“Why is my hair so dry all of a sudden?” A cousin recently asked this question during Sunday family lunch.
It’s crazy how fast the condition of your hair can change. One day, you’re flaunting smooth, shiny, healthy tresses, and the next, it’s super dehydrated and rough to the touch.
One wrong move or minor change in your environment can do that, and yes, it sucks big time.
Dry hair is a tell-tale sign of unhealthy locks.
When your hair isn’t moisturized, it’s more vulnerable to damage and breakage.
It may also lead to frizz and dullness – two more signs of exhausted hair.
But how is it even possible for hair to become so dry out of nowhere?
While it seems like it’s only a cruel trick the universe is playing on you, there are many possible reasons behind this sudden change in your hair.
We’ll run you through a few of them today.
Table of Contents
How Can You Tell That Your Hair Is More Dehydrated Than Usual?
Your hair needs moisture in the form of water to keep it soft, elastic, and shiny.
When your hair lacks this moisture, it becomes dry and parched, leading to tangles and a tired-looking dullness to your strands.
You’ll notice your hair suddenly get drier than it usually is when it has trouble retaining moisture in your hair.
This could be because of a change in the structure in your strands, typically due to damage.
But other times, it could be because of a new stimulus – like a change in the seasons or a new product.
Some signs that your hair is a tad bit unhealthier than before include more split ends, a lack of shine, straw-like roughness when you touch the hair, and brittleness that results in breakage.
Another sign of dryness is that your hair no longer holds a curl when you use hot tools.
The more you age, the drier your hair will get.
But this is more of a gradual change, not something that happens in just a few days.
If your hair gets dry seemingly out of nowhere, it’s probably another culprit.
What’s Making Your Hair So Dry?
Here are six reasons why your hair has become dry all of a sudden.
Some of them you can’t really control, while others require simple tweaking in your daily hair care routine.
Check them out:
A Change In The Seasons Can Make Your Hair Dry
The weather plays a huge role in the condition of your hair.
It’s as simple as this: when the air is dry, your hair will be as well.
And it’s not just the air.
Other factors like the humidity levels and how exposed you are to the harsh UV rays of the sun can also aggravate your hair’s dryness.
Basically, there are two crucial seasons you have to look out for.
The first is summertime.
During these sweltering months, the sun makes the air hot and dry – a combo that will completely dehydrate your locks.
And if you have plans on hitting the beach or the pool, know that the salt water or chlorine will dry out your hair even more!
If you live in a very humid city, summer poses a different problem altogether – frizzy, poofy hair.
You can easily fix that by sealing your hair with oil after your styling routine.
The real problem is the lack of humidity.
Without moisture in the air, there’s nothing to give your hair even a little bit of hydration in the environment.
This will amp up the dehydration in your strands.
The other season you need to watch out for is winter, when the air is extremely cold.
Cold air is usually dry air.
That means your locks may become parched and brittle.
You might also notice that your scalp is flaky.
It doesn’t produce as much sebum in the cold, making your hair even less moisturized.
Too Many Chemical Processes And Heat-Styling
If you’ve just done a chemical process to your hair, like bleaching or dyeing it, you might notice that your hair feels rough and dry overnight.
This is a normal side effect of exposing your hair to the harsh chemicals that come with these treatments, such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide.
Most salon procedures use chemicals and heat to give you Instagram-worthy locks.
And you may look gorgeous afterward, but a day or two later, you’ll start to notice how dry your tresses feel.
That’s because those chemicals suck out all the hydration in your healthy hair.
The same goes for heat-styling too often.
Yes, using curling wands and flat irons every day is fun and brings out your creative side in hairstyling.
But high heat levels make your hair very dry as well.
What chemical processes and heat-styling have in common is that they lift the hair cuticles and make them more porous.
They leave gaps and holes in your hair, making it difficult to retain moisture.
This is in contrast to healthy hair with normal porosity.
Since there aren’t any gaping spaces in between the cuticles, it’s easier to absorb and then retain water and oils to keep the hair hydrated.
You’re Washing Your Hair Way Too Often
Another culprit of hair that is suddenly super dry is washing it on consecutive days.
Shampooing your hair every single day strips it of its much-needed sebum, which moisturizes it naturally.
If you wash your tresses every day, you might feel extra dryness, especially near the ends of your hair.
Washing your hair too often will dry out your scalp, aka the part of your head that secretes natural oils to coat and protect your hair.
Because your locks aren’t lubricated enough, they’ll stay dry from root to tip.
Plus, over-washing your scalp can lead to those nasty dandruff flakes on your shoulder. Yikes!
The “no washing every day” rule is especially important if you have long hair.
That’s because the longer your locks, the drier your ends can potentially be because of the distance from the oils produced on your scalp.
Washing your hair with harsh surfactants daily only worsens this.
Try shampooing your hair only once every three or so days.
Of course, this rule is flexible depending on your unique hair attributes and where you live.
If you have fine hair, it may get greasy faster than thick hair, which means you should wash it more often.
And if you live in a hot climate or work out every day, you may have to wash your hair more frequently because of the buildup of sweat and dirt on your scalp.
Your City Has Hard Water Running Through Its Pipes
Many cities run on hard water, that is water that has minerals like magnesium and calcium laced into it.
These minerals create a shell-like build-up around your hair, making it very dry and susceptible to snapping off and breaking.
The build-up of minerals in the hair can block moisture from penetrating your strands.
This leaves your hair thirsty and weak.
If you suspect that your hair is dry because of mineral build-up, use a clarifying shampoo to wash all of those deposits out.
One way to tell if you have hard water at home is to check for white stains around your showerhead and faucet.
If you see these stains, get a soft water filter immediately.
This removes the mineral deposits in your water so that you can wash your hair and body with soft water, or water with no contaminants.
You’re Using Harsh, Drying Products In Your Hair
Harsh products made with drying chemicals can make your hair extremely dehydrated in mere seconds.
So if you’ve tried a new product recently, double-check the ingredient list to see if there’s anything that seems harmful on it.
Try to stay away from products with harsh surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfates.
It would also be wise to stay away from parabens and alcohol.
Before purchasing a product, make sure it doesn’t have any of these to save your tresses from dryness.
Instead, focus your product hunt on hair stylers and creams with natural, nourishing ingredients.
Meanwhile, oils like coconut oil, argan oil, and jojoba oil are terrific for sealing in moisture and adding shine to the hair.
You Have A Health Condition Disrupting Your Hair’s Ability To Retain Moisture
If none of the above seems to apply to you, maybe it’s time to consider that there’s something else going on inside your body.
There are a few medical conditions that can result in dehydrated hair.
One of these is anorexia nervosa.
This eating disorder often leads to restriction, and consequently, malnutrition.
When you don’t get enough good nutrients and vitamins in your system, the health of your hair suffers.
One manifestation of this is severe dryness.
You could also see your hair getting drier and drier if you have any thyroid problems.
One of the early symptoms of issues with the thyroid is dry hair, since the thyroid is known to produce hormones that boost hair health and conditioning.
If your hair’s dryness coincides with other symptoms, like headaches or fatigue, consult with your doctor to get to the bottom of it.
Building A Hair Care Routine To Replenish The Hair With Moisture
Don’t stop at just knowing the reason behind the sudden dryness in your hair.
Try your best to reverse it and replenish your thirsty locks with the moisture it deserves.
If you don’t, your hair might become fragile and frayed – and that’s never a cute look.
The first thing you should do if you notice that your hair is suddenly super dry is to stop all chemical hair treatments.
Keep your beloved hot tools in your cabinet, too.
Nursing your hair back to health means giving up on the things that can damage it further.
But it’s not enough to merely avoid the bad things.
That can only do so much.
Doing so won’t hydrate your hair.
So, you have to rethink your current hair routine and make sure it includes super moisturizing products to bring back that strength, bounce, and glow to your mane.
First, start with a nourishing and non-stripping shampoo and conditioner.
A duo we highly recommend is the L’Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner.
Both these products are nourishing and have no sulfates, which means they won’t strip your hair of the natural oils that keep them moisturized.
This system is infused with rosemary extracts to hydrate the hair and add a lush softness to it.
It’s free of salts, dyes, and parabens, too, making it perfect for sensitive scalps and color-treated hair.
It also leaves behind a tantalizing fragrance of juniper berries and jasmine!
When you’re all done in the shower, follow up with a leave-in conditioner while your hair is still damp.
This hydrates your hair even more, and this time you won’t rinse it out, so it will have more longevity in your strands.
A terrific, deeply penetrating leave-in conditioner is the Renpure Coconut Whipped Creme Leave-In.
It’s rich and uber-moisturizing – perfect for incredibly dry strands.
It’s formulated with coconut water that can penetrate the hair quickly to condition and hydrate it.
It also has pea proteins and panthenol to make your strands more resilient.
Moreover, it has grapeseed oil and argan oil to give your tresses added luminosity.
You derive moisture, strength, and shine all in one leave-in.
Finish everything off with hair oil to seal all that good moisture in for the rest of the day.
For this step, you can use pure vegetable oil, like jojoba or rosehip oil.
But you can also go for something formulated by the experts.
A holy grail finishing oil among haircare lovers is the OGX Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco Penetrating Hair Oil Treatment.
Made with argan oil – nicknamed “liquid gold” in the hair world – this treatment locks out humidity for a smooth finish to your mane all day long.
It adds incredible shine to the hair without weighing it down, so it brings your dry strands back to life in terms of luster and bounce.
It also leaves your locks smelling fruity, floral, and woodsy all at once!
As you can tell from the list above, there are loads of reasons for sudden dryness in your hair.
Some of them are due to mindless decisions about your hair regimen, but a lot of them are variables you have no control over, like the weather.
So when your hair is dry out of nowhere, don’t beat yourself up too much.
Instead, focus on the things you can control.
Fix your styling habits and adjust your routine to include more moisturizing steps.
Watch out for seasons your hair might be sensitive to and come up with a game plan to curb dryness at those times of the year.
As long as you have your guard up and religiously feed your hair the moisture and nourishment it needs, you can beat dehydration out of the park and rock silky, luminous, healthy hair again.