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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… That pretty much sums up what it feels like to be blessed with both straight and curly hair. Interestingly, largely due to genetics, many women experience the board-like strands on top of their head and the twisted ones below. Environmental and styling issues exacerbate this difference.

“The hair up top has more exposure to the sun and heating tools and is being pulled and touched more than the hair at the bottom,” says New York dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D. This breaks down the cortex of hair, which—like the core of your body—gives structure and shape. As a result, those top pieces unfurl and lose curl. Unruly hormones (a result of pregnancy or stress) are also a key culprit in textural changes. Estrogen and testosterone levels affect the diameter, texture, and strength of any given strand.

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