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Nothing can thwart a good hair day quite like that dreaded ‘F’ word—FRIZZ. It can take your smooth and shiny hair and leave them looking like a wiry mess of flyaways in mere minutes. When it comes to managing frizz, it’s first important to understand exactly what causes it. At the root of the issue? A moisture imbalance.
As a universal scientific principle, moisture always travels from areas of high concentration to low concentration. So when it’s humid outside, and there’s a ton of moisture in the air, it’s going to want to move to somewhere where there is less moisture, i.e. the inside of your hair. That’s why humid summer days and/or rainy weather equal a frizz fest. And that’s also why moisturizing products that keep your hair hydrated are so clutch in the fight against frizz, as are products that work to lock out that extra moisture in the air from penetrating the hair shaft.
Still, more is not always better when it comes to anti-frizz products. “The excess moisture in the air can cling onto the product itself, especially if you use too much, leaving your hair looking weighed down, greasy, and still frizzy,” cautions stylist John Mouzakis, co-owner of 3rd Coast Salon in Chicago. A smarter smoothing strategy? Layer various anti-frizz products throughout your routine, he says.
Ahead, the best products to fight frizz and—most importantly—come out on top.
Best Overall: Fekkai Brilliant Gloss Multi-Tasker Perfecting Crème
This newbie uses plant-based ingredients (think French cold-pressed organic olive oil, oh-la-la) to lock in moisture and lock out frizz, and offer antioxidant protection, to boot. Bonus points for the fresh floral scent and vegan formula that’s free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, and phthalates. The tube is made of 65% recycled plastic, too.
Best Drugstore: John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength 6 Effects+ Serum
Think of this as a souped-up version of the original Frizz Ease serum, a cult classic that first launched in the U.S. back in 1990 (and was one of the first frizz-fighting products available). With even more smoothing prowess, this is especially ideal for the most unruly, frizziest hair out there, using silk protein and seaweed extract to both repel humidity and help seal split ends.
Best for Curly Hair: Bounce Curl Moisture Balance Leave-In Conditioner
Curly hair is notorious for frizzing up, fast; credit the fact that the shape of the hair strand makes it harder for the natural oils from your scalp to work their way down, upping the likelihood of both dryness and frizzies. Enter this do-it-all leave-in. Just a tiny dab imparts tons of hydration (thanks to a combo of five different oils), tamps down frizz, and also acts as a primer for any styling products you may want to layer on top. And all of this without weighing down or messing with the shape of your curly spirals.
Best for Fine Hair: UNITE 7SECONDS BlowOut Crème
Work this into wet hair ASAP after getting out of the shower. As soon as your hair starts to air-dry it can start frizzing up, notes Mouzakis, who says applying a moisture cream like this one as soon as you get out of the shower is a good move. Even though it’s intensely moisturizing, it still feels lightweight, a good option for those with finer or thinner hair.
Best for Thick Hair: Moroccanoil Treatment Original
There’s a good reason (reasons) why this oil is a cult classic. The argan oil and linseed extract in the formula not only helps hydrate hair and knock out frizz but also improves the health and strength of your stands. Because it is a bit of a heavier oil, it can be a bit much for finer hair, but for medium to thick types, it can’t be beaten.
Best for Summer: Color Wow Dream Coat Anti-Frizz Treatment
Sure, frizz can happen year-round, but it’s those hot, humid summer days that can be a real style-killer. Enter this hair-saving spray, arguably the easiest way to keep your hair ultra-smooth and sleek, no matter the weather. A proprietary anti-humidity complex acts almost like a mini keratin treatment of sorts, coating the hair to block out humidity. The best part? The effects last for up to three to four shampoos, a major win in our book. FYI, you do have to blow-dry your hair after using it, however, since the formula is heat-activated.
Best for Blow-Drying: Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème
To give your hair a leg up against frizz, blow-drying is always a good move; it helps seal the cuticle, making it harder for moisture to penetrate. Before you do so, work one to two quarter-sized dollops of this guy from root to tip. The lightweight formula adds and seals in moisture, enhances shine, and also offers oh-so-important heat protection, a must when you’re using hot tools.
Best for Air-Drying: Odele Air Dry Styler
Yes, generally speaking, air drying isn’t a great idea if you want super smooth, frizz-free hair. That being said, we totally get that blow-drying every single time you wash your hair isn’t necessarily always a realistic (nor enjoyable) option. Enter the beauty of this guy.
Just a tiny dollop stops frizz in its tracks, all while adding softness and separation to your hair, essentially enhancing your natural texture in the best way possible. We’d also be remiss not to mention the incredibly chic packaging, squeaky clean formula, and affordable price, too.
What Our Testers Say
My goal in life is to spend as little time on my hair as possible (that’s more time to focus on my very finicky skin in my mind). Any product with 'air dry' or 'lazy' or '2-minute' in the description I guarantee I have tried at least once. This Air Dry Styler from Odele delivers on the name’s promise. Work this into your hair when wet, and it’ll dry into a sleek, undone look with little frizz but plenty of body." —Madeline Hirsch, Byrdie Senior News Editor
Best for Air-Drying, Runner-Up: R+Co Cool Wind pH Perfect Air Dry Crème
Another great choice for those who want to ditch the dryer, this newbie leaves your hair extra smooth, soft, and shiny—attributes that are typically very hard to achieve sans heat styling. Credit a unique cold styling polymer that helps do all of the above as well as tame frizz. All you have to do is work a small dollop through towel-dried hair and prepare to be amazed at the effects.
Best Shampoo: Leonor Greyl Shampooing Crème Moelle De Bambou
Mouzakis advises starting your frizz-fighting routine in the shower; you can definitely layer on smoothing products after the fact, but creating the right foundation with the shampoo you choose can go a long way. This is one of the best ones for the job, with an ultra-creamy and hydrating formula that leaves hair softer and smoother after every wash, thanks to the addition of silk proteins. Plus, there are also strengthening ingredients, such as wheat proteins and bamboo in the mix, always a good thing.
What Our Editors Say
"Never has my hair felt as silky smooth as when I first tried this smoothing shampoo from Leonor Greyl. It's immensely softening and keeps dried, frayed cuticles at bay. It's basically like a salon keratin treatment in a bottle." — Lindsey Metrus, Byrdie Editorial Project Director
Best Shampoo, Runner-Up: Suave Professionals Smooth Performer Shampoo with Amino Acids
Here’s another great smoothing shampoo to try, and a very affordable one at that. Sulfate-free (AKA great if your hair is also dry and/or colored), it relies on an amino acid complex that both strengthens the hair on the outside and smooths the cuticle on the outside simultaneously. Plus, unlike many other smoothing shampoos we’ve tried, this one still leaves our hair with plenty of volume and bounce.
Best Mask: Redken Frizz Dismiss Hair Mask Intense Smoothing Treatment
If you want to just wash-and-go without having to add extra steps to your routine, reach for this smoothing treatment. Loaded with babassu oil it improves smoothness and manageability and packs a hefty dose of hydration. Try using it in place of your regular conditioner two to three times per week (or whenever your hair needs a little frizz-fighting boost).
For the best results, leave it on for three to five minutes before rinsing.
Best Long-Lasting: Oribe Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray
“Skip the hairspray and use this as the final step in your styling routine instead,” suggests Mouzakis. It keeps humidity at bay and hair frizz-free for up to 24 hours while also locking in your style, he says. It even adds a bit of body and volume, too, thanks to the addition of panthenol, so it works equally well whether you’re wearing your hair up or down.
There’s no need to fear frizz, thanks to the dizzying array of amazing frizz fighters out there. The Fekkai Brilliant Gloss Multi-Tasker Perfecting Creme (view at Ulta) is one of our overall favorites, imparting other benefits such as moisture and antioxidant protection, too. You can’t go wrong with the John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength 6 Effects + Serum (view at Amazon), a cult classic that has the distinction of being one of the first frizz-fighting products ever. The Color Wow Dream Coat Anti-Frizz Treatment (view at Sephora) is ideal for summer, an anti-humidity formula whose effects last even after you shampoo it out, while the Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème (view at Sephora) is our favorite to use to enhance the smoothing benefits of a good blow-out. Prefer to air dry? We can pretty much guarantee you’ll be hooked on the Odele Air Dry Styler (view at Odele) after just one use.
What to Look for in an Anti-Frizz Product
They can be somewhat controversial, but for smoothing purposes, these molecules really are great for coating the hair cuticle and warding off frizz.
As we’ve mentioned, a moisture imbalance is really the root of most frizz issues—and humidity in the air can contribute to that imbalance. The point being, if a product claims to help block out humidity, you can be pretty much confident that it’s going to be a great frizz fighter.
Check the Directions
Depending on the product, it may need to be heat-activated or applied on damp hair, whereas others work best as the final step on dry hair.
What types of anti-frizz products are there?
You name it, it’s out there. This category runs the gamut with everything from shampoos to masks to spritzes to sprays to cream available, so it really does come down to a matter of personal preference when choosing one.
How often should you use an anti-frizz product?
The simplest answer is after every time that you wash your hair, at the very least. Most are made to be used on damp hair, though some can also be used on dry hair as a finishing step or as a touch-up when needed.
Do anti-frizz products expire?
Yes. Reassess your entire hair care stash every one to two years. Using an old anti-frizz product most likely won’t do you any harm, but it can potentially become less effective if it’s super old.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. Her hair is fine and super prone to frizz—AKA an anti-frizz product is a non-negotiable part of her daily styling routine.