Frizz is part of having curly hair. It's important to realize that while you may be able to reduce it, it's never going away! Here are 5 types of frizz you may encounter on your curly journey and suggestions for improving the amount of frizz you have if that's your goal.
This kind of frizz is often found on hair that isn't using the right products for their hair type. Curls may look undefined and might be flatter towards the crown.
Tips for reducing common frizz:
1. Use a leave-in conditioner or a curl primer under a stronger holding gel. Recommendations for leave-in conditioners and primers include:
- Innersense Sweet Spirit Leave-in Conditioner - nice and light, organic ingredients, and can be used on wet or dry hair.
- Bounce Curl Moisture Balance Leave In Conditioner - this is richer, creamier and has more butters and oils. It can also prime curls!
- Ecoslay Orange Marmalade - this is very moisturizing, protein free, and really activates waves and curls. Leaves a firm cast so some may find it works well alone.
- Noughty Hello Curls Primer Spray - this is a very light spray, great for finer textures that will help prime but can also do triple duty as a single beach-y hair styler or on refresh days.
- Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment - a rich blends of butters and oils to really help thirsty curls. Available in unscented or some natural light scents, it is certain to replenish your hair in as little as few minutes.
- Pretty Curly Girl Intense Protein Deep Conditioner - has the ingredients you need if your hair is damaged from colour/highlights or heat.
3. Use less conditioner. This is the opposite of what I wrote above but depending on texture and density you may need to adjust in the opposite direction. Remember that conditioners are designed to not fully rinse off (they are negatively charged and will stick to your positively charged hair).
4. Clarify your hair. Use products that clean deeper and remove build up.
- Curl Keeper Treatment Shampoo - has the ability to not only remove product build up but is great for your scalp and has protein for strength.
- Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Exfoliating Shampoo - another great clarifying wash at a great price.
Product frizz results in hair looking stringy and little pieces breaking away from those juicy curl clumps. This might be caused by the product itself or you’ve used something too heavy in oils and butters for your hair type.
1. Use lighter products. You might like to try:
- AG Cloud Air Light Volumizing Mousse - a pump style mousse and is as labelled light as a cloud.
- Ouidad Curl Shaper Out of Thin (H)air Volumizing Jelly - will give you that hold of a great gel without too much weight and no cast.
2. Ditch the polyquats. Another ingredient some hair doesn't react well to are “polyquats”. Check if this is high up (first five) in your ingredients list. Try these instead:
- Bounce Curl Light Hold Creme Gel - is about 80% gel and 20% cream and is polyquat free.
- Camille Rose Curl Maker is a light gel also polyquat free. It has marshmallow root which is great at smoothing frizz.
3. Simple humectants that are high up in the ingredients list like glycerin and propylene glycol can cause frizz for some people. Here are some products without them:
- Miribel Naturals Flaxseed Gel - free of simple humectants but has the excellent moisture of flax and aloe in a very organic product that needs no refrigeration.
- Boucleme Shine + Shield Gel - is free of simple humectants and will smooth hair and add shine with medium level hold.
- Aunt Jackie’s Heads Up Shampoo is a reasonably priced clarifying shampoo that works and lathers well.
- Ouidad Curl Shaper Good As New Moisture Restoring Shampoo is a great choice if you find most of the clarifying ones a bit too drying for your hair. It works to remove build up but has more oils to keep that softness and flexibility of hair.
5. Make sure you apply your products slowly and in sections so that you don’t intentionally break up the clumps. And for my fellow low density wavy/curly people ….you might need to embrace more small clumps in order to get volume!
6. If your hair can handle oils you can use them on damp hair after your stylers to seal everything in. If not oil try a little hairspray.
- Righteous Roots Rx is a curl fave as it not only can be used as a sealer but also makes your next scalp massage even better by helping promote healthy hair growth.
- The Alcohol-Free Hairspray from Bounce Curl is - you guessed it - alcohol free!
7. Use a brush to ensure you have coated all of your hair with your styling products.
- The world famous Denman brush in the original 9 row (we also have the 7 row!) works very well for this.
- The Curl Keeper Flexy Brush is, as described, very flexible so it is gentle when brushing your hair when it's wet (hair's most fragile state).
CROWN or HALO FRIZZ
This kind of frizz is at the crown or even all over the top layer of your hair.
1. Apply a light amount of a glycerin-free water based product, a conditioner, or an oil and pat it over dry hair on day 2+.
- Hair and Skin Essentials 90% Humidity Solution is of my faves that can be used as a primer on wash day or over dry hair. It does what it says. Provides very light hold so will need a gel or a foam over it.
- Curl Keeper Dry Oil Elixir - This oil from Curl Keeper is very light and like most natural products is safe to use on scalp and skin as well. Super light.
2. Use more gel.
3. Apply stylers to wet hair and brush them through for even distribution.
This happens when you go to refresh after cleansing day.
1. After wash day your day-old products will need water to help with hydration and flexibility. You may need to add a bit of conditioner or gel especially the further you are away from wash day to smooth out the hair. I know that’s is common to add this to your spray bottle but remember that once you mix there is a slight risk the ingredients can go off. Only make enough of this mixture to last 2-3 days and regularly clean your bottle with warm water and a little bit of dishwashing soap. Rinse and fully dry before using again
- Continuous Mist Spray Bottle - This easy-to-use bottle ensures an ultra fine mist comes with every pull of the trigger for you to control how wet you get your hair. Water is moisture!
2. If you have very hard water consider using distilled water only in your spray bottle
3. If your hair can handle oils then a little on the mid to ends is good. Avoid just applying oil to your frizz unless the hair is already well hydrated. Oil alone will not tame the frizz.
This is the frizz that you notice after cleansing, conditioning, or adding in a styler. You can’t seem to get smooth clumps in your wet hair and it looks webbed between the strands.
1. Make sure you have recently clarified and deep conditioned. If you need to do it more often than say every 6-8 weeks do it!
2. Do you have hard water? If so get in regular use of Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo and if it’s well water or super hard get the one-time Treatment Packets which are a bit stronger. Remember that the packet can affect light coloured hair (blonds, silver) so make sure you shampoo after!
3. Is your hair reacting to something? If you sense your hair dries almost instantly upon application of a particular product, go have a look through the ingredients. Things like humectants (glycerine, propylene glycol, hydrolyzed proteins, honey, sorbitol, aloe) or film forming polymers like PVP high up in the list can sometimes cause this reaction for certain people. This is my least favourite option as it’s complicated and without a degree in chemistry you can never be certain what ingredient it is unless it happens often, with multiple products, that all contain one similar ingredient. It’s all about formulation. You might find one product with those ingredients works great while another similar one does not and this can be down to how much is in the formula and what it is paired with in the ingredients. It’s probably easier to change your product.
I hope you have a few more ideas on technique and products to help with the different types of frizz. Curly hair always experiences more frizz than straight hair, and always remember one of my favourite quotes from Curl Magazine:
“Achieving volume, definition, and multiple-day hair all together in the beginning is very tricky.
- Frizz and definition live on opposite ends of the curl spectrum;
- ”Volume” is subjective to the individual and typically involves embracing some amount of functional frizz; and
- Achieving multiple days all rests on the success of Day 1, which is rooted in technique.”
1. Rodriguez, Gina Marie. (2019) The Sliding Scale of Definition to Frizz. Curl Magazine, issue 5. https://readcurl.com/