Combating Frizz

Understanding what causes frizz and how to prevent it.

Frizz seems to be the bane of every curly girl’s existence, especially in the summer months when humidity levels are higher. I am often asked about products and methods to combat frizz, so I compiled this information to help you tame your mane and get more frizz-free wear out of your styles!

What is frizz?

moknowshair_cuticlediagramFrizz occurs when the cuticle layer of your hair is raised, allowing moisture to pass through and swell the strands. As a result, your hair appears dry and frizzy instead of smooth and defined. In general, curly hair tends to have more frizz than straight hair because of dehydration in the strands, which leaves it more vulnerable to frizzing.

Hair can become dehydrated for many reasons…

  • You aren’t drinking enough water (at least half your weight in ounces per day) and eating a balanced diet.
  • You are not sleeping with satin or silk accessories and your hair is rubbing against drying materials.
  • The oil your scalp naturally secretes is not making it down the strands of hair over the days after washing (which is very common with coily and kinky hair types).
  • You are not deep conditioning often enough, or with the right types of products for your porosity level.
  • Your shampoo is drying your hair.
  • Your protein to moisture balance is off; you are using too much protein without enough moisture.
  • Your oils and moisturizers of choice are not penetrating the hair shaft.
  • Medications you are taking are causing changes in your body that affect your hair.
  • You have over-processed chemicals in your hair, such as high-lift dye or bleach, that have damaged the cuticle.

 

Frizz fighting products.

Products that claim to ward off frizz are almost always going to contain silicones. That’s just the way it is. Silicones attach to the hair and create a barrier that stops external moisture, mainly humidity, from getting in the hair shaft. The trick to using styling products with silicones is to use a hydrating shampoo with a deep conditioner or treatment that has essential, fatty oils and other nutrients prior to styling.

You constantly hear me say in tutorials that I install moisture while my hair is wet. I do this because I use heat protectants when I diffuse my wash-n-go, and heat protectants contain silicones. It’s almost unavoidable if you want heat and humidity protection from styling products.

In addition to silicones, frizz fighting products also tend to contain certain types of proteins, like wheat or soy protein, that help with hydration and strength. Other common ingredients are essential fatty oils like avocado, olive and coconut oil, and sealants such as mango or shea butter.

Here are some deep conditioners and treatments that help fight frizz:

Here are a few styling products that help control frizz:

  

Frizz fighting oils.

If you prefer to combat frizz without the help of styling aids, you can try adding natural oils to your regimen.

  • Argan Oil seals the hair cuticle and protects it against frizz caused by external elements like humidity.
  • Coconut oil reduces protein loss when used as a pre-poo treatment or in hot oil treatments. It is a fatty acid with a low molecular weight, so it easily penetrates the hair shaft and can help keep hair hydrated, which in turn, helps prevent frizz.
  • Sunflower oil has more of a bulky structure that does not penetrate the hair shaft, but when used in products or in hot oil treatments, it can tame frizz because it contains linoleic acid, a fatty acid good for hydration.
  • Olive Oil contains vitamin E, an antioxidant good for growth and moisture. Olive oil (or Olea Europaea Fruit as it’s commonly referred to) can help tame frizz as its molecular structure is small enough to penetrate strands, and it acts as an emollient to pull moisture into the hair shaft.
  • Avocado oil is high in saturated fat, making its molecular structure small enough to get in the hair shaft and provide lots of moisture to strands.

How to incorporate a frizz fighting oil into your regimen:

  • Add a couple tablespoons to an applicator bottle, add your favorite hydrating conditioner and deep condition.
  • Include these oils in hot oil treatments.
  • Make a pre-poo treatment with coconut oil and one or two others, then shampoo and deep condition as normal.
  • Mix an oil and water in a small spray bottle and mist hair in the days after washing to add moisture to curls.
  • Dab a bit of oil on the ends of your twists, curls or braids at night to seal in moisture.

 

moknowshair_combatfrizzyhairHere are some tips you can use to help avoid frizz after styling.

  1. Coat your fingers with oil before situating curls into styles and fluffing.
  2. Use a bit of protein-rich conditioner, diluted with water, to refresh the areas that are most frizzy.
  3. If you diffuse, make sure your blow dryer is ceramic, and if you want it to be even better, choose an ionic ceramic blow dryer, like the one you see me use in all my tutorials. Ionic dryers reduce frizz by compressing the cuticle, which locks out external moisture.
  4. Always sleep in satin and silk accessories, and use a satin pillowcase if you pineapple so those ends are protected.
  5.  Make sure you are using a hydrating shampoo with natural oils.
  6. Always deep condition your hair. The more hydrated it is, the longer your styles last, and frizz stays at bay.
  7. Try using a microfiber towel instead of regular bath towels so you do not disturb your hair’s cuticle layer after washing.
  8. Do hot oil treatments more often to infuse your strands with essential oils.
  9. Look for alcohol-free styling products.
  10. Consider use of a heat protecting leave-in, even if you aren’t planning to style with heat. Why? Because they are specifically designed to create a barrier between your hair and external elements. Heat protectants have silicones, so if you feel build-up is an issue, no worries, just use a clarifying shampoo or do an apple cider vinegar rinse on your next wash day.

 

I hope these tips and information help you find ways to help control frizz, but know that there is no one, perfect, frizz control product or solution. Changes to your regimen, such as addition of new treatments or oils, can take several applications to show a true, recognizable difference. You should not expect perfect, frizz-free tendrils after one use of a new product.

In addition to product patience, I encourage you to try and be reasonable with your expectations of perfectly controlled curls. There are just some things that come with dwelling in natural territory, and frizz is one of them. If you become fixated on fighting frizz every single day, you will find yourself with tons of products you won’t use and lots of frustration. You will have to, at some point, just become comfortable with a bit of frizz from time to time. Embrace it…it’s all natural, and it’s all you!

12 Comments to Combating Frizz

  1. Can you please do a video on finding a go-to style for different lengths of hair? I’m having some trouble finding one.

  2. Thank you Mo! You do indeed know hair! I to have been doing my own hair as well as other’s for years non professionally and have found your tips very useful for myself and others. Thank you for not being selfish in what you have learned. And thank you for being generous and sharing your wealth of knowledge it has truly been beneficial for me and other’s. I am so glad I found your site! Your professionalism in your personal videos speak volumes compared to others I can’t say it enough thanks again Mo keep up the fine work!

  3. Kaellen // May 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm //

    Great tips on frizz! I would love to know if you have any tips for combating dandruff?

  4. Thanks! This was great detailed info and a refresher on some of the fundamentals. I will start watching your youtube vids, great!

  5. Greetings! Very helpful advice withinn this article! It’s the little changes
    which will make the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  6. Thank you for all of your tips/tutorials and product reviews they have been a greAt help. I was wondering if you would do a Deva Curl product review as i hear it is becoming more popular. Thanks

  7. Thank you I will use these products a little more often I do noticed that my hair loves oil and water.
    Love your hair

  8. these tips r cool

  9. hey thanks!
    at last I got perfect article for hair frizz.
    thank you writer.

  10. Kathleennail // November 30, 2015 at 3:06 pm //

    I personally love my Karmin 😀

  11. In my ever ongoing fight against frizz, I found that a mix of castor oil and argan oil was great, especiallz in the summer, when I need a bit more weight in my hair. It really helps the curls!

  12. Mary Ruth Gaidosh // July 24, 2016 at 4:16 pm //

    My curly hair is very different from average and I have discovered that conditioner causes frizz to my hair. So I skip conditioner entirely – curls look great -no fuss no muss. I wonder if others have experienced the same. I do use a curling cream product and sometimes a.little oil.

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