Do you really know exactly what frizz is? Most importantly, do you know how to get it under control?

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Curls come in many shapes and sizes, but one thing we all have in common is frizz. For some curlies the fight against frizz is a daily battle, so it is important that you know your enemy. Do you really know what frizz is? Do you know what is happening to your hair when it frizzes? Understanding this is the key to getting the flyaways under control.

Define “frizz”

Frizz can be both a noun and a verb. As a noun, frizz is the messy tangle of hair that sits upon your head from time to time. As a verb, “to frizz” means to form your hair into knots, tight curls, or some other snag. We have no idea why someone would *want* to frizz her hair (some straighties still tease their hair!). Still, it’s the result of a mess of hair atop your head.

What causes frizz?

Regardless of what makes your hair appear frizzy, the underlying cause is usually the same: a raised cuticle layer. As a result, the hair looks dry and frizzy instead of laying flat. On the contrary, the hair appears smooth when the cuticle layer stays flat.

Curlies tend to have frizz more often than Straighties for one simple reason: dehydration. In general, curly hair is drier than straight hair. This leaves our hair susceptible to frizz. Another reason stems from the way we style our hair. As Curlies, we have to be extremely careful NOT to brush our hair. If we do, we encourage the cuticle layer to rise up, resulting in frizz.

3 Types of frizz

Did you know that there are different types of frizz?

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

Before you can do anything about your frizz, it’s a good idea to figure out what your frizz type is!

4 Tips to avoid frizz

These days, almost any hair care product you pick up will claim to “fight frizz.” Unfortunately, too many of them are just gimmick advertising claims for products loaded with ingredients we should avoid. Instead of investing money in useless products, you can try being proactive about avoiding frizz!

  1. Get a good cutMake sure you only see a stylist who knows how to wash, detangle, and style curly hair. A bad haircut on curly hair will usually lead to a frizzy mess. Trust us!

  2. Shoo the ‘poo! - Limit the ‘poo to just a couple of times a week and make sure to use a very mild cleanser. Ditching shampoo completely can sometimes result in more frizz. However, everyone has different results, so try going no-poo but if you start seeing more frizz, add a mild cleanser a couple times a week.

  3. Choose wisely! - Make sure that you only use hair products that are right for your hair type. It can be challenging to find what’s right for you, especially when it seems you keep finding information about what to avoid everywhere you turn. As a result, you may feel like you should just give up on putting ANYTHING aside from water on your hair! On the contrary, avoiding everything can lead to limp, dry curls that have a tendency to frizz. Chances are, you’re either using the wrong products or using the products incorrectly. 
  4. Check the weatherSince humid, wet and dry weather can also contribute to frizz, we’ve created the Frizz Forecast just for you! Simply select your hair type from the drop down menu, and then type in your city. Click “Find Your Forecast” for a personalized indicator of the upcoming weather conditions you can expect to contribute to frizz for your hair! You can select “Current” for the current day’s prediction, as well as “Tomorrow,” “5-Day,” and “Weekend” for future forecasts. Underneath, you’ll also find useful information such as recommended products, detanglers, gels and sun protectants for your hair.

RELATED: 10 Frizz Products that Actually Work

This article was originally published in May 2013 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.


Tasha Swearingen

I'll tell you what frizz is! It's hell on your head! Anyway, just an extra tip is to use argan oil after a shower, helps a lot. There are millions of brands, of course, but go for a silicone free one like Pro Naturals. Silicones are bad for hair, frizzy or not!