There are so many different hair types, textures and styles, yet there is one thing that almost everyone is prone to: frizz. When rain starts to sprinkle from the sky or humidity reaches an all-time high—this can lead to frizz that seems nearly impossible to tame. While many people scour the shelves for the best frizz-reducing products, the solution is found not only in the right formula but our everyday styling habits.
What Causes Frizzy Hair
Frizzy hair is totally normal and something that both men and women deal with. To better understand why your hair happens to frizz up from time to time, it’s important to know what causes it.
Humid weather: “Humidity carries high concentrations of water molecules that bind to the hair and cause the hair cuticles to bind over one another, creating frizz,” explains Andrew Fitzsimons, a celebrity hairstylist in Los Angeles. “When the hair cuticle allows moisture from the environment to enter, it then causes that strand to swell, or frizz up, and become fully raised.”
Over-styling: The more frequently you use heat-styling tools, such as a blow dryer, straightener or curling iron, the more your hair will be prone to frizziness. “Hot tools, no matter how great the technology, can still cause our strands to become weak and that’s when the splitting [of hair] leads to frizzing,” explains Nicolette Rauchut, a hair stylist at LRN BEAUTY in New York City.
Porous hair: Your hair type can also influence how frizzy your hair is—and this is true for those with porous hair. Whether you have high or low porosity depends on how well your hair can retain moisture, notes Fitzsimons. “Highly porous hair acts like a sponge and can absorb moisture a lot [more easily] than dry hair,” he says. “Because of this, the hair is more likely to react to these high levels of moisture and frizz up.”
Needing a haircut: Did you know that your hair tends to “frizz” or have “flyaways” (those itty-bitty pieces that hang around your hairline) because it is somewhat a natural part of the hair’s life cycle? According to Rauchut, our hair naturally tends to split from the ends up, as these pieces are lighter and lack the most nutrition. “This frizz is the limp, split ends curling up and taking their free form.”
How to Tame and Prevent Frizzy Hair
If you’re dealing with frizziness and looking to smooth strands and tame flyaways, follow these expert tips.
1. Shampoo less and avoid sulfates
Believe it or not, washing your hair too much can actually be counterproductive. This is because your scalp creates natural oils that are meant to nourish your hair. When you shampoo too often, you’re stripping your scalp of these natural oils and making your hair prone to dryness. What’s more: the main ingredient in many shampoos is sulfates, which can lead to frizz. “Sulfates strip the hair down to nothing, causing its lightweight structure to take free form and frizz,” says Rauchut.
“Wet hair can be incredibly fragile, so it’s imperative that you don’t roughly dry your hair with your towels, which can bolster frizz production in the hair and weaken the strands altogether,” says Fitzsimons. He recommends using a microfiber hair towel, like the Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Turban, which is specifically made to reduce frizz. “This is a great alternative to standard towel drying because it won’t cause as much breakage and damage. It can also cut your drying time in half,” he adds.
3. Sleep on a silk pillowcase
Constant tossing and turning while sleeping at night can cause friction (and frizz), especially when using a standard cotton pillowcase, warns Fitzsimons. For this reason, he recommends investing in a slip™ pure silk pillowcase. This can cut down on the amount of friction your hair experiences while you’re fast asleep so that you can wake up with a smoother, less frizzy ’do.
4. Use hair tools sparingly
While it’s easy to fall into a routine where you rely on heat-styling tools to help you achieve your ideal look, this can often do more harm than good in the long run. This is why Rauchut recommends limiting the number of times you blow dry your hair to twice a week. If you’re using a hot tool, try only using it to touch up instead of style your hair. “This will help with frizz because the hair is shaped and directed from the start so you can build your look throughout the week,” she says.
A great tool to help you achieve a look you can work off of is the Beachwaver Co. Beachwaver Pro, which features gold power technology that evenly distributes heat to cut back on damage.
5. Always use a heat protectant
Just as you apply sunscreen to your skin before going outside, Rauchut recommends applying a heat protectant to your hair before using a hot tool of any kind. “Heat protectants protect up to 450 degrees and can help seal a barrier for each strand to prevent heat splitting,” she says. “This will also limit the amount of frizz. Using a heat protectant will safely manipulate the hair, so it lays flat without over-styling.”
One of the best types of heat protectants are hair oils, like UNITE Hair U Oil. Made from argan oil, this heat protectant helps seal your hair and protect it from the elements without weighing it down.
6. Mask weekly
Hair masks contain even more nourishing ingredients than regular conditioners and their formulas are also more concentrated, which means they’re great for reducing dryness. According to Fitzsimons, “By locking in moisture within the hair shaft itself, hair masks are an excellent way [to reduce] excess frizziness caused by heat damage or humidity, [improving] circulation within the scalp.”
To really combat frizz, it’s important to use products that minimize humidity should you be exposed to the moment you step outside your house. “When humidity is in the air, our top cuticle layer is slightly raised and looks like shingles on a house—the water droplets get underneath the raised parts and make the hair follicle swell and pouf up,” says Rauchut.
Humidity-fighting products like Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray can help hydrate and seal the cuticle. This spray features polysilicone-29, which creates humidity resistance and silicone quaternium-18, which helps detangle and provide moisture.
8. Consider hair-smoothing products
Hair-smoothing products are another great way to minimize frizz and enhance the look and feel of your hair. Rauchut recommends using smoothing products like R+Co ON A CLOUD Baobab Oil Repair Splash on Styler when the hair is damp, as this can help set the hair into place after drying with a microfiber towel. This leave-on product is easy to apply—from roots to ends—and helps rebuild bonds thanks to baobab-oil protein technology.