9 Reasons Your Curls Are Frizzy
Posted on 20 January 2021
Frizz isn’t an f-word in our eyes, but many of us have a love-hate relationship with it. On one hand, it can give us that highly-coveted volume (check!), but on the downside...it can crush dreams of ultra-sleek curl definition. Sigh. Don’t worry, we get it.
For those that are looking to fight excess frizz, we’ve collected some of the top frizz-causing culprits to help diagnose the root cause. Ready to dive in?
Here are 9 things that could be causing frizz...
1. Your curls are in rough shape
We can all agree that sun-kissed balayage looks stunning (and we get that it’s nice to switch up the curly do every so often) but with curly hair, you have to be a little cautious. Here’s why...
The chemical process of dying or bleaching lifts the cuticle of the hair—a protein-based coating that gives hair its strength and shine. Once this layer is ruined, the strand is vulnerable to splitting, breaking and for the grand finale, frizzing. Believe it or not, excessive heat styling can have the same effects too. Although this type of damage can happen to all hair types, curly girls are particularly vulnerable to it.
When hair grows in a spiral pattern, the strands are naturally more fragile and the hair cuticle is rougher around each spiral, making it more prone to damage. So once you add heat and/or chemicals to curly hair, you get a double-whammy of damage. When this happens, you lose that “spring” in the hair because your curl pattern goes astray. This makes it harder for curls to clump together which, in turn, makes them frizz.
Pro tip: If you want to switch it up and lighten your locks a bit, make sure to do so under the guidance of a trained professional. Talk to your hairdresser about safely lightening your hair over a few sessions until you get the look you desire. This allows your hair to recoup and stay healthy between sessions!
2. Your sleep set-up needs an upgrade
Most people sleep on cotton pillowcases, but curly-haired girls should avoid them whenever possible! Why? As you move around during sleep, your hair gets caught in the rough pillowcase fibers, creating friction. This causes major frizz and is also why hair can get so ratty in the morning.
So what’s the solution? Try a silk or satin pillowcase. Sure, it sounds bougie, BUT funny enough, it’s one of the most low-maintenance ways to control frizz. Silk or satin pillowcases let your hair glide smoothly over a supple surface. No tangles for sleeping beauty!
3. You’re stressed
Without getting too sciencey, let’s talk about how stress affects the health of your hair.
When we’re feeling anxious, our body releases a hormone called cortisol, which causes inflammation. In this state, our hair follicles swell up and shrink making it vulnerable to damage.
In these states of stress, a higher percentage of your hair follicles can go dormant which can cause those strands to fall out or break in the middle of their growth cycle. This can slow the production of your natural oils as well and make your curls thin, fragile, and frizzy.
To get a handle on stress, support your mental health through relaxing activities like yoga, outdoor walks and positive thinking. It’s important to make sure you’re not neglecting yourself. We know it’s easier said than done, but not skipping meals, drinking enough water, and sleeping well are also essential!
4. Your products aren't curly-friendly
Using products that contain ingredients known to be harmful for curly hair could be a major reason why you’re experiencing frizz.
Which ingredients are known to be the worst for curls? Silicone is one of the usual suspects on our list. It’s a deceiving material: it feels luxurious and adds shine, but it’s actually part of the rubber family. It gives the illusion of smoother, silkier locks by coating your hair in a rubbery gloss, but over time, silicones create a buildup of synthetic junk (residue) on your curls. This ultimately dehydrates your hair, leaving your strands dull, lifeless, and frizzy.
If you’re after the silky-smooth shine that silicones are known to give, try using a silicone-free hair oil to nourish and hydrate your ends instead.
Another culprit of frizz is sulfates. Sulfates are detergents that attract dirt and oil and make it easy for shampoos to cleanse your hair. The issue is that they’re very stripping and remove too much of your natural oils, drying out your scalp and hair and ultimately depleting your curls of the moisture they need.
Pro tip: If you’re transitioning from silicone and sulfate-based products, give your curls some time to recoup! You may not see the difference right away but in time you’ll be amazed at how different (and healthy!) your curls will look. .
5. You're layering too many products
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: curly hair does not have to be complicated! We’ve been brainwashed to think that we need 4-5 different products to achieve ‘perfect curls’, but it’s simply not true. Using lots of products to style your curls can cause an overload of buildup, which can leave your roots greasy and your ends frizzy.
That’s why we focused on simplicity with the Love Ur Curls 3-Step System. After cleansing and conditioning, the All-in-One is your ‘one-stop-shop’ to hydrate and style your natural waves, curls, and coils without the fuss. The best part? All of the products in the line are silicone-, paraben-, sulfate-, gluten- and cruelty-free.
6. Your styling technique might be off
If you’re struggling to get your curls defined, you might need to tweak your styling routine. For starters, always apply your product to wet hair. It’s the best way to get good curl clumps and reduce frizz since your curls are in their most defined state when they’re wet. Watch our founder explain more here!
Water also helps you easily spread product throughout your hair. Even distribution is essential! Failing to apply your styling product evenly from root to tip can leave you with super defined ends and frizzy roots or vice versa. Applying in sections will help give every curl the same amount of product and attention.
The next thing you need to do is experiment with different defining techniques. Understanding your curl type can help you learn what application will work best to help clump and define your unique texture. If you want to see how other curlies are doing it, we've got alllll kinds of product application vids here. 😉
7. You're abusing your curls
Some of us were taught to brush our hair everyday to smooth out the tangles but if you’ve been rocking your curls for a while, you know that this rule only applies to those with straight hair.
Any stylist who understands curly hair knows that it should NEVER be brushed when dry. It tugs against your natural curl pattern, causing serious breakage. Instead, try to detangle in the shower using just your fingers while your hair is saturated with water and conditioner.
The slip from the conditioner will help melt the knots and tangles without the pain. Tools can also be helpful! If you prefer to use a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush make sure its teeth are rounded, not pointy, to provide a more gentle glide along the scalp. More info on detangling here!
8. You need moisture (hello, deep conditioner!)
Blame the law of attraction: dry hair craves moisture. When it’s deprived, your strands will soak up moisture from the atmosphere, causing them to float up and turn into their own gravity-defying creation.
Curls tend to be dry, even when you take gentle care of them. Due to their spiraled shape, it’s harder for the natural oils produced from your scalp to travel down and coat the strands. That’s why they can get so frizzy.
To give your curls the moisture they crave, stick to a weekly or bi-weekly deep conditioning treatment to help nourish your hair. Make sure you’re using a good deep conditioner with naturally hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, jojoba oil, and shea butter to give your curls the TLC they deserve.
Important note! Moisture is critical to healthy, frizz-free curls, but it is possible to overdo it. When this happens, curls can experience over-moisturization or Hygral Fatigue (which can also cause frizz!). You’ll know this is happening if your hair becomes limp, starts to lack structure and hold, and feels a bit gummy when wet. To avoid over-moisturizing, listen to your hair! Deep condition when it starts to feel dry and always follow the instructions on the recommended length of time to leave your treatment in.
9. Your drying process needs love
Are you using a diffuser for a gentle blow dry? Great! Are you moving the diffuser head up, down and all around like crazy as you dry? Stop right there!
When you shake, rotate, or bob the diffuser head up and down, it causes your curls to separate and create frizz. Instead, hold your diffuser nice and steady for 5-15 seconds per section. Learn more about how to properly diffuse here.
Now, let’s tackle air drying. Rule one: don’t touch your hair while it air-dries. Rule two: avoid using a terry cloth towel (the longer fibres will catch the curls and make them frizzy). Instead, use a microfiber or t-shirt towel!
Down to try something new to dry your curls? Try the Plopping Method! It’s one of the easiest ways to get frizz-free results when air drying. Once you're out of the shower, apply your styler and gently scrunch your hair upwards towards your scalp. This action forces the curl pattern to become more compact and defined. After scrunching, you’ll “plop” your hair into a towel or t-shirt and set it above your head to absorb the excess water. Then voila! Once dry, you’ll have big, bouncy, gorgeous curls — minus the frizz. See how it’s done here!