When your hair feels like straw, it’s usually due to a lack of moisture. Treatment typically depends on what’s causing the lack of moisture in your hair.

In this article, we’ll review the common causes of dry, brittle hair, and what you can do to fix the problem.

Straw-like hair is often the result of common hair care oversights, such as these:

  • using drying and styling tools (dryers, curling irons, electric rollers, flat irons) at too high a heat setting
  • using heat-based drying and styling tools too frequently
  • shampooing too often
  • using a shampoo with harsh ingredients, such as sulfates, that are drying for your type of hair
  • not using a conditioner often enough or one that’s designed for your type of hair
  • not including a moisturizing hair mask in your hair care routine
  • not being gentle enough when you detangle wet hair
  • not eating a diet that has enough of the vitamins and minerals necessary to support hair health
  • having your hair dyed or touched up too frequently
  • not having your hair trimmed often enough, resulting in split ends
  • not protecting your hair from the sun with a hat or using product that protects against UV rays
  • exposing your hair to certain environments, such as a hot, dry climate or the cold, dry air that can occur with a change of seasons
  • overexposing your hair to chemicals, such as by spending a lot of time in a swimming pool

Dry and brittle hair could be an indication of a medical issue, such as:

  • Hypothyroidism: When your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, one of the first symptoms can be dry and brittle hair.
  • Hypoparathyroidism: When your body doesn’t produce enough parathyroid hormone, you might have a calcium deficiency, resulting in dry and brittle hair.
  • An eating disorder: Many eating disorders result in malnutrition, which can lead to dry and brittle hair.

The first step in repairing straw-like hair is to address your hair care routine. Consider adjusting your behavior and the products you’re using. For example:

  • try lowering the heat setting on your hair drying and styling tools and using them less frequently
  • select a shampoo that’s appropriate for your hair type and reduce your shampooing frequency
  • choose a conditioner that’s appropriate for your hair type and use it often
  • protect your hair from the sun’s UV rays and other environmental factors by wearing a hat, scarf, or other head covering
  • adjust your diet to include nutritional foods that support healthy hair

If you don’t see results from lifestyle and product changes, make an appointment to see a primary care doctor or dermatologist. They may have other suggestions regarding your hair care. They might also test for underlying medical conditions.

If your hair feels like straw, it’s most likely a problem with moisture. This can typically be repaired by changing your usual hair products and your hair care routine.

If product and lifestyle changes don’t fix the problem, see your doctor or dermatologist. They may test for potential medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or hyperparathyroidism.