Poof Ball Frizz? Here’s How to De Poof and Deflate It

By Tina Moretti
Published 25 Aug 2022 / Updated 28 Aug 2022

Poof Ball Frizz? Here’s How to De Poof and Deflate It

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My hair after coming out of the shower: Show-stopping magnificent.

Wow. Look at those curls!

One foot outside the door, and it’s a giant poof ball of frizz.

AGAIN! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s like the humidity is just waiting to pounce.

If this sounds like you, and you’re fed up looking like a 90s troll doll, this post will help you understand why your hair poofs into a frizzy mess and what you can do to stop it from ever happening again.

So read on from some serious frizz-depoofing hacks …

What Is Poof Ball Frizz Exactly?

Poof ball frizz is a type of frizz that develops in many layers appearing on top, underneath, and throughout to overwhelm the hair with frizzed-up volume.

Anyone experiencing it often sees their hair poofing out uncontrollably in all directions, making it harder to manage and style.

What Does Poof Ball Frizz Look Like?

hair type that gets massive poof of frizz

Poof ball frizz is characterized by its large and poofy spherical or triangular shape. Picture a cotton ball or a dandelion puff, and you’ll get the idea. It’s often accompanied by flyaways and static.

In extreme cases, it can almost look like uncombable hair syndrome.

Sometimes the top is just flat, and the sides poof out. Other times, it can be atop your head, in the back of your ponytail, or all over the place, making your hair look like a frazzled ball of fluff – like a poodle.

Cute on a little dog but an eyesore otherwise.

In fact, the name “poof ball frizz” is quite fitting because that’s exactly what it looks like.

Taking a closer look, you’ll see the individual strands cluttered upwards and sideways, creating a voluminous look. And if that’s not enough, it’s also surrounded by a halo of fuzziness, making it look wild and unkempt.

Causes of Poofy Frizzy Hair

There are numerous reasons why hair becomes fluffy, floofy, poufy, or whatever you want to call it. But pro hairstylist Leo Izquierdo cites 2 big reasons for it: Humidity and breakage.

Let’s see why …

Humidity

Hair that’s already dry and frizz-prone is more likely to suck up moisture from its surroundings and swell, causing the strands to go haywire – says Leo.

That’s why you’ll often see frizz at its worst during the summertime or in tropical climates.

Humidity unsettles the hair cuticle scales, causing them to flex and swallow moisture. As a result, the hair strands double up on themselves, resulting in puffiness.

Related: How to prevent humidity from ruining your hair.

Damaged Hair and Breakage

Damaged hair is highly porous. Compared to a healthy hair cuticle layer, a damaged one will have jagged edges, cracks, and holes on the surface, which makes it highly sensitive to humid conditions. Even the faintest trickle of moisture can percolate through the porous surface to swell the hair.

Moreover, when the hair surface is rough, it tends to snag and catch on to other neighboring hairs, which creates a webbing effect. Hair breakage also causes irregular textures that can be a struggle to tame.

Add all these up, and you get a jumble of uneven layers underneath and above the main body of the hair doing their own things.

High Porosity

Porosity defines how well your hair can absorb and hold on to moisture. If your hair can retain moisture, it won’t become refuge for high concentrations of humidity.

But if it cannot hold moisture and is always thirsty … It becomes exposed. The outside humidity will target your hair as a low-concentration zone to settle in.

So why are some hair types unable to keep hold of moisture?

It’s because the hair is highly porous (high porosity). This can be either genetic or caused by excess processing of the hair.

Due to high porosity hair having rugged and raised cuticle scales, these scales create a “velcro” effect on each other. That’s why the hair tangles when dry and wet.

Air Pockets from Tangles and Knots

Tangles and knots prevent the hair from lying flat against the scalp or clumping uniformly with the rest. This creates pockets of air between the strands, allowing them to balloon up like a mushroom cloud instead of falling delicately into smooth layers.

Product Frizz from Heavy Styling Oils, Creams, and Sprays

Heavy styling products can build up, overload, and cut off airflow to the strands, causing them to suffocate.

When this happens, the hair will often lose its shape. Think of it like a sponge soaked in water – it expands and takes a different form.

The same goes for your hair strands. When overwhelmed, they’ll poof up and become heavy and unmanageable.

Alcohol-based products

Alcohol is a drying ingredient used in hair products and other cosmetics as a solvent or emulsifier to facilitate the fast penetration of active ingredients. The downside of alcohol, however, is its high volatility and rapid evaporation, which can also zap the hair’s and skin’s natural moisture along the way.

But having said that, not all alcohols are bad. Those you need to watch out for are: Ethanol, Denatured alcohol, Propanol, Propyl alcohol, and Isopropyl alcohol. They are short-chained (bad) alcohols that can cause dry frizz.

Hard Water

If you live in a hard water area, you’ve probably noticed that your skin is always dry and your hair always brittle.

That’s because hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium, which deposit onto the skin and hair when you are showering. Even worse, regular shampoos and body washes cannot cut through them to rinse them. So they stay on the skin and hair to crystallize and form a stubborn layer of scum. Check out your kitchen faucet or showerhead, and you’ll see how bad the limescale buildup is. And if you’ve ever tried scrubbing them out, you’ll know it’s not an easy task. Now imagine these minerals drying up on your hair and scalp!

These minerals suffocate the hair’s cuticle layer. They create an obstructive layer that blocks moisture and nutrients from getting into the hair shaft, making the hair extremely frizzy from root to tip.

If you have thick and coarse hair, you’re more likely to see hard water making your hair poof uncontrollably.

Lack of Curl Definition

The quest for perfect curl definition can often seem like a never-ending battle.

Curl definition is all about creating uniform clumps; otherwise, each curl starts to stray from the main body of the hair, behaving in unpredictable ways.

When your curls don’t hold well together, it looks like a curl crisis that cannot decide which shape and form to take. You end up looking like a poodle.

Halo Frizz on Steroids

Halo frizz occurs mostly on the crown area, lingering around the top in the form of short, unruly, and broken hairs sticking up in random directions. Although it may sound angelic, having too much of it can poof your hair out so far that it can even interfere with satellites in low orbit.

Air Drying

When you let your hair air dry, the water evaporates rapidly from the outside of each strand while the inside is still wet. This makes the inside of the strand expand while the outside contracts, causing it to swell up and frizz.

While it doesn’t happen to everyone, certain hair types like thick and afro hair are more likely to poof out when air drying due to their texture and inherent dryness.

Read: Why hair gets frizzy when air drying.

Towel-Drying

Cotton towels have a rough surface that can pull on the hair when towel-drying. Suppose you’re used to rubbing your hair rather than blotting it dry. In that case, your drying technique may exacerbate frizz by ruffling up the cuticle layer.

Excessive Heat Styling

Too much heat, blow drying your hair in the wrong direction, and not applying heat protection before styling are some of the many mistakes that can cause hair damage and a hot mess of uncontrollable frizz.

If you have to use heat, always use the lowest setting possible and avoid overdoing it. Also, ensure you use a heat protectant spray or cream before styling.

Brushing on Dry hair

When hair is wet, it is in its weakest state. Brushing it can cause the strands to stretch and break, resulting in frizzy, flyaway hair. Therefore, brushing your hair after a shower can result in unwanted poofiness. To avoid this problem, blot dry your hair before brushing. If you must brush your hair while wet, use a wide-tooth comb to detangle it gently from the bottom up.

Related: How to prevent frizz when brushing out curly hair.

Types of Hair That Gets Poof Ball Frizz

Dry Hair

“Frizz in the hair happens when the hair is dry and lacks moisture balance.” Camille Friend
Celebrity hairstylist and HASK Brand Ambassador - GoodTo

Dry hair is often lacking in natural oil, which is essential for lubricating the outer layer of the hair shaft to keep it even, smooth, and flat. Without this natural lubrication, the surface of the strands will rub against each other instead of gliding, causing friction and small tangles that eventually take over as frizz.

Plus, dry hair is constantly searching for moisture it can find in its surroundings to restore balance. When the cuticle layer is not sealed and protected by sebum, the cuticles will easily open up to gulp down every ounce of moisture from the air.

Curly and Wavy Hair

One of the most frustrating attributes of curly hair is that it tends to poof out due to the separation of curl clumps – looking like a cloud of airy fuzz having a texture crisis.

Curly hair is generally dryer than most hair types because it’s more difficult for natural oils to travel down the winding strands. As a result, curly girls often have to rely on leave-in conditioners to keep their locks hydrated. In addition to being dry, curly hair also has a different texture and more bulk than straight hair. The combination of dryness, texture, and bulk makes it more likely to poof out.

Thick and Coarse Hair

Thick hair is characterized by strands with a larger diameter than average hair. As a result, thicker hair needs more hydration than other hair types. This can be a challenge, as the thickness of each strand means moisture takes longer to penetrate the hair shaft, making it more prone to dryness and frizz. And because thick hair has more volume and density, the frizziness makes it look poufy.

Fine hair

Finer hair can puff up like a baby chicken easily due to its inability to lay flat and the lack of volume needed to hold it together in clumps. Especially when it’s windy or in the winter when it’s pretty harsh dealing with statics, fine and thin hair tends to look puffy – like having a floaty hair syndrome.

How to Calm and Fix Frizzy Poofy Hair

Now you know what causes hair to frizz and poof out, here are the steps you need to take to stop it from happening.

Start with a Clean Reset

A clarifying shampoo removes buildup and anything that causes your hair to become matted and tangled. It also makes your hair light and airy.

To get started:

Check out the best clarifying shampoo we recommend.

Try a Keratin Treatment

Keratin treatments are excellent at repairing hair porosity problems and rebalancing the protein moisture levels to help the hair retain moisture better. The treatment also makes the hair smooth strand by strand to keep it frizz-free for months. So if you want a no-hassle hair care routine that won’t require plonking tons of styling products daily to tame a poofy mane, this is the most efficient treatment.

Check out: The best keratin treatments you can do at home.

Use An Anti-Frizz Serum

The Redken Frizz Dismiss serum is a versatile lightweight oil-based styling product that helps control excess puffy hair caused by frizz.

Hence the name DEFLATE.

Yes. It seriously deflates poufy and puffy-looking hair.

This serum also provides better styling manageability, moisture retention, and shine to make your hair look on point all day long.

fly a way frizz smoother for textured hair and all hair types.

Redken Frizz Dismiss Serum

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Use a High Porosity Repair Hair Mask

A porosity-repairing hair mask uses hair-healing ingredients to fill in the gaps on the hair cuticle layer while drenching every strand with intensely moisturizing goodness. A good hair mask repairs, rehydrates, and rebuilds the hair to make it smooth and resilient to frizz-inducing conditions.

The Briogeo Don’t Despair mask is an excellent choice here.

deep conditioner for frizzy tubes shape curls

Briogeo Don't Despair Repair Mask

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For Curly Frizzy Hair – Try A Hair Mousse

Even the puffiest of curls can be tamed with a curl-defining anti-frizz mousse.

Making wavy hair less poofy is all about letting your waves keep their “curl clumps.” Use gel or mousse to define your clumps, and avoid using a brush or comb to keep it from getting poofy.

It’s all about letting your curls settle nicely in their natural curl clumps. A curl-enhancing mousse is the perfect product to help you achieve that. It’s lightweight, foamy, and easy to apply without a hairbrush. Besides enhancing curl definition, it adds volume and a lightweight hold to any style.

natural texture enhancing mousse for curl frizz type

John Frieda Secret Weapon Touch-Up Crème

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Block Humidity With An Anti-humidity Hair Spray

An anti-humidity hair spray helps eliminate frizz by coating the hair with polymers that form a barrier on the hair to repel moisture, keeping the strands smooth and frizz-free. No matter what the frizz level is.

The ColorWow Dreamcoat spray has the science of humidity-proofing perfectly nailed down. One application can last for up to 3 washes!

We’ve seen celebrity hairstylist Chris Appleton and Kim Kardashian endorsing it on Instagram, so you’ll be kicking yourself for not trying it out.

a leave in conditioner plus anti-humidity solution that caters for every frizz range

ColorWow Dreamcoat Supernatural Spray

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How To Prevent Poofy Frizzy Hair

Start from The Shower

“Preventing frizzy hair starts in the shower.” – Says Sean Steigerwald, head R&D scientist at Kao USA Inc.

We can’t emphasize this enough. The right shampoo and conditioner can make all the difference. That’s because if your hair starts frizzing when it’s wet, it will get frizzier when it dries. So make sure you pick the right products from the start.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out our best products for frizzy hair. You’ll find the best shampoo and conditioner we’ve handpicked.

Detangle With A Wide-Tooth Comb

Detangle your hair when it’s drenched in conditioner with a wide tooth comb. A conditioner provides slip, which allows the comb to glide instead of getting stuck and causing tangles and knots. This minimizes the need to brush your hair when it’s dry. Start detangling from the bottom and work your way up to the scalp.

Dry Your Hair With A Microfiber Towel

A Microfiber towel is a godsend for hair that is poofy or frizzy. It removes excess water from damp hair without damaging it. It’s also gentler on the hair, compared to regular cotton towels, soaking up water without roughing up the cuticle layer.

We recommend the Aquis towel because it’s made with ultra-plush microfiber that’s super absorbent.

works like a cotton t shirt or terry cloth for drying hair and controlling frizz - it deflates the one massive poof on top of your head

Aquis Microfiber Towel

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Avoid Brushing Dry Hair

Taking a brush to dry hair is like igniting a bush fire.

It’s snap, crackle, pop, and pouf!

The bristles will snag on every little knot when the hair is dry. Moreover, dry brushing creates more friction against the hair, which is more likely to cause frizz and puffiness.

Rethink Your Heat Styling Techniques

Are you blow-drying your hair the right way?

Are you setting the right temperature for your flat iron?

If you’re not sure, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Here are a few resources to help you:

Don’t Over Separate Your Curls After washing

Poofiness in curls happens when your curls’ clumps get separated.

To avoid this, comb a leave-in conditioner through your hair after washing and drying, then rake in a curl mousse or cream with your fingers. No brush.

This will create good curl definition that can last for days!

Sleep on Silk

The best fix for bedhead poofy hair is a silk pillowcase.

You wake up with frizz-free hair and save almost half an hour in the morning styling your hair. How convenient is that!

Silk materials allow the hair to glide rather than rub. They also don’t wick moisture out of the hair as cotton materials do.

bedhead poofy frizziness solution

SLIP Silk Pillowcase

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Try the Curly Girl Method

If you’ve tried every anti-frizz trick for your curls and nothing seems to be working, maybe it’s time to strip it all down to a bare minimum curl care routine. Since not all curls are the same, finding the right product that works for you can be challenging. Or maybe, it’s just a case of stripping it all down and starting clean.

Have you heard of the Curly Girl Method?

If not, check it out and try it. It may be just what your curls need for a clean reset.

Get A Haircut

Sometimes my hair is so uncontrollably poofy and frizzy that I get tempted to shave it all off.

Last time I had this urge. My hairdresser sat me down, looked at my hair, and said …

“Okay, you don’t have to be so dramatic. Let me give you a good haircut instead.”

And yeah, if your hairdresser knows how to work your hair – trimming the split ends and cleverly crafting your layers, it can make a huge difference in managing the daily frizz struggle.

So speak to your hairdresser and get some ideas.

Best Hairstyles for Frizzy Poofed Out Hair

Here are 3 creative and stylish hairstyles that are excellent for hiding frizzy poofy hair.

Slick It Back

If it’s muggy and the frizz forecast is threatening near afro-level frizz, don’t leave the house without a slicked-back hairdo.

It’s the laziest and most convenient hairstyle that will keep your hair out of your face and not make you constantly worry about how much your hair has multiplied in size since you left the house. Plus, it’s chic and elegant too. You can never go wrong with a slick back. It’s my failsafe trick for humid weather.

Brunch Bun

The brunch bun is all about grooming unruly poofy hair into a quick-fix and fun hairstyle. It’s versatile enough to dress up or down, depending on your plans for the day.

Braided Top Knot

The braided top knot is a popular, stylish, and practical hairstyle. It’s perfect for those who want to keep their hair out of their face but still look put together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between Frizzy Hair and Poofy Hair?

Frizzy hair is hair defined by individual hairs that stick out in different directions, projecting away from the main body of the hair.

Poofy hair is defined by a thick volume of frizziness, often appearing as a spherical or triangular shape above the head.

Hair can be both frizzy and poofy at the same time.

What Is the Difference Between Fluffy, Puffy, and Poofy Hair?

Fluffy, poofy, and puffy hair are often confused, although there are substantial distinctions between them.

Fluffy hair is more of a messy texture. It’s like a deliberate style people want to do to achieve a retro 80s style blowout. It has texture, volume, and looks messy, but it’s more balanced.

Puffy hair is a term used to describe hair with a lot of volume and not lying flat against the head. It can be styled in many ways but is often seen as more casual and carefree than sleek and straight styles.

Poofy hair is like a voluminous ball of frizz. It’s not a deliberate style but rather a struggle because of the state of the hair being dry and unmanageable.

Why Is My Hair Poofy After Washing?

Hair gets poofy after washing because it may still be exposed to high humidity when drying and styling. For example, a steamy bathroom.

Or worse, you may be taking a brush to wet hair, which is fragile and prone to frizz and breakage.

Why Is My Hair Fluffy After Washing?

When you wash your hair, the combination of hot water and shampoo strips away the natural oils that your scalp produces. This can leave your hair feeling dry and weightless, making it look fluffier than usual.

So why is this more noticeable in some people than others?

Well, it has to do with your hair’s natural texture. If you have wavy or curly hair, it’s more prone to frizziness. As a result, when the natural oils are removed, your hair can start to puff up.

How to Stop Hair Going Fluffy After Washing?

Use a moisturizing anti-frizz shampoo followed by a rich conditioner. Finish off with a cold water rinse to help make the cuticle layer contract and close. This reduces weightlessness and allows the hair to shape up well when styling.

Why Does Hair Get Fluffy When It Dries?

Hair gets fluffy when it dries after washing because you’re most probably styling it in a humid environment. When the hair starts drying, it naturally spreads itself out as much as possible to seek moisture. When this happens, it turns into a fluffy mess of frizziness.

After washing your hair, you must keep it moisturized after rinsing the conditioner. For example, using a leave-in conditioner or serum. And make sure you style your hair away from the bathroom.

Why Is My Hair Puffy When I Brush It?

You’re probably using the wrong brush, brushing too hard, or not brushing your hair correctly. Incorrect brushing causes friction and static.

The best way to avoid puffy and frizzy hair is to start at the bottom and slowly work your way up to the scalp. It will help avoid ripping through tangles and knots while your hair is wet.

Final Thoughts

Poof ball frizz can happen for various reasons ranging from humidity to how you style and care for your hair.

You need to identify what causes your hair to poof out first. Could it be high porosity, damage, curl type, or hair texture … ?

If you can’t nail it down, ask your hairdresser to do an assessment.

Once you figure out the main causes, work on addressing the problems with corrective treatments and adopt a new hair care routine to support the process.

And just like that .. POUF! Frizz is gone!