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Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Verna Meachum
You step out of the shower and do your complete curly hair routine. Your hair looks gorgeous, and you feel confident. A couple of hours later, you look in the mirror. Your hair is dry, but your curls have lost shape and volume. Does this sound familiar? Let’s find out why your curls fall after your hair dries.
Below are 8 reasons your curls fall when they dry and what to do about them.
Every person’s hair will require something different based on various factors like hair type, porosity level, damage, etc.
One of the primary techniques that can affect the final result of your curly hair is how wet it is when you style it. Some hair requires wet styling, while others require only some dampness. Using the incorrect wetness can cause your hair to fall and become stringy and frizzy once it is dry.
Before taking any steps with your hair, always ensure you figure out your hair type first. If your hair is type 2, wet hair is best, while type 3 and 4 is best styled damp.
This is because types 3 and 4 are coarser and require more moisture and nourishment from products. Very wet hair can lead to over-diluted products, which results in loss of product when the hair dries.
Understanding your hair’s porosity levels is also crucial to getting perfect curls. Lower porous hair types like type 2 are highly absorbing. Wet styling is helpful because the products get sealed into the cuticles quickly.
Higher porosity hair is coarser and drier. They have difficulty absorbing moisture. Damp styling is best to avoid diluting the products too much. This helps prevent curls from falling, as not much product is left in the hair.
Hair damage from chemical treatments, excessive coloring, or other factors that cause dry and coarse hair can also be the reason your curls keep falling when your hair dries. This is because damage affects the porosity grade of your hair.
When your hair is excessively damaged, it is less likely to absorb products properly, not allowing the styling creams and gels to work into the cuticles to keep your hair in place and hold those locks for long periods.
Deep conditioning masks and protein treatments can help to repair damage and restore health to your strands.
One of the reasons curls tend to fall is because the hair is weighed down. This happens when you use formulas that are too heavy for your hair, or you apply more product than necessary, which weighs down your strands. As your hair dries and the product remains, the weight will pull down your curls.
If your hair is thick, dehydrated, or extremely long, you may require more product but try to find lighter formulas. Always check the labels and ingredients. If you have shorter hair or a fine texture, sticking to lightweight products will prevent your curls from falling as they dry.
Curls often fall when the correct hold product is not used. This is especially apparent in type 2 and 3 hair. These curls are softer, with larger diameters, and can quickly lose form and shape, especially if weighed down. Gels, mousses, and sprays are often used to keep them in place.
These products are only effective on some hair. Sometimes, you need a specific formula to work for your particular hair. Gels are typically the best option if your curls tend to fall. But you want to use the correct cast to keep your hair in place.
Humidity is a challenge for curly hair. It counteracts everything you do to your hair and creates frizz and stringiness in addition to falling curls. You can learn more about how humidity affects your curls here.
Solving the humidity issue is challenging, especially in high-humidity climates. But you can invest in a good anti-humidity spray. This will prevent moisture loss and excess absorption. It will help seal your cuticles, allowing your curls to hold shape and last longer, even once dry.
Some curlies only require a little effort for their hair to look and remain perfect for days after washing and styling. Others, like me, need a little extra work. Curls falling when dry is often the result of not using an effective technique when styling wet hair.
Brush curling and finger twirling are examples of effective techniques. Not all hair will require this, especially hair like type 4, which can get more damaged with tugging. But other types can benefit from this by gently working through small sections.
It creates a more defined shape when using these methods with wet hair and products. This allows the product to seal into your cuticles in that pattern and stay long after your hair has dried.
Water evaporates from your hair as your hair dries. As the water leaves your hair, so does much of the product you have applied. Additionally, curly hair is often curlier when wet because it is in its natural state. As your hair dries, the texture and pattern of your hair can change.
This sometimes results in falling curls. Hair has hydrogen bonds that temporarily break when it is wet. And if not dried, they only sometimes seal properly. But heat sets them in place. This is why it is suggested to diffuse your curls after you have styled them.
If you don’t have time for diffusing or genuinely dislike using heat, try micro-plopping. This is a method of using a microfiber towel to squish and scrunch excess water from your hair as one of the final steps in styling. A cotton t-shirt also works great for this technique.
Because the curly haircare and styling routine is pretty extensive, most curlies tend to wash and curl their hair at night before bed. It sets you up for the next wash day and saves time in the morning. But what often happens is you wake up in the morning, and your curls are gone.
This is due to a lack of protection overnight. Traditional polyester pillowcases and not using the correct accessories can severely damage the hair, dry out strands, and mess up the shape and pattern of your curls, leaving them weighed down, lifeless, stringy, and frizzy.
You want to invest in silk/satin pillowcases, satin scrunchies, and silk or satin bonnets. You can also use protective hairstyles like The Pineapple if it works for you. This way, when you wake up in the morning, your curls will still be in place, and all you need is a little bit of refreshing.
Related Article: How To Fix Limp Curls (The Science Behind It).
It can be frustrating when your curls keep falling after your hair dries. But after understanding what causes that and how to fix it from the points above, you can enjoy perfectly styled locks that hold shape and last long.
I had to listen to what my hair needed...my curls are finally ready to take in some moisture again!!!
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“I was so excited to embrace my curls and take better care of them. As I started to dive in, I immediately became overwhelmed with the information.”
I read books and tried doing things because "that's what I'm supposed to do," but it didn't always work and I didn't understand why. I'm so grateful for Verna and her blog. Her info. actually helped me understand more of the science of why some methods helped and what products or ingredients to use and why. Anyone that compliments my hair and wants to start a curly journey, I tell them to start here. My hair is so much healthier and I'm so happy with it.
- stephanie, Curly hair enthusiast
One day you will wake up and there won't be any more time to do the things you've always wanted.
Do it now.
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