What is Frizzy Hair?
Have you ever wondered why your hair becomes frizzy on a humid day?
It’s all thanks to the science of porosity.
Your hair is made up of three layers : the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla.(1)
The cuticle is the outermost layer, and it’s made up of overlapping scales that protect the inner layers of your hair. The cortex is the middle layer, and it’s where your hair’s color and texture come from. The medulla is the innermost layer, and it’s often only found in thicker pieces of hair.
When your hair is dry, it means that the cuticle scales are raised up and not lying flat. This makes your hair more porous, which means that it can absorb moisture from the environment (like humidity) more easily. That’s why your hair gets frizzy on a humid day – because it’s absorbing all of that moisture from the air!
In other words, frizz happens when the level of humidity in the air is greater than the level of water in your hair. (2)
When humidity goes into your hair, each strand forms significantly more hydrogen bonds between the proteins and water molecules in your hair. This causes the hair to swell and leads to that frizzy, puffy look.
In simple terms, frizzy hair is caused by a lack of moisture.
Dry Hair = Frizzy Hair
What Causes Hair to Frizz?
There are several factors that can contribute to dryness and frizz. In order to combat frizz, you need to understand what’s causing it and then take steps to address the underlying issue.
Some common causes of dryness and frizz include:
- Environmental conditions
- Your hair care routine
- Underlying health problem (3)
- Hair type
Let’s take a closer look at each of these causes and how to avoid their further damaging effects.
1. Environmental Conditions
- living in a dry, hot climate
- frequent sun and wind exposure
- frequent exposure to chlorinated or salty water
How to limit further damage
- Try using a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air. Humidifiers can help to retain moisture in the hair.
- Be sure to protect your hair from the sun by wearing a hat or using a product with UV protection.
- UVB radiation is responsible for hair protein loss.(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19138021/)
- If you spend time in chlorinated or salty water, be sure to rinse your hair with fresh water afterwards.
2. Your Hair Care Routine
- using heat styling tools excessively
- coloring or chemically treating your hair
- not trimming your hair regularly
- shampooing your hair too often or not enough
- using harsh hair care products
How to limit further damage
- One of the main culprits of dry hair is heat styling. If you use heat styling tools on a daily basis, try to give your hair a break every now and then. Let your hair air dry whenever possible. Don’t use your tool’s highest heat setting and be sure to use a heat protectant product beforehand.
- Another reason your hair might be drying out is because of coloring or chemical treatments such as bleaching, perming, or straightening. Consider cutting back on these treatments or space them out over longer intervals. If you dye your hair frequently or use harsh chemicals, try switching to a gentler product. There are plenty of options available that will still give you the look you want without damaging your hair.
- Trimming your hair regularly is also important for keeping it healthy. This helps to get rid of split ends which can cause further damage up the shaft of your hair. We recommend getting a trim every 6-8 weeks.
- How often you shampoo is also crucial in preventing dryness. shampooing your hair too often or not enough can dry your hair. If you shampoo your hair too often, it will strip your hair of its natural oils. This can leave your hair feeling dry, brittle, and damaged. On the other hand, if you don’t shampoo your hair often enough, built-up oils and products can weigh down your hair, making it look greasy and flat. In order to avoid drying out your hair, shampoo it every 2-3 days or as needed. Be sure to use a gentle shampoo that won’t strip your hair of its natural moisture.
- Harsh hair care products can also dry out your hair. Avoid using products with alcohol, sulfates, or other harsh chemicals. These ingredients can strip moisture from your hair, leaving it feeling dry and damaged. Look for haircare products that are designed for sensitive skin or that are labeled “gentle” or “natural.” These products will be less likely to dry out your hair.
3. Underlying Health Problem
- Underactive parathyroid (hypoparathyroidism)
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Other hormone abnormalities
- Menkes kinky hair syndrome
4. Hair Type
There are three main factors that contribute to dry hair: the diameter of the hair fiber, the level of curl, and the amount of sebum produced by the scalp.
-The diameter of the hair fiber:
Coarse hair is characterized by larger widths or diameters than average (4). It takes longer for the oil to travel down and absorb into the hair shaft. This can lead to a dry scalp and dry hair.
-The level of curl:
Curly or wavy hair is more likely to be dry because the oil produced by the scalp has a harder time traveling down the winding strands. As a result, the ends of the hair are often left feeling dry and brittle.
Sebum is the natural oil produced by the scalp. It helps to keep the hair and skin moisturized. As we age, our sebaceous glands produce less oil. This can lead to dry skin and hair. In addition, the aging process causes the scalp to thin, making it more susceptible to damage and dryness. (5)
Simple Ways to Fix Frizzy Hair
The best way to prevent frizz is to keep your hair hydrated.
This means you need to make sure that your hair is well-moisturized so that it doesn’t absorb extra moisture from the environment. You can do this by using hydrating shampoo and conditioner, as well as regularly using a deep conditioner or hair mask. Home remedies for dry and frizzy hair can also help to keep your strands hydrated.
If you have frizzy strands, you can also try the following simple fixes to help tame the flyaways.
- First, switch to a shampoo and conditioner formulated for frizzy hair. These products are designed to help hydrate and nourish your strands, giving them the extra moisture they need to stay smooth and tame.
- Use a conditioner every time you wash your hair. This will help to add moisture and reduce frizz.
- Next, try co-washing. This technique involves using conditioner in place of shampoo to cleanse your hair, which can help minimize frizz by preventing your strands from drying out.
- And if you want extra control over your style, try using a gel or cream product to smooth down flyaways.
- In addition to using the right products, you can also help to fix frizzy hair by eating a healthy diet. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and avocado, can help to nourish your scalp and promote healthy hair growth.
- You might also want to try a hot oil treatment. This involves massaging warm oil into your hair and scalp, then covering your head with a towel for 20-30 minutes. This helps to hydrate and nourish your hair, making it less likely to frizz.
- You should also use the right brush and brushing techniques. For example, avoid brushing your hair when it’s wet, as this can cause breakage and split ends. Instead, wait until it’s mostly dry and use a wide-tooth comb or paddle brush. Comb or brush gently, taking care not to tug on knots or tangles. Start at the ends of your hair and work up to the roots.
- When you dry your hair, be careful not to rub it too vigorously with a towel. Instead, gently squeeze the excess water from your strands. Towel drying can cause damage to the cuticle, leading to split ends and frizz. Try using a microfiber towel instead. Microfiber is much gentler on hair and can help to reduce frizz and breakage.
- In addition, be careful when using hair accessories. Elastics, especially, can cause breakage if they are not used correctly. Avoid tight ponytails and opt for looser styles instead. If you must use an elastic, make sure to choose one that is made from a soft material such as fabric or silicone. These are much less likely to damage your hair than traditional hair ties.
- Finally, be sure to take care of your hair while you sleep. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase can help to reduce friction and prevent breakage.
By following these simple tips, you can say goodbye to frizzy hair for good!
frizzy hair can be caused by a variety of factors, including the type of hair you have, how old you are, and how well you take care of your hair. However, there are simple ways to tame frizz that don’t require expensive products or treatments. By following these tips, you can keep your locks looking sleek and smooth all year long.