Why Does Curly Hair Get Frizzy and The Best Ways to Fix It
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“Frizz is just a curl waiting to happen,” says Lorraine Massey, the author of the famous book Curly Girl: The Handbook. Compared to straight or wavy hair, curls require extra care as they are prone to frizz and dryness.
Dry and frizzy curly hair is not easy to tame. A simple and regular hair care routine will not help you get rid of the frizz in your curls.
To prevent frizzy curls, you must first understand what causes your curls to get frizzy and dry, which is why we have this guide for you.
So here are the reasons why curly hair get frizzy …
1. Natural Vulnerability
Unlike straight hair, curly hair is naturally prone to frizz and dryness. Our scalp produces natural oils that provide essential nutrients to keep the hair hydrated. While these oils can slide down straight hair quite easily, it’s not the same for curly hair.
Think of a spiral slide (curly hair) versus a regular one (straight hair).
You go down easier and faster on a regular slide compared to the spiral one. That’s exactly what happens to curly hair.
The natural oils don’t coat the curly hair strands from root to ends properly due to the twists and bends that obstruct their way.
Consequently, the hair becomes more prone to frizz and dryness!
2. Hair Dryness
Another leading cause of frizz in curly hair is the lack of moisture. When the hair strands lack moisture, they suck it out from the air.
Now you might wonder why the moisture in the air is damaging the curly hair?
Well, moisture in the air contains different elements like humidity that can adversely affect the hair. Also, it makes our cuticle swell. As a result, your perfectly straight hair turns wavy while the curly hair becomes curlier with a frizz!
3. Weather Conditions (Humidity)
One of the major things that affect our hair cuticle is the atmosphere. You might just have washed your hair, pampering them with the best hair product to get the perfect bouncy curls. As soon as you step outside in rain or humid weather, it turns into a frizzy, poofy mess!
Hot, humid weather and rain both are the leading cause of hair frizz. It is so because the excess moisture in the air causes the hair cuticles to swell. Another enemy of hair is the wind. Our hair runs ragged in the gusts of winds that result in the frizz.
If you want to flaunt your curls, no matter what the weather conditions, be mindful of the two things:
- Keep your hair fully hydrated to prevent your hair from sucking out moisture from the air.
- Protect your hair from the elements in the air.
4. Product Buildup
Whether it’s the styling products or the shampoo and conditioners, using them too often causes frizz and dryness to curly hair.
Styling products that contain heavy butter and oils cause product buildup in our scalp. Not just this, co-washing instead low-pooing also makes curly hair prone to product buildup. Hair products with natural ingredients can also cause buildup if used too often.
The story doesn’t just end here.
Elements like dirt in the atmosphere and even water (hard water) are one of the leading causes of buildup. The buildup causes ‘angry frizz’ in curly hair. This type of frizz is one of the most difficult to tame.Read more: Signs of product buildup in hair.
5. Lack of Protein
Hair is mostly made from protein. When there’s a protein deficiency, curly hair reacts by becoming frizzy.
It happens when you over-moisturize your curls! Yeah, that’s right! Not only is it possible to optimally hydrate your curls, but also over-hydrate them. Over moisturization, also known as hygral fatigue, makes your hair feel soft. However, it also makes them less defined and causes a lot of wet frizz. And when the curly hair dries, the wet frizz turns into mushy frizz!. The solution is to get a protein treatment for your curly hair.
Lack of hair moisture and hair protein have the same signs. So, before getting any protein treatment, ensure that your hair is properly hydrated. It will prevent protein overloading, which is also bad for curly hair.
6. Protein Overload
While protein treatments make your hair beautiful and healthy, overloading hair with hair proteins can have damaging effects. It is especially true for curly hair. Protein overload can happen by treating your hair with heavy protein treatment unnecessary or by using styling products that contain excess proteins regularly.
Like product build-up, protein overload also causes dry and angry frizz. When your hair gets protein overload, hair becomes less hydrated. So, the only solution to treat protein overload is moisturizing your hair.
It’s essential to get the moisture and protein balance right to keep your curls healthy.
7. Excessive Heat Styling
One of the culprits of healthy hair is heat styling and heat styling products. When you use high heat frequently on curly hair, it damages the hair cuticle while drying out the moisture from the strands, causing frizz. The damage is worse when you straighten or diffuse your natural curls without using a heat-protection spray.
How to Fix Frizzy Curly Hair
Frizz and dry hair are part of a curly hair journey. Almost all curly girls face this problem. While frizzy, curly hair is unavoidable, it is possible to enjoy frizz-free curls! Not only are there curly hair products that reduce frizz, but also many hacks that keep your curls naturally wavy!
Below is a breakdown of all the effective tricks that have helped many girls to enjoy the perfectly bouncy, defined, and clumped curls!
1. Understand Your Hair Type
Have you tried many hair products to treat dry curly hair, but nothing works?
It may be because you use the wrong styling and hair care products. Just because a hair product might have worked for someone doesn’t mean it will work for your hair too.
Because we all have different hair types, our hair reacts to treatments differently. So the first thing to eliminate any hair problem is understanding your hair type.
2. Moisturize Your Hair Enough
How much moisture do you impart is the name of the game.
The water we use to wash our hair, our atmosphere, and the harsh hair styling practices suck moisture out of our hair. As a result, hair, especially curls, becomes prone to frizz and dryness. Use natural products or hair conditioners and masks containing elements that lock moisture in your hair.
A good practice is deep conditioning your hair at least once a week.
3. Ditch Your Terry Towel!
Girl, if you use a regular terry towel to dry out your curly hair, you need to stop right away! It is one of the things standing between perfect curls and frizz.
Terry towel dries extra moisture from the hair and ruffles the hair cuticles. The outcome is dry, frizzy curls. Switch to less harsh towel options. Use a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt to remove excess water after washing your hair.
4. Protect Your Hair Everyday
Invest a little time in your hair and save your curls from unmanageable frizzy, curly hair. If the weather is rainy, humid & hot, or windy, wear a hat or go for an up-do hairstyle.
Last but not least, switch to silk or satin pillowcase. Both satin and silk are great fabrics for hair as they lock moisture in hair overnight. As a result, you will wake up with long-lasting moisture and frizz-free curls!
5. Trim and Cut-off Damage Hair
Damaged waves and curls are the hardest to clump. When your waves and curls get damaged, they try to push away from the healthy strands. As a result, the hair becomes frizzy. The damage is usually located at the bottom of the hair. So it is recommended to get a hair cut or trim hair ends from time to time. Not only does it remove the damage, but it also prevents other hair problems.
6. Stop Styling or Brushing Wet Hair
Have you been brushing your wet curls? You may want to throw away your hair brush if you nod yes. Nothing damages your curl more than brushing them while they are wet. Always use a wide-toothed comb. However, using your fingers to detangle wet ones is the best option to prevent frizzy curls.Read: How to brush curly hair without it getting frizzy.
7. Switch to Co-wash or Sulfate-free Shampoo
Another thing that has worked for many curly girls to prevent frizzy and dry curly hair is co-wash. Co-washing uses just the hair conditioner to cleanse and hydrate the hair cuticle instead of shampoos. It might sound a little weird to you, but for all those years, the shampoo marketing has been lying to you! You can perfectly cleanse your hair and scalp without those scented bubbles!
Alternatively, you can switch to shampoos that don’t contain sulfate.
Other Curl Hair Practices to Keep The Frizz Away
All it takes is good hair practices to prevent frizzy and dry curls. Adopting simple habits like letting your curls dry off completely before touching or styling them or gently removing the hair clips can result in perfect curls. You automatically get healthy hair when you avoid the heat, like a blow dryer or hair straightener.
Hair Care Routine for Dry and Frizzy Curly Hair
You can tame those unruly frizzy, curly hair simply with hair care and wash day routine. From washing to drying your hair, follow a strict hair care routine and notice how quickly your frizzy curls turn into perfectly defined ones.
Here is a hair care routine that has worked for many girls in their curly journey.
1. Start With a Shampoo
If you use shampoo instead of co-washing, you must learn how to wash your curls to prevent frizz properly. The right way is to apply and wash only your scalp using shampoo. Also, use shampoos free from sulfates, and never wash your hair with hot water. The best shampoos for curly hair are the ones that contain aloe leaf juice, sweet clover, rose extract, pro-vitamin B5, and biotin.
For healthy, long-lasting hair curls, wash your hair twice a week. Shampooing your curls regularly not only removes but also slows down the sebum production. And without enough sebum, our hair is deprived of the moisture and essential nutrients required to thrive.
2. Apply Deep Conditioners
Whether you prefer co-wash or traditional hair wash, a good, deep conditioner is a must. After washing your hair with shampoo, apply a moisturizing conditioner. The right way to apply a conditioner is on damp hair; after the application, leave-in conditioner for three to five minutes.
You can also apply a hair mask and leave it longer, depending on how much frizz you get. After applying the conditioner or hair mask, you can use a hair steamer to take your conditioning game up a notch. It will open up the hair’s cuticle so the hair mask or conditioner can penetrate deeper into the strands.
If you don’t have the hair steamer, use the hot towel instead. For this, take a microfiber towel and wet it with hot water. Squeeze the excess water and wrap it on your head after applying a hair mask. Leave the towel for 5 to 10 minutes. You can repeat this step twice a week or every once a week.
3. Keep Your Curls Hydrated
Curly hair is naturally drier than other hair types. The situation gets worse when you use the wrong styling products. Therefore, add a moisturizer to your routine to keep your hair hydrated. There is no such thing as too much moisture for hair! The best hair moisturizers are the ones containing coconut oil or olive oil. When applying a hair moisturizer, only take a quarter-size portion in your palms and apply from root to end.
4. Let Your Curls Dry Completely
It may be tempting for your style, comb, or brush your curls while wet, but never get lured into it. Let your hair dry completely before styling them. Detangle the curls using a wide-toothed comb or your fingers. When you style your curls while still wet, you damage the curl pattern, resulting in frizz.
Use a soft cotton shirt or a towel to dry out the excess water to dry your curls. Drying your curls immediately after washing or styling locks the excess moisture in the strands, resulting in a long-lasting sheen and shine.
5. Coat the Curly Strands with Some Oil
The final step of the hair care routine is to leather your hair with some oils. Natural oils like avocado oil or jojoba oil are best for curly hair. You can also use black seed or castor oil to moisturize your hair. Apply a few drops of your favorite hair oil to the strands. It will smooth out the strands, get your curls defined, and reduce the frizz.
Best Products for Curly Frizzy Hair
Consolidating all of the above tips, here are the products we recommend:
Use shampoos that are sulfate-free and contains natural ingredients such as aloe vera extract.
- John Frieda Miraculous Recovery
- Briogeo Curl Charisma Conditioner
- SheaMoisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie
Curl Defining Gel or Cream:
When you use curl defining gel or cream, it creates a protective barrier to preserve your curl pattern.
About the Author
Kayla Davis is a self-proclaimed skincare and haircare junkie who loves testing out new products and writing about her experiences. Her bathroom shelves are always overflowing with beauty products. You name it - it's there.