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Photo by Ilyuza Mingazova on Unsplash

We received this question from a NaturallyCurly reader: “My roots are very frizzy but the rest of my hair is curly. What do I do?” This predicament is known in the curly world as halo frizz.

Halo frizz makes it sound angelic, but the frizz that concentrates around the crown of your head can be a curly’s worst nightmare. Your ends and layers underneath are curling beautifully but you still seem to get this flyaway fuzz around the roots. If this sounds like you, then read on.

What causes frizz at the roots?

The main cause of frizz is dehydration. We usually assume the ends of the hair will be the driest, but this is not necessarily always the case. If you only co-wash or low-poo, natural oils and products can accumulate around the crown which in turn can block moisture from entering the hair. In addition to this, your crown is exposed to the sun and is open to the elements. The lengths and curls underneath don’t get as much of a bombardment from environmental factors. So, what can you do about it?

11 Tips to reduce halo frizz

1. Wash less 

Constant washing of your hair will cause friction and removal of some natural oils. See if you can stretch out the time between washdays to allow the sebum from your roots to spread along the hair shaft which will help to smooth some of that frizz. 

2. Clarify

You may need to wash less often, but you may also need to wash more thoroughly. Yes, we all know harsher shampoos containing sulfates can dry hair which seems the wrong thing to do to dehydrated hair. However, clarifying now and again will remove product and oil build-up, allowing moisture to enter the hair.  As long as you deep condition or use a very moisturising conditioner afterwards, a regular clarifying wash can work wonders. 

3. Use an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse 

Many shampoos and conditioners have a more alkaline PH which can disturb the acidity of your scalp causing the cuticle layer to open up and become more apt to frizz and tangles. As well as removing some build-up, Apple Cider Vinegar lowers the PH of your scalp which in turn smooths the cuticle – thus eliminating frizz - and soothes the scalp, so it’s a win-win all-round.

4. Turn down the heat! 

While you’re doing all this washing and clarifying, turn the heat of your shower down. Your crown is the area where the water hits first so if it’s boiling hot, your hair is going to get damaged. 

5. Turn down the power! 

Similarly, powerful showers hitting the top of your head can also damage the top layers and roots. We tend to be gentle with our curls in every other way, so why not lower the force with which your water hits your head?

6. Go upside down

Think of how many years you’ve allowed hot water to hammer the top of your head. Of course, this is going to have an impact. Think how healthy and smooth the curls at the bottom layers seem to be, because they are never exposed to the full force of the shower or other environmental factors like the sun. Try washing your hair upside down, maybe every other wash if you can’t handle it all the time. This will give your crown a break and allow the underlayers to take the strain for once.

7. Deep Condition thoroughly

When applying conditioner or deep conditioner, we tend to apply it to the ends, thinking they are the driest and more flyaway and for fear of weighing down the hair if we apply it to the roots. However, if you are rinse carefully and clarify regularly, then this won’t matter. Make sure you apply your conditioners from root to trip, maybe using a wet-brush to distribute it thoroughly.

8. Plop

Yes you read that right. Plopping is a method where you remove excess moisture from your hair through wrapping it in a t-shirt or microfibre towel. Don’t rough-dry your hair with a towel as this is a sure way to disturb the hair cuticle and cause friction and frizz.

9. Brush from underneath

Just as you could try washing upside down to move the pressure to the less damaged underlayers, you could try brushing or detangling from underneath too. Make sure your fingers and brush are facing upwards and work from underneath rather than raking them through the top layers. We tend to go over and over the top layers while trying to get tangles out underneath, thus causing more damage to the crown area. 

10. Glaze with gel 

Make your final layer of stylers a gel and glaze it over the top of your head, to smooth down those flyaways at the root. 

11. Seal it in

Seal that moisture in with a fine layer of oil. Rub a few drops between your palms and then smooth over the roots and crown. Oils can seal in the moisture that’s already there and stop it from escaping.

Following these steps can make sure your curls are your crown, not your halo!