What is Frizz and How Can You Prevent It

Hollie Shirley / Hair & Skincare Editor

We are all familiar with a frizzy hair day, but what causes it and how can we conquer it?

Hair strands come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they all have in common is that they are all susceptible to frizz. It can be a never-ending cycle of detangling, styling, conditioning and smoothing, but what if we told you that there are things you are probably doing that are adding to your hair woes and that there are steps you can take to get rid of it for good?

What is Frizz?

Frizz occurs when hair is dry and lacking in moisture. When your hair is dry, the cuticle is rough and raised (Ideally it should be smooth and lie flat). When the cuticle layer of your hair is raised, it allows 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.

There are three different types of frizz:

  1. Surface frizz is frizz you get only on the outside of your hair (not underneath).
  2. Halo frizz is only on the crown of your head but doesn’t appear elsewhere.
  3. In-the-curl frizz kills the look of smooth curls as it frizzes its way through them.

Stroll down any hair care aisle, you will find a plethora of products that claim to fight frizz in some way or another. Unfortunately, a lot of the time these products tend to mask the problem and don’t address the root cause of frizz, which is damaged, dry, broken hair.


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How to tame frizz and stop it from occurring


Look at the ingredients on the bottle, not just the claims

Products that contain silicone are basically putting a plaster over the problem, not addressing the underlying issue. Silicones will create a barrier around the hair strand, (imagine wrapping it in cling film and you get the idea) which prevents humidity from entering the cuticle, thus avoiding frizz. However, they tend to build up with repeated use causing hair to look limp and lifeless and can weigh your hair down. They don’t add any moisture to the hair, they just stop it from entering. Sulphates will dry your hair out and remove any natural oils, and those containing alcohol will also dry out the hair and absorb the moisture your hair needs to combat frizz.


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Stop fiddling with your hair

Touching your hair repeatedly, twirling it around your fingers, will just add moisture from your hands to your hair, making it frizz, and can also disturb your curl pattern. Try not to touch it after styling.

Don’t over brush or comb your hair

After you’ve washed your hair, use your fingers to rake your products through your hair when it is still wet and then leave it alone. Your hair is in its most fragile state when it is wet, so harshly brushing or raking a comb through it will not only damage your hair but will also disrupt the outer layer of your hair and add to frizz. If you are brushing your hair when it is dry to remove tangles, do so very gently and don’t just rip the brush through your hair.


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Swap your towel for something gentler

Scrunching your hair in a towel might seem like the obvious choice, but it can just end up roughing your hair up the wrong way by lifting the hair cuticle upwards. Switch to a microfibre towel turban to blot excess water out of your hair, and then let your hair air dry as much as possible.

Sleep on a silk pillowcase or hair wrap

Sleeping on silk will ensure your hair has nothing to rough up against and will help the hair strands lay smooth and flat, thus preventing frizz. The amino acids that naturally occur in silk will also help add moisture, and the oils produced at the scalp will be able to moisturise along the length of your hair.

Air dry as much as possible

Blasting your hair with a hot hairdryer will cause your already ruffled cuticles to open more and become more damaged. Avoid heat styling as much as possible and when you do use heat, be sure to apply a thermal protectant and use the lowest setting available. Use heat styling tools with ionic technology, which produces negative ions to smooth the hair cuticle.


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Turn down the water temperature

Although it feels great to get into a super warm shower, it can wreck your hair. Blasting your hair with hot water can strip away all the natural oils on your scalp that keep your hair smooth and moisturised, so turn the water down a few notches and ease up on the heat.

Hollie Shirley
Hair & Skincare Editor

Hollie Shirley is SILKUP’s hair and skincare editor. She’s obsessed with all things hair care and results-driven skincare, that is kind to the environment and your wallet. She has a weakness for limited edition eyeshadows and is always testing out the newest and greatest deep conditioners. Hollie has a passion for hair and is studying Trichology, working towards becoming a Member of the Association of Registered Trichologists.