It seems like every Instagram post and natural hair blog is full of photos of flawless curls with little to minimal frizz. In reality, the quest to beat frizz and achieve flawless curls is a serious battle. Not only does it take a newly found interest in the weather report to check for rain and analyze the dew point, but it also requires the perfect product pick and a few tricks up your sleeve.
What causes frizzy hair?
In order to understand what causes frizz, you first must understand the structure of the hair. The hair strand is made up of the medulla, which is the core of the hair strand; the cortex, which is the thickest layer responsible for the hair color; and the cuticle layer which represents the outermost layer formed of overlapping scales which strengthen and protect the hair. It is the cuticle layer that is largely responsible for whether or not frizz free curls are in our reach.
When the cuticle layer is raised from friction, heat, or humidity, it can cause the hair to frizz and tangle. The picture becomes even more complicated when we factor in dehydration of the hair strand which can cause the cuticle to also raise to attract moisture from the environment resulting in swelling of the cortex and frizzy curls. The key to achieving a smooth look is to first achieve a smooth cuticle layer. So, let’s talk about a few tips and tricks that just may do the job.
Trick 1. Make moisture a priority.
Dehydrates curls will swell and lead to frizz. Before thinking about styling products focus has to be placed on making sure that the hair is well moisturized. Use a sulfate-free shampoo followed by a deep conditioner with each styling session. Look for products with humectants such as glycerin, hydrolyzed proteins, and amino acids to help draw water into the hair. This moisture can later be sealed into the hair to help prevent moisture loss.
Trick 2. Be sure to rinse with cold water.
I know that many have heard that it is always good to rinse your conditioner out using cold water. Well, this is true. While we need the heat to raise the cuticle layer to allow for product penetration, its use stops after the hair has been saturated in conditioner. Not only will cold water decrease the amount of product removal from the rinsing process leaving a light barrier on the hair, but it is also key to closing the cuticle layer, sealing in moisture and achieving a brilliant shine.
Trick 3. Apply your styling product in the shower.
Applying your styling product to dripping wet hair can help lock in curls at their most hydrated state. The water helps to evenly distribute the product through the hair to make sure each strand is coated from root to tips. Also, the downward flow of water helps to reduce unnecessary friction that can lead to frizz and tangling.
Trick 4. Give gel a try.
There are a number of anti-humidity gels on the market now such as Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel. These gels provide hold and humidity protection without drying the hair out. They serve as an extra layer of protection against heat and humidity which helps frizz free curls last longer.
Trick 5. Opt for using a hooded dryer over a diffuser.
The drying process can be a bit tricky. It is not that a diffuser can never be used but the downward flow of air from a hooded dryer, as opposed to the upward flow of air (against the direction of the cuticle scales) of the diffuser, can help smooth the cuticle and decrease frizz. This is especially true for more highly textured hair.
Give some of these tricks a try and see if frizz free days become your new norm!