Why Does My Hair Feel like Straw? How Do I Fix It?

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why does my hair feel like straw

When your hair feels dry, brittle and rough to the touch (basically straw-like), it probably boils downs to two things: Lack of moisture and damage.

Apart from looking and feeling damaged, straw hair is incredibly hard to style.

Straw-like hair can be caused by several factors. In this article, we will look at 10 common reasons and how to fix it.

Why Does My Hair Feel Like Straw?

At the root of it, straw-like hair is as a result of either damage, lack of moisture or nutritional deficiencies.

That said, straw-like hair is caused by:

1. Inadequate moisture

Moisture is basically the ‘SI unit’ of hair care. Hair thrives with adequate moisture and lack of it shows in the strands, the hair feels like straw.

Moisturizing alone may not be enough. You have to think about locking in the moisture so that it’s not lost immediately.

Read this article to learn more about effective hydration treatments for hair.

The curl pattern and hair porosity can affect how well moisture is retained. Generally, people with curlier and wavier hair are more likely to lose moisture quickly.

High porosity hair soaks in moisture fast but also loses it quickly therefore techniques such as the LOC method are suited for this porosity type. On the other hand low porosity hair takes time to absorb moisture.

To fix dryness, incorporate a moisturizing conditioner preferably a deep conditioner on a weekly to biweekly basis to restore hydration to hair.

You may also want to add hydrating serums and hair oils to lock in the moisture. For the day-to-day, you might want to opt for a leave-in conditioner.

2. Frequent use of heat

my hair feels like straw

Excessive heat styling is another cause of damage in hair which may lead to a straw-like feeling.

First off, frequent heat styling may increase chances of permanent hair damage.

If you are aiming for healthy hair, try to keep heat styling to a minimum.

Another factor to consider is the amount of heat you expose your hair to during heat styling.

Hair will typically require heat amounts of between 300 degrees to 400 degrees depending on texture. Anything higher than that means exposing your hair to possible heat damage.

Different hair types and curl patterns require different amounts of heat for manipulation and styling. Coarser hair types will typically require more heat for styling.

It’s always safer to work with the medium to low heat setting on your styling tool.

Investing in good hair styling tools ensures your hair gets adequately styled with as little heat as possible.

3. Protein Overload

You’ve probably heard that protein is good for strengthening hair strands. However, too much protein in hair may cause more harm than good.

Healthy hair operates in an optimal protein-moisture balanced environment.

Keratin is the main protein in hair and is responsible for strengthening the hair shaft. However, too much keratin causes build-up on the hair strands which causes the strands to become brittle hence the straw-like feel.

To balance this moisture, hold off on the protein-rich products and incorporate more hydrating treatments into your hair.

Have you ever heard of people who say rice water makes their hair feel like straw? This is a very good example of protein overload cause by rice protein. It mostly affects people with low porosity hair.

Related article: Is rice water good for low porosity hair?

4. Shampooing too much

hair feels like straw

Shampoo works to remove excess dirt and build-up from hair leaving it clean.

Too much shampoo however strips off moisture and natural oils from the hair and scalp. As a result, your hair ends up looking dry and feeling like straw.

Along with avoiding excessive shampooing, you need to be gentle when cleaning the scalp. Washing hair too thoroughly damages the scalp making it difficult for hair to absorb moisture.

5. Using harsh products

With hair care products, the devil is in the details.

Hair products that contain drying ingredients such as sulfates, silicones, drying alcohols, formaldehyde, and some perfumes strip moisture leaving hair dry, stiff and with frayed ends.

6. Using the wrong products

Hair damage can also be caused by using the wrong products for your hair type and porosity.

For instance, low porosity hair benefits from lightweight, easily absorbable products.

If heavy products are used on low porosity hair, these might weigh down the hair and scalp. This reduces the ability to absorb moisture since hair and scalp surfaces are clogged with the product leading to dry, brittle and stiff hair.

7.  Moisture Overload

Just like too much protein, too much moisture can cause a protein-moisture imbalance in hair.

An overload of moisture makes hair limp without giving it the structure to hold it up that comes from protein.

As a result hair ends up limp, with less defined curls and high chances of breakage. To rectify moisture overload in hair, use a clarifying shampoo to remove excess build-up.

Afterward, go in with a protein strengthening treatment which will restore optimal protein-moisture balance in hair.

8. Over-manipulation

Over-manipulating hair is likely to cause strain in hair.

Generally, excess manipulation might look like styling your hair more than once a day. 

This exposes the hair to damage and reduces it’s ability to absorb moisture.

As a result, the hair ends feeling like straw.

To reduce such effects, consider reducing the amount of styling done on the hair.

Alternatively, consider low manipulation and protective hairstyles such as wash-and-go, buns, or braids.

9. Too much sun exposure

Dry, straw-like hair is one of the signs of sun damage. Other signs include split ends, thinning, and discoloration.

The sun rays, UVA, and UVB rays work like bleach damaging the hair cuticle.

The effect of sun damage is worse on light-colored hair as well as those with finer hair types. To reduce the effects of sun damage, cover hair or wear protective hairstyles.

Additionally, you can look into hair products with sun protection to keep your hair healthy and protected.

10.  Hard water

Hard water is another culprit for causing hair to feel like straw.

This type of water contains a build-up of minerals such as magnesium. These minerals eventually build up on hair strands creating a film.

This film prevents moisture from efficiently being absorbed by the hair.

As a result, hair looks dry, brittle, and dull.

To fix hair damaged by hard water, first, use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of the excess mineral build-up.

Afterward, incorporate a hydrating treatment such as a hair mask or deep conditioning treatment to bring back the moisture in the hair.

You could also invest in a water-softener plant or shower head to keep the water free from minerals.

How to Fix Hair that Feels Like Straw

Here is a summary of what you need to do to fix straw-like hair

  1. Moisturize properly
  2. Use gentle hydrating products
  3. Shampoo mindfully
  4. Minimize use of heat
  5. Wear sun protection
  6. Avoid over-manipulating the hair
  7. Keep the proteins balanced


Your hair feels like straw because of:

  1. Inadequate moisture
  2. Frequent use of heat
  3. Protein overload
  4. Shampooing too much
  5. Using harsh products
  6. Using the wrong products
  7. Moisture overload
  8. Over-manipulation
  9. Too much sun exposure
  10. Hard water

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