Why Is My Hair Curly Underneath But Straight On Top? How to Fix?

Jacque NdanuHair CareLeave a Comment

Why is hair curly underneath but straight on top

If you worry that your hair has curly sections while some remain stubbornly straight, then you are not alone.

Back when I was relaxing my hair, I noticed that whenever I took longer than usual to re-touch, I would end up with a very thick curly base and bone straight ends.

Relaxer is one of the causes for this phenomenon but there several other reasons why your hair may be curly underneath but straight on top.

Read on to find out the causes plus how to even out your hair texture.

Why is my hair curly underneath but straight on top?

Here are 8 common causes of uneven textures in hair:

1. Heat damage  

While heat is essential in manipulating hair to achieve the desired hairstyles, it alters the original curl pattern of hair. This heat is largely concentrated on the topmost hair strands to achieve the desired style.

As a result, hair at the top is likely to experience heat damage. This causes hair to lose its natural curl pattern. Ultimately, hair will end up looking straighter at the top and with more curl definition underneath.

2. Could be genetic

Genetics largely contributes to curl texture, definition, and a variation of textures within different sections of your hair. Genes from both parents mix to determine the hair type and curl pattern you possess. [1]

Therefore it is possible that if your parents have different curl patterns, your hair can end up being a combination of both patterns.  Some common curl combinations include curly hair at the crown and wavy at the bottom or wavy at the brown and kinks.

Despite curl combinations posing a challenge when it comes to styling, they are not indicative of unhealthy hair.

3. Dry and split ends

Split ends form when the ends of your hair becomes dry and brittle forming a prickly shape. This is caused by unhealthy hair care practices as well as exposure to harsh weather conditions. Unfortunately, split ends are not responsive to styling or curling since they exit in a stiff frayed nature.

In case you have split ends, you may notice that your hair is curly underneath and straighter towards the ends.

The best way to keep split ends in check is by consistently and periodically trimming your hair. Apart from posing a styling challenge, split ends can also lead to increased hair breakage and general damage.

4. Chemical damage

Chemical treatments including dyes and texturizers work just like heat to damage hair. Unfortunately, the hair`s topmost sections get the brunt of it since it needs to look the best as it is the most visible.

In chemical treatments such as coloring where the hair needs to go through multiple treatments, the damage increases with each treatment.

This damage causes hair to lose its curl pattern and it subsequently adopts a straighter appearance. This causes a difference between the topmost hair sections and other sections. Subsequent use of chemical treatments can eventually cause an almost complete shift of the hair’s original curl pattern.

5. UV damage

Just like the skin, the hair can be affected by harmful UV sun rays. [2]

These rays penetrate the hair barrier and damage the hair strands. This damage causes changes to the hair`s original curl pattern. Since the UV rays hit the hair’s top section first, this may cause the top layer to be straight than the layers underneath.

6. Over-brushing

You may feel the need to continuously brush or comb your hair to keep your curls in check. However, excessive brushing of hair causes an over-manipulation of the hair strands.

This may distort your curl pattern in certain areas, especially in areas that are more likely to experience tangles or knots.

7. Delaying retouches

Relaxer works by changing the hair`s original curl pattern making it more manageable. Since this is a more hair treatment method, the hair remains straight until new hair grows.

When new hair grows, it retains the original curl pattern. This will then cause a difference in curl patterns between the bottom layer that is curly and the more straightened top sections.

8. Too much braiding

Braiding hair is a great method to protect your hair from factors likely to cause damage. However, excessive braiding is likely to cause a different curl pattern in the hair. This is because braiding conditions hair to adopt the curl pattern.

You may notice that after continuous braiding, hair might lose its curl pattern and instead adopt a braid-out texture.

How to even out the texture of your hair

Now that you know and understand the various causes of different curl textures in hair, you might be looking to even out your hair`s texture. We have garnered up several tips you can try out to retrain your curls look and feel more similar.

Trim the hair

One of the causes of uneven curl pattern is different hair lengths. Longer hair is heavier and has more weight and hence cannot sustain curls for long. To make the hair the same length, one step to take is to trim the top sections.

This can be done a little a time for instance every month. After subsequent trimming, the hair becomes lighter and more likely to hold curls.

Practice healthy hair care

Hair that is dry, and damaged is more likely to have its curl pattern destroyed and have difficulties holding a curl pattern.

To fix this, have a consistent hair care routine that is kind to hair. Make sure to use gentle cleansing products that are hydrating to hair.

Additionally, consider protein or moisturizing treatment to strengthen and hydrate hair in case of heat and chemical damage. Take care to protect hair by using heat and UV protectant products. Finally, ensure to properly cover your hair during harsh weather conditions and as you sleep to reduce damage.

Here is a video by Mercy Gono reviving her damaged hair. There is a lot we can learn from her.

Protective styling

Doing protective styles on hair such as braid-outs and twists-outs is great for creating harmony in curl patterns.

Protective styling conditions hair to the same curl texture especially the stubbornly straight sections. As long as braiding is not excessive, protective styling is great in keeping hair at a uniform curl pattern.

Limit use of chemical treatments

In case you are sure your hair is experiencing heat or chemical damage, it is wise to refrain from these treatments to allow your hair to recover.

While doing this, consider deep penetrating treatments that hydrate and restore your hair to a healthy state.

If you need to use heat styling, limit to the healthy recommended period to reduce the damaging effects. It may be wise to consider using heat-protecting products and keep the heat at the lowest most effective temperature. With heat, using a diffuser works to reduce the effect of heat on hair.

Switch up your hair styling tools

Over brushing and combing can be one of the reasons for a variance in curl patterns. To counter this, it might prove useful to use a hair pick instead of a comb. A hair pick is much kinder to your curls and poses less damage to them.

Alternatively, you can opt for heatless curlers as opposed to the ones that require heat when styling hair. Another switch would be air drying instead of using a blow-dry to minimize the chances of heat damage on hair.

With these tips, we hope you will find a solution to even out your hair texture.

Before you leave, here is a round-up of the the causes of hair being curly underneath but straight on top:

  1. Heat damage
  2. Could be genetic
  3. Dry and split ends
  4. Chemical damage
  5. UV damage
  6. Over-brushing
  7. Delayed retouches
  8. Braiding too much

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