Help me be frizz-free and wavy
August 24, 2009 5:30 AM   Subscribe

What product can I use on my naturally wavy, very frizzy, shoulder-length hair while wet, so that it dries frizz-free? Bonus points if it also enhances the waviness. Extra bonus points if it helps it dry faster.

My usual routine involves shampoo and conditioner, Avon Dry Ends Serum (all over, not just on the ends), blow-drying, and usually a quick pass with a straightening iron (sometimes with another smoothing spray). Even after all that, I always develop a halo of frizz as soon as I step outside (see this recent photo).

I've tried other products in the past that promised to reduce frizz, but the result is always the same, so I've just stuck with this system for the past couple years. However, I'm usually looking at products to straighten hair, and I thought maybe now I'd try to embrace the wave and go for something designed for wavy/curly hair, with which I have no experience. The last time I let my hair air dry, it took literally all day, and this was the result.

I am going to the beach this weekend and don't want to be messing with a hairdryer after showering, while my friends are waiting to go out. Is there a product I can use that will help my hair air-dry more neatly? In order of importance, I'd like it to 1) reduce frizz, 2) enhance the waves, and 3) help my hair dry faster.
posted by LolaGeek to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Lately I've been using this serum (whether I blow dry or not) followed by this cream, and I've been surprised at how much better my dry, drizzy hair looks. It's actually soft, and it seems to dry much faster.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:06 AM on August 24, 2009

You might want to consider a "thirsty" towel to absorb water from your hair better. Basically, blot your hair as mentioned above, then wrap it turban-style around your hair for a bit while you get dressed/put on lotion/do your makeup/whatever. I wouldn't buy a full-size towel for this, as your hair is pretty short. Check out a super-absorbent kitchen towel; they're sometimes called bar mops. It should be big enough to wrap up your hair, I think.

To reduce frizz, blot your hair with your towel, rather than rub the towel in it. Is your hair dry/damaged? If so, that's what's causing the frizz. Consider using a heavier conditioner, on the ends only if you're worried about "greasy" roots, to combat this. You can also shampoo less often. Personally, I shampoo about three times a week.

When you style your hair, using the thirsty towel, wait to blow-dry until your hair is at least halfway dry -- this helps with styling time, and can help prevent heat styling damage. Again, you can go on with the rest of your routine while you wait for it to dry some. Blow-dry with the nozzle pointed down to help smooth the tiny hairs that can stick up. Once your hair is styled, do not touch it.

To really enhance the waves, you'll need to have your stylist cut your hair so that it allows your hair to move. It looks like your hair is all one length, so having some "piecey-ness" added will make your hair wavier. You can still straighten it easily after you do this. More immediately, using mousse (not a ton of it, you can make your hair crunchy if you use too much) and the diffuser attachment of your hair dryer will make already-wavy hair much wavier. You might be surprised at just how curly this makes your hair.

FWIW, I absolutely cannot let my hair air-dry and go in public. It looks pretty rough as it's drying, and I never know what I'm going to end up with, stylewise. If you have to do this, put some product on your hair and go. Consider bringing a headband or scarf if you really just want to get out the door.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:29 AM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions :o)

I actually do have a "thirsty" towel I use, and when I'm at home I let my hair air dry most of the way before I use any heat on it, but I was hoping to not mess with a hair dryer at all while I'm away.
posted by LolaGeek at 6:37 AM on August 24, 2009

I use Aveda Curly Conditioner and Catwalk Curls Rock. I tried some of the Aveda Curly products but I need quite a bit of hold to keep my hair from frizzing. I usually let it air dry, but if it's unusually humid out I'll use a blowdryer on low to get some of the moisture out and the Catwalk product keeps things from getting out of control even with the hairdryer. I find this combo to work relatively well, of course YMMV.

See also.

posted by absquatulate at 6:43 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Have you looked around

I like FrizzEase on wet hair, but it can be a little heavy. On dry hair I love, love, love Deva Curl. (Smells good too.) Haven't tried it on wet hair though.

I find that air drying is the only way for me to not get frizz. I almost never use a hair dryer, except when it gets to be 20 degrees out.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:47 AM on August 24, 2009

Your hair looks similar to mine, although mine is much thinner. You have a moderate amount of wave which could definitely be enhanced by a haircut with more layers as runningwithscissors suggested. I recently got a more layered haircut than usual and I was really surprised by how much more wavy my hair is now, even without using product.

I use John Frieda Dream Curls Curl Perfecting Spray and it's awesome. It eliminates frizz when I let my hair air dry, sculpts waves to look more styled rather than "I didn't have time to blow dry my hair this morning", and is very lightweight yet moisturizing. Also, it doesn't make my hair crunchy like mousse or gel would...I can still run my fingers through my hair without it getting all snarled.

Also, if you're going to the beach, I would take full advantage of the wonders that salt water does for wavy hair. My strategy is always to take one last dip in the ocean before going inside, and then wearing a shower cap in the shower to preserve the saltiness...some simple scrunching with salt water infused hair and maybe a lightweight leave in conditioner has always had amazing results for me, much more so than I've ever been able to get with a store bought product. Except for this John Frieda Ocean Waves sea salt spray which is now discontinued, and which sells on ebay for like $70/bottle. I think the magic to that stuff is the oil that adds moisture the salt takes away. If you can find a bottle of that stuff, GET IT, it's liquid gold.

I wouldn't try any of the other sea salt sprays that are out on the market now. I've tried many of them and either the ratio of salt to oil is off, or they don't utilize oil at all and the result is crunchy dry straw hair, which is no fun.
posted by Gonestarfishing at 6:54 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

My favorites: Aveda Phomollient for light hold and a small amount of Smooth Infusion to prevent frizz (this stuff is seriously magical).

I work both through immediately after towel-drying my hair, then twist large sections (let them hang normally without securing the ends) to coax it into a more regular wave pattern. After this, if you're air drying, just don't touch it at all till it dries. (If you need to blow-dry, wait as long as possible and use a diffuser.) Result: super-soft waviness!

Also, echoing the suggestion for a layered cut - even just some variation in the top layer of hair will make a huge difference.
posted by Fifi Firefox at 7:44 AM on August 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks again for the suggestions so far. I'm compiling a shopping list of products to look for. I'm not going out on Wednesday, so I can do a trial run with the winning product.

Question for diffuser advocates: Can you put one on any hair dryer, or is there something that makes a dryer diffuser-ready? (I just have a regular size/shape, 1850 watt hair dryer.)

Thanks also for the haircut suggestions, but at the moment I'm not looking to do the wavy thing full-time, so plan to stick with my current one-length 'do.
posted by LolaGeek at 8:28 AM on August 24, 2009

Most diffusers should fit on any standard hairdryer, and some of them come with an attachment for a mini hairdryer as well.

My stylist (who specialises in curly hair) uses this weird hand-shaped one, but I don't blow dry my hair enough to invest in one.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:41 AM on August 24, 2009

It is pretty pricey, but Bumble & Bumble's silicone anti-frizz product is the, uh, Bumble Bee's knees.
posted by Pax at 8:44 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

When I used to try and de-frizz my wavy hair, I liked Frizz-Ease the best.

I stopped using any styling products on my hair, though, because if my hair touched my face at all with these de-frizzing, curl-defining products on it, I would get mega-zits on my face. YMMV.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:21 AM on August 24, 2009

I really like Moroccan Oil, I have wavy/dry hair and got this from a hair salon,
posted by robinrs at 11:10 AM on August 24, 2009

Have you considered co-washing your hair? Co-washing is when you "wash" your hair with a silicone-free conditioner (VO5 Tea Therapy Vanilla Mint conditioner is highly recommended, and on the high end WEN Cleansing Conditioner is supposedly the holy grail). If you Google the method you'll find tons of websites detailing the instructions and toting its benefits for naturally curly and African American hair types.

If you've never done it before, you may need to strip your hair first of the hair styling/silicone residue from your other hair care/styling products (with a clarifying shampoo and/or a vinegar hair rinse). You won't need to shampoo again (not that you can't, but you don't have to). I loosely follow Chaz Dean's co-washing method (link here).

Basic Method:
1. Rinse hair with water for one minute
2. Apply conditioner all over scalp, and over the length of hair
3. Massage scalp and rub hair like you would with shampoo
4. Comb through with a wide-tooth comb
5. Leave in hair for approximately five minutes (just do the rest of your showering routine during this time)
6. Rinse thoroughly

Once you've stripped your hair of the silicone products coating it (I'm not sure which shampoo and conditioner you use, though if it's geared toward curly hair there's probably silicones in it, and your hair serum is definitely full of silicones) you may find your hair dries much faster and feels more voluminous.

Note: I don't have curly hair but it makes my naturally straight hair silkier, smoother and incredibly less prone to static.
posted by wiretap at 12:16 PM on August 24, 2009 [5 favorites]

The ONLY product that has ever worked for me is quite pricey and it's called Wen. For many it works overnight and for some it takes a couple of weeks.

This won't help you in the immediate situation but I assure you that it's really something if it can tame my hair. Seriously, for me it really is amazing stuff.

The downside is what I've said already, it can get pricey, however..... I have VERY thick hair that is long and I don't use half of the number of pumps he suggests. If I did, I can only imagine how much silkier my hair would be even after it seems so perfect now.

Trust me, I have no connection to these products. Just a satisfied customer.
posted by magnoliasouth at 4:05 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

My frizz has come down a fair amount by converting to a conditioner wash, as wiretap suggests (though I follow a bit of a different routine -- I "shampoo" with cheap conditioner, like Suave, then rinse and follow with a better conditioner, like Humectress, which I'll leave on for a couple of minutes). I probably only use actual shampoo a couple of times, max, between visits to my stylist; if my hair's feeling particularly dull during that time, I'll use an apple cider vinegar rinse (a couple of Tbsp of vinegar diluted in about a pint of water) between the two conditioner stages. The vinegar rinse leaves my hair feeling ultra-clean (but not stripped) and soft.

For a diffuser, I use a hot sock, which fits on any dryer.

I'm not wild about any of the products I'm using these days, so the rest of this thread is good reading for me, too!
posted by scody at 4:06 PM on August 24, 2009

My favorite cocktail recently has been AG fast food + AG re:coil. The secret to using them has been, for me, to apply them to sopping, dripping wet hair, and then scrunch out some of the water with a cotton t-shirt. (Using any kind of terrycloth towel always makes me frizz up.) Otherwise, try to touch your hair as little as humanly possible while it dries. It's a pain that it takes so long to dry, but I've never had close to the same un-frizz-ness with a blowdryer or diffuser
posted by miagaille at 4:23 PM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Follow-up: I got a bottle of John Frieda Dream Curls Curl Perfecting Spray and tested it out last week on a day I didn't have to leave the house. The results of my trial turned out okay, and there was definitely minimal frizz, which was my number one concern. However, it took literally all day to dry. After getting fed up with waiting, I used my hair dryer on the lowest setting, and scrunched as I dried. (No diffuser yet.) That totally screwed everything up. Oh well.

As for the beach, my companions ended up being bigger slowpokes than me when it came to getting ready, so I had plenty of time to blowdry my hair after all. But it's nice to know I have the air drying option, should I need it.

Thanks again for all your suggestions! (I have actually seen the Wen products on QVC and am always intrigued... maybe that will be my next experiment!)
posted by LolaGeek at 6:37 AM on September 1, 2009

It's already been said, but the cut makes *all* the difference. It coaxed the curl out of my wavy, frizzy hair. If you can, find a woman with a haircut you like and ask her where she got it cut. It's the best way to find someone good. :)
posted by absquatulate at 3:50 PM on September 25, 2009

« Older Why can't I rent a convertible?   |   Canning season is here - we need advice on how to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.