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Why Is The Top Of My Hair Not Curly?

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Table of Contents

Image of the back of a curly haired woman with the roots area not curly while the rest of her hair is curly on gray and yellowing background pattern.

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Do you ever find your curly hair flat or straight on the top? If you have tried to apply every product under the sun to change it, but it still falls flat, you may wonder if it’s an issue with your hair or routine. Here, you can find several reasons why the top of your hair is not curly. 

The top of your hair may not be curly for various reasons such as genetics, hair type, product build-up, long and heavy hair, multiple layers, heavy or incorrect products, overwashing, heat damage, chemical damage, and prolonged use of accessories.  

While several reasons cause a lack of curls or reduced curl definition at the top of your hair, there are solutions to improve the curl pattern and fix temporary concerns. This post discusses all those reasons and solutions to help your hair look its best daily. 

9 Reasons the Top of Your Hair is Not Curly 

Image of a curly girl with her hair not curly at the roots for 'Why Is The Top Of My Hair Not Curly?' blog.

Check out these nine reasons your hair may be struggling to stay curly at the top and some suggestions to improve and overcome them:  

1.    Genetics and Hair Type 

You might think that your hair is damaged or wonder if you are doing something wrong, and that’s why your hair is not curling properly at the top, but the rest of your hair is. One of the primary reasons for this – and what many people are unaware of – is genetics and hair type. 

Hair types are typically a result of genetics, and understanding your hair type, its texture, how to identify it, and what your specific curl pattern is can help you figure out if your hair naturally has different curl patterns. You can learn more about the different hair types in detail here

Once you figure out your curl type and if it falls into a multiple-curl pattern texture, it will make sense that the top of your hair is less curly or straight than the rest of your strands. It is pretty common with wavy subtypes like 2C and early curl categories like 3A

It also helps to know your hair type and its needs. That way, you can follow the appropriate hair care routines and use the products to help your curls look and feel best in their natural form. And you can always use tips and techniques to add volume to your curly roots so it doesn’t look flat and lifeless. 

2.    You Have Layers 

Layers are fun and look gorgeous! But layers are often not a curlies best friend. This is because the texture tends to change when your hair is in different lengths. Most curlies, especially those with type 2-3 curls, will find that the shorter layers at the top of the head will be less curly. 

This is because those curl types tend to have hair that only curls from the middle to the lower part of the head. So, if there are shorter strands, they will appear straighter until they grow out. Keeping straight cuts or long layers is best if you fall under this category. 

3.    Long and Heavy Hair 

Another common reason the top of your hair lacks curls is likely because your hair is either very long, particularly heavy – from length or thickness, or both. This pulls weight towards the end of your hair, uncurling the top of your strands. The top may still have curls or waves, but less. 

If you have long and thick hair but don’t want to make it short, approach your professional hairdresser for advice on hair cuts, long layers, or thinning. You could also use styling products to try and hold your curls in place and include techniques that will add volume to your roots. 

4.    There is Build-Up 

A build-up in the scalp is often an overlooked issue concerning the lack or loss of curls. Many people are so focused on adding more products to fix the problem and don’t realize that it only makes things worse. 

Build-up can happen from excess or overuse of products, environmental dirt and grime, chlorine, salt (sea) water, and sebum (natural hair oils). This weighs down on the hair, causes damage, and reduces curls. The solution is using a clarifying or chelating shampoo to remove the residue.  

5.    Heavy or Incorrect Products 

It seems like a good idea to purchase every recommended product you see on social media, but many don’t realize that some are too heavy for your curl type. Products that are incorrect for your texture will weigh your hair down, cause build-up, and mess with your curl pattern. 

This often results in loss of curls or an inability for your hair to curl at the top because that is where most of the product accumulates. As with product build-up, a clarifying shampoo can reset your scalp and hair. Try to find lightweight curly hair products that suit your hair type. 

6.    Over-Cleansing 

Curlies sometimes have the impression that curly hair must be washed pretty often because of the plethora of products being applied to the hair. And while product build-up does occur, your hair does not need cleaning every day or even every two days. 

Overwashing, especially shampoos with sulfates or harsh chemicals, can dry and damage your hair, especially at the scalp, resulting in a lack of curls due to changes in texture, dehydration, frizz, etc. Your curly hair needs sufficient moisture to fall in its natural pattern and stay that way. 

You can shampoo 1-2 times weekly and use dry shampoo between wash days if needed. And don’t over-clarify, either. You want to use a clarifying or chelating shampoo once a month or every two months so you aren’t exposed to many factors that cause residue. 

7.    Heat Damage 

When you use heating tools, the top of the hair takes a lot of the heat. It is often because that’s the most challenging part to work with. This means that the top of your hair will suffer the most heat damage. This also factors in sun damage. Your scalp takes the hit, hurting the top layers the most. 

You want to try reducing the use of heat styling tools or not using them at all. This will help reduce and prevent further damage, causing the top of your hair to lack curl definition. As you nurse your hair back to health, your curls will most likely reappear or become more defined. 

8.    Chemical Damage 

Chemical damage is a major part of curl damage, especially at the top of the hair. The chemicals are absorbed into the follicles and roots. Most of the product is often applied to the top of the hair. This can cause damage and dryness, which naturally messes with curl patterns

When this happens, you will notice your hair has more frizz and your curls lack definition, no matter what you do or how much curl cream you apply. If you had any chemical or color treatments, such as bleach done and noticed the top of your hair is not curly, that is likely the reason. 

You can do deep conditioning treatments like protein treatments to nurse your hair back to health. You may also want to avoid further chemical treatments and use sulfate-free products. You can also visit a trichologist or hair professional for more advice and assistance on moving forward. 

9.    Prolonged Use of Accessories 

Accessories are fun and make everything look better. But if you wear caps/hats, scarves, beanies, clips, or keep your hair in tight ponytails for hours, and often, it is a natural effect that the top of your hair will lack curl definition and most likely be flat. 

When wearing accessories, try to give your hair a break if you can. And avoid wearing them too often. Your hair will adapt to the shape you set it in, especially if you have type 4 curls. You want to use accessories only when necessary or if it serves to protect and preserve your hair

How to Create Curls on the Top of Your Hair 

Image of hairstylist attempting to create curls at the top of the client's hair.

If the top of your hair is not curly, and you want to fix that, don’t worry; there are solutions. While many solutions are already mentioned with each reason in the list above, you can implement a few other tips and methods to help. 

Here are some of those tips: 

Use less product around your scalp. Apply most of the product at the bottom of your hair and work up to the roots without adding more. This will prevent heaviness and excess build-up. 

Use the upside-down dip bowl method. Turning your head downwards and dipping your hair into a leave-in solution while scrunching will most likely preserve your curls at the top. It will also create volume in your roots. 

Presented in the video below is a short instructional guide detailing the technique known as the “Upside-Down Dip Bowl Method.”

Tools/Products You’ll Need:

YouTube video
Video credit: SophieMarieGraf

If your hair type is one where the top of the hair is naturally straighter, try using overnight curl methods to give you more bounce and definition. Applying gel and mousse to the top can help hold your curl pattern. And a little hair spray also goes a long way. 


It can be frustrating when your hair doesn’t look how you want or think it should. But this post helps you understand your hair and why you may have no curls at the top of your head. It also provides all the solutions to make the best of your situation and enjoy your curls.


I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

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