Why is my hair crunchy?

Have you ever tried running your fingers through your hair after washing it and wondered why it feels dry?

Then you remember the same thing happens whenever you dye or heat style it.

Is there something in chemical treatments or curling irons that make your hair feel like straw?

You try to do your best to keep your hair healthy, but no matter what you do, it always feels the same.

Have you asked yourself, why does my hair feel crunchy? 

This article will debunk how your daily hair care routine can actually cause it to feel dry. If you want to get rid of the crunchy texture, read on.


Why does my hair get crunchy after I wash it?

Why does my hair get crunchy after I wash it

Have you ever noticed how your hair feels dry after rinsing your shampoo, even though the label says it’s a shampoo and conditioner combo?

No matter what brand you pick up, your hair still feels the same whenever you wash it.

So why is my hair crispy after washing?

One of the common reasons why your hair feels dry is you might be using a shampoo that’s too harsh. It might contain strong chemicals like alcohol, sulfates, or parabens that strip out moisture from your strands.

Frequent washing can also make your hair feel crunchy as it washes away your scalp’s natural oils, which helps make your hair feel soft.

Showering with hard water can also be another reason, as it contains minerals that eventually coat the exterior of your hair. If not removed, it will make it difficult for your strands to absorb moisture, resulting in dehydrated hair.


Why is my hair crunchy when it dries?

If your hair feels like straw once it dries up, you might be washing it with hot water.

When washing your hair, it’s ideal to use warm water at the beginning as it opens up your hair cuticles so your strands can get a deep clean. But if you don’t close your cuticles before hopping out of the shower, your hair will have difficulty sealing in moisture, making your hair frizzy and dry.

Using a blow dryer on soaking wet strands can also be the reason why your hair feels crunchy. 

Frequent use will cause damage to your hair cuticles as prolonged heat creates tiny bubbles inside your hair shaft, causing your strands to turn dry and brittle.

So on days you don’t need to go out, it’s best to give your strands a break from the heat. 


Why is my hair crunchy when I curl it?

Why is my hair crunchy when I curl it

Aside from your hair dryer, another heat styling culprit for dry hair is your curling iron.

By now, you’ve probably heard a dozen warnings about using heat to style your hair regularly. But if it’s starting to feel crunchy, then it might be a sign to ease up on it.

Exposing your hair to heat frequently can alter the molecular shape of your hair’s keratin, making it weaker in the long run.

The high heat from your curling iron can also evaporate the moisture in your hair; that’s why it’s dull and crunchy after. If you’re not careful, it can also damage your cuticles and make them highly porous.


Why is my hair crunchy after bleaching?

Whether it’s your first or hundredth time lightening your hair, bleach can do irreversible damage as it permanently alters your hair’s structure.

Every time you bleach your hair, the peroxide opens up your hair cuticles to allow the bleach to absorb into your hair cortex. Once inside, it removes melanin pigments so your hair can turn lighter.

But constant bleaching can strip off too much of your hair’s melanin down to your cortex. That’s why split ends start to appear. It can also open your cuticles, making it harder to trap moisture inside your strands. 

Your hair then loses its elasticity, resulting in dull and dry strands. 


Why is my hair crunchy after dyeing it?

No matter how subtle or dramatic a change you want, dyeing your hair several times a year can take a toll on it.

Permanent hair color is the most damaging type of dye as it alters your hair structure to deposit color.

Like bleach, the developer opens up your hair cuticles to allow the pigments to get into your hair cortex. So if you like to do constant color touch-ups, opening and closing your hair cuticles several times a month will eventually damage it.

It diminishes the bonds that trap moisture and color inside your hair shaft, making your cuticles lift permanently.


Why is my hair crunchy after swimming?

Dipping in chlorinated water can make your hair dry, whether you’re a casual or a professional swimmer.

Since your hair is naturally acidic, the alkaline pH of swimming pools will react with your hair cuticles by lifting them up.

This will allow your hair to absorb the pool’s chemicals, making it more vulnerable to damage.

The same goes for beaches; since the ocean contains high amounts of salt, it will also open up your cuticles.

So the longer you stay in the water, the crunchier your hair will become.


Why is my natural hair so crunchy?

It’s a known fact that curly hair is more prone to drying out than any other hair texture. So it’s important not to skip out on conditioner on wash days to avoid crunchy hair.

For very dry hair, you can also use a hair mask or deep conditioner 1-2 times a week to add an extra boost of moisture to your strands.

Make sure to apply products on soaking wet hair to ensure your hair stays shiny and frizz-free once it dries up.

If you use gel to style your hair, don’t forget to break the cast to soften up your curls. Start by applying a thin layer of leave-in conditioner to your hands and gently scrunch your hair until the crunchy texture disappears.


Why is my hair crunchy at the ends?

Why is my hair crunchy at the ends

If you don’t like to cut your hair, then chances are your ends might not be in their healthiest state, especially if you often use heat styling tools and apply chemical treatments to your hair.

Since your ends don’t usually benefit from hair’s natural oils, they tend to be the dryest parts of your hair. Plus, the added damage from the heat and harsh chemicals you expose your hair to, then you’ll likely have crunchy strands.

So it’s recommended to get your hair trimmed every 3 months to chop off damaged ends to keep your hair healthy.


How do you get rid of crunchy hair?

If you want to get rid of the crunchy texture of your hair, here are a few steps you can incorporate into your daily hair care routine:

  • Cut back to washing your hair 2-3 times a week to allow natural hair oils to accumulate to make your hair feel softer.
  • Switch to sulfate- and paraben-free hair products as these won’t strip off as much moisture from your hair as commercial products do.
  • If you have curly hair, you can opt to use Curly Girl Method-approved products to make sure they won’t damage your hair texture.
  • After washing your hair, apply a moisturizing conditioner and rinse it with cold water to close your hair cuticles so it won’t feel dry and frizzy later.
  • Give your hair a break from blow-drying by allowing it to air dry once in a while. But when you do need to use your hairdryer, make sure to remove as much water from your hair before exposing it to heat to prevent it from frying.
  • Avoid using heating tools to style your hair as much as possible. But if you need to, use a heat protectant spray to add a protective barrier against the heat.
  • Treat your hair to hydrating hair masks and conditioners in between bleaching and coloring sessions to keep your hair healthy and to prepare it for chemical treatments.
  • After swimming in the pool or beach, apply a moisturizing conditioner to your hair to replenish its moisture.
  • Don’t forget to get your hair trimmed every 3 months to get rid of brittle and split ends.

The bottom line

Styling your hair and changing your hair color once in a while can be a fun and exciting change. But frequent exposure to heat and chemicals can damage your hair, especially when it’s already on the drier side.

So if your hair feels crunchy, your strands might be thirsty and likely need moisture. So with a few tweaks to your hair care regimen, your strands can return to their shiny and bouncy state as long as you remember to ease up on harmful tools and treatments. 

Last Updated: June 29, 2022

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