Before you dive into our guide to smoother, frizz-free hair, we want to start by saying there's absolutely nothing wrong with frizz. Sure, it's gotten a bad rap in the past, but we at Byrdie HQ are totally in support of a frizzy mane (if that's the look you're going for). But chances are you clicked on this article because you're looking for some solutions to reduce the frizz and that's okay, too. Because to be honest, Monday we may sport a super sleek, straight look and come Tuesday we're rocking a messy head of spirals. Hey, variety is the spice of life, but how do you tame frizz?
Let's dive into why we have frizz in the first place. Is it humidity? Dehydration? Genetics? There’s likely a whole combination of factors contributing to your frizz, but the root cause is always the same: raised cuticles along the outer layer of the hair shaft.
The cuticle layer, which forms the protective outermost layer of the hair shaft (aka your strands), is made up of scale-like protein segments that overlap each other. When these get roughed-up and become raised, as opposed to laying flat and smooth, frizz happens. Now here comes the crucial part: The natural alignment of these scales differ between hair types, meaning that some of us are just naturally more prone to frizz.
Naturally raised alignments are more common in curly hair types, but hydration has a huge part to play, too. When your hair is full of moisture, the cuticle layer will lie flat (which is why those with oily hair rarely suffer from frizz). But the more dehydrated it gets the more likely you are to see frizziness.
So why does humidity wreak such havoc? When your hair gets wet, the proteins in the cuticle layer reset to their natural alignment. So on a humid day when there’s plenty of moisture in the air, your strands are more likely to get caught in the cycle of sucking up the H2O, resetting their scales and air-drying that way—on repeat.
Now that we understand what frizz is and why we get it, keep scrolling to see expert tips on how to defrizz at home.
Detangle Before You Shampoo
Genetically predisposed or not, there’s plenty to learn to better understand frizz. It all starts, however, with how you wash and care for your hair as healthy, well-hydrated hair will frizz less often.
“Not brushing your hair before you wash it is a very common faux pas. If you just jump straight in the shower without brushing your hair through, product will end up being distributed unevenly, causing inconsistent texture and frizz. I’d recommend using a boar and nylon mix brush before washing to pull natural oils through the hair and hydrate it before the water hits." If you have thick or textured hair, we love the Tangle Teezer for getting through knots and tangles without ripping or snagging the hair.
Shampoo Less, Condition More
“Also, be careful of the amount of shampoo you’re using and how often you’re washing your hair," Long suggests. "Shampooing hair too often leaves it dull and dry, which promotes frizz. I’d recommend only shampooing two to three times a week. Look for a shampoo with a low pH level to avoid breakage and frizziness."
Long also warns to never, ever skip conditioning the hair. "Take the time to apply a special treatment like a hydrating mask once a week. For a natural option, you can even create a DIY mask with coconut oil. This will help fill any holes in your hair shaft that soak up the outside moisture and contribute to frizz.”
Dry With A Microfiber Towel
If frizz is a concern for you, you've probably heard the never dry your hair with your bath towel rule. Well, it's true. Not only is it important to choose a fabric that won't damage the hair, it's important to dry strands gently to avoid unnecessary frizz from occurring. “Roughly towel-drying your hair ruffles the hair’s cuticle layer, too, so squeeze out the water with a microfiber cloth instead," says Long.
Resist Habitual Hair Touching
You know when you've freshly washed or styled your hair and the urge to finger comb, twirl and touch your hair is stronger than ever before? Yeah, we've all been there. Long suggests resisting the urge. “Avoid touching your hair too much, especially after straightening. The more you run your fingers through it, the more static it becomes and the more frizz you create."
Minimize Heat Styling & Chemical-Processing
Once you’ve got the washing game down, it’s all about how you play it up with products and styling tools. “Big players in the frizz-making field are too many chemicals and too much heat exposure,” notes Long.
“Overuse of flatirons damages the hair and leaves it thin and wispy, causing flyaway frizz," continues Long. Also, when a lot of chemicals have been applied to the hair, from coloring treatments, bleaching and so on, frizz can develop at the ends of the hair and even through the shaft. We know there are days when heat styling is, well, necessary so just spritz on a heat protectant before using your hot tool for the best protection against heat damage.
Choose An Ionic Technology Blow Dryer
According to Long, upgrading your blow-dryer is essential. "If you’re constantly battling frizz, the DIY blow-dry often makes it worse. You want to be using an ionic technology device; ions produce a negative charge that compresses hair cuticles and locks out puff-inducing moisture, giving you a sleeker finish." Don’t dry your hair in too much of a rush, either. The setting should be on a low heat and if possible, opt for using a diffuser for the best results.
Avoid Styling In A Steamy Bathroom
Remember what we said about humidity before? We often refer to humid conditions when talking about the weather outside, but the same goes for indoors, too. "Drying or styling your hair in a muggy bathroom full of condensation is just as bad as exposure to muggy weather," Long says. "Style and dry your hair in your bedroom instead, or wait until the bathroom condensation has cleared.”
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