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Why Is My Hair Curly Underneath But Straight on Top?

Why is my hair curly underneath but straight on top? Many people may wonder why they have a mixture of hair textures. The answers range from genetics to how you treat your hair.

Why Is My Hair Curly Underneath But Straight on Top?

Your hair may be curly underneath while straight on top due to genetics, hair damage, and the length of the different layers. Many people have a straight or slightly wavy layer of hair on top of their curls.

It’s frustrating to deal with because the two different hair textures and curls need extra care. Also, it’s hard to do unique styles for straight or curly hair when you have both textures on your head.

Even if you already know why you have a mixture of curly and straight hair, you will want to know how to encourage the top layer to curl.

Reasons Why Your Hair Is Straight on Top

While damage often causes your hair to be straight on top and curly underneath, there could be other issues at work. Here are several reasons why your hair may be curly underneath but straight on top:

  • Genetics: You may inherit a mixture of curly and straight hair from your parents. This problem is quite common.
  • Length: When the top layer of hair is longer than the lower layers, it may straighten the hair.
  • Weight: Heavy or coarse hair tends to straighten out on top due to the weight of the hair pulling on the curls.
  • Styling: Heat styling is a significant culprit for damaging curly hair. The top layer may become damaged from too much heat styling and lose its curl.
  • Product Use: Heavy products like styling gel and mousse can drag hair down. Extra weight tends to straighten hair.
  • Color: Bleach and dye both damage hair. If you have damaged hair, it may not curl as it should.
  • Weather: Hot, dry weather straightens hair. The top layer will see more effects from the heat and UV rays of the sun.

This article will explain how to encourage the top layer of your hair to keep its natural curl. It also includes a rundown of what products and procedures you should avoid.

How to Encourage a Curly Top Layer of Hair

Here are some helpful styling tips that can keep your top layer of hair from going flat.

Take a Break From Damaging Treatments

The most important thing to do if you want your top layer of hair to stay curly is to stop damaging it. Give your hair a break from the following treatments. They can all cause straightening:

  • Bleaching: Bleaching too often makes hair brittle and dry, discouraging curls.
  • Dyeing: Repeated dyeing can dry the hair and prevent curls from forming.
  • Blow-Drying: Let your hair air-dry whenever you can. If you have to blow-dry it, use a diffuser attachment.
  • Heat Styling: Don’t use curling irons or other heated appliances daily. Instead, use gentler rollers to curl your top layer.

Deep Condition

Many people don’t use a deep conditioner on their roots. The deep conditioner has a reputation for weighing down curls. The truth is that deep conditioning the roots may help to hydrate the top layer of hair.

As mentioned above, dry or damaged hair is less likely to curl. A deep conditioning treatment can repair damage when used once or twice weekly. Keep the conditioner on for about 15 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.

Use a Pick Instead of a Brush

Instead of brushing your curly hair, switch to a pick. A pick is an excellent choice for lifting the roots and encouraging curls. You can achieve better volume with a pick than with a brush.

As a bonus, the pick tends to be less likely to stretch out and straighten your curls. Comb your hair with the pick from the roots upward. Do this when your hair is wet for the best results.

Use a Diffuser on Your Blow Dryer

Use the included diffuser on your blow dryer to keep from “blowing out” your curls. You can also buy a diffuser separately. A diffuser will spread out the intense heat from the blow dryer. Better yet, allow your curls to dry naturally.

Cut the Straight Layer Shorter

If you keep the top layer shorter than the lower layers, you’ll see more curls on top. This technique works because the weight of longer hair pulls curls out straight.

Use the Right Products

Be sure that you choose hair products made for curly hair. If you use products made for straight hair, they will flatten out your top layer. Stay away from products that create a flat and glossy shine.

Products That Encourage a Curly Top Layer

The tips above are great for encouraging your hair to curl on top. Here are some products to make your hair more likely to curl.

Root Lifter

Use a root lifter to strengthen the roots and encourage volume. This type of product works best if your hair is fine and curly. Root lifters contain conditioners and substances that help hair to stand upright. Some root lifters contain polymers, while others use cornstarch.

Curl Stimulators

Curl stimulators and enhancers condition the hair with lightweight ingredients like aloe vera. Curl enhancers encourage curl definition when they dry. They often come in gel form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman with curly hair underneath but straight on top smiling

Yuliya Yafimik/Shutterstock

Here are five frequently asked questions about hair that is curly on the bottom and straight on top.

Why is my hair curly on the bottom and straight on top?

This problem can happen due to genetics, hair damage, or improper product use. If your hair is genetically straight on top, you will have difficulty getting it to curl.

What are the genetics of curly hair?

Curly hair is a dominant gene. If a parent with straight hair and a parent with curly hair have children, it is more likely that the children will have curly hair. Yet, different parts of your hair could have different textures.

Why is only the underside of my hair curly?

One of the main problems that cause this textural contrast is hair damage. Heat, heavy products, dyeing, and bleaching all cause damage. If you stop doing things that damage your hair and focus on repair, your hair may curl more.

How can I get the top of my hair to curl like the bottom?

You can encourage your top layer of hair to curl by cutting it slightly shorter than the underside. You can use a pick instead of a brush. Finally, you can try specialized products like root lifters and curl definers.

Why are my curls flat on top?

You have likely damaged your hair. Give it a break from heat styling, dyeing, and hard brushing. Use a deep conditioner and apply it to the roots as well.

So, Why Is My Hair Curly Underneath But Straight on Top?

Hair damage and genetics are the most likely causes of hair that is curly underneath but straight on top. Having a mixture of hair textures is common. You can help your hair to curl on top by using a pick instead of a brush, stopping damaging treatments, and blow-drying with a diffuser. Happy styling!