Frizzy Curly Hair

For those of us blessed to have wavy or curly hair, we know that with the gorgeous usually thick mane comes a hidden hazard:  frizz.  Why does wavy or curly hair have to turn into frizzy wavy hair or frizzy curly hair?  Why must one go with the other?  Why can’t our hair just dry naturally and turn into the perfectly coiffed ringlets we see on models or celebrities?

The Structure of Frizzy Curly Hair

Hair is made up of mostly keratin, over 90%.  That keratin bonds with something called disulfides to form “bridges” and make up the hair shaft.  The more disulfide bridges, the curlier the hair.

Curly hair is also flatter than straight hair.  Believe it or not, not all hair shafts are round.  As a matter of fact, only straight hair is almost completely round.  The flatter the hair shaft is, the curlier it will show up on our head.

Follicle shape and size determines texture and thickness. Those with frizzy curly hair have flatter and thicker follicles.
Follicle shape and size determines texture and thickness. Those with frizzy curly hair have flatter and thicker follicles.

Frizzy Curly Hair Tends to be Dry

Another misconception is that people with curly frizzy hair have more hair and that’s the reason it’s unmanageable and frizzy.  Quite the contrary is true.  People with straight hair have an average of 120,000 hairs vs. 100,000 for curly heads.  Naturally, this also means less hair follicles to produce oils and thus, makes curly hair dry and dry curly hair means dry curly frizzy hair.  Simply put, there is not enough sebaceous oil from the scalp to reach all the way down to the tip of the hair.  That’s why our friends with bone  straight hair have to typically wash every day or their head is an oil slick, while those of  us with curly frizzy hair can go –yes, I’ll admit it- even a week without washing.

How to Reduce Frizz and Style Your Frizzy Curly Hair

If you want to reduce frizz and tame your curly frizzy hair, you must follow some simple rules that will ensure that your hair is manageable and luxurious.

  1.  Make sure you’re using a sulfate-free shampoo.  Sulfates are meant to clean your hair squeaky clean but while cleaning your hair and scalp, they also strip essential oils from the hair shaft.  Sulfate-free shampoos are gentler on the hair and do not cause as much dryness as their sulfate-rich counterparts.  Sulfate-free shampoos do not sud and lather up as much but still manage to keep your hair soft and clean.
  2. Avoid washing your hair with hot water, especially at the end of the wash.  When you rinse your hair, make sure you are rinsing with the coolest water temperature possible.  This will seal up the cuticle and prevent the hair from frizzing up more than it needs to.
  3. Do not use a regular cotton towel to dry your hair.  Cotton towels have little “loops” in the fabric that rub against the hair shaft and roughens up the cuticle.  Remember that the hair cuticle is made up of tile-like shingles that when laying flat, produce silky, shiny hair, but when roughened up, the cuticle will react and become raised, thus causing extreme frizz. Using a t-shirt to dry your hair will pamper the hair and get it ready for styling.
  4. Use a leave-in conditioner.  Those of us who have frizzy curly hair tend to have dry hair.  Adding a leave-in conditioner after washing the hair may help set the curls and minimize the frizz.
  5. If using a heat-styling tool, use a heat protecting serum or spray on your hair.  Because you have frizzy curly hair you may think the heat setting on your curling iron or straightener needs to be at maximum temperature.  Not so!  In fact, your heat-styling tool should not be set any higher than 300 degrees if your hair is fine, between 300 and 380 if you have normal hair,and between 380 and 400 if your hair is extra thick and curly.  Be careful with the heating tools since they may fry your hair and dry the hair shaft and eventually cause damage and more frizz.


Even Celebrities Have Frizzy Curly Hair

Even celebrities are not immune to frizz.  Many have curly frizzy hair and they wear it well!

Eva Mendes fights the frizzies but still manages to look gorgeous! She has curly frizzy hair.
Eva Mendes fights the frizzies but still manages to look gorgeous!

Curly hair tends to be coarse and unruly.  This makes it harder to manage than just regular straight hair with an occasional frizz.

Shakira at the Grammys. She has curly frizzy hair.
Shakira at the Grammys
Kate Hudson's natural hair. She has curly frizzy hair.
Kate Hudson’s Natural Hair

Many celebrities with frizzy curly hair tame their wild locks with specialty products and at-home stylists, but on this site you will learn how to manage your curls without leaving them dead and limp or crunchy and stiff.