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3C Hair VS 4C Hair, What Are The Differences?

Last updated Sep 27, 2023

Knowing your hair type can give you a better idea of what your hair needs. From this, you will know how to deal with it, nourish it and protect it from damage. In most cases, it is the lack of information on how to properly handle our hair that makes us find our hair difficult to handle. This article selects two different hairstyles—3C hair and 4C hair for a detailed description compares the similarities and differences and maintenance methods of the two and provides reference information for hairstyle selection. Let's move on.

What Is The Hair Typing System?


A new hair typing system that is gaining popularity among women with curly hair is a modified version of the Andre Walker system recommended by TextureMedia, which owns the NaturallyCurly and CurlyNikki brands and web properties.

According to NaturallyCurly, your hair type is key to determining the right products and hairstyles for your hair. This hair typing system focuses on three types of hair: wavy, curly, and coily.


The NaturallyCurly system further subdivides the above three categories into subcategories: A to C. These sub-categories are based on the diameter of the hair's wavy, curly or coily, borrowed directly from the original Andre Walker hair typing system.

As usual, the goal of this hair-typing system is to reduce or eliminate clutter so women can embrace their naturally curly hair and find the best hair products for their hair. But the reality is that many women don't fit exactly into one category and subcategory. Combinations of natural hair typing (or different types of curls) are common. Today, let's take a look at the similarities and differences between 3C and 4C hair typing.

What Is Type 3C Hair?


Typically, Type 3 curls are defined as having an "S" shaped curl pattern. Also, since the cuticle is not as flat as type 1 or 2 hair, the hair lacks shine. 3C Curly hair is prone to dryness, frizz, softness, tangles, and limited volume.

In the hair system, you will see Type 3A, Type 3B, Type 4A, Type 4B... What about Type 3C? Type 3C was created because it was clear that a type was missing between Type 3B and Type 4A. Women with Type 3C hair often don't know what to do with their hair, as this type of hair is somewhat neglected in the hair care world.


3C hair belongs to the curly hair type. It consists of tight coils arranged closely together. Their girth is about the size of a straw or pencil, and the texture of the curls varies from medium to fine.

How do you know if you are type 3C? Even after being elongated, your hair will maintain its S or Z curve shape. If you still have a very noticeable frizz pattern after doing this, and the texture isn't frizzy, then your hair is type 3C.

What Is Type 4C Hair?


4B and 4C are very similar in characteristics and a little indistinguishable. We can say that 4B is a mild version of 4C. Since they are almost identical, we will only look at the 4C features that cover 4B and 4C.

The strands of 4C hair have a "Z" pattern, so there is no defined curl pattern. The most notable feature of this hair type is that it tends to shrink to less than 30% of its original length. This can be seen immediately when the hair comes in contact with water. 4C Hair is difficult to know its length without being stretched.


The 4Cs of hair vary from person to person. It can be soft and thin and like cotton, or it can be rough and dense. However, brittle hair is a common thing with 4C hair. It breaks more easily than 3C and 4A hair types. Again, just like Type 4B hair, the texture can range from superfine and fine to silky and coarse.

What Are The Differences Between 3C Hair And 4C Hair?

While both 4C and 3C hair are considered curly, some key differences can separate the two. Here are a few key differences between 3C Hair and 4C hair.

1. Curly shape


3C hair has spiral curls, while 4C hair is characterized by a lack of a consistent curl pattern. Also, the curls found in Type 3C hair are much larger than those found in Type 4C hair.

2. Fragility

While curly hair is generally more prone to drying and breakage, 4C hair is most of the time considered the most fragile hair type.

3. Hair gloss


Type 4C hair tends to have raised cuticles that don't reflect light like other hair types. Therefore, type 3C hair is generally brighter and smoother than type 4C hair.

4. Shrinkage

While both 3C and 4C strands have shrinkage, 4C generally shrinks more. Typically, 3C hair shrinks to around 25-50% of its original length, while 4C strands often shrink by as much as 80% or more.

How To Loosen 3C Hair And 4C Hair?

Although you can't change your curly hair typing, there are some natural ways to loosen up your curls for a naturally beautiful look. If you're looking for a way to reduce frizzy patterns without styling or chemical treatments, these tips are for you.

1. Stretch your hair


No matter how you choose to do it if you want to loosen them, you have to stretch 4C coils or 3C curls. Applying tension to the hair helps to lengthen the curls, and the effect of this method usually lasts until the next time you wash your hair.

2. Moisturizes your strands

Regardless of your curl pattern, the healthier your hair is, the better it will look and the clearer your curls will be. Making sure your hair is fully hydrated is the best way to achieve a stubborn frizz pattern.

3. Heat training/damage


Heat training is one of the more controversial methods used to relax the 4Cs of hair. Heat training is one of the ways that heat can be used to damage your hair and loosen your frizzy pattern. While most people would call it thermal damage singularly, the difference between them is the intent.


Seeing here, have you already understood the two types of hair typing, 3C hair, and 4C hair? If you think this article is helpful to you, please share it with people around you! Of course, if you have any other related questions, you are welcome to leave comments below the article! The beauty is endless, let's "start from scratch" together!

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