What helps to stop hair from frizzing will depend on the cause. For some people, humidity makes the hair curl. For others, it may be due to friction, dryness, or damage.

Frizzy hair occurs when hair strands develop an irregular, fuzzy texture. It is different from hair that is naturally textured or coily.

People who are prone to frizzy hair may benefit from using hydrating conditioners, reducing damage from brushing and heat styling, and using products that hold the hair in place on humid days.

This article discusses why hair frizz happens, how to treat and prevent it, how to repair frizzy hair, and whether any illnesses can cause frizzy hair. It also answers some frequently asked questions.

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Hair can frizz for several reasons:

  • Humidity: People with naturally curly hair may find their hair curls more when exposed to humidity or rain. This can happen because the hair returns to its natural texture wherever the moisture touches it.
  • Friction: Hair shafts consist of scales that lay on top of one another. Rubbing them the wrong way can roughen the hair and cause them not to lay flat. Backcombing or teasing the hair, towel drying, and similar practices can cause friction.
  • Damage or dryness: Hair that has become damaged or dry due to harsh styling or chemical treatments can become fragile, leading to splitting or snapping. This can also result in a frizzy texture.

Genetics play a role in hair texture and type — straight, wavy, or curly — and the thickness of hair strands. Genetic factors may also determine how prone hair is to frizz.

It may not always be possible to quickly get rid of frizzy hair once it has developed. However, some tips that may help in the short term include:

  • gently drying the hair, if it is wet
  • carefully brushing the hair to remove knots or realign the strands
  • using a small amount of lightweight wax, oil, or cream to smooth down frizz

Alternatively, people can change their hairstyle in a way that smooths out frizzy hair. For example, they can use hair pins or tie their hair back into a ponytail.

To prevent frizzy hair, it may help to:

Moisturize the hair

Avoid using harsh or drying shampoos to clean the hair, and use a conditioner after every wash.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), conditioners help the hair by:

  • improving the look of damaged hair
  • increasing shine
  • decreasing static
  • improving strength
  • protecting hair from UV rays

Anecdotally, people also report that the following products may help reduce frizz:

  • leave-in conditioner
  • deep conditioning hair masks
  • hair oils such as coconut or argan oil

Minimize breakage

Hair can break or split if it is pulled, heated, or chemically treated too much. To prevent breakage, the AAD recommends:

  • Gentle washing: Wet hair is more likely to break, and hair breakage can lead to frizzing. When washing the hair, massage the shampoo into the scalp, then let it run down the strands.
  • Avoiding friction: Avoid rubbing the hair with a towel or brushing it too much. Instead, people can gently squeeze excess moisture out and only brush the hair when styling. For those with curly or textured hair, the AAD recommends brushing when the hair is damp, while those with straight hair should let it dry a bit first.
  • Loose hairstyles: Tight hairstyles that create tension can cause breakage. Try looser styles to reduce this.

Minimize heat

Heat styling is popular, but it has some disadvantages. The heat itself can damage the hair, as can the tension from straightening or blowdrying with a brush.

The AAD recommends:

  • using heat styling less often and letting hair dry naturally instead
  • when heat styling, using the lowest possible heat setting
  • limiting the amount of time the tool is in contact with the hair

People may also benefit from using a leave-in heat protection spray or cream beforehand.

Use the right tools

Some hair care tools, such as brushes, are better for reducing breakage and frizz than others. People may benefit from using:

  • a wide-toothed comb or brush
  • a microfiber towel, as they are gentle on the hair and help it dry faster
  • fabric-covered rubber bands for tying it up

Overnight care

Anecdotally, people report that how they treat their hair at night affects how frizzy it is the next day. Some wear their hair in braids, a bun, or wrapped in a scarf or bonnet to protect it from friction against bedding.

Others use silk pillowcases for a similar purpose, but there is currently no research on their effectiveness.

It is important to note that, as with the daytime, styling the hair too tightly at night can cause damage and possibly hair loss.

When the cause of frizzy hair is damage, it may take time to repair. The suggestions above will help, but people can also:

Get regular haircuts

Regular hair cuts help remove dry and dead ends. Split ends can affect the hair follicle and cause more damage and frizz to occur.

Take a break from chemical treatments

Dyes, bleaching, perms, and chemical relaxers can all damage the hair. If relevant, it may help to take a break from these until the damaged hair has grown out.

Try treatments for damaged hair

Some hair products contain ingredients that are beneficial for strengthening the hair. For example, a 2022 study found that conditioners containing argan oil helped strengthen bleached hair.

Hair care when swimming

People should ensure they wear a swim cap when swimming and immediately wash their hair afterward to avoid the damaging effects of chlorine.

Experts recommend using specific shampoo and deep conditioner for those who swim. This ensures hair remains in good condition before and after swimming and may also help with frizz.

Consult a dermatologist or hair specialist

If home care does not help with the damage, it may be helpful to speak with a dermatologist to determine any other possible causes.

Some health conditions may cause frizzy hair or make it more prone to dryness and breakage.

For example, some children can have a condition known as uncombable hair syndrome. It causes dry, frizzy hair that is light blonde or silver and grows in multiple directions. For unknown reasons, this condition usually improves by adolescence.

Some conditions, such as certain nutritional deficiencies, can also lead to dry hair or hair loss, which may make hair more prone to frizz.

Below are some answers to common questions about frizzy hair.

Is my hair unhealthy if it is frizzy?

Not necessarily. Frizziness can happen if a person has wavy or textured hair that comes into contact with moisture and humidity, which can reset the curl pattern.

Sometimes, though, frizzing does happen due to dryness or damage.

Does hair get frizzier as you get older?

Hair can change as people get older, which may result in more frizz for some. A person may be able to manage these changes with hair care and advice from a dermatologist.

Can you get rid of frizzy hair permanently?

This depends on the cause of the frizz. It may be possible to improve the appearance of frizzy hair, but if a person has curly hair and lives in a humid climate or is particularly prone to frizz, it may not be possible to prevent it entirely.

If the cause is dryness or damage, this may go away permanently with proper care.

Frizzy hair may result from humidity, but it may also be a sign of hair damage or dryness.

Possible ways to stop the hair from frizzing include using a wide-toothed detangling brush, keeping the hair hydrated, and minimizing heat styling or chemical treatments.

When frizz does occur, using hair products to smooth it down or restyling it in another way may help reduce the appearance of frizz.