What is frizzy hair anyway?
The causes of frizzy hair
Is there anything we can do?
Hands up if frizz is your nemesis! 🙋♀️ We know what we don’t like about it but what exactly is frizzy hair?
What is frizzy hair?
Frizz is hair that doesn’t sit in line with the surrounding hair. It is ‘mis-behaving’ and as a result either standing up on its own or curling independently and not clumping in with other curls. The result is an uneven, fuzzy hair texture. Frizz!
Why does it do this?
This is the tricky bit. There are lots of causes – some that are within our control and some that aren’t.. Let’s start with the things that we can’t control and then move on to the ones that we can to make ourselves feel better 😊
Causes out of our control:
Big one here. Some curls clump together perfectly on their own and the result is little or no frizz. Others need a little help! Hair texture factors in here, too. Dry hair tends to frizz more.
This is my battle. It’s Lauren’s Hair vs The Weather.
What is frizzy hair and why can’t it cope in some kinds of weather?
Moisture in the air is the problem. We hear a lot about humidity, but there is also fog and…I don’t even like to say the word…MIST! They affect the hair in the same way – it is all about moisture in the air.
I live in the UK so I encounter these a little more frequently (swirling fog in Victorian London and all that 😉). Stepping outside I’m like a Basset Hound sniffing the air. I can tell instantly if there is moisture present.
The trouble with humidity/mist is that the moisture carried in the air penetrates our hair.
In a simple sense, it is undoing all the good work that we have put into our curls. The products, plopping, diffusing..moisture will disrupt it all and put us back at square 1.
Hair strands swell due to the added moisture and this causes them to go off and do their own thing away from our curl pattern.
Hair porosity factors in here. Higher porosity curls will absorb more moisture whereas some low porosity curls can actually survive the weather and won’t receive a visit from THE FRIZZ MONSTER.
Causes Within Our Control:
Damaged, dry hair has a rough cuticle (the outer layer) and is prone to breakage. Dry, dehydrated hair will absorb the moisture in the air as it strives for hydration.
Weak, broken hair is also likely to sit away from our curl pattern causing it to frizz up!
This can be damage from heated styling tools, over processing (such as bleaching) or as a result of too much brushing.
Friction on hair will also rough up the hair’s cuticle and cause frizz.
At a more basic level, it can also affect our curl patterns by moving hair away from the rest of the clump. This ‘untidy-ness’ will result in frizz.
The main causes of friction are the way we sleep (cotton pillowcases are ‘rough’ and also absorb moisture from hair) and the towel that we use.
The towel issue is a major point! Normal bath towels are rough, and rubbing your curly hair with one of these risks rubbing the cuticle the wrong way.
Touching your hair too much is also causing friction. Try to avoid touching it (or letting anyone else touch it for that matter..grr..) as it dries and the curls form their pattern.
Curls out of their curl pattern = frizz!
The Good News!
There are things that we can do.
The best tips for cutting down on curly hair frizz are
- Use lots of moisture on your hair! Moisturised hair will not let in as much outside moisture from the air. Deep conditioning is a must. Gels can also help. They form a protective layer around curls, locking in moisture, preserving curl pattern and repelling moisture from humidity/mist
- Resist the urge to use too much heat on your hair (read my post on heat damage to curly hair)
- Regular trims to keep damaged ends away
- Try to avoid brushing dry hair – this can cause breakage and lead to frizz
- Use an old t-shirt to dry hair (plopping). This is one of my absolute favourite curly hair tips. This has made an ENORMOUS difference to my curls. It is gentle on hair cuticles and doesn’t disrupt your curl pattern as it begins to form on wet hair
- Sleep on silk pillowcases or use silk hair wraps at night
- Use the right products and avoid silicones and sulphates. Many anti-frizz products contain silicones. These fight frizz by making a protective layer around the hair shaft. The trouble is they build up on hair, leaving it feeling greasy and limp. The temptation is to lift these out of the hair using sulphates which are even worse! They are harsh cleansers that can strip your hair of its natural oils and leave it dry and brittle
Read my post on the 5 best things you can do to improve the condition of your curls
The Even Better News!
Frizz isn’t always bad. A little bit can be good, and the texture it creates can actually help create body and volume. I want my curls to look defined, but I don’t mind a bit of a fluffy look. In fact, I actually like it. Even when my curls are defined I always want to fluff them up a bit. I like my hair to be as big as possible! I wouldn’t use a brush to do this – just my fingers.
Maybe frizz isn’t always bad…
There may be many factors beyond our control such as genetics and the weather, but we have the tools, products and, goodness knows, the determination to tame the beast!
What is frizzy hair? Something we can handle!
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