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Frizzy Curly Hair: Causes and Solutions

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Image of Black woman with frizzy curly hair.

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Frizzy, curly hair is common and can be challenging to manage, especially if you don’t know what causes the frizz and how to deal with those flyaways. While some people embrace frizzy locks, others don’t want anything to do with it. 

Frizz is often a natural by-product of curly hair because of the hair texture. Genetics, dehydration, humidity, damage, and incorrect styling techniques contribute to frizzy, curly hair. It can be manageable using the correct care methods and products to hold shape and seal in moisture.

Read on to learn more about frizz and why you have them, how to prevent and manage them, what products are best for your hair type, and some styling tips. We answer all your burning questions! 

Hair Frizz Explained 

Image of a raised cuticle layer.
When the cuticle layer of your hair is raised, it results in frizzy hair.

Hair frizz is the physical state of the hair. It refers to hair that looks misaligned or “spiky” spread around the scalp area caused by small fibers that project away from the main body of hair. It is often called “flyaways” (short hairs perpendicular to the hair shaft). 

Three factors contribute to hair frizz: 

Genetics

You inherit certain hair types and textures through your bloodline. You may have the same if a parent or grandparent has curly hair that naturally frizzes. Albeit your genetics, your frizz can be controlled.  

Damage

Damage is often the primary reason for frizz, especially with curly hair. Curly hair tends to tangle and break easier. Color and bleaching also cause damage, and not using correct hair care methods and products lead to weak, thin hair that breaks, resulting in frizz. 

Humidity

Humidity is less a cause of frizz and more a trigger for flyaways. Humidity rearranges the hair fiber hydrogen bonds that hold the hair’s protein structure.

When they are broken, the cuticles lift. Moisture penetrates the hair shaft and absorbs it into the cortex, causing it to swell. 

Frizz is not only present in humidity. Variations in hair texture may also influence the appearance of frizz. That means that all hair types can experience frizz. 

What Causes Frizz In Curly Hair? 

Image of woman with frizzy curly hair trying to hide in shame.

We have looked at the primary reasons for frizz and understand that it can happen to any hair type. But since it is most common and often a natural result of curly hair, let’s understand why. 

Dry Hair 

Curly hair craves moisture. Unlike straight hair, natural oils struggle to run down the hair strands because of the twists and twirls. This leads to slower natural hydration. 

Curly hair requires additional products like hair masks or leave-in conditioners to hydrate and lock moisture in. Conditioner is also essential after washing oils out. 

Overwashing also leads to dry hair because it strips the natural oils from the scalp and roots, leading to dry hair that becomes weak, brittle, thin, and damaged, which causes breaking and ends in flyaways. 

Lack Of Hold 

After washing and styling, curly hair can often look smooth and perfect. But as the day passes and there is exposure to different environmental factors like sun, wind, rain, etc., and rubbing against clothing, accessories, chairs, or hands can change the texture. 

When that happens, frizz can occur because there is not enough hold from the product to keep the hair in place or withstand moisture loss. Leave-in conditioners, serums, mousse, and hair sprays can help hold your hair in place and keep it smooth and supple.  

Incorrect Hair Care And Styling Techniques 

There are specific methods that people with curly hair should use during care and styling. Curly hair should not be brushed vigorously, especially not once dried and styled. Not using conditioner and rarely oiling can lead to weakness and damage. 

Excessive use of heating tools like curling irons, flat irons, and hair dryers is also damaging. Lack of heat protectant, using excessively hot water, not using moisture-locking products, or using incorrect products (straight hair products instead of curly care) can all contribute to frizz.  

21 Additional factors that cause frizz in curly and other hair types include: 

  1. Change in season or weather conditions. 
  2. Damage from heat styling tools like curling irons and flat irons. 
  3. Excessive humectants
  4. Using products that contain sulfate. 
  5. Product build-up of polymers, cationic, and silicone. 
  6. Lack of conditioner and other hair moisturizing products. 
  7. Overwashing your hair. 
  8. Too much sun exposure. 
  9. Sweat (contains a small amount of salt and pulls moisture from your hair). 
  10. Frequent protein treatments
  11. Harsh chemicals result in protein loss and hair’s mechanical strength (i.e., bleach, hair dyes). 
  12. Drying ingredients like alcohol-based products. 
  13. Chlorine from swimming pools and home taps (showers). 
  14. Hard water
  15. Split ends. 
  16. Not using hair cuticle sealing techniques. 
  17. Rubbing and friction from towels, pillows, scarves, hats, hands, rough brushing, etc. 
  18. Underlying health issues. 
  19. Internal dehydration, poor diet, and vitamin deficiency. 
  20. Hormonal fluctuations. 
  21. Aging 

How To Prevent Frizzy Curly Hair 

There is no such thing as a one-and-done remedy for frizzy hair. You can reduce frizz and, over time, get rid of it if you consistently take proper care of your hair. Everyone’s hair and lifestyle are different. Determine what works best for you, and let your hair guide you. 

12 Tips to minimize frizz and keep your curls looking luscious: 

  1. Use a conditioning mask (or deep conditioner) to strengthen and moisturize your hair. Regularly oiling is also beneficial. 
  2. Use a leave-in conditioner after you wash your hair. It helps reduce frizz by sealing in moisture. 
  3. Let your hair air dry to help reduce the appearance of frizz and prevent heat damage. 
  4. Try sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase to prevent friction and moisture loss to cotton and polyester materials. 
  5. Use a good quality and hydrating shampoo and conditioner. It’s always best to get products specific to curly hair types. If you have color-treated hair, make sure to use a shampoo and conditioner that are designed for that. 
  6. Make sure your products are sulfate and paraben-free.  
  7. Look for shampoos and conditioners that contain gentle cleansing agents such as cocamidopropyl betaine or decyl glucoside. A clarifying shampoo can be used once a month (or as needed) to remove product build-up and residue from your hair.  
  8. Avoid products with drying alcohol like ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and SD alcohol. 
  9. Apply a heat protectant before using heat-styling tools. 
  10. Avoid twisting and rubbing your hair with a towel after washing. Use a microfiber towel or turban towel cap instead. 
  11. Invest in good hair styling tools and equipment like a hairbrush, a better blow dryer, proper hair ties, claw clips, and satin scrunchies
  12. If you’ve tried everything and are still not getting results, contact a professional curly hairstylist for help. 

How To Reduce Frizz in Humid Environments

If you have curly hair, you probably hate humid weather. Humidity and curly hair are not friends. Below are tips and techniques you can use to help manage those flyaways. 

  • Use frizz-free products to help tame the frizz and prevent the occurrence. 
  • Apply frizz-fighting serum or oil before you style your hair.
  • Use a gel or hair spray. 
  • Products with dimethicone (silicone) can help with smoothening and sealing in moisture. Excessive use can weigh your hair down, and it is essential to wash your hair thoroughly (use clarifying shampoo) after using silicones. 

Avoid silicones if:  

  • You do not wash your hair with any sort of shampoo. Silicones don’t rinse off. They accumulate, and you’ll have heavy, limp hair and product residue. 
  • You have thin or fine hair that gets weighed down easily. 
  • You don’t like how they make your hair look and feel. 

25 Favorite Frizzy Curly Hair Products 

Hair porosity, the quantity of sebum produced, and curl pattern are just a few variables that determine whether or not a product or treatment is suitable for one person versus another. 

Many products on the market help reduce frizz, but finding the right one for your hair type can be confusing. Below is an extensive list of products to help you choose the best option: 

  1. Bounce Curl Hair Spray: This truly and genuinely works excellently in humid environments! A little spritz on your curls before going out goes a long way. (Discount code for all of my readers to save $ is ‘muse’) 
  2. Bounce Curl Moisture Balance Leave-In Conditioner: This leave-in-conditioner’s moisture balance and protective effects are great for every wash day. You can also apply it as a primer beneath any hair product.
  3. Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Cream: This is a heat-protecting, lightweight cream that reduces frizz, smoothens your hair, improves shine, and protects it against heat up to 450 degrees F! 
  4. Bumble & Bumble Bb Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo: This cleanser is made for dry, brittle hair and uses a potent combination of six hydrating oils to cleanse and condition your scalp. 
  5. Carol’s Daughter Monoi Multi-Styling Milk: The multi-styling milk delivers less breakage and stronger hair. It is just what you need to moisturize and protect your curly hair. 
  6. Christophe Robin Anti-Frizz Rescue Milk With Shea Butter: This formula is enriched with shea butter, vitamins, and omega 3 and 6. It also contains moringa, which protects hair against pollution, color oxidation, and heat up to 440°F (230°). 
  7. Color Wow Supernatural Spray: This multi-award-winning anti-frizz spray keeps hair frizz-free for days. It is perfect when you are in humid environments. 
  8. DevaCurl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam: This light foam helps to add volume and reduce frizz. It holds your curls and locks in moisture. 
  9. FEKKAI Brilliant Gloss Shampoo: This is a hydrating shampoo, and it’s a vegan and gluten-free formula. It is a nutrient-rich formula that revives and nourishes dry tresses while eliminating frizz. 
  10. John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength Serum: This serum is formulated with a unique blend of silicones that help protect dehydrated strands against the onset of frizz. Avoid this one if you don’t use silicones. 
  11. Living Proof No Frizz Instant De-Frizzer: This dry conditioning spray will help those unruly hairs that refuse to lay down or form. Another one is perfect for humid weather. 
  12. It’s a Ten Miracle Leave-In Product: This leave-in conditioner helps to moisturize and seal in moisture while protecting hair from heat. 
  13. It’s a Ten Miracle Curl Defining Creme: This creme is designed for frizzy, curly hair because it has been shown to reduce the appearance of frizz by 80%! 
  14. Moroccan Oil Treatment: A little goes a long way with this product! It helps to tame frizz while providing shine and conditioning. 
  15. NaturAll Avocado Curl Custard: This is a medium-hold curl-defining styler and a medium-hold gel. No sulfates, parabens, silicones, dyes, phthalates, or animal testing. 
  16. Oribe Foundation Mist: This product has “anti-static properties” that keep your hair from becoming staticky when you blow-dry it. 
  17. OUIDAD Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Stronger Hold Gel: This is the product if you need a strong gel to fight against humidity. This recipe is perfect for extremely humid days or curls requiring more structure. 
  18. Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-In Treatment: This product strengthens and protects hair from heat. Leave-in-treatments are brilliant for preventing frizz, 
  19. Righteous Roots Oils: This oil is the hair’s bees-knees. You may use it in various ways, such as hot oil treatment or scrunching out the crunch. 
  20. SheaMoisture Curl Mousse for Frizz Control Coconut and Hibiscus with Shea Butter: This moisture-rich mousse enhances natural curl memory and adds definition. The neem oil controls frizz while adding shine to your curls. 
  21. SheaMoisture Intensive Hydration Hair Mask For Dry, Damaged Hair Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil: This deep conditioning hair treatment delivers a powerful dose of moisture to your locks while strengthening follicles and producing frizz-free curls. 
  22. Tigi Bed Head Foxy Curls Extreme Curl Mousse: This mousse softens and smoothens the cuticle and conditions and protects the hair from thermal damage. 
  23. Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Serum: This is more than an anti-frizz serum. The keratin and marula oil help fight frizz, detangle knots, and tame flyaways. 
  24. TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner: These products are designed to help tame frizzy hair while smoothing the cuticle. 
  25. Virtue Polish Un-Frizz Cream: This keeps the humidity at bay, allowing you to minimize as much frizz as possible throughout the day. 

Tips for Styling Curly, Frizzy Hair

  • Always start with clean, damp, to wet hair. 
  • Apply styling cream, gel, or mousse while your hair is damp to help define curls, reduce frizz and add shine. Always scrunch the product into your spirals. 
  • Allow your hair to air dry if time permits, or use a low heat setting on your blow dryer with a diffuser to help them retain shape. 
  • If you don’t want to use too much product but still need more hold, spray an anti-humidity spray into your palms and then run your hands through your hair. 
  • Use a heat protectant when using any heating tool for drying or styling.
  • After using heating tools, apply a serum to smoothen and protect your hair, add shine, and lock in moisture. 

Conclusion 

Frizzy, curly hair can be a challenge, but with the right tips, it’s manageable. Experiment with different methods and products to find what works best for you. And don’t forget, a little frizz can be cute! 

HI,I'M VERNA

I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

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