9 Genius Ways to Tame Frizzy Hair
Humid days have finally met their match. These stylist-approved tips will keep your hair sleek, shiny, and gorgeous.
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Banish bad hair days forever
Are you dealing with frizz, scorched ends, and hair so dry it looks like you spent quarantine in the Sahara? It’s not fun, and neither is all the time and money you’ve shelled out trying to find a hair care routine that tames frizz. While most people occasionally face this problem, especially on humid summer days, those with curlier and coarser hair types deal with it a lot more frequently—and often feel like they’re fighting a losing battle. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We spoke to three top stylists to devise a step-by-step strategy in the battle against frizz and get the scoop on their favorite favorite frizzy hair products, including the right shampoo (likely, the best shampoo for curly hair) and the best conditioner to hydrate and prep hair for styling. With this foolproof guide to combat frizzy hair, you’ll never have a bad hair day again.
1. Evaluate your hair health
“Making sure that you don’t have any damage in your hair is really the first step to combating frizz,” says celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims. “Overprocessing, color damage, heat damage, sun damage: All those things can contribute to dryness or frizziness.” According to Sims, the curlier the hair, the drier it is—leading to immediate poofiness at the first sign of humidity—and the more moisture it needs. The solution? The wonderful wide world of hair masks. Sims’ favorite is Gabrielle Union Flawless Repairing Deep Conditioning Masque because it is “infused with five gorgeous butters that each offer their own different contributions to the health and hydration of the hair,” he says, adding “It’s absolutely amazing.”
2. Get a good haircut
“Your haircut does matter,” says Nunzio Saviano, owner of the Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City. “The right cut can help tame thick, frizzy, and unruly hair, but you need to have the right styling regimen to keep hair smooth and free of flyaways.” It is precisely this reason, adds Sims, that a well-considered cut is essential for taming frizz. Why? Consider the worst-case scenario: If frizz rears its ugly head and starts to take hold when you’re out and about without any styling products, a good cut will help camouflage the pouf.
What’s a good haircut for frizz-prone or curly hair? Sims’ go-to is a layered, collarbone-length long bob with a full, curly fringe. “If you have a great cut and you’re confident with it, lean into the frizz a bit and let your cut help you,” he explains. “But stay away from razor cuts! The razor frays the way the cuticle coils, whether it’s a loose curl or a 4c.”
Getting trims on the regular and keeping hair hydrated with a highly concentrated treatment like Olaplex No. 6 will keep hair silky, healthy, and ready to live its best frizz-free life. Need another reason to get to the salon? Infrequent trims rank high on the list of hairstyle mistakes that age your face.
3. Coat strands from mid-shaft to ends with a creamy conditioner
After washing hair with a sulfate-free shampoo specifically formulated for curly and frizzy hair types, Saviano recommends drenching hair in an oil-rich conditioner packed with ingredients such as coconut, argan, or macadamia oils to “calm frizz and naturally hydrate hair for smoother results.”
Natural-hair entrepreneur Taliah Waajid’s Green Apple & Aloe Nutrition After Shampoo Conditioner is chock-full of reparative and hydrating ingredients, including avocado oil and aloe extract, blended with a bevy of nutrients and antioxidant-rich vitamins (A, B, C, and E) designed to moisturize and soften hair. Want even more benefits? The green apple balances the hair’s pH levels to keep your scalp healthy and happy, too.
4. Comb conditioner evenly into hair
Conditioner works only as well as the quality of coverage, which is why you’ll want to make sure it’s evenly distributed. “Detangle hair in the shower with a wide-tooth comb while the conditioner is still on the hair to reduce breakage,” advises Saviano. To counter all the slippery conditioner, we like the grippy handle on Goody’s Total Texture Comb, and the extra long teeth offer a gentler detangling experience. Remember: No tugging! When you’re done, wrap up your shower with a cool hair rinse to close the cuticle and set in motion what Sims promises will activate a natural megawatt shine. FYI, make sure to avoid these things a stylist would never do to hair.
5. Generously spritz a leave-in conditioner all over hair
“Frizzy hair types should prep the hair with a leave-in conditioner to coat the hair shaft, reduce frizz, and provide thermal protection from heat styling,” says Saviano. “Do not apply at the root; instead, start mid-shaft and work your way down, gently patting any residual cream onto the top of the hair, next to the part.”
Playa’s deep-conditioning leave-in works on all hair types, yet its lightweight, silky texture doesn’t feel nearly as weighty as the nourishing coconut milk and Tahitian Monoi oil-based formulation would imply.
6. Choose the right curl cream or styling product for your hair type
According to Sims, using the right styling product and then applying it correctly throughout the hair is where frizzy-haired folks often misstep. “Curl cream really adds an impactful amount of moisture to your hair and will lock in the texture so the hair won’t frizz as fast, even with high levels of humidity,” he explains. “The heaviness of the cream locks in moisture, but you have to know how to use these heavy styling products properly.”
Translation: A heavy curl cream can go very right, but it can also go very wrong if excessive amounts are poured onto strands. As Sims reminds us, you can always add more product, but if you ruin the base, you have to start all over, so start sparingly. “People often think that the thicker the hair, the more product they have to use, but I don’t agree that you have to use a huge amount of product for any texture of hair.”
One pump of Bounzie Curl Light Creme Gel masterfully balances all the best qualities of a gel to define and hold the hair’s natural curl shape. Plus, its creamy black seed oil formulation nourishes and boosts radiance.
7. Air-dry as often as you can
“Allowing hair to dry naturally is best to eliminate frizz,” says Saviano. For curly hair, he recommends applying a styling cream to individual curl strands by twisting the curl around the finger to keep each separate, coated in product, and frizz-free. Smoother hair, on the other hand, can be tied up in a tight bun until ready to style. “Air-dry 60 percent and then begin to style the hair in sections to properly smooth each portion of the hair, eliminating as much frizz as possible.”
Beloved by curlies, Shea Moisture’s Papaya & Neroli All Day Frizz Control Styling Gel blocks out humidity and sculpts curls with a tropical blend of papaya, elderflower, and neroli, along with the brand’s famed fair-trade shea butter.
8. Stop touching it!
Once you’ve whipped frizz-prone curly hair into a styled ‘do, for the sake of your day 2 curls, leave them be! “Let’s be honest,” says Sims. “When you go to sleep, your curls are going to be disrupted. They’re going to be smashed, and there’s no getting around it. But the best thing to do for your day 2 hair, if you have textured hair, would be to tie it up in a silk scrunchie or scarf.” He’s also a fan of silk pillowcases, as regular cotton or linen have the potential to do more damage to hair and rustle up flyaways than the silky-smooth variety.
Pro tip: Opt for larger silk scrunchies to keep the ponytail loose. That will help you wake up with your natural curl shape instead of scrunchie-induced creases.
9. Maintain frizz-free hair with a new morning hair routine
Second-day touch-ups will be necessary, even if you follow all of the stylists’ rules. Try a silicone spray, or use anti-frizz sheets, created by Nunzio Saviano himself after working with so many clients with frizzy hair. The slightly damp sheets, made with coconut oil and packed with natural UV filters to protect hair, replenish moisture and shine from roots to ends. Run one over your hair in the morning, and always make sure to keep a packet or two in your bag for unexpected frizz emergencies. Next, make sure you know the truth about these common hair myths that are ruining your hair.