Tips for dealing with frizzy hair from a trichologist
Updated: May 30
Most of us will deal with frizzy and flyaway hair at some point in our lives, but many commonly-used techniques only make things worse. Here we cover the ten best healthy hair tips for coping with frizz in ways that will protect your hair from more damage.
If you are worried about the condition of your hair, book a consultation for expert examination, diagnosis, and treatment plans to help get your hair back on track.
What causes frizzy hair?
Frizzy hair is caused by a combination of your genetics, the weather, and your hair care regime. The biggest factor in creating frizz is the moisture in the air, or the humidity. Our hair contains hydrogen bonds that break when they come into contact with water or heat, and reset when the hair dries or cools. Manipulating the hydrogen bonds to change how the hair lies is how we can create different hairstyles, but unfortunately the hair is also affected by atmospheric moisture and heat. This is why most of us will have noticed an increase in frizz in the summer or when we go on holiday.
If you have a hair care regime that involves straightening, curling, blow drying or dyeing your hair, your hair is likely to be more affected by humidity. All these processes damage the cuticle, causing the hair to be more porous and drier, meaning your hair will try to absorb more moisture from the atmosphere.
The finer your hair is, and whether your hair is curly or straight, also impacts how noticeable frizz is in your hair. If you’ve got lots of different lengths of hair due to breakage this will also make the frizz more obvious.
Static in the hair also causes noticeable frizz. Static is caused by a build up of an electric charge in the hair which makes the strands repel each other and stick out. If your hair is dry or there’s a change in humidity, your hair will be more prone to static.
However, if you’re noticing that there are a large number of flyaway hairs just on the top of your scalp and you’ve recently noticed that your hair is shedding more – this may be caused by a condition called telogen effluvium.
How can I reduce frizzy hair?
Read our 10 top tips for coping with frizzy and flyaway hair here. If you have any questions or need more advice on reducing frizz, get in touch with the clinic.
1 - Use products designed for frizzy and flyaway hair
Categories of shampoos and conditioners aren’t just about marketing – if a product sells itself as something which targets frizzy and flyaway hair it is likely to have a higher proportion of moisturising agents in to help smooth the hair cuticle and prevent moisture from escaping the hair shaft. The main ingredient to look out for is glycerol or glycerine – this is one of the most powerful moisturisers used in hair products. But be careful, if you use a product with a high proportion of glycerol in a dry atmosphere, the glycerol may take the moisture out of your hair instead!
2 – Swap your terrycloth towel for a microfibre towel or t-shirt
The rough loops on a normal bath towel apply a high amount of friction to the hair, roughening up the cuticle and increasing static in the hair. Wrapping your hair in a softer fabric such as a microfibre towel or cotton t-shirt while your hair is drying will lead to reduced frizz overall.
3 – Use combs and brushes coated with an anti-static material
Generally static is more of an issue in fine, straight hair rather than curly or thick hair. Using a comb or brush with an anti-static coating will help to reduce any build-up of static electricity in the hair, meaning one less cause of frizz to worry about.
4 – Avoid using heat on your hair
Applying heat to your hair has a twofold effect in causing frizz. Firstly, it evaporates – basically boiling – any water that is in your hair, which dries out your hair. Secondly, the heat itself denatures the proteins in the hair making the hair weaker and causing cracks to form in the cuticle. This allows more water to escape from your hair, and can cause the hair itself to break.
5 – Use a heat protectant if you do use heat
If you do you use heat on your hair, using a heat protectant is essential to limit the amount of heat directly applied to the hair shaft. Heat protectants coat your hair with a thin film which works to more evenly distribute heat and slows down the conduction of the heat onto the hair shaft. Using a hairdryer is preferable to heat styling tools like curling wands and straighteners due to the more diffuse application of heat to the hair, and they generally work at a lower temperature. When using a hairdryer, leave your hair to dry as much as possible and use the dryer on the coolest setting. With heat styling tools, ensure your hair is fully dry - applying heat to wet hair makes the boiling effect worse and can lead to a type of hair shaft breakage called bubble hair.
5 – Limit use of permanent hair processing
Permanent hair processes such as bleaching, relaxing or perming your hair all work by lifting the cuticle so the chemicals can get access into the hair shaft. No matter how careful or gentle your hairdresser is, there will always be some damage to the cuticle. The more you can limit having these done the better to keep the cuticle healthy.
6 – Protect your hair from the sun
The UV from the sun is a major cause of damage to our hair, even in the UK. In sunny weather, make sure you are either covering your hair with a hat, or that you apply a product designed to protect your hair from UV rays.
7 – Put the hair oils away
Oil and water don’t mix – so when applied to the hair oils stop water exiting or entering the hair. When your hair is dry, we want as much moisture as possible to get into and stay in the hair shaft. Most hair products designed for moisturising or reducing frizz will contain a small amount of oil which will work together with the emollients to moisturise your hair – applying a hair oil in this case is overkill, and will likely do more harm than good. Oils are also a common cause of scalp sensitivity and dermatitis, so high concentrations of oils are best avoided.
8 – Get regular hair cuts (when you can!)
Having your hair cut regularly will prevent hair shafts that are damaged from fracturing and spreading the damage up the hair shaft, which will result in lots of different lengths of hair that will make the frizz more noticeable. Depending on the length of your hair and the style, your hair should be cut every 4 to 12 weeks.
9 - Don’t neglect your diet
Diet plays a huge role in ensuring that your hair has the nutrients it needs as it grows to make the hair as strong as possible. For example, a lack of protein or fat in the diet can cause your hair to be dry and brittle, which will only contribute to any external factors that create frizz. Drinking enough water is also important in the normal functioning of your cells, including the cells that form your hair. While changes to your diet or how much you’re drinking won’t change the hair that’s already grown, it will make a difference to your hair in the long term.
10 – See a trichologist
If you’ve tried all these tips and are still struggling with your hair texture or frizz, it might be that there’s something else going on which is affecting your hair. Book a consultation at the Kate Holden Clinic for professional examination, diagnosis and treatment.