Why is my hair curly underneath but straight on top

We often think that hair can only be straight, wavy, or curly. Although some curly hair is curlier and some wavy hair is wavier, the overall look is still unmistakably one or the other.  

However, our tresses cannot be neatly grouped under these categories since hair doesn't behave the same way for everyone. Why does hair look the way it does?

Our genes carry the blueprint for our hair. 

Since we get a mix of our parents’ genes, we also share their hair characteristics. 

Still, our DNA contains instructions on how our bodies form from a single cell. These instructions include what our hair should look like, including hair texture and color.

If your genes say you should have round hair follicles, your hair would be straight. Got curly hair? You probably have oval hair follicles in your genes. But if your hair follicles are in between the two, you'll get wavy hair.

And if you prefer a new look, you have to toss and tug your hair with heat and strong chemicals. 

Most would have this styling done professionally to get good results. So having both straight and curly hair without doing anything is understandably confusing.

However, our bodies are not well-oiled machines. 

In other words, our bodily processes do not have factory-like accuracy. 

And as we grow older, our bodies also tend to stray from the manual they came with. Your natural hair now may look different from your baby pictures.

While having curly and straight hair mixed in a single scalp presents as an oddity, this might be more common than we realized.


I have straight hair, but some strands are curly

I have straight hair, but some strands are curly

Is having a mix of straight and curly strands bad news? Fortunately, that doesn’t always mean that your hair is in bad shape.

It may come as a surprise, but you’re likely to have more than one type of hair pattern. We don't have eyes on the back of our heads, so we wouldn't have noticed this early on.

This is not to say that you have tight ringlets hiding underneath all that straight-as-a-ruler hair. 

This means that hair strands, even your own, are not created equal. And having a combination of hair types can also look different for different people. 

Some may have wavy hair underneath some gorgeous curls. The hair underneath isn’t really straight; they just appear so compared to the hair on top. 

It can also be an opposite situation for others, the curly side hidden underneath flatter hair strands.

And instead of both hair types, other people can have wavy hair that is 2A on top and 2C underneath. You may wonder, “why is the underside of my hair curlier?”

Why is my hair curlier underneath?

While having curlier hair underneath can happen naturally, the things you do or don’t do to your hair can also cause this. 

Especially for people with thicker hair, you may be limiting action to only the surface hair strands.

Let’s say you’re using hair serums, oils, or creams to make your hair look healthier. 

If you’re only dabbing the product on your hair, the hair underneath is not getting any love. And this shows in the different textures of your hair.

And if you are working on damaged hair, see to it that you apply your hair repair treatments evenly throughout your hair. 

Otherwise, your hair underneath would be worse than the hair on top. 

Why is my hair curly underneath and frizzy on top?

Frizz doesn't like hydrated hair. That is why you should use conditioners to keep moisture inside your hair strands. 

A lot of people fear that using conditioner near their scalp would lead to gunk build-up. So they apply the product only towards the tips. 

This seems like sound advice because product build-up would only attract more problems.

Nevertheless, leaving almost the entire length of your hair shaft unprotected is an open invitation to frizz. It’s like locking the door of the house but leaving a large gaping hole on the wall. 

This creates those frizzy sections of hair near the top while the tips look hydrated. Luckily, you can treat this kind of bad hair day with proper conditioning. 


I used to have a different hair type

I used to have a different hair type

While we take after our parents’ looks, our habits, choices, and lifestyles can set us apart over time. 

Things like the products we are using, how we treat our hair, and even our environment can change our hair over time.

You may remember having curls as a kid. Or maybe you loved brushing your straight hair. 

However, your hair just seems to have changed its mind. Can you really blame your genes for this switch?

It turns out that genes aren’t the only actors for your overall look. 

Guesses point to hormones as the likely culprit. The Internet seems to love blaming everything about our body on our hormones. However, these chemicals do have a strong influence on our bodies. 

Hormones are one of the two ways your bodily systems talk to each other. The information they relay from one body part to another affects things like our mood, metabolism, and development. 

Essentially, our body responds to hormones. We need not look farther than how our bodies change during puberty as an example of this relationship.

The hair can change from straight to curly or curly to straight

There is still no exact and direct answer to why this happens. Even our scientists are still baffled by the nitty-gritty of how hormones can cause such a significant change in our hair. They just know that it can happen.

We know that the shape of our hair follicles causes our hair to assume a particular pattern. 

This is simply due to how the hair grows out of each follicle. So it’s likely that if something affects the shape of our follicles, our hair would also look different.


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

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

Feeling good with how we look gives us a confidence boost. 

Some days, this mental pick-me-up is all we need to get through a long day. So feeling bothered by the fit of your clothes or the state of your hair is a valid concern.

If having a mix of straight and curly hair feels like you gave up halfway through getting ready, you can spice up your routine with hairspray

Make your waves or curls even with a curling wand. 

With a drizzle of hairspray, your style is intact throughout the day. You also get many things ticked off your to-do list if you don’t have to worry about how your hair looks every minute.

Since you won’t need to keep your hair fixed in elaborate positions, you will be fine with light hold hairsprays. This makes your style look natural, too.

If you don’t want to depend on hairsprays forever, you might want to observe your routine during and post-shower. What conditioner or hair moisturizer are you using? 

When you have somewhere to be, try using conditioners that aren’t too rich and thick. They can make the top part of your hair appear flat

Instead, get one that moisturizes without weighing your hair down. Reserve those deep conditioners for when you’ll just be staying at home. 

You won’t get much success in picking on your routines if the problem is actually your hair itself. 

If you already have long hair, its weight pulls on the top section. This makes the top appear straight. Snipping away an appreciable length can take away much of that weight. 

Finally, there is always the perm option if you want to do away with trial and error. While drastic, perm will give your desired beautiful top to bottom curls.

CHECK OUT: Is my straight hair actually wavy


Final Thoughts

It’s normal for hair not to naturally fall into one category only. 

You may even know several people who have a mixture of curly and straight hair. 

Whether we embrace or change our hair, the important thing is that we don’t do it to follow someone else’s idea of what looks good. After all, beautiful hair follows no format.

Last Updated: March 23, 2022

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