Do you live in Boston? Do you have curly hair? How?
August 31, 2013 5:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm white, I have curly hair and I live in the Boston area. Around this time of year, every year, I have massive problems with frizz (my hair doubles in size, and not in a good way). I don't have this problem when I'm a few states south, in the tri-state area. I'm seeing tons of girls with curly hair in Massachusetts right now who don't have this problem. What's the secret?

I don't have this problem the rest of the year, and I don't have this problem when I put my hair up while it's wet. My hair looks like this the rest of the year (I'm sorry about the photograph; it's the only one I have of the back/side of my head).

I'm sort of on the CG method. I wash my hair every morning with Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture conditioner, and use Pantene Weightless Body Building Gel for fine hair while my hair is wet. I let my hair air dry.

I do know about A lot of the products and methods people recommend there haven't worked for me (they make my hair too greasy or weigh it down).

Do I need to add a product? Change a product? Halp!
posted by topoisomerase to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
My 4-year-old has a huge head of curls and it gets crazy when it's humid. I swear by this stuff for her by Bumble and bumble. There is also a version for coarse hair.
posted by sutel at 6:24 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

I wash with sulfate free shampoo and conditioner, use Its a 10 spray or Label.M blow out spray, and a scant amount of Moroccan oil as needed.
posted by jerseygirl at 6:30 PM on August 31, 2013

I use Loreal Smooth Intense conditioner, some gel, and let the curls air dry.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:34 PM on August 31, 2013

Not Boston, but NYC with curly hair. I treat with a LOT of LA Looks gel.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:35 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's expensive, but local brand Living Proof's no frizz line really does work.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:00 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not in Boston, but things are pretty humid here as well. This is not my hair, but it's pretty darn close to it- somewhere between a 2b and 2c. I use about two peas worth of Aveda Be Curly and mix it with a single dollop of Aveda Phomollient, then finger comb it through damp to wet hair and air dry. Phomollient does a great job of managing frizz without giving it a slick or crunchy gel-like look. This is literally the only thing that has ever helped my curls not be poofy, and I tried a ton of serums, conditioners, mousses, etc. But then again, I do think that different people's hair reacts better or worse to various products, so unfortunately it's trial and error.

If you have fly-aways, you can handle that by getting your palm a little wet and spraying hairspray on it, rubbing your palms together, and smoothing over the top layer of your hair.

I also wash about once every 5 days, if that matters...I usually pull it into a high, slicked back sock bun or a low bun with a scarf around it like this to hide the grossness on days 3 through 5. Sometimes I rinse and condition (no shampoo) in between washes if I want to reset my curls. It probably couldn't hurt to try washing a little less frequently and see if that helps, because shampooing strips your hair's natural oils, and maybe your hair is just dry because you're doing it every day.

I've been hearing more and more about coconut oil, since it penetrates the hair shaft (unlike lots of other oils), and I've been experimenting with it in my hair. It doesn't seem to make a big difference to any residual frizziness I get, but my hair does feel healthier overall. It's cheap at TJ's- maybe you'll have better luck than I did.
posted by quiet coyote at 7:01 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm in noorth central CT, does that count? Today was particularly humid and... moist. The only thing I have found that reliably works is Moroccan Oil Curl Cream. I will also treat my roots with just the oil on nasty days like today.

I do follow all the CG rules, and have started the "no poo/low poo" method, but really, it's that Moroccan Oil cream that makes the difference.
posted by smalls at 7:57 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm uh, no poo (no poo is quite possibly the worst name for a hair care method ever).
posted by topoisomerase at 8:04 PM on August 31, 2013

I have a "Jewfro" (my apologies for this slightly offensive name, but there you go) and it turns into a hair helmet when it's dry out. I hate my hair.

The only way I've been able to manage my hair, outside of keeping it closely cropped (number 3 razor, probably not what you want to do) is to wash it once a week, and let the natural oils condition it. By "washing once a week", this means I use shampoo once a week, and vigorously rub my scalp and hair in the shower daily.

Otherwise the natural oils are removed and I turn into a wavy, frizzy mess! I hate it!
posted by KokuRyu at 8:05 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

The sulfates in your Tresemme might be drying out your hair, but that's probably your smallest concern.

There are bigger things you could and should try changing: swapping your gel for leave-in conditioner, and drying your hair with more care.

Try swapping this stuff (Creme de la Creme) for the gel? I find that it helps me with my frizz. It helps me maintain my 2B curl structure without adding weight, which might be a problem you also face. Also, leave-in conditioner doesn't melt in the hot humid North Carolina summertime like gels or waxes or whatever else, but that's probably my problem, not yours being farther north.

Evenly drying curly hair is a big deal. You need special tools like these. Air drying will not build good curl structure - frizz is the first thing that forms. You want the process of drying your hair to solidify your curl structure, not to diffuse it arbitrarily. I use a regular old microfiber cloth to dry my hair evenly after adding leave in conditioner (the same type of cloth I also use to wipe off electronics and windows).

Curly hair can be a pain in the ass to understand, but once you get it right, everyone will be mad jelly of your hard work and results. Also, microfiber clothes totally rule and you should buy a billion of them. Have fun!
posted by oceanjesse at 8:28 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

the pic of your hair looks really similar to my hair in every way (curl, ~length, thickness). best product i've ever used is aveda confixor. it's a light gel lotion that isn't sticky or tacky. for my long thick hair i use about a quarter size every morning and very lightly scrunch up the curls just once as i like looser curls. i highly recommend it as it really helps with the frizz, and i get lots of compliments on how great my hair smells. ditch your other gel if you use it.

you may need to use a bit of hair spray too with the crazy humid weather everywhere. i've just started making my own with sugar and water. just add 4 teaspoons sugar in 1 cup almost boiling water and let the sugar dissolve completely. pour into a spray bottle when cooled and you have a flexible hold hair spray. i keep mine in the fridge to keep it fresh. try more sugar for a stronger hold. add a few drops of an essential oil like lavender if you like. spritz lightly and let dry, if you need more hold spritz lightly again rather than using it extensively all at once. saves tons of money over buying hair spray.
posted by wildflower at 8:41 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

My hair looks almost exactly like that, and was completely unmanageable (to the point of straightening it every day) until I started using sulfate-free products and putting pure coconut oil in it. Now, for the first time, I can wash my hair the night before, wake up, brush my hair, and wear my hair down all day. Previously, if I wanted to wear my hair down I had to wash it the day of. I do think it makes me break out a little though, but I am already predisposed to bad skin. Pulling it back slightly at night fixes that.

I can't tell from your picture, but one big problem with my hair is that there is a lot of it and it is very fine. It literally just sort of floats up throughout the day if I don't put anything in it. The coconut oil helps weigh it down. With gel, I would have to put so much in it was crunchy, and silicone products (though I sometimes use them) alone make my hair too light/soft.

Even though you don't use shampoo, I would switch to sulfate-free. I love love love EverCurl.
posted by obviousresistance at 8:50 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

My hair is a disgusting frizzed out mess when I use drugstore hair products. Like, so awful-- frizzy four days after washing it. Then I switched to expensive, Alterna caviar hair conditioner. Now it totally behaves with minimal intervention. YMMV.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:58 PM on August 31, 2013

3a/b on the curl scale here, living in Massachusetts. In the summers I definitely have to use more product than in the winter; I also use a leave-in conditioner before an alcohol-free "custard" gel. I use Kinky Curly Knot Today and then the KC Curling Custard; I absolutely love it, but it's definitely got a high learning curve before you figure out how much is right for your hair. They might be a bit heavy for your hair type; I'd recomend that you try the Devacurl leave-in and gel. And definitely find a sulfate-free shampoo! I hated to admit it, but going for pricier styling products has definitely made my hair look better.
posted by TwoStride at 10:12 PM on August 31, 2013

I'm in Maine, also with THICK curly/frizzy hair. I use Frieda Frizz-Ease right after washing and Garnier Anti-Frizz serum after it dries. I have also experimented with various shampoo/conditioners. Right now I'm using the Alba Botanica for my type of hair, which works well. I do believe that the shampoo/conditioner is more important than the styling aid. I recently bought something else near my house because I ran out and it was horrible. I looked like a Frizz Monster for a week or two before I caved and just tossed it.
posted by miss tea at 4:26 AM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Great thread - I'm watching carefully for new times and tricks! I'm a huge fan of the pixie curl diffusing technique. It sets my hair in the nice ringlets I have right after washing it and doesn't add frizz, while cutting 3 hours off the drying time. And let's be honest, my hair never dries naturally quite right when it is so humid.

I have had an awful time with drugstore-level higher-end "curl defining" products/gels/conditioners/etc - I end up with more frizz than I started with. I've had a surprising amount of luck using the bare minimum cheapest products - V05 conditioner and LA looks gel (the yellow color, applied when wet). Even if it doesn't work for you, it's a inexpensive test run.

Finally, I've noticed that when it is so humid out, I need to comb my hair (when wet, in the shower) with a fine toothed comb in addition to the very thick toothed comb I normally use exclusively. I know that using thin toothed combs breaks all of the curly-haired commandments, but it keeps me from looking like a total crazy.
posted by fermezporte at 6:47 PM on September 3, 2013

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