Why Is My Hair Wavy When Wet While It Dries Straight?

Why Is My Hair Wavy When Wet While It Dries Straight

Human hair is a complex compound that follows the natural re-shaping growth and shedding cycle. In general, hair is curly when wet and straight when dry. Underlying the misperceptions about wavy hair is that re-shaping of hair occurs with each growth cycle.

It is highly influenced by atmospheric conditions such as humidity and temperature. Researchers have found many different causes for how hair coils as it dries, but what is the reason for this curl pattern? And can you alter it?

This article will answer those questions and much more, giving you an in-depth look into the science behind this natural phenomenon. It will also give important tips about styling your hair after wetting or showering. Read on to find out more!

Why Does Wavy Hair Dry Straight?

The most common misconception surrounding wavy hair is that the curl pattern occurs naturally. Hair does not naturally remain straight after drying because it is constantly being shaped as it grows and uses the natural oil in our scalp for lubrication. There are a few reasons why your wavy hair dries straight. Here are some reasons:

1. Brushing could ruin your waves

Everyday activities constantly shape our hair as we go about our daily lives. For example, brushing our hair is a way to tousle and shape our hair actively. Brushing, combing, and other similar styling products can be a double-edged sword where they can deposit rich and healthy oils to keep your hair healthy while also overtaxing your hair by breaking strands and causing tangles. It results in a loss of the overall curl pattern in your locks.

2. Your morning routine may change how you style your hair

The first things that many people do when they wake up brush their teeth or do some other small task that requires them to touch their hair with their hands or arms. It is one of the main reasons hair tends to suffer from breakage because we are constantly changing the overall look and feel of our hair by resting our elbows on it while we sleep at night. This constant motion wears down the individual strands and can result in an overall change in your hair looks.

3. You have too many products

Along with using too much product on our hair, we can also use products that are too strong for our delicate locks. Over-processing hair can lead to a loss of volume and overall health, changing the way your curls look. The more processed your hair is, the less “curl” it has, thus making it appear straighter.

One example of this would be a quick fix such as a perm. Hair that has been permed is less naturally curly because it’s chemically altered to make the natural curl tighter and slightly larger than before to get it to curl or bend in certain ways.

4. Water weight can destroy your waves

Water can be a major problem for your hair as it overtaxes the scalp’s natural oils and often results in frizziness and unruly waves. Water is so light that it’s usually impossible to distribute it throughout your hair properly.

Water weight can take away from your texture by flattening out all of those individual strands that make up your curls. Water weighs almost nothing, but when it’s piled up on top of each other, it becomes heavy because of its inability to spread evenly across the hair shaft.

5. You could be touching your hair too much as it dries

Hair is extremely delicate as it dries and can easily be damaged by daily activities such as using hair accessories or brushing it too quickly. Nearly anything we touch, especially our hair, tends to get tangled.

Many people will often brush or comb their hair without even clipping it or styling it first because they don’t want to see any tangles. These actions will damage the individual strands of your hair, thus causing a change in the overall curl pattern.

How To Keep Your Waves As Your Hair Dries

You can take steps to ensure that it stays as close to the original shape as possible. Here is the best way to air-dry your hair if you have waves:

Step 1: Shampoo hair thoroughly

Shampooing your hair will help remove some of the buildups that occur during the day. After shampooing your hair, use your hands instead of a comb to gently remove tangles while avoiding stress on the individual strands.

Step 2: Scrunching your hair.

Scrunching will help to remove excess water from the strands of your hair and help you to avoid over-drying it. It is because scrunching helps smooth out the texture in your hair and adds an uneven amount of water to each strand.

For a more natural wave, it’s also recommended to use a heftier amount of water on your hair after shampooing. Mousse also helps to re-establish the curls in your hair by coating every strand, creating a more natural look.

Step 3: use a satin pillowcase or scarf at night to maintain curls.

It’s important to remember that our hair swells when it gets wet due to natural oils and other factors that rotate inside each strand of our hair. Many people forget this and use the same pillowcase they used in the morning when they sleep.

It can over-stress your hair, especially if it’s a synthetic one that doesn’t let your hair breathe as it’s being worn. Some people opt to wear satin pillowcases or scarves at night to help maintain their waves as much as possible.

Step 4: Apply hair spray to your hair to help guide it in a downward motion

Whether you are using your blow dryer, flat iron, or other styling tools, it is extremely important to ensure that the air blown across your hair is guided downwards. It will allow each strand of hair to be eased and exposed to the air while they dry quickly, allowing water and oils to be redistributed evenly throughout your strands.

Step 5: Use the product before drying your hair.

It helps maintain the waves in the curl pattern you have created. You must use styling products on your curls before dialing them in to allow for easier styling later. It could be anything from mousse to gel and is usually the best way to avoid tangles in your hair.

Step 6: Use a styling tool.

Use styling tools such as a flat iron or a curling iron on cool settings to reduce the amount of heat placed on your curls. It will ensure that you don’t cause any damage to your hair and allow you to monitor the temperature by using a temperature gauge.

Tips for Caring for Wavy Hair

It’s important to remember that the more you take care of your hair, the better it will look. The following are some tips to make wavy hair look just as great as possible.

1. Get a Shampoo for Curly Hair.

When washing your hair, try to avoid using shampoos made for straight hair. These shampoos often contain ingredients that can dry out the curly fibers of your hair and cause it to lose its curl pattern. One great example is the conditioning rinse or “suds” used between regular washes.

2. Avoid Heat-styling your curly hair

When styling your curls, try only to use products made for curlier tresses (hence using mousse). It is also important to remember that any heat-styling should be performed in small amounts. Spending too much time styling your hair with heat will damage your curls.

3. Use Curly Hair Products.

There are countless products for curly hair, including gel and mousse, which are great for styling curls into a particular shape and hold. Many people even opt for an alternative by purchasing fabrics such as satin scarves or pillowcases to help maintain the curls from the day before.

4. Condition often

If you wish to help maintain your curls, you should use a daily conditioner on your hair. It will allow for your hair to be smothered with moisture and oils, which will help prevent damage from occurring and keep it moist until washing it at night. Ensure that all the oils and moisture are redistributed evenly throughout your curls without being damaged from over-drying or heat styling.

5. Balance Between Moisture and Strength

As with every strand of hair, your curls will be more healthy if they have a blend between dryness and moisturizing. It is because of their natural ability to retain moisture. For instance, if your hair is at the level where it’s no longer soft but rather hard, it’s good to use styling products only at the level of a leave-in conditioner or styling cream.


It’s easy to see why wavy hair is so popular, especially with the amount of time and care it requires. With its unique texture that carries a certain movement and its rich color that shines in all light, it’s no wonder so many people are drawn to this style.

Wavy hair is well known as one of the most beautiful types of hair out there, especially with the perfect amount of body that comes with having wavy hair. The key is using proper products and following the steps above.

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