We Ask a Stylist: What Makes Your Hair Texture Change?

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Between hitting the bleach and complete hair loss, we’ve experienced many changes in our hair texture throughout the years. If you’re currently in a similar boat and are worried or wondering what’s going on, we’re here to offer some possible answers.

We spoke to celebrity hairstylist David Lopez and Irinel De Lion from Mane Addicts about the potential reasons behind a change in texture and what you can do about it.

“Whether your hair went from naturally straight to slightly wavy, or vice versa, or you’ve noticed a difference in the way your hair feels, this can imply a change in texture,” says Lopez. 

“There are many different reasons why your hair texture might change and it’s normal to experience some changes throughout your lifetime,” adds De Lion. “A big part of it can be attributed to genetics and aging, but let’s also talk about other common causes.” 

1. Medical Reasons: “Many people who go through chemotherapy experience a change in texture as their hair grows back. Some studies have shown that chemo can change the shape of your hair follicle a little bit, which can make the hair grow back a bit curlier, and sometimes finer,” explains Lopez.

2. Hormonal changes: “Pregnancy and hormonal changes are directly correlated. A woman’s hair often thrives during pregnancy because of the spike in estrogen levels, which makes it feel fuller and thicker,” says De Leon. “After pregnancy, some women experience hair loss, dryness and a lack of volume due to the estrogen levels dropping again and the body recalibrating itself after birth. This can also occur in women with thyroid imbalances or during menopause.” 

3. Overexposure to heat: “If you’re experiencing a texture change from curly to straight, heat damage could be the culprit,” warns Lopez. “Heat will break down the outer cuticle layers that protect the cortex of the hair, causing curly hair to appear straighter and looser than it actually is. That’s why it is imperative to use the right heat level for your hair type. (Tools like the T3 Lucea ID Flat Iron use sensors to automatically adjust the heat to your specific needs.)

4. Changes to the hair follicle: “Essentially your follicle is a small opening on your scalp from which your hair grows. If that opening shrinks, the incoming hair can look and feel thinner,” explains Lopez. “This can be for a variety of reasons. For some people, it can be related to hormonal disruptions. For others, it can simply be an effect of aging.” 

5. Diet: “Your diet can also affect hair texture. If you’re not getting enough nutrients in your system to feed the health of your scalp and your hair, that will also change the texture,” says Lopez. Some important nutrients to consider for hair health? Protein, fatty acids and vitamin C. “Maintaining a healthy diet inclusive of these things will help create a healthy environment for your strands,” shares De Leon. 

6. Color Treatments: “If you are using bleach to highlight or double process your hair, your cuticle is now wide open and it’s not going to feel as smooth,” says Lopez. “Some people like this change because it can make fine, flat hair feel fluffier and fuller. Alternatively, sometimes when you use a single-process permanent color, it can make your hair feel softer because the acidity of the dye can help smooth out the cuticle,” he adds. 

7. Aging: “Just like the skin on your face and body, the skin on your head (aka your scalp) won’t stay the same as when you were a teenager or in your 20s or 30s,” explains De Leon. “Over time, hair follicles experience wear and tear and can shrink, causing slower hair growth.” 

Bottom line: There are some changes that can be reversed more easily with some TLC for your strands, but if you suspect that it’s health or hormone related, consult your doctor, who can help determine and treat any underlying conditions.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...