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Why Is My Hair So Poofy? | 5 Common Reasons

Hair is categorized as poofy when some strands stray from the rest, creating a frizzly phenomenon on the head. Poofy hair majorly affects those on a natural hair journey and whose hair is thick and coarse or semi-coarse.

Why Is Your Hair So Poofy? 5 Reasons

Poofy hair is common, especially in humid weather or because of hair procedures that affect the scalp and hair strands. Below is a summary of the causes of poofy hair:

  • Dry hair
  • Heat Styling
  • Chemical hair processes
  • Humid weather
  • Excessively washing your hair

Sometimes, we think there is no way out but to keep up with poofy hair. The truth, however, is that there are numerous solutions to curb puffiness regardless of whether your hair is straight, curly, or kinky.

The key to preventing the ‘poofy hair phenomenon’ is sealing and smoothening your hair cuticles using products like styler gels, shampoo, and conditioner. Let’s have an in-depth look at the causes of poofy hair. 

1. Dry Hair

A wide range of reasons may result in dry hair. A poor diet that lacks enough zinc, iron, biotin, and vitamin D may give you dry, brittle hair. Hydrate your hair by consuming foods such as salmon, eggs, walnuts, cucumbers, and water-laden food to gloss up your hair.

Consuming a nutrient-dense diet is a great way to prevent hair puffiness. Swimming in salted or chlorinated water makes the hair dry as the hard water sucks off natural hair oils like sebum, thus leaving it weak.

If you love swimming in salty waters, use proper head swim gear such as swim caps to protect your hair from the salts. Dry hair makes your hair look poofy since split ends may develop, leading to a frizzy look, which is easily visible even after styling the hair.

2. Heat Styling

Blow-dryers and hair straightening irons are popular go-to tools for most people with natural hair. However, they can damage your hair cuticles, leading to split ends that weaken your hair.

Hair may therefore appear poofy after the straightening wears off. It is advisable to heat-style your hair only once in a while and not regularly. A heat detox journey can be an excellent solution for your hair for about 6 to 8 weeks, given heat styling has already caused significant damage.

Also, use natural oils and sprays that lessen heat damage on the hair before and after the styling process. These natural oils are made from almond oil, avocado oil, camellia oil, or coconut oil.

3. Chemical Hair Processes

At some point, we are attracted to glam hairstyles such as colored hair or an array of permed hairstyles that require chemical processes. The chemicals, such as paraphenylenediamine, oxidize the hair during the color-changing processes, making it weak and brittle.

They damage the inner structure and hair cuticles and alter the hair texture, thus leaving it poofy. High ammonia levels in hair dyes also make your hair feel rough and remove the natural shine, thus creating frizz and puffiness.

Hair cuticles that are chemically opened can never get back to their initial natural state. Thus, your hair will almost always look poofy if not adequately managed.

Read Next: How to Get Rid of Frizzy Hair

4. Humid Weather

Your hair may look poofy if it’s poorly moist in humid weather conditions. Humid weather conditions cause swelling of the hair cuticles, thus changing their shape to create poofiness.

If the weather is humid and windy, you got yourself the perfect recipe for a ‘poofy hair entanglement.’ The wind separates the hair strands, making them stand apart, thus creating a poofy look.

A hot day is no better as the hair will frizz up because of sweat, thus becoming poofy. Too much sun is not hair-friendly as it quickly destroys hair proteins and melanin.

Using hot water when washing your scalp has the same effects on your hair as humid weather. It weakens the hair follicles, thus causing puffiness and hair loss in extreme cases. Use lukewarm or mildly hot water to avoid puffiness.

5. Excessively Washing Your Hair

Excessive use of shampoos, especially those not compatible with your type of scalp and hair, may result in deprivation of the hair’s natural sebum, resulting in poofy hair. We recommend going about a week without shampoo on your hair, unless it’s oily.

Avoid using shampoos with too much sulfate and alcohol, as they leave your hair parched and extremely poofy. Usually, if you wash your hair often, the scalp starts ‘assuming’ that it has no more oil left.

It will thus produce more natural oils to curb the scalp’s dry state. This will then lead to a vicious cycle where you will always have a greasy scalp, leading to more washing using harmful shampoos, weakening the hair cuticles and strands.

Read Next: Why Does My Hair Stick Up? And How to Fix It

How to Prevent Your Hair From Getting Poofy

Below are actionable steps to maintain a tight neat hairstyle and prevent puffiness.

Use Low Heat on Heat Styling Tools

When using heat styling tools, ensure that you don’t expose your hair to heat for a long time and use low heat settings. You can also use heat protectants such as protective sprays to shield your hair from dryness that causes puffiness. 

Use protective sprays made from hydrolyzed proteins or poly quats. The products minimize water loss within the hair strands and mitigate the destruction of keratin, a hair protein.

Proper Hair Cleaning Methods

If your hair is prone to puffiness, use shampoo to clean your scalp and not the hair. Additionally, apply conditioner only on the edges of your hair, as this will prevent excessive greasiness on your hair. Less grease results in fewer hair washing days, thus preventing puffiness caused by dryness.

Use Homemade Shampoos and Conditioners

Natural shampoos lack harsh ingredients, thus preventing chemical reactions within the hair. You could make natural shampoos by mixing baking soda, water, and drops of essential oil such as lavender and almond oil.

You could also make a homemade conditioner by mixing half a cup of apple cider vinegar with olive oil and any essential oil to form a mild mixture. Other products you could add to shampoo for better-looking hair include eggs, aloe vera, and yogurt.

Use a Wooden Comb or Boar-bristle Brush

Anyone with thick, coarse hair knows that a wide-toothed comb saves a bad hair day. A wide wooden tooth comb is better since it prevents static currents from hitting the hair, preventing puffiness.

Metal and plastic combs create static currents in the hair, leading to a poofy look. Wide-toothed combs help in detangling even the evilest knots without causing breakages and damage.

It is best to start combing poof-prone hair from the ends towards the roots to prevent split ends and further breakage. A boar-bristle brush is best for hair damaged by dye or is naturally dry as it collects oils lying on the scalp and distributes them within your hair.

Use Hair Masks or Hot Oil Treatment

Hot oil treatments and hair masks strengthen weak hair. Natural oils such as jojoba oil maintain the cuticles, especially if you massage the hot oil within the hair and scalp. 

Afterward, put on a shower cap and let the oil sip into the scalp and hair for 30 minutes or so. You could maximize the oil penetration by sitting in a hair dryer for a few minutes.

Air-Dry Your Hair

Leave your hair to naturally dry as using a cloth introduces friction which causes puffiness. Alternatively, use a cotton, silk, or microfiber towel to gently dry the hair as this reduces friction.

It’s recommendable to let your hair dry on its own. You can use the towel to drain the excess water and leave the rest to dry on its own without having to use a dryer or any other heating tool.

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman holding her hair wondering why her hair is poofy


Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding poofy hair.

Does glycerin help in battling puffiness?

Glycerin prevents puffiness by naturally absorbing moisture from the environment, thus maintaining hair hydration. Use it as a leave-in conditioner for all hair types.

What is a good styling product for fine tresses and curls?

Use a lightweight hairspray for fine tresses and a texturizing cream for curly hair.

What are the best steps to take when styling poofy hair?

Ensure to style your hair when it is wet. One basic hair rule states that if it’s poofy when wet, it will be poofier when dry. Comb through a leave-in conditioner, then apply a cream or gel to moisturize, enhance curl and ensure the style lasts for days.

What pillowcase material is preferable for people with poof-prone hair?

Silk pillowcases are highly preferred as they prevent crease and frizz.

Does rice water prevent hair puffiness?

Rice water helps in balancing the pH of your hair. However, it could damage the hair if used excessively as it is slightly acidic. Too much rice water treatment could prevent hair strands from receiving enough moisture.

So, What Steps Should You Take to Prevent Hair Puffiness?

Ideally, there are many ways to prevent hair from being poofy. If one method does not produce satisfactory results, try the next until you achieve your desired outcome.

However, it’s important to know that some people have hair that is more prone to puffiness than others. Therefore, knowing whether your hair easily becomes poofy is the first step to preventing hair frizz.