you want my hair to look good, right?
June 8, 2011 10:00 AM   Subscribe

How do I turn my frizzy, stringy hair into something more ocularly palatable?

My hair is slightly to medium wavy, the thickness of individual strands are just slightly over 'fine', and it is of medium thickness. It is well below my shoulders. It is also simultaneously frizzy and stringy. Please help me! I want beautiful hair. I have tried using no sulfates/silicones (turns my hair greasy!), olive oil masks (greasy AND stringy), and not brushing (giant frizzball of massive proportions). It feels kind of hard and sticky, not soft and luscious. Am I doomed? Can you help me look polished?

Other notes: I live in a very humid climate in the South. In a desert climate, my hair behaves like a dream regardless of whether I straighten it or leave it wavy. My diet is full of omega 3,6, and 9. I eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I am Caucasian, but with Mediterranean blood. I am willing to buy any products.
posted by 200burritos to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
When my hair was shorter it was very frizzy and stringy and my routine to make it not so was shower, brush out, apply curling mousse, scrunch, air dry, and don't brush until next shower. I never had success actually changing the nature of my hair with masks and such except maybe to make it shinier.
posted by boobjob at 10:12 AM on June 8, 2011

I have similar hair except mine isn't wavy - it's straight. However, despite that, it's fuzzy and stringy all the dang time. The only thing that really and truly fixes it is having it cut just above my shoulders. The tangles fall free or something I guess. But I'm stubborn and don't cut my hair often.

This Garnier conditioner has been really great. I use it from the ears down (to keep from weighing it down and looking oily at the scalp) and it works like a charm. I also keep a brush in my desk and give it a quick brush in the afternoon.
posted by ACN09 at 10:15 AM on June 8, 2011

My routine for my wavy, stringy, frizy, fine hair is very similar to boobjob's except I brush it out while in the shower. I buy whatever de-frizzing conditioner that is on sale, then take an extremely wide-toothed comb and comb it out while the conditioner is in. Rinse, scrunch with towel, apply mousse, scrunch again, air dry.
posted by AmandaA at 10:16 AM on June 8, 2011

What is your current styling regimen? How often do you wash and how do you dry? Specific product names and techniques would be helpful. Personally I have wavy/oily/frizzy hair, and live in an extremely humid area, and I have found super-soft success with the Body Shop's ginger anti-dandruff shampoo (even though I don't have a dandruff problem) and I have heard that other cheaper products (like Head & Shoulders) work similarly. I also stopped using conditioner most of the time and instead use a bit of Moroccan/Argan oil on the ends. Always air dry, and never let it touch heat, comb, towel, or brush.
posted by acidic at 10:20 AM on June 8, 2011

Response by poster: Current regimen is wash around every 2 days. I just washed it right now; here it is air drying. I want to let it air dry all the way (and sometimes do), but I am more of a 'shower at night' kind of person. If I need to look polished for work, I always blow dry it. I use whatever shampoo is around, and none of them work for that long.
posted by 200burritos at 10:25 AM on June 8, 2011

If you shower at night, you want to make sure that your pillow doesn't mess it up. So you could try sleeping in ponytail, loose braids, a top knot, scarf, etc. My preference would be a fairly tight ponytail (loosened just before going to sleep) because when hair dries in a tight, wet environment it's less likely to become frizzy. Then when you blow dry it in the morning you should use a hardcore anti-frizz serum full of dimethicone or other silicone. Have you tried John Frieda Frizz-Ease serum, Biosilk, Moroccan oil or any other similar products? And what about using a hair straightener in conjunction with a blow dryer?
posted by acidic at 10:38 AM on June 8, 2011

Here's what I did when I had longer hair.

First, after washing hair but before drying, smooth a nickel-sized blob of regular conditioner (NOT leave-in conditioner) on your soaking-wet hair. I've used Fructis, Suave, Devacurl One Condition, and Pantene for this, and they all seem to work pretty well.

Comb the conditioner through your still-soaking-wet hair with a very wide-toothed shower comb, but do not rinse it out! If you're worried about making a part, now is the time to do it.

Next, blot and scrunch your hair with something like a t-shirt or microfiber towel so you aren't dripping anymore. No wringing, and absolutely no rubbing, as these create frizz.

Next, let your hair air-dry, touching it as little as possible. In the morning, freshen it up by scrunching it with a wet cloth -- preferably not terry cloth toweling, and preferably not with your bare hands.

When sleeping, put your hair in a loose pony on the top of your head, and/or switch to a satin pillowcase, so the friction of your pillow isn't creating frizz. Beyond that, touch your hair as little as possible. Touching == frizz.

If that doesn't quite do it for you, you can also use some regular hair gel (LA Looks or suchlike) in replacement to or in addition to the conditioner.

Hope it works for you!
posted by Andrhia at 10:41 AM on June 8, 2011

Visit a good salon (i.e., not the cheap chain) and find a good stylist. Once they've worked with your hair, they should be able to make recommendations. My own stylist has helped me a great deal by recommending products defined by what's in them (as opposed to what's not in them, which still allows for a great deal of bad things). Mine was also able to make specific recommendations as to what kind of care regimen I should be using. I've been much happier since I've done this.

You should also consider investing in a quality brush depending on your hair type.
posted by Hylas at 10:42 AM on June 8, 2011

My hair freaks out in similar ways when it's humid. Recently, I started using this heat shield / balm / shine thing, and it really changes the way my hair feels (soft! not tangly! not frizzy!) and falls. It's inexpensive ($7ish in my area) and worth a shot.

I've also found that I don't have to blow dry it all the way when I use the product, just enough to brush it into whatever shape I want.
posted by charmcityblues at 11:19 AM on June 8, 2011

I'm a big fan of Living Proof. Their No Frizz line is great for combating frizz, and their styling cream really enhances my curls. You can order it on their website, and Sephora also carries it (they have a pretty good sample policy, so see if you can try a sample before buying it).
posted by mogget at 11:24 AM on June 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Hi there! I was the asker of this question.

You can't know how to care for your hair or what products to use until you know its texture, porosity, and elasticity. You'll also want to take into consideration your region's dew points and your water hardness. Head on over to the Naturally Curly web site. Ignore the "hair type" tabs, and instead read the forum stickies on hair type and the articles written by Tonya Becker. There's also great info to be had at Live Curly Live Free, and particularly in the e-book. (These are geared towards "curlies," but they have information relevant to all hair types.)
posted by moira at 11:49 AM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you use conditioner?
posted by Kololo at 12:09 PM on June 8, 2011

Drop a hundred or so on a great flat iron would be my best advice. You'll have it forever if you treat it right, so it's worth the money. I have limp, fine hair, and the flat iron straightens it to a fashionable sleekness. I don't know what it would do on your hair, but I know a lot of women swear by the flat iron.

I've tried the Paul Mitchell smoothing iron at the salon and was impressed. Also, a big paddle thing by Sedu is very good. My old roommate used it and I borrowed it all the time. I have a Chi myself, but I recently cut off all my hair to a very short style, so I hardly use it and can't comment. It is popular, though.

Hope that helps.
posted by amodelcitizen at 12:42 PM on June 8, 2011

I meant to add an expensive flat iron is seriously way different than a cheap one. So I don't know what you're using now (since you mention straightening), but if it's a cheap-o, you should upgrade.
posted by amodelcitizen at 12:44 PM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I also second going to a great salon. Search the internet and don't be afraid to spend a little money if this matters to you. You will probably save money in the long run because you won't buy a ton of trash trying to find the right thing.
posted by amodelcitizen at 12:50 PM on June 8, 2011

Naturally Curly is my go-to resource. Also I've just gone back to using Jessicurl products after using a lot of cheap goopy stuff that dried the shit out of my hair, but even if you don't want to commit to the products yet watch her series of videos for her product/drying procedure. I myself do not plunk/plonk because I can't get the damn towel to do that thing, but I do put it up in a gentle turban for 20-30 minutes.

My hair looks about like yours wet, and this is right now after washing this morning [and then dealing with a sick dog and running late for work, so this is not my best day].

Alternately I get my product in and sleep on it in a tea towel (others swear by microfiber or t-shirt jersey) turban. The turban usually comes off during the night and I throw it on the floor, but I use silk or satin pillowcases and try to at least pile my hair above my head rather than rolling all over it.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:45 PM on June 8, 2011

Speaking from second-hand experience: Have you considered going shampoo-free (aka "no-poo")? My husband stopped using shampoo about a year ago and has been delighted to find that where before it would go frizzy and bushy when it got about two inches long, these days he's wearing it closer to four or five inches long on top and it's doing the glossy ringlets thing instead. (Very flattering, in my admittedly-biased opinion.) It's also pretty much cleared up his dandruff, in an unexpected side benefit.

FWIW although slightly off-topic, I've also been shampoo-free for more than a year now and although my hair is pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum from his (straight and very fine) it's also never looked better in terms of body, texture, and shininess.
posted by Lexica at 8:34 PM on June 8, 2011

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