15 Reasons Why Your Hair Feels Dry: How to Fix it

reasons why your hair feels dry

Are you having trouble keeping your hair moisturized? Does it feel dry and brittle, even after using a lot of conditioner? If so, you’re not alone. Dry hair is a common problem, especially for those with 4C natural hair. There are many reasons your hair might feel dry, including dehydration, product buildup, and environmental factors. It can be frustrating when your hair feels brittle and lacks shine. This article will discuss the most common causes of dry hair and how to fix it!

And without further ado, here are the 15 reasons your natural hair feels dry:

  1. Washing Your Hair Incorrectly
  2. Infrequent Moisturizing
  3. Incomplete Application of Moisturizers
  4. Moisture-Protein Imbalance
  5. Leaving Your Hair Out Loose
  6. Wearing Protective Styles Too Long
  7. Using Oils The Wrong Way
  8. Product Buildup
  9. You’re Not Deep Conditioning
  10. Not ‘Sealing In’ Your Moisture
  11. Chemical Treatments
  12. Frequent Heat Styling
  13. Not Drinking Enough Water
  14. The Weather
  15. Not Wearing a Cap When Swimming

#1. Washing Your Hair Incorrectly

One of the most common reasons your hair might feel dry is that you’re washing it wrong. Dryness doesn’t necessarily mean you’re using the wrong shampoo or conditioner. It could simply be that you are:

Washing hair with hot water

Your hair may feel dry if you’re washing it with hot water. This dryness is because hot water can strip away the natural oils from your hair, leaving it feeling dry and brittle.

Try washing your hair with lukewarm or cold water instead.

Cold water rinses seal the cuticle after using a conditioner, helping your hair retain more moisture.

Washing too often

If you wash your hair daily, you’re likely stripping away too much of its natural oil. Shampooing too frequently can leave your hair feeling dry and frizzy.

Try washing your hair less often to see if this helps alleviate the. Incorporate co-washes into your routine as well from time to time.

Co-washing is when you use a conditioner to cleanse your hair instead of shampoo. It is an excellent way to clean your hair without stripping it of its natural oils.

Using the wrong shampoo

When it comes to shampoo, you get what you pay for. If you’re using a cheap drugstore shampoo, it likely contains harsh chemicals such as sulphates. These chemicals can strip away the natural oils from your hair, leaving it feeling dry and brittle.

Try using a gentler, sulphate-free shampoo instead. These shampoos are more gentle on your hair and help preserve its natural moisture.

Don’t forget to follow up with a conditioner to help replenish the moisture in your hair!

Not drying your hair correctly.

If you don’t dry your hair correctly, it can lead to split ends and breakage. This hair damage, in turn, can make your hair look and feel drier than it is.

Try to avoid rubbing your hair with a towel to dry it. Aggressive towel drying can cause friction which can lead to damage. Instead, try to pat your hair dry with a towel or use a t-shirt to dry your hair.

You should also avoid using heat to style your hair while it’s wet. Heat styling includes blow-drying, straightening, or curling. Heat styling when your hair is wet can cause damage and split ends.

If you must use heat to style your hair, make sure that you use a heat-protectant product beforehand. A heat protectant will help minimize the damage caused by the heat.

#2. Infrequent Moisturizing

Natural hair needs frequent moisturizing, as it tends to be dry. If you’re not moisturizing regularly, your hair likely feels dry. Coily hair tends to be particularly dry as it has a tighter curl pattern. This curl pattern means that the natural oils produced by the scalp have a more challenging time travelling down the hair shaft.

Make sure that you’re moisturizing your hair at least once a week. If your hair is particularly dry, you may need to moisturize it more frequently.

The best way to moisturize your hair is to use the L.O.C. method. It stands for liquid, oil, and cream.

  • First, you apply a water-based product to your hair (this is the liquid)
  • Next, you add oil to help seal in the moisture (this is the oil)
  • Finally, you add a cream to help moisturize and protect your hair (this is the cream)

You can read more about the L.O.C. method here.

#3. Incomplete Application of Moisturizers

It’s not enough to apply a moisturizer to your hair. You need to ensure that you’re using it correctly for it to work.

When you’re applying a product to your hair, make sure that you cover all the strands. The best way to do this is to section your hair into small sections. Smaller parts will help ensure the even distribution of the product to each strand.

In addition, make sure that you focus on the ends of your hair. The ends of your hair are the oldest and, therefore, the weakest and driest. They will benefit most from the moisture provided by a moisturizer.

#4. Moisture-Protein Imbalance

If your hair feels dry, it could be because of a moisture-protein imbalance. This imbalance means you either have too much protein or not enough moisture in your hair.

Too much moisture can make your hair feel mushy and weak. On the other hand, not enough protein can make your hair feel dry and brittle.

The best way to determine if you have a moisture-protein imbalance is to do a porosity test. You can read about how to do a porosity test here.

Low Porosity

  • If your hair is low porosity, it means that your hair struggles to absorb moisture.
  • Low porosity could be a result of too much protein in your hair.
  • If this is the case, you should try using protein-free hair products.

High Porosity

  • If your hair is high porosity, it means that your hair absorbs moisture too quickly.
  • High porosity could be because of insufficient protein in your hair.
  • If this is the case, you should try using protein-based hair products. Protein will help seal the cuticle and prevent moisture from escaping.

You can read more about moisture-protein balances here.

#5. Leaving Your Hair Out Loose

If you leave your hair out loose, it’s more likely to become dry. The main reasons why loose hair feels dry include:

  • Exposure to natural elements. When you leave your hair out loose, it’s more exposed to the wind and sun. Exposure to these elements can lead to dryness and damage.
  • Friction from clothing. When your hair rubs against clothing, it can cause friction. This friction can lead to split ends and breakage. Your clothing will also absorb moisture off your strands.

If you want to avoid dryness, try wearing your hair in a protective style.

Protective styles are hairstyles that help protect your hair from damage. These styles keep your ends tucked away, so they don’t rub against your clothes.

Some examples of protective styles are buns, braids, and twists. You can read more about protective styles here.

#6. Wearing Protective Styles Too Long

While protective styles can help prevent dryness, wearing them too long can lead to dryness.

Keeping hair adequately moisturized in a protective style is more challenging. It is difficult because you may have difficulty reaching all of your strands with your product.

When you wear a style for too long, your hair can become matted and tangled, leading to breakage and split ends.

If you want to avoid this, change your styles every few weeks. Switching up styles will give your hair a chance to rest and help prevent tangles, matting, and dryness.

You can read more about the benefits of a protective hairstyle here.

#7. Using Oils The Wrong Way

Oils are great for your hair. They help to seal in moisture and prevent your hair from becoming dry.

However, using oils the wrong way can lead to dryness.

When you use too much oil, it can weigh down your strands and make them greasy. The oil coats the hair and prevents moisture from reaching your strands, leading to dryness.

If you want to use oils in your hair, moisturize with a water-based product and then apply a small amount of oil to seal in the moisture.

Focus on applying the oil to your ends, where it will be most beneficial.

You can read more about how to use oils in your hair here.

#8. Product Buildup

If you use many products in your hair, you’ll likely experience product buildup.

Product buildup is when the residue from your products collects on your scalp and hair.

With product buildup, your strands can’t absorb additional products leading to hair that feels dry and scalp irritation.

To avoid this, make sure you’re using a clarifying shampoo from time to time to remove product buildup.

While clarifying shampoos are excellent in removing buildup, they can also strip your hair of its natural oils. So, follow up with a moisturizing or deep conditioner to prevent dryness.

Further, avoid clarifying shampoos too often, which can lead to dryness and breakage.

#9. You’re Not Deep Conditioning

Deep conditioning is essential if you want to maintain healthy, moisturized hair.

Your regular conditioner only provides a surface level of moisture. A deep conditioner penetrates your strands and helps hydrate and repair them from the inside out.

If you’re not deep conditioning regularly, your hair will become dry and brittle.

Deep conditioners differ from regular conditioners because they have a higher concentration of oils and butters.

They also contain ingredients that help to repair damage and strengthen your strands.

How to Use a Deep Conditioner

Ensure you’re using your deep conditioner correctly to get the most out of it.

  • First, use the deep conditioner after shampooing your hair.
  • Second, apply your deep conditioner to damp hair and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. If you have time, you can even leave it in overnight.
  • Third, use a heat cap or steamer to help the conditioner penetrate your strands.
  • Finally, rinse out your deep conditioner and follow up with a leave-in conditioner or cream.

You can read more about some of the best deep conditioners for your hair here.

#10. Not ‘Sealing In’ Your Moisture

If you constantly find that your hair feels dry, it could be because you’re not sealing in your moisture correctly.

After you’ve shampooed and conditioned your hair, add moisture using a leave-in conditioner or cream.

You can then follow up with an oil or butter to help seal in the moisture even further.

Oils lock in moisture by creating a barrier on your strands. They prevent water from evaporating, keeping your hair hydrated for longer.

Butters can also help to seal in moisture and provide additional nourishment to your strands.

If you want to learn more about how to seal your moisture correctly, you can read this article on the L.O.C. Method.

#11. Chemical Treatments

Regular chemical treatments, such as colouring or straightening your hair, can lead to dryness.

Dryness occurs because these treatments strip away your hair’s natural oils and moisture.

Chemical treatments make hair more porous, so it can’t retain moisture.

To help combat this, make sure to use:

  • Deep conditioner at least once a week to help hydrate and repair your strands
  • Protein treatment regularly to help strengthen your hair and fill in any damage along the hair cuticles
  • Leave-in conditioner or cream to help add moisture back into your hair
  • A heat protectant before using any heated styling tools
  • Oils or butters to seal in your moisture

Bleaching hair is the most damaging chemical treatment that you can do to your hair.

If you bleach your hair, ensure that you’re using extra moisturizing and repairing products to help offset the damage.

#12. Frequent Heat Styling

If your hair feels dry, it could be that you use heated styling tools regularly.

Just like chemical treatments, heat styling strips away your hair’s natural moisture and oils.

It also damages the hair cuticle, leaving your strands feeling dry and brittle.

To help combat this, use a heat protectant before you style your hair.

It would help if you also tried to give your hair a break from heat styling now and then. Let your hair air dry or style it with heat-free methods instead.

If you must use heated styling tools, ensure you’re not setting the temperature too high.

And always use the lowest heat setting that will still give you the desired results.

#13. Not Drinking Enough Water

If you’re not drinking enough water, this can also lead to dryness.

Water helps to keep your entire body hydrated, including your hair.

When your hair is adequately hydrated, it’s less likely to become dry and brittle.

So make sure you drink about eight glasses of water daily. You can also increase your water intake by eating foods high in water, such as fruits and vegetables.

#14. The Weather

The weather can also play a role in how dry your hair feels.

For example, the air is much drier if it’s cold outside. Cold weather can lead to your hair feeling dry and brittle.

If it’s windy, this can also strip away moisture from your strands. And if you’re spending time in the sun, this can also make your hair feel drier.

To help combat this, ensure you’re using products that will help add moisture back into your hair.

You can also try wearing a hat or scarf when you’re outside to help protect your hair from the elements.

#15. Not Wearing a Hair Cap When Swimming

If you’re a swimmer, it’s essential to wear a hair cap when you’re swimming. A hair cap will help prevent your hair from absorbing too much chlorine.

Chlorine is a drying agent that can strip away moisture from your strands, making them feel dry and brittle.

So make sure you’re always wearing a hair cap when you’re swimming to help protect your hair.


There are many different reasons why your hair might feel dry.

But by using the right products and taking care of your hair, you can help to combat dryness and keep your strands healthy and hydrated.

If you’re experiencing dryness, take a look at your hair care routine and see if there’s anything you can change.

And always make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water to keep your entire body hydrated.

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