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Why Does My Hair Feel Like Straw? | 17 Reasons

If your hair is feeling excessively dry and brittle, you may ask yourself, “why does my hair feel like straw?” There are many potential causes for dry, straw-like hair.

It could result from weather conditions, over-processing, or even your diet. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to bring your straw-like hair back to life.

What Is Straw-Like Hair?

Your hair may be straw-like if it feels dry, brittle, and rough to the touch. Your hair may also look dull and lackluster. Straw-like hair can be difficult to style and manage. Getting a brush through your locks may seem impossible without causing breakage.

When your hair is healthy, it should have some natural oils that help to protect and moisturize your strands. But when your hair is dry, these oils are stripped away. This can leave your hair feeling straw-like.

If you’re dealing with dry hair, it may be due to one or more of these factors:

  1. Excessive heat
  2. Too much shampooing
  3. Rough detangling is causing breakage
  4. You’re not deep conditioning
  5. Your diet lacks nutrition
  6. You dye your hair too often
  7. You spend too much time in the sun
  8. Lack of UV protection
  9. Chlorine damage from the pool
  10. Your purse strap is breaking your hair
  11. You’re dealing with a medical issue
  12. Cold weather is drying your hair out
  13. You have scalp buildup or dandruff
  14. You wash your hair with hard water
  15. You’re dealing with a high amount of stress
  16. You don’t drink enough water
  17. You’re not pre-shampooing

Keep reading to learn how to fix your straw-like hair and make it soft and full again.

17 Reasons Your Hair Feels Like Straw

We know — the list is long. However, you likely have one or more of these ailments. But don’t worry; we’ll show you how to fix each of them below!

1. You’re Applying Excessive Heat to Your Hair

This issue is a result of using styling tools that are too hot. This heat can damage the hair shaft and make it feel dry and straw-like.

Blow dryers, hair straighteners, and curling irons should be used in the lowest possible setting or not used too often. Always use a quality heat protectant product to shield your hair from the heat of styling tools. 

2. You’re Shampooing too Often

You’re shampooing too often or using a shampoo containing sulfates. Sulfates can strip the natural oils from your hair, leaving it feeling dry and brittle. Try shampooing every other day or switching to a sulfate-free shampoo.

Read Next: Take Our “How Often Should I Wash My Hair” Quiz!

3. Detangling Is Causing Breakage

You’re being too rough while detangling your hair. When your hair breaks, it can become dry and straw-like. Be gentle when detangling your hair. Use a wide-tooth comb to deal with any knots. If your hair is particularly tangled, try using a detangling spray or conditioner.

4. You’re Not Using a Hair Mask

Use a hair mask a few times each month to help deep condition your hair and make it feel softer. A hair mask is a product you leave in your hair for a while, typically 15-20 minutes, before rinsing out.

5. You’re Not Eating a Healthy Diet

Your diet does not support healthy hair growth. If you’re not getting enough nutrients, it can show in the condition of your hair. Zinc, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin A are all critical for healthy hair.

6. You Dye Your Hair Too Often

You have been dyeing your hair too often or using harsh chemicals that damage the hair. This damage can make the hair feel straw-like.

7. You Spend a Lot of Time in the Sun

If you’re always sitting out in the sun, your hair can become dried out and straw-like.

8. You Don’t Use UV Protection

Use a UV protectant spray to help shield your hair from the sun’s rays.

9. You’re in the Pool too Much

When you spend a ton of time in the pool, chlorine can damage your hair and make it feel dry and straw-like. Rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water immediately after swimming to remove any chlorine that may be left behind.

Read Next: Is Chlorine Bad for Your Hair?

10. Your Purse Strap Is Breaking Your Hair

Your purse strap might be damaging your hair. If you often wear your purse on one shoulder, the strap can rub against your hair and break it or cause it to become dry and frizzy. Try wearing your purse on the other shoulder or using a different type of bag altogether.

11. You Might Have a Medical Issue

If your hair feels like straw, you could be dealing with a medical issue like hypothyroidism or an eating disorder. Hypothyroidism is caused by your thyroid gland not producing enough hormones, leading to dry skin and hair.

An eating disorder can also cause your hair to become dry and straw-like. Other Conditions that cause dry hair include psoriasis and eczema.

12. Cold Weather Is Drying Your Hair Out

If you reside in a cold weather area, you might notice that your hair feels drier and more brittle during the winter months. This is because the cold, dry air outside can strip away the natural oils that help to keep your hair healthy and hydrated.

Indoor heating can also worsen the problem by sapping moisture from the air, leaving your hair feeling parched. You might want to purchase a humidifier for your home to help add moisture back into the air. 

13. You Have Scalp Buildup or Dandruff

If there is buildup on your scalp, it can make your hair feel dry and straw-like. Use a clarifying shampoo or scalp scrub weekly to remove any buildup. If you have dandruff, it can make your hair feel dry and straw-like.

Use a dandruff shampoo to treat dandruff and improve the condition of your hair. A fungus causes dandruff, so you may need an antifungal shampoo to get rid of it.

Read Next: How to Get Rid of Dandruff Without Shampoo

14. You Wash Your Hair With Hard Water

Hard water can make your hair seem brittle and straw-like because it strips away natural oils. Use a water softener to filter out hard minerals or bottled water for your hair. Use a water softener to remove the minerals from your water, or use bottled water for your hair.

Read Next: How to Boil Hard Water to Wash Your Hair

15. You Don’t Drink Enough Water

If you’re not consuming enough water, it can make your hair feel dry and straw-like. Drink five glasses of water each day to stay hydrated and help improve the condition of your hair.

16. You’re Stressed Out

If you’re under a lot of stress, it can make your hair feel dry and straw-like. Try to reduce stress by sleeping, exercising, and taking breaks when you need them.

You could also experiment with relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. Stress is especially harmful to hair because it can trigger telogen effluvium, which causes hair loss.

17. You’re Not Pre-Shampooing

Pre-shampooing can help your hair feel less dry and straw-like. Pre-shampooing is when you wet your hair and apply oil before shampooing. This helps to hydrate your hair and protect it from the drying effects of shampoo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman wondering why her hair feels like straw while holding both her hair and a bundle of straw in a brown room

Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Below are some common questions about straw-like hair. 

What Vitamin Is Best for Dry Hair?

Biotin (vitamin B7) promotes the development of hair follicles. Biotin is often found in hair growth supplements.

Does Low Estrogen Cause Dry Hair?

Dry hair can be caused by low estrogen levels. This condition results in less oil being produced to lubricate your scalp.

What Food Helps Correct Dry, Brittle Hair?

Usually, a balanced diet will bring some life back to your hair. Eat eggs, nuts, leafy greens, soy, whole grain bread, and liver.

Is Fruit Good for Hair Health?

Fruit is healthy for your hair. Choose fruit high in antioxidants like apricots, cherries, and blueberries.

Does Vitamin Deficiency Damage Hair?

Vitamin D deficiency can cause problems up to and including hair loss. This vitamin stimulates new hair follicles, so ensure you’re getting sun.

So, Why Would Your Hair Feel Like Straw? 

Straw-like hair is dry, brittle hair that lacks moisture. This is caused by many factors, including weather, stress, scalp buildup, and dandruff. Be sure to drink plenty of water and use a humidifier in your home to help combat dryness.

If your hair is still straw-like, try using a clarifying shampoo or scalp scrub to remove buildup, and use a dandruff shampoo to treat dandruff. Trust us — your hair (and your confidence) will thank you!