Skip to Content

Why Does My Hair Feel Like Straw? Causes, Fixes, and Products

Beautiful African American female whose brittle hair feels like straw after an inadequate hair care routine.

Isn’t it frustrating when your hair feels like straw? Due to the nature of natural hair, many curly girls deal with dry, brittle strands.

Straw-like hair is not only difficult to style, but it’s prone to breakage. This article will discuss common factors that lead to “straw hair”, as well as effective methods to improve your hair texture. 

Why Does My Hair Feel Like Straw? 

There is no universal cause for all straw-like hair. Many things can leave your curls dry and rough, including excessive heat, shampooing your hair too much, improper conditioning, spending a lot of time in the pool with wet hair, regular chemical treatments, lack of adequate nutrition, exposure to the sun and so much more.

In the next section, we provide more detail on potential reasons your hair feels like straw.

Cute black girl with a wash n go hairstyle created with a sulfate-free shampoo, coconut oil, and a wide-tooth comb.

1. Excessive Heat

Using heat tools like curling irons, hair straighteners, blow dryers, etc., on your hair can fry it over time, leading to coarse hair and making it feel drier than sandpaper. In addition, heat styling sucks up the hair’s moisture and worsens split ends, making it hard for you to rock your natural curls. 

2. Shampooing Too Much 

Sulfate shampoos (and sulfate-free shampoos, in some cases) contain cleansers that decrease the hair’s moisture levels. Every time you shampoo, you’re removing natural oils from your hair and scalp, which can upset your moisture balance and give way to a straw-like texture. 

So, if you’re shampooing more than two times a week, you’re probably shampooing your hair too much. 

Note: Consider your hair type and current condition when determining how often you should wash your hair. If your hair is wavy or straight, you will need to wash your hair fairly often. 

A lady wearing a yellow sweater with fine hair using a laptop to research good hair habits and good hair care tactics.

3. Improper Conditioning

Moisture is the key to having bouncy and shiny hair. That’s why your hair becomes dry and brittle when it’s deprived of moisture. Skipping conditioning sessions or using a deep conditioner that doesn’t suit your hair type will leave your hair dry and feeling like straw. 

4. Spending a Lot of Time in the Pool 

Pool water has a high concentration of chlorine and other harmful chemicals. Excessive exposure to these chemicals can damage your hair cuticles and dry out your hair.

5. Regular Chemical Treatments 

Bleaching, dyeing, or perming your hair regularly disrupts the natural balance of hair oils, causing hair dryness. This is all because of the destructive chemicals these treatments contain.

Hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and sodium hydroxide invade your hair cuticles and leave them dry and porous, eventually causing your curls to look and feel brittle. 

African American lady wearing a 4A hair type wearing a twist-out hairstyle created with coconut oil after a hair mask.

6. Lack of Adequate Nutrition

Dry, rough hair can also result from inadequate nutrition. Be sure to consume a diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support healthy hair growth. Here are a few vitamins that promote healthy, supple hair: 

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Biotin (Vitamin B-7)
  • Vitamin B-12

7. Exposure to The Sun 

Long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays is intensely damaging to your hair. The UV rays can lighten your hair’s natural color and even change your curls’ texture from soft and supple to hard and dry.

8. Change of Environment 

When traveling, a change in climate can cause your hair to lose its strength and become dry and weak. 

Female with a 4A hair type drinking coffee and wearing a wash n go hairdo after having her hair dyed.

How To Fix Dry Hair

To begin treating your dry hair, you need to evaluate your hair care routine. Discovering what’s causing damage to your curls will allow you to make targeted changes that bring positive results.

Here are some tips to fix your straw-like tresses: 

  • Use sunblock or SPF – UV rays can be your curls’ worst enemy; that’s why you need to protect your hair by using a sunblock that contains at least SPF 30. Another way to prevent damage to your hair is to wear a hat, scarf, or bonnet while you’re out.
  • Use heat tools sparingly – Using your heat tools irresponsibly can cause split ends and dryness. Lowering the heat and using them less often will reduce the amount of damage your curls incur. Alternatively, you can air-dry your hair or set it using traditional rollers. 
  • Use moisturizers and conditioners – Hydrating hair masks, serums, and conditioners help to maximize your hair’s moisture levels. In addition, argan, almond, coconut, and olive oil are all rich in moisture, so we recommend using one of these on your hair once a week. You may be surprised – these nutrient-dense products can fix your straw-like hair within minutes. 
  • Use sulfate-free shampoos and don’t overwash– Sulfate shampoos are extremely drying to the hair, so we urge you not to use them regularly. Instead, opt for sulfate-free varieties and be careful not to overuse them. Most curly girls get by with weekly wash sessions. If your hair is so dry that it’s crunchy, maybe you should avoid shampoos altogether – cowashes cleanse and condition your hair simultaneously, leaving your hair feeling feather-soft. 
  • Use swimming caps – Whether you are a swimmer by profession or just like to do it as a hobby, we recommend using a swim cap to protect your hair. It prevents chlorinated water from coming in contact with your hair, thus reducing its drying effects that can leave your hair coarse. 
  • Consume a well-balanced diet – Our body needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow healthy hair. If there’s a lack of essential nutrients in your diet, your hair could become brittle. Eggs, spinach, tangerines, fish, etc., are packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, which prevent hair dryness and moisten the scalp.
  • Trim your damaged ends. Your hair may feel like straw because of split ends or damage near your ends. The only way to get rid of your straw-like ends is to trim them off. If you want to do your trim at home, be sure to use hair-cutting shears. 
  • Get professional help – If the solutions mentioned above don’t work for you, try reaching out to a professional for help. Your hairstylist will analyze your hair situation thoroughly and treat your hair accordingly. 
Young woman with curly hair using her iPhone to talk with a friend about using hair dye on kinky curly hair.

Best Hair Products for Straw-Like Hair 

To help you get started, we’d like to introduce you to a couple of great hair products for straw-like hair. These products are packed with hair softening and conditioning ingredients that your moisture-deprived curls will love. 

  • Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Divine Strength Leave-In Conditioner – This leave-in conditioner is perfect for anyone dealing with excessive hair dryness or roughness. It contains black cumin seeds which strengthen hair follicles, flaxseed oil for moisture, and castor oil to seal in the goodness from the other ingredients. Within just a few uses, you’ll notice a remarkable difference in your hair.
  • Shea Moisture Serum Oil – This oil is specifically formulated for damaged hair – as such, it is packed with heavy-duty moisturizers and hair sealants. Shea butter and carrot oil hydrate and soften, while Jamaican black castor oil seals it all in. Another great thing about this oil is that it contains peppermint oil, which leaves your scalp feeling delightfully tingly. It’s also free of sulfates, mineral oil, petrolatum, or parabens. 
  • Pantene Gold Series Cowash – This cowash from Pantene has all your hair needs to soften up and behave. Its formula is sulfate-free and features argan oil for penetrative moisture. You’ll use this cowash just like you would a normal sudsy shampoo. But be warned – there won’t be much suds (if any). Also, after washing, your hair may feel coated, but you can rest assured that your hair is clean. 

Related Articles

Ultimately, our hair’s health depends upon several factors collectively, and you need to account for potential dryness within your hair care routine.

Now you know several factors that could make your hair feel like straw, some actions you can take to soften up your strands, and products specifically for dry, damaged hair. We wish you the best as you repair your curls.