Why is my hair turning into springy noodles at the ends?
May 15, 2015 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone tell me why my hair is turning squiggly/ zig-zaggy at the ends?

Here's a photo I took recently.

This is happening all over my head; my hair is almost 100% straight at the roots, but nearer to the ends, it's probably 50% squiggly. Even after a trim to just below the shoulders, it's still about 30% squiggly, and I'm not willing to trim any further.

Additional info:

I also have a scalp problem; not sure if it's seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis or something else, but it's flaky in there. The flakes don't fall on my shoulders like dandruff should, but if I scratch the right parts of my scalp, I can get these flakes under my nails, and sometimes they don't smell too good.

I've already started drinking green smoothies for the past 1.5 years, and it hasn't made any difference to my hair nor my scalp problem.

I'm taking vitamin D, zinc and magnesium.

I rarely ate oily fish in the last 10 years. Recently I've started eating sardines regularly again, and I think I've noticed my hair growing faster. But it's too soon to tell if this will solve my squiggly ends problem.

I don't blow dry my hair, never heat style it, never put any chemicals in it.

I shampoo and condition everyday. Perhaps this is too much? I live close to the equator, so I get sweaty everyday, hence the daily showering. Should I wash my hair without any shampoo?

I never use any moisturiser in my hair.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
posted by noodlyends to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
My guess would be that the ends of your hair are dryer and more damaged than your roots and are reacting to moisture in the hair. At least that's how my hair behaves. You could try using some kind of fairly light weight serum, applied very lightly to just the ends of your hair.

I think it's actually inaccurate when people talk about dandruff causing dry flakes that fall onto your shoulders. Dandruff is actually more waxy in texture, it might also be slightly yellow and will not smell very good.

I've had a lot of success with apple cider vinegar rinses done once or twice a week to treat waxy dandruff/scalp build up. One part ACV to roughly 4 parts water, used after shampooing. I'd mix together about a pint's worth and pour it very slowly over all my hair and scalp and use the pads of my fingers to massage it into my scalp, especially in the areas with a lot of build up. Leave for a minute or two and then rinse. You can follow with conditioner if you feel like your hair needs more slip, otherwise you're done. The smell will go away as your hair dries.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 1:44 PM on May 15, 2015

Do you brush your hair frequently? My hair looks like that when I've pulled on the hair and there's breakage. Using a squishy paddle brush and minimal gentle brushing could help with that.

Also shampooing daily might also be causing dryness (and thus weakness). If daily shampooing is a must, use the smallest amount you can only around the scalp. Condition generously on the ends (but don't rub into the scalp! I've found this causes my hair to get oily much quicker!).
posted by blueberrypuffin at 1:57 PM on May 15, 2015

I don't know about the wiggly ends of your hair, but for your scalp problem, I really recommend T-Gel shampoo by Neutragena. I have scalp psoriasis, which was very bad when I was a child, and finding that shampoo honestly changed my life. If you can't get that specific brand in your country, look for a medicated shampoo with coal tar in it.
posted by daisyk at 2:52 PM on May 15, 2015

Do you ever put your hair back or up when it's wet? My hair gets crazy bendy like that when I throw it up in a bun before it's dry.
posted by MadamM at 6:55 PM on May 15, 2015

I can't comment on what's happening on the ends. However, I'm very familiar with your scalp situation.

Those old dandruff shampoo commercials with the white flakes on the black shirt are misleading - not all scalp conditions present like that. "Dandruff shampoo" can also treat the oily/waxy/smelly/scaly buildup on your scalp. I think you're right about it being seborrheic dermatitis, but it doesn't actually matter.

. Dermatologists have always recommended to me to rotate shampoos each wash. There are about 5 different main ingredients in various OTC dandruff shampoos, plus a few more that you can get by prescription. You'll probably have to experiment to see which ones you like. Right now I usually switch between Neutrogena T-Sal (salycilic acid) and a prescription from my doctor, and occasionally I use Nizoral (Ketoconazole) or Selsun Blue (selenium sulfide). I used to like Head and Shoulders (pyrithione zinc) but found that it eventually stopped working for me. Neutrogena T-Gel (coal tar) is effective but I can't stand the smell.

One tip about dandruff shampoo: don't think of it as shampoo, exactly. Think of it as "wash-out treatment." Wash your hair with regular shampoo first. Then put the dandruff shampoo directly on your scalp, and make sure you let it sit for however long it says on the bottle before rinsing.

If all the OTC stuff doesn't totally help, a dermatologist can get you a prescription shampoo and/or a prescription topical treatment.
posted by radioamy at 8:08 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Most dandruff shampoos will leave the lengths of your hair feeling like straw. Do you condition the lengths of your hair well? Even with normal shampoo, long hair that is washed daily needs a lot of help.

Also, you may get sweaty every day but does your hair look greasy and horrible and need to be washed every day? Depending on how oily or not your scalp is, you may be able to go longer between washing your hair.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:49 AM on May 16, 2015

I am an old male with curly hair. My dad also had curly hair. This is hair that grows out straight until it is about 5-7 inches long, then starts forming loose curls. At 10 or so inches, the curls are about 1.5 inches in diameter.

I have NEVER done crap about my hair except to wash it in whatever shampoo was left in the shower. No shampoo--I use bar soap (rarely--I've lived with women most of my life).

Now I am old, and have been keeping my hair pretty short, so it seems straight. And sparse. And gray.

I guess my point is--curlyness can depend on length alone. Or something.
posted by hexatron at 5:27 PM on May 16, 2015

If you are female and of a certain age, it could be hormonal. My mother, who has had straight hair her entire life, fairly suddenly developed not-actually-curly but very, as you say, squiggly hair around the time she entered menopause. It is very much as you describe: straight at the roots and down some length of the hair, and then very tight "squiggles" for the last few inches of the ends. Nothing changed about her hair care routine or the length. I suspect it was concurrent with her going much more fully grey as well (grey hair usually is coarser and more wiry), but she dyes her hair, so that's just a guess on the timeline.
posted by tigerbelly at 8:12 AM on May 18, 2015

« Older Your favorite winery in Paso Robles, CA?   |   Do VCs help or harm Silicon Valley? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.