How to Get Rid of Frizzy Hair
About My Hair
Several years ago I decided I needed to learn how to get rid of frizzy hair. My hair is medium length and medium thickness. It's always been a bit on the fine side and has some natural wave, but isn't actually curly. Unfortunately, it's also a bit dry and tends to get frizzy if I'm not careful with it. It gets crispy and flyaways if it gets too much attention from moisturizers, styling tools, or chemicals. A simple razor cut from the salon can result in a frightful splintered look. As for humidity or a good rainfall, these can produce a large halo of angel fuzz hovering about my otherwise straight hair.
Because of this, I dedicated myself to find a solution. This article will outline what I learned and what I found to be effective.
At one point in my life, I used to wash and blow dry my hair every day. It gave it added fullness. Of course, when I wanted curls, I used hot rollers, and occasionally a curling iron. Over the years, I've highlighted and colored it, permed it, had it layered, and when the shine seemed to dull, I piled on more and more conditioner.
Of course, stylists weren't always easy on my hair either, using all kinds of implements of destruction to coax it into a particular look. Razors, for instance, are a favorite in some circles, although certainly not mine. Then there were the variety of products from volumizers to mousse which conspired to further transform my strands into fuzzy, frayed wisps.
Many products and styling tools can be blamed for frizzy hair, the top 10 scoundrels would include, but not be limited to:
- Chemicals from perms and hair colors which damage hair
- Razors (for cutting)
- Hot rollers
- Curling irons
- Blow dryers
- Crimping irons
- Flat irons
- Bristle Brushes
- Hair Spray
Of course, some hair is more prone to frizz. Fine hair is often a victim, but so is dry and coarser curly hair. Certainly damaged hair with split ends is often a prone to frizziness as well. There are plenty of factors outside our control too, like high humidity.
The Steps for Getting It Smooth
If you're aware of the culprits that contribute to frizzy hair, then you're well on the road to curing the problem. A few changes in your daily routine and some different products can make a significant improvement. The key for me has been to identify the products that work best for me, use those products in moderation, and cut out others altogether.
How to Get Rid of Frizzy Hair
- Wash less frequently.
- Find the right shampoo.
- Deep condition and use a demi-permanent glossing treatment.
- Use a light leave-in conditioner after each wash.
- Use an anti-frizz or smoothing serum.
- Stop blow drying or do it properly.
- Use hot irons/flat irons sparingly and only with caution.
- Get the right cut and keep it trimmed.
1. Wash Less Frequently
Give your hair a chance to benefit from its natural oils and to take a break from some of the drying chemicals in shampoos and other products. For people with very greasy hair, dry shampoos can be tried in an attempt to avoid daily washes and blow drying. Taking advantage the natural oils produced by your body and providing adequate moisture are first steps in reducing frizziness.
2. Find the Right Shampoo
From my experience, using an anti-frizz, sulfate free shampoo can really help to promote sleek, smooth hair. There are many brands available and you can find them even in drug stores.
Of course, avoiding any product (mousse, hair spray, gels, etc.) with alcohol can help reduce the excessive dryness which is a foe to smooth hair.
3. Deep Condition and Use a Demi-Permanent Glossing Treatment
There are a number of great deep conditioning treatments and masks on the market that can be used once each week to help maintain moisture. I do these for moisture, but for me personally, what I have found to be more helpful in eliminating frizziness is a gloss treatment every 3 weeks or so.
These are demi-permanent and will last for about 10 washes. I choose a clear glossing treatment so that the color of my hair isn't affected, mix it with a 10 volume developer, coat my hair completely and leave it on for about 20 minutes before washing it out. It makes my hair shinier and helps to seal the cuticle which reduces frizz. I find these to work better for me than protein or keratin treatments.
I purchase mine at a beauty supply store where there are several brands available. I choose the one pictured above as it is formulated specifically for older hair. I've included a how-to video below. I am not as careful in my application as shown here but it's a good way to see a before and after. This works on any type of hair.
4. Use a Light Leave-in Conditioner After Each Wash
I apply a small amount of a light leave-in conditioner after washing. With many of these products, too much can give you a greasy look but the two I mention below don't seem to do this although they do soften my hair. Personally, I like to alternate products.
I sometimes use Shea Butter (mine is Strengthen and Restore from the Shea Moisture line). This is often found in the aisle with other African American hair products. I always apply it to my hair immediately after towel drying.
Another affordable product I use is . It never weighs down my hair. It works best when I apply it after towel drying my hair and combing it through. I love that I don't seem to have to worry about applying too much as it never seems to build up or give me that greasy look. I've even used it later in the day if I find I have stray flyaways that need to be tamed after the fact. Aussie Hair Insurance
5. Use an Anti-Frizz or Smoothing Serum
These products can do a reasonably good job for people with a moderate problem. (John Frieda has one for instance.) It's important to start with a very small amount and work it through your hair to be sure you don't weigh your hair down or get a greasy look. I seldom use this if I've used a leave-in conditioner so it's an either/or situation. I don't like to weigh my hair down with too much product and there does seem to be a point of diminishing return.
Many people use Argan Oil but it doesn't work well for me. I find that it looks nice right after applying, but I always have to re-apply throughout the day and my hair ends up looking oily. Likewise, hair wax builds up and weighs down my fine hair too much. When I use these products I find I have to wash my hair more frequently because of the product build-up.
Infrequently, if the weather is particularly humid I sometimes apply just a bit of hairspray after my hair dries to help keep the cuticle sealed.
6. Stop Blow Drying or Do It Properly
Routinely blowing hot air on your hair can dry it out. Allowing it to air dry can reduce this and, in the long run, give you healthier hair that is less prone to frizz. However, if the weather is humid or you have serious frizz, blow drying your hair properly can help solve the problem by helping to seal the cuticle.
Personally, I allow mine to air dry at least 50% of the way and then blow dry it after I've applied the leave-in conditioner/heat protectant.
Although cool air will keep your hair healthier, using warm to hot air and blowing in the direction your hair grows (down the length of the hair shaft) will reduce frizziness. I definitely recommend applying a heat protectant before blow drying.
To do it properly, use the nozzle attachment to get a focused, directed stream of air. Hair should be held taut, using a non-bristle brush, while drying with warm to hot air. At the end, a blast of cool air will help seal the cuticle.
I always dry mine completely before going outside into any humid or damp weather. Making sure it's completely dry and sealed with a leave-in conditioner before exposing it to humidity helps eliminate frizzy hair.
7. Use Hot Irons/Flat Irons Sparingly and Only With Caution
Stylists use these appliances with great success on my hair. After using the flat iron, my hair is smooth and it remains that way until I wash it. However, due to the potential for damaging my hair, I avoid them at home. If you have curly hair or use them only occasionally this may be an option, but care should be taken to avoid damaging your hair.
- get a good one, do research to get the one best for your hair type
- don't use a higher heat than needed
- use a heat protectant first
For me personally, the short-term gain with these appliances aren't worth the potential for long-term damage.
8. Get the Right Cut and Keep It Trimmed
By trimming your hair every 6 to 8 weeks you will cut off any split ends that add to the problem of frizziness.
For those of us with serious frizz problems, razor cuts seem to exacerbate the problem. I tell my stylist simply that I don't want a razor used on my hair. If you have frizzy ends, you may also benefit from a blunt cut without excessive layering. Personally, I have a couple of layers around my face and that's it. With more layers, I get more frizz.
What Have You Found Most Useful in Combating Frizzy Hair?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Christine Mulberry