How To Control Frizz In Curly Hair

Turn curly hair to your advantage with these top tips to prevent frizz. Learn which products work and how to use them.

Most people agree that curly hair is glorious.However, it can be difficult to stop curls from turning to frizz, especially in humid weather.

The best way to prevent frizz is by controlling how much moisture your hair absorbs.Frizzy hair is often porous, absorbent hair that is thirsty for moisture.But, to paraphrase an old song, your hair is "looking for moisture in all the wrong places."Too often, your hair absorbs humidity from the air, and ends up looking like a slightly relaxed scouring pad.Your goal is to feed your hair the moisture that it needs, and then to prevent it from absorbing more later, and getting out of control.

CONDITIONER IS KEY

Start by nourishing your hair with a good conditioner.The trick is to find a light, clean conditioner that will feed your thirsty hair without weighing it down.If you have naturally curly hair, the weight of a heavy conditioner can leave you looking wilted, not wonderful. Several popular conditioning products mention "no buildup" or "washes clean" on the label; they're a good place to start.

Or, you can choose products designed specifically for curly hair.Most of the better brands leave no heavy residue, and they can help to energize your natural curls as well.

Many people notice that, after they use a conditioner for a while, it seems to stop working.This can be for several reasons.No matter what the label says, buildup is possible with many products.Unless you use the same brand of shampoo as your conditioning products, there can be some residue that lingers after you wash your hair.

You may be tempted to use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of the residue, and this is fine now and then.However, many clarifying shampoos also strip your hair of oils and other moisture, which will contribute to frizzy hair.If you like the effects of a clarifying or deep-cleaning shampoo, be sure to select one that conditions your hair instead of drying it out.

Also, each conditioning product includes different ingredients.Once your hair has absorbed all that it needs from a product, it can reach a saturation point.A different product may provide other nutrients that your hair needs.Try rotating hair care products every few weeks.

DEEP CONDITIONING HELPS, TOO

Depending upon how frizzy your hair is, you may want to use a deep conditioner as often as once a week.These are products that you leave in your hair for three to 20 minutes, according to package directions, and then wash out.

However, for an extra boost, leave this conditioner on your hair for an hour or more.To really activate its effects, wrap your hair with plastic wrap (in England, this is called "cling wrap") while you wait for the conditioner to work.Wrap a towel around your head, over the plastic wrap; this insulates your hair so that your body heat helps the conditioner work better.

Some conditioning products are designed to remain in your hair overnight.Many of them are particularly good for frizz prevention.

LEAVE-IN CONDITIONERS

Leave-in conditioners can help, but some can make the problem worse.If the product is too heavy, it can leave your hair looking limp and greasy.If the product is too light, it won't work.Some people rave about the effects of inexpensive discount store products; others get the best results from specialized salon products.This is a matter of trial and error, and it's probably best to try other approaches first.

WHEN YOUR HAIR GETS WET

When you wash your hair or go swimming, it's important to style it as it dries.Technically, your hair keeps its shape thanks to hydrogen bonds.Those bonds break when your hair gets wet, and they reform as it dries.Since your hair is heavy when you've been in the shower or the pool, the weight of the water holds your hair down as it dries.This can work to your advantage if you've styled your hair to look good.If you've just let it hang there, your hair can look as if you styled it with a stick, or just fell out of bed.

For many people, the only styling that's necessary is to scrunch your hair regularly as it dries.Other people will get better results if they pin their hair up so that it's not held down by its own weight.Or, you may want to use curlers.With naturally curly hair, it may only be necessary to curl the top layers.

WHEN THE WEATHER ISN'T YOUR FRIEND

Often, the biggest challenge is moisture in the air, on a humid day or when it's drizzling.The top layers of your hair can frizz, defeating your best styling efforts.



If you get in the habit of carrying a scarf or hat with you, that can help.A hair band or even an elastic band can be a short-term fix for "the frizzies" as well.It's smart to experiment with hairstyles, so that you're ready for damp weather and can turn it to your advantage, or at least minimize the unkempt look of frizz.

However, silicone products are a lifesaver if you live in a humid or rainy climate.They can solve most curly and frizzy hair problems on a daily basis.

SILICONE SEALS AND PROTECTS

Sealing your hair can be important if your frizz problem is severe.Many hair care lines feature silicone products that help seal your hair from absorbing more moisture later.These aren't actually conditioners; many of them don't add nutrients to your hair.The silicone--technically amodimethicone or a related silicone product--applies a water barrier to your hair, preventing it from absorbing moisture from the air.It also seals moisture into your hair, so that your hair remains well conditioned, longer.

For a natural look, it's vital to apply silicone products while your hair is dripping wet.Don't even blot it dry.On damp or dry hair, the silicone can make your hair look greasy, or leave one gooey spot if the silicone won't comb through your curls evenly.

If your hair is especially fine, you may get the best results by squeezing a small amount of silicone product into just the ends of your hair.That weighs your hair down just enough to prevent it from frizzing.

No matter where you're applying silicone, put about a quarter of a teaspoonful--the size of a dime--of the product into your hand, and rub your hands together to distribute the silicone.Then, run your hands throughout your hair to coat it with silicone.Make certain to treat all of your hair, not just the top layers.

After using silicone, don't towel dry your hair or you're likely to rub the silicone off.Instead, use a blow dryer or let your hair dry naturally.

AVOID PERMS

Some permanent wave products advertise that they can loosen curls and reduce frizz.However, most hairstylists explain that the active ingredient in most perms--ammonium thioglycolate--breaks down the hair bonds and reshapes it.In the process, the hair shaft becomes thicker, which can be a boon for anyone with thinning hair.Unfortunately, it also makes the hair more porous, and susceptible to frizz.

One exception to the rule about perms is the spot perm.This is a permanent wave product that is applied to just one area for a specific result.

Most people with frizzy hair notice it the most on top of their heads, where the hair sits flat.Few people compare about frizzy ends, where the curls generally disguise it.So, a "spot perm" to lift the top of the hair and give it curls can also conceal frizzy hair.

However, once you've permed your hair, it's often necessary to treat it with care, and restyle it carefully each time you wash it.As your perm grows out, there can be a very clear line where the perm ends.Ask your hairdresser for advice if you're concerned about maintaining your perm.

STYLING TO DISGUISE

You can also conceal frizzy hair without a perm.If you create ringlets or long tendrils, people will focus on them and not notice the frizz.

For successful curls, most hairdressers recommend a curling iron no bigger than 3/4 of an inch in diameter.Apply the curling iron to the middle of your hair only; don't try to curl it to the roots or to the very ends.

Once you've created several luxurious curls, set them with a firm holding hairspray.This product will not only help keep your curls, but also add another protective layer that prevents frizz.

However, there are two problems with curling irons:First, the curls often last a few hours at the most.For an important date, consider carrying a portable curling iron for touch-ups.And, curling irons can dry your hair, making it more porous.This makes you more vulnerable to frizz, as well.

SUMMARY

Curly hair can be nearly frizz-free if you know what to do.Be sure to use a non-drying shampoo, and a good, lightweight conditioner.Experiment with deep conditioners to find a product that works well with your hair, and then use it often.In humid climates or with extreme frizz, a silicone product can seal moisture in--and out--of your hair, leaving it curly, not frizzy.And, by giving people attractive curls to look at, you can effectively disguise frizzy hair.

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