As a result of my naturally curly, textured hair, frizz and I have come to know each other fairly well. In the beginning of my journey to wear my hair curly every day, like a jilted lover, frizz kept showing up uninvited and making a fuss on every possible occasion.
These days I have come to respect frizz now that I understand how to handle it. Instead of shunning it, I accept that it’s a natural characteristic of my hair type that I can rely on when I want some va-va-voom volume without looking like I’ve been attacked by a flock of birds looking for a nest. Most days, my curls repay me by behaving the way that I want them to: with moderate control. Organized chaos, if you will.
So here are a few dos and don’ts that I’ve learned that will help you to stay on the path to frizz-freedom:
DON’T use hair products that contain humectants in the first five ingredients when the dew point in the atmosphere is high (I’ll get more science-y on this in a bit -- sit tight). The most common humectants are glycerin, panthenol/provitamin B5, propylene glycol and honey. If your hair is straight and you want it to stay that way, it’s probably best that you avoid humectants at all costs.
DON'T fluff or pick at your curly hair until it is mostly dry. Unless you plan to twist or braid your hair, leave your curls alone to sit with their thoughts on how to behave for the day.
DO invest in some good hair serums -- this is especially important for straight hair. On days when the dew point is high, consider using products that contain silicones such as amodimethicone or PVP/VA copolymer. On both straight and curly textured hair, silicones tend to create a moisture-blocking barrier to keep hair strands from swelling into a perpetual rat’s nest. My favorites are Aveda Brilliant Emollient Finishing Gloss, Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum, and Biosilk Silk Therapy.
DO pack on the protein when conditioning and preparing the hair to block moisture with ‘cones. As I’ve explained before, there are several types of proteins commonly found in hair products. Protein fortifies the hair and can help to temporarily patch up any porous deficiencies strands may have. When used in combination with silicone-laden products, the combination is a solid one-two punch that’ll help to knock out frizz.
And now, a little crash course on dew point and how to use it to stop a bad hair day before it starts.
Dew point is the temperature that air needs to reach in order to form dew or moisture in the atmosphere. Keep in mind that dew point and relative humidity are not the same. So, when considering how to style your hair according to the weather, the dew point is what your need to consider above all else.
If the dew point is below 15, that means the air is very dry and to stay far away from humectants. Instead, focus on conditioning and adding as much moisture to your hair as you can. Because of the lack of water in the air, if you have a humectant in your hair, then the atmosphere will basically suck the moisture right out of your strands. Bad, greedy atmosphere.
The 15-39 dew point is a dicey range. The porosity of your hair type determines whether humectants will be a friend or foe to you in this case. If your hair is highly porous, meaning your cuticles primarily stay open and easily allow water to go in and out of the inner layers of your strands, then I’d say to play it safe and pass on the humectants. However, if your hair has low porosity, meaning your cuticles lay relatively flat and remain closed, then you may be safe to use humectants without risking dried out strands. If you feel like doing a quick science experiment the next time you wash your hair, then take a loose strand or two and place them into a cup or bowl of water for several minutes to see if they float. If they do, you know your porosity is on the low end.
The 40-60 dew point range is the sweet spot for curly-haired ladies. Humectant use is ideal here because the moisture from the atmosphere will be attracted to and make love to your strands, but not freak it out in such a way that it poofs into a frizz baby.
Anything above a 60 dew point is overkill in terms of moisture in the atmosphere. To avoid the big swell, be sure to steer clear of products with high humectant content (think the first five ingredients), especially if your hair is highly porous.
Now that you know the dos and don’ts of fighting frizz and how the weather plays its part, feel free to let your girl-curls fly. Frizz be damned!