Why Do My Sideburns Curl?

Why Do My Sideburns Curl?

Whether you have naturally straight or curly hair, having curly or curled-up sideburns can make your hairstyle look messy and awkward. Since sideburns accentuate a person’s facial shape, when they’re all curly and look untamed, they become difficult not to notice—it might even attract more attention than a person’s face, which is horrible, especially if that person has a beautiful one.

If you’ve ever gone to wikiHow and read their how-to article on “How to Make Sideburns Straight,” I’m sure you’ve experienced a bad hair day in the past, no thanks to curly sideburns, and you don’t wanna go through it again. But have you ever asked yourself, “why do my sideburns curl?” or why aren’t my sideburns straight?” If you have, keep reading this article to get the answer to those two questions. Let’s go!


Hair Types or Textures

Wherever hair grows, whether on the top of your head or each side of your face, how it grows or a person’s “hair type” or “hair texture” is, for the most part, hereditary. What I mean by this is that the genes passed on to a person from their parents usually influence the type or texture of hair that person will have.

A gene that scientists have identified as the most influential is the gene trichohyalin (TCHH), which strengthens growing hair. Tricohyalin contains various variants known as minor nuclear polymorphisms that scientists associate with varied hair types or textures in people worldwide.

Before we dive into answering the question, “why do my sideburns curl?” let’s look at the different hair types listed below.

Hair Type


Type 1: Straight

  • 1a: very straight with a fine or thin texture
  • 1b: straight with some bends
  • 1c: straight with a coarser texture

Type 2: Wavy

  • 2a: wavy and fine
  • 2b: wavy with a slightly more defined S-shape
  • 2c: wavy with well-defined S-shaped waves

Type 3: Curly

  • 3a: loose curls
  • 3b: tight and springy curls
  • 3c: an “S” or “Z” shape that springs back into shape when stretched

Type 4: Coily

  • 4a: loose coils
  • 4b: zigzagging coils
  • 4c: tight coils

Do you see your hair type in the table above? Now that we know the different hair types and their shapes, let’s answer the question:

Why Do Sideburns Curl?

1. Genes

We already know that our genes influence our hair type and texture. If you naturally have curly hair because one or both of your parents have curly hair, chances are you’ll most likely have curly hair everywhere, even your sideburns!

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While it’s unlikely for a person to have curly hair when neither of their biological parents has curly hair, it’s not impossible. If you have close family members with curly hair, I can confidently bet that having curly hair and curly sideburns runs in your family’s blood.

2. Hormonal Imbalance

Apart from making you moody, cranky, or sad, your hormones can be associated with other changes in your body, even your appearance. Since hormones regulate our gene expressions, even the ones in our hair cells, when our hormones are all over the place or out of balance, the way our hair grows could become thrown off track as well.

During major hormonal shifts, hair changes can occur. 40 to 50% of women experience hair changes while pregnant or breastfeeding. Men, on the other hand, experience hormonal changes during puberty and andropause. So if you’re experiencing hormonal imbalances, don’t be too surprised to find your sideburns curling from time to time.

3. Unnecessary Length

While it isn’t necessarily wrong to let your hair grow out, sometimes not having the ends of your hair trimmed regularly can cause curls to develop. I mean, it’s usually the ends of our hair with the worst texture because they have been the most exposed to factors that can cause damage, right?

By letting your sideburns grow without maintaining them, the edges or ends of your sideburns can become progressively damaged over time and likely result in hairs with different textures and patterns, even curls. I’ve noticed in myself and others that once it reaches a certain length, our hair ends become weaker and messier.

4. Dirt Buildup

Whether we’re staying at home or going outside, we can’t keep particles in the air from getting in our hair (That rhymes!). When dust, dirt, and other particles get trapped in our hair, our hair becomes dry and damaged, and eventually, our hair, and even our sideburns, will curl up.

But we can’t put all the blame on the particles present in our air. When we don’t wash our hair often, our sweat and other oils accumulate in our hair. And when we don’t wash our hair thoroughly during bath times, we could leave a residue of hair products, and these residue accumulations could also contribute to our hair curling up.


5. Hair Damage

Don’t be fooled! Cleaning or washing your hair often doesn’t promise healthy, undamaged hair! Dirt and product buildup in your hair aren’t the only things that will make you prone to hair damage. Not protecting your hair from too much heat can also make your hair—yes, even your sideburns—curl and frizz up.

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Using hairdryers, hair straighteners, and hair curlers for hairstyling often deals a lot of damage. The heat from these devices takes away the moisture of your hair, making your hair dry and dull. When your hair becomes either of the two, it loses its natural form only to take the form of stubborn, unappealing curls.

6. Medication

I’m sure at one point in your life, you’ve come across an advertisement for hair vitamins or hair gummies. Many people, especially endorsers, claim that products like hair gummies help prevent hair loss, repair hair damage, and make your hair healthier, shinier, and bouncier. Whether or not hair gummies do indeed work, it isn’t news to most that certain medications or drugs can affect your hair growth.

While many already know that hair loss is a side effect of chemotherapy, only a few know that certain medications affect the texture of people’s hair by making it curlier. In a recently published study, California researchers identified five types of medication that can make people (who are undergoing or taking them) develop curlier hair, and these five are the following:

  • Cancer medications (antineoplastic agents)​
  • Epilepsy drugs (antiepileptics)​
  • Acne, wrinkle meds (retinoids)​
  • Immune system regulators (immunomodulators)​
  • HIV treatment (HIV antiretroviral therapy)​

Now that I’ve given you all the possible reasons why your sideburns are curling up, do you think you’ve already identified which reason or reasons are causing your sideburns to curl?

If you’ve been stressing over taming your sideburns or just keeping them straight, feel free to take some of the tips I’ve listed below on keeping your hair, specifically your sideburns, tamed.

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How To Tame Your Curly Sideburns

tame curly sideburns

Tip #1: Avoid Stressing Yourself Out!

Apart from going through the different natural stages in life, stress is another cause of hormonal imbalance. Since we already know that hormonal imbalances can negatively affect the way our hair grows, we should avoid activities that can stress us out. Come on, you know it’s better to live life without being so stressed all the time!

Tip #2: Trim Your Sideburns!

While it’s good to let your hair breathe from styling, you should still maintain your hair from time to time. To get rid of any split ends, tangles, and dead hair, trim your sideburns regularly, or at least once it reaches a length where all your hair ends begin to look dry and dull. If you’re cutting back on spending, give yourself a trim at home, but use good shears or scissors!

Tip #3: Don’t Be Unhygienic!

When I say don’t be unhygienic, I don’t mean you should take a bath whenever you can, but rather, make sure you clean yourself, especially your hair, whenever necessary. One more thing; when you’re washing your hair, do it thoroughly, scrubbing all the dirt out of your hair with shampoo and rinsing off all the suds with water.

Tip #4: Take Care of Your Hair!

As much as you can, avoid doing things like curling or straightening your hair with irons, undergoing heavy hair treatments, and using blowdryers often. If you care about your hair, avoid doing activities that you know will only damage it. Invest in products you know will help your hair become stronger and healthier, and always remember that your hair is your crowning glory!

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t matter if your hair is Straight, Wavy, Curly, or Coily. Taming your hair goes a long way in making you look good and presentable. I’m sorry we didn’t all receive the gift of being able to rock a messy no-effort hairstyle.

At the end of the day, as long as you feel comfortable and happy with your appearance and the type or texture of your hair, you’re free to rock any hairstyle you want.

If the only thing stopping you from feeling good with your hair is your curly sideburns, try to figure out which one of the six reasons listed above is the reason behind them, and refer to the tips on how to tame curly sideburns.

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