Calm my hair down
July 13, 2013 7:27 PM   Subscribe

How can I make my hair less frizzy?

I have long, curly/wavy, low-porosity hair. It's also very frizzy, and even more so now that the very humid NY summer is here. I really want my hair to be smooth and less frizzy. How can I accomplish this?

I wash usually once every other day, because my scalp starts to get greasy if I don't. I don't think my hair is damaged, because I never heat style it, I don't brush it (just wide-tooth comb in the shower), and when I ask stylists always tell me it's healthy. I think it's low porosity because when I drop it in a glass of water it just floats on the top. I think it's probably type 2b hair. It's frizzy at the top, not just the ends.

So far, I have tried leave in conditioner and John Frieda frizz ease, neither of which really help much. I wash, condition, and use a curl creme with an anti-frizz serum.

So, what magical thing can I be doing to my hair that will eliminate the frizz? I'd ideally like to keep it relatively cheap, like under $20 for a product.

posted by queens86 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Ugh, John Frieda didn't work for me at all, either. What works for me, shockingly enough, is the $3 LA Looks gel. I end up with sculpted, Shirley Temple curls (but much longer) and it looks great most days. (NYC also, today was gross.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:32 PM on July 13, 2013

I don't remember a specific brand/product name but look in the hair care aisle for little pump bottles of clear oil called "serum."

Pump a couple drops onto your palm, rub your hands together to distribute it evenly over your hands, then rub your hands all over your hair. You don't want to use more than a few drops or it will actually weigh your hair down too much and make it clumpy and greasy.

I used this stuff back when I had long hair and it worked wonderfully for controlling frizz, including in humid East Coast cities like New York and Washington DC.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:33 PM on July 13, 2013

Enemy of Frizz works for me.
posted by colin_l at 7:51 PM on July 13, 2013

This is the product that changed my hair's life. I now hoard it like it's gold....because it basically is.

It's a little pricier than I'm normally willing to go for beauty products (aka it costs over $10), but I think it's worth it because I no longer have to wear my frizz-o-matic hair in a ponytail every day. Glorious!
posted by Dorinda at 7:54 PM on July 13, 2013

I know this question is not entirely related, but I found a lot of the general frizz-avoiding, curly hair tips that popped up quite helpful, especially in terms of avoiding as much frizz as possible via the hair-washing routine itself (which might also be helpful in your case).

Personally, I use BioSilk fairly often and find it does a really good job of defrizzing and helping give me definition without crunch. I used to use Frizz-ease without any issues, too, but I find myself preferring BioSilk; it's a little runnier (more oil than serum), so I feel like it's a bit easier to apply evenly.
posted by pitrified at 8:14 PM on July 13, 2013

I have 3a to 3b hair. I like lots of gel for this. The LA Looks gel is pretty decent, especially at your price point, although I find it can be drying if I use it a lot. I like something like Miss Jessie's Jelly Soft Curls or Ouidad's Climate Control gel but they are both a bit expensive. I gently finger-comb my hair once it's dry to remove that crunchy feeling that sometimes happens, and I'm left with nice, soft, not super-frizzy curls.

To apply gel, section off your hair and gel up the bottom layers first. Comb your fingers through your hair, and when you get to the end of the hair, shake it out a bit with your fingers. Repeat through the sections. Ouidad calls this the Rake and Shake method and it's really a good way to evenly coat your hair with the product and to form nice curls.

Also, don't touch your hair after that initial gentle finger comb-out. Touching your hair will make it frizz. If you have to touch it, rake your fingers up underneath the bottom and shake out the roots a bit.
posted by k8lin at 8:17 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

In addition to product, how you dry your hair can make a difference.

My stylist taught me how to kind of gently grab and squeeze my hair rather than rubbing it, so the curls don't break up. Lean your head to one side so the hair hangs straight down from the side of your head, place a towel under the hair, and gently push the towel up and squeeze, so you're kind of bunching the hair up. Then do the other side.

I'm probably not describing this well. Here is a YouTube video which demonstrates it.

Also, the type of towel you use can make a huge difference. Peshtemals, t-shirts, and paper towels work best; the loops on fluffy towels will pull your curls apart. Here is a video which talks about that. (Hope those links work, I'm on an iPad.)
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:23 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Definitely gel. There is a reason that every drugstore has a huge wall of it. It works. Also, google for a technique with the unfortunate name "hair plopping." It is actually an amazing technique for getting nice defined curls.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:38 PM on July 13, 2013

Check out some curly hair forums for more product ideas, but the things that help me fight frizz are:

- washing my hair in one direction only - meaning, I don't rub the shampoo and conditioner all over my head, but concentrate on my scalp with my finger tips and smooth the product over the length of my hair (if that makes sense)

- microfiber towel or t-shirt to dry hair, instead of rubbing a towel all over my hair like in the commercials

- using products with no humectants - glycerin, for example.

- I use cheapie TRESemme Ultra Firm Control Gel which says it's for high humidity but if that has too much but Ouidad Climate control gel might be a better bet for you if you don't really need a lot of hold. I've also heard good things about Paul Mitchell's Super Skinny Relaxing Balm but it's pricey.
posted by sm1tten at 8:41 PM on July 13, 2013

I will nth gel, which works well for my curly hair when I use it in addition to a leave-in conditioner. I use Garnier's Fructis Pure Clean gel, which feels pretty light weight on my hair and doesn't leave residue (so long as I don't accidentally leave a glob of it on one spot). Biolage also has a gel that's nice and lightweight, but it's $15-20 for a big bottle, and the Garnier works just fine for about a fourth of the price. Biolage smells nicer though. Neither of them leave that wet, gelled look if you only use a dollop for all your hair.

You'll need to experiment a bit to see what amount of gel works for you. You may even want to water it down, which you can do easily by just putting a small glob on your palm and putting some water on it. Work it into your palms, then comb your fingers through your hair in the rake and shake method mentioned above. If like me, you are too lazy for even that, simply flipping your hair upside down and working your gelled hands through the back and front works in a pinch, though it obviously isn't going to give you quite as good results.

FWIW, I used to use BioSilk, but it's kind of pricy, and I found that it would build up a residue on my hair over time.
posted by yasaman at 9:42 PM on July 13, 2013

I found this site helpful for describing the type of curl you have. Once you know the type of curl you have, you can search the forums and youtube to find methods that work best for your curl type.

You can also read a lot about the "curly girl" method, developed by Lorraine Massey. There is a book and Facebook page and many, many youtube videos that describe the process.

There is a movement to stop washing hair with shampoo. Many switch to washing with conditioner and then separate their curls before drying. There are many sites that describe which conditioners are better for shampoo and which are best for leave-in.

I would not recommend gel; it just leaves the hair frozen and unnatural.

Good luck!
posted by frizz at 10:00 PM on July 13, 2013

I use Garnier Moroccan Sleek oil, which helps keep my thick, wavy hair smooth in humid New Orleans. I use about 6 drops after washing my hair, and a couple drops as needed on dry hair. It has a sort of almond-vanilla smell, which I find nice, but it does linger. And it's only about $6.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 10:46 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

My wavy hair gets very frizzy. I switched to a low-alcohol shampoo and conditioner and it helped a lot. Specifically, I switched to Nature's Gate. I also smooth the outer layer of my hair with a whipped coconut oil product and comb it in with a wide toothed comb. Then, I never blow dry my hair. I sort of set it with pins and let it air dry. It's been a major frizz buster.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:56 PM on July 13, 2013

Hard water can cause frizz. Ion's clarifying treatment helps to settle my hair down. If I don't do an occasional clarifying treatment, nothing helps with the frizz.

I still have some residual frizz after that, which L'oreal's Eversleek Intense Smoothing Conditioner kills dead. After washing, I condition with it, rinse, and put in a small amount as leave-in.

Other details: Most days, I "shampoo" with a cleansing conditioner. I use a gentle shampoo once a week or so. I avoid products with sulfates and keep my hair well-conditioned. (I get best results with oil-based conditioners, but ymmv). Sometimes I throw in a protein treatment, which probably isn't what you need.
posted by moira at 2:37 AM on July 14, 2013

My SO has has that's very similar to what you describe. She uses an after shower frizz control gel (I honestly don't think the brand matters all that much). The difference maker for her came when she *almost* completely gave up shampoo and began to use tea tree oil conditioner only in the shower.
posted by Quizicalcoatl at 3:06 AM on July 14, 2013

Seconding the Curly Girl method -- once I stopped using shampoos with SLS and conditioners with silicone, my hair stopped all frizziness. I only wash once a week and I have pretty oily skin, so there's that bonus (I actually just bought my first bottle of shampoo since February -- that how often I wash my hair).
posted by mrfuga0 at 3:20 AM on July 14, 2013

The relentless NY humidity of this summer has driven me to Moroccan Oil Anti-Frizz which has worked very well, although by the end of a work day the ends start to crinkle up again, just a bit. So it's not a miracle, but close.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:16 AM on July 14, 2013

Others have alluded to it but to be clear: many (most?) gels will dry crunchy. If this is not what you want just crunch you hair to break it up. But the gel has done it's job of making a "cast" so your hair dries in defined curls I.e., not frizzy.
posted by Pleased_As_Punch at 6:06 AM on July 14, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks! For some reason gel never crossed my mind... I will pick some up today!
posted by queens86 at 6:54 AM on July 14, 2013

Deva products work great for this. Mixed Chicks deep conditioner and leave-in conditioner used in tandem with the curly girl method also work wonders for me, though these products do contain some "cones." If you're going to use a leave-in, apply it upside-down when the hair is sopping wet, then towel the hair from the bottom up with a microfiber towel.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 5:34 PM on July 14, 2013

P.S. You can also 'set' your curls once you've got product in them by drying them briefly with a diffuser. This cuts down on frizz. You can load bunches of your hair onto the diffuser like your curls are noodles in a bowl...diffuse for about 1.5 mins and move onto a new section. Remember to diffuse from the bottom up.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 5:38 PM on July 14, 2013

Mixed Chicks products work very for general I have to stay away from Biosilk, Frizz-Ease, or any other product that has a lot of dimethicone in it, as it makes my hair even frizzier. There is a product called Noodle Head that you can get at Sally's Beauty Supply...I mix it with gel with amazing results. And keratin treatments work wonders.
posted by kribensa at 9:10 AM on August 2, 2013

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