Why Does My Hair Get Curly When Wet?

The hydrogen bonds within the hair shaft are broken when hair becomes wet. This causes the hair to reform into its natural curl pattern due to the water molecules altering the protein structure of the hair.

The reason behind the change in hair texture when wet lies in the molecular structure of the hair. Human hair comprises a protein called keratin, which contains hydrogen bonds that determine the hair’s shape. When water penetrates the hair shaft, it disrupts these hydrogen bonds, allowing the hair to temporarily become more pliable and take on a curly or wavy appearance.

This is why some people experience a change in hair texture when exposed to moisture, resulting in the familiar phenomenon of curly or wavy hair when wet.

Hair’s Curly Reaction To Water

When hair comes into contact with water, it can undergo a curly reaction due to the structure and composition of the hair strands. The science behind water’s effect on hair lies in the molecular arrangement of the hair shaft and how it interacts with water molecules. This interaction leads to the temporary alteration of the hair’s shape, resulting in curls or waves.

Factors influencing the curly reaction

Several factors influence the extent of the curly reaction when hair gets wet. The porosity of the hair, its natural texture, and the presence of chemical treatments all play a role in determining how it responds to water. Additionally, environmental factors such as humidity levels can contribute to the curly transformation of hair when exposed to moisture.

Hair Structure And Hydration

The structure of hair and its response to hydration is a complex process. Keratin, the main protein in hair, determines its shape. When hair comes into contact with water, hydrogen bonds within the keratin molecule temporarily break, allowing the hair to change form. The degree of porosity in the hair affects how it interacts with moisture. Higher porosity leads to more excellent water absorption, causing the hair to become more curly when wet. Understanding hair structure and hydration can help you choose the right products and treatments to manage and style curly hair.

Why Hair Curls With Moisture

When hair comes into contact with moisture, it causes the hair shaft to swell. This swelling disrupts the existing bonds within the hair, allowing it to take on a more expanded shape. The disrupted bonds make the hair more flexible and responsive to shaping. Consequently, when the coat dries, it retains the altered form, resulting in curly or wavy hair. This phenomenon occurs due to keratin’s unique structure and composition within the hair shaft. The hydrogen bonds are particularly affected by water, leading to the contraction-expansion cycle that results in curly hair once it dries.

Managing Wet Curls

Curly hair tends to change its shape and texture when exposed to water. It absorbs moisture, causing the hair shaft to swell and create curls or waves. To manage wet curls, following specific tips for maintaining hair health is essential. First, it’s crucial to select the right products designed for curly and wavy hair to prevent frizz and enhance moisture retention. Additionally, adopting best practices for showering, such as using lukewarm water, can help maintain hair texture. When transitioning from wet to dry hair, suitable styling techniques, such as scrunching or plopping, can preserve the natural curl pattern and reduce breakage. By incorporating these strategies, individuals can effectively manage their wet curls and maintain healthy, vibrant hair.


Understanding why hair gets curly when wet is a complex mix of genetics and chemistry. Embracing your natural hair texture can be liberating, and many techniques and products help maintain and enhance your curly hair. By taking good care of your curls and embracing their unique beauty, you can rock your wet curls with confidence!

Frequently Asked Questions Of Why Does My Hair Get Curly When Wet

Why Does Hair Get Curly When Wet?

When hair gets wet, the hydrogen bonds within the shaft are temporarily broken, allowing the hair to be reshaped. This causes the hair to form curls or waves. The shape of the hair fibres and the moisture level both play a role in the extent of curliness.

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