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why is my hair curly at the ends

The hair does curl but you have to take into account that the hair closest to the follicle is bearing the weight of the whole hair shaft. You may think that hair does not weight much, which is true, but imagine that constant weight everyday, year round. Do this, grab a hair strand by midway length and lightly pull on it. Even the slightest pulling stretches the curl pattern. Now imagine that tension everyday. The final segment of the hair (tip) does not bear any tension hence you can notice the difference in curl pattern as the shaft goes from follicle to tip.

I always recommend that to identify curl pattern, one should use the length of the tips (aprox. last 1/5 of the hair shaft) as examples. This is something that happens to all of us curlies. Like the above posters, it happens to me too and sometimes straight haired people ask me if I have permed my hair because my curls are very tight at the end compared to the roots.

Many times I just sigh and say yes, I perm my hair.
Everything you do is manipulating your curl pattern from the water running over your head in the shower to towel turbans to how you apply products to combing. If your hair is wavy-curly some of the time it can be wavy-curly all of the time if you don't force it straighter with standard styling techniques. So that is your natural curl pattern after you manipulated it, there is little gravity on the ends because there is no weight lower down, the upper parts of your hair have the weight of the lower parts of your hair pulling on them.

I follow the Curly Girl method and can get the front part of my hair to fall into ringlets or untidy curls that stick out depending how I manipulate them when dripping wet. Terry cotton towel turbans make for poofy straighter hair, plopping (CG version of a turban) makes for curls that can look wonky and reverse on themselves, scrunching out the excess water with a flour sack towel makes for ringlets.

Product choice and amount is also relevant, the right leave in conditioner aids 'clumping' so adjacent hairs want to sit together in a defined shape especially if I gently scrunch it in. Gravity works on the ends of my hair because I am styling from dripping wet, so there is the water softening the bonds in the hair and weighting down the ends.

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