gel will be your best friend here) for this stunning style. Bonus points for pairing the whole look with a warm highlighter and lip gloss.

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