Stop Doing This. It’s Giving You Frizzy Hair!

August 9, 2023 (updated May 10, 2024) — Written by

If you have frizzy hair and you don’t want it, there are definitely a few things you can do to tame the frizz. (And we’re not talking about putting your hair up in buns or braids!). We are getting to the root of the problem with cosmetic chemist Kate Noonan and curly hair expert Delilah Orpi about why hair frizzes out and what you can do to stop it. 

A woman with long wavy gray hair.

By: Lisa Fennessy

This post is partially sponsored by EVOLVh, an ethical haircare line that meets ECOCERT requirements, COSMOS requirements, is Soils Association Approved, NaTrue Approved and Global Approved. As always, The New Knew only works with brands who we trust are making the world a better place.

IN THIS POST:


If you have frizzy hair and you love it, great. This post is not for you. But if you struggle with frizzy hair and feel like you’ve tried to tame the frizz to no avail, there are a few things you may be doing that are preventing you from getting there.

Though similar, it’s important to distinguish between frizz and flyaways as how to navigate them can differ. Try these tips if you are dealing with pesky flyaways.


What causes hair to frizz and how can we stop it?

Up first? What actually causes hair to frizz? It’s not just the heat or the humidity. The biggest culprit for causing frizz can stem from the pH in your hair products

Kate Noonan, Molecular Biologist and Cosmetic Chemist, explains, “Your hair is made out of layers of a protein called keratin with an outer layer called the cuticle. Frizz happens when keratin (which has a neutral charge and a pH between 4.5-5.4) shifts to a negative charge often due to using high pH products

A negative charge increases friction between the individual hairs causing their cuticles to become more roughed up and damaged. This in itself will manifest as frizz but it’s also a slippery frizz slope. Hair that has a negative charge is vulnerable to external moisture as it attracts the positive end of a water molecule and swells in high humidity.” AKA, hello frizz on frizz. 

Key takeaways:

  • High pH products can cause hair to have a negative charge.
  • A negative charge causes friction between hairs which leads to frizz.
  • Friction can also cause hair cuticles to become roughed up and damaged.
  • Roughed up/damaged hair + negative charge + humidity = LOTS of frizz
A woman with wavy gray hair sits on the beach.

RELATED: 105 Short Hairstyles for Any Hair Texture


1. Stop using hair products with a high pH

That being said, one of the best things you can do to fight the frizz is use hair products with a low pH. What’s a low pH and how can you shop for hair products with one? Well friend, we have good news and bad news. The good news is we can give you a pH benchmark to look for. The bad news is most haircare products do not come with a pH listed on the label—meaning most of the time this will have to be a question you ask the brand yourself. 

Kate explains, “Using hair products with a pH above 5.4 is the major cause of frizz.” This means, if you are trying to reduce the frizz, actively seek out hair products like shampoo, conditioner and styling products that have a pH less than 5.4. 

To get the ball rolling, we connected with a few of our go-to hair care brands to inquire about the pH of their products. This is relatively easy to do via email, chat, phone or my personal preference, DM or PM on social channels. For example, Innersense lists the pH of their products on their FAQ page which they say ranges from 4.5-5.5. And we checked in with EVOLVh via email who confirmed the majority of their range is also between 4.5-5.5. 


2. Stop using styling products that leave you with negatively charged hair

When it comes to fighting frizz, styling products with amino acids and oils are equally important. Kate continues, “Positively charged amino acids repair the hair cell membrane complexes and neutralize the negative charges that lead to hair frizz and tangles.”

The more hair volume = the more lipids and amino acids needed to replenish hair to keep it frizz free.

Now maybe you are thinking, this all sounds great but how can I ensure my products are delivering? And my answer, per usual, is check your labels. Amino acids can look like hydrolyzed adansonia digitata seed extract, hydrolyzed rice protein, hydrolyzed quinoa, silk amino acids, glycine soja (soybean) extract on a label.

3. Stop using products that don’t nourish your hair

While your at it, look for hair product that contain oils to replenish the lipids in hair’s outer cuticle which Kate says “is key for healthy, glossy hair.”

Some oils that are specifically beneficial for hair are coconut oil, almond oil, castor oil, argan oil, olive oil, amla oil, fenugreek oil, sesame oil, linseed oil, mustard oil. Look for these in your hair products.


Hair product recommendations to reduce the frizz by hair type 

And of course we don’t want to leave you hanging on where to start, however we know for sure that all hair is not created equal so in that vein here are hair product recs for specific hair types to fight the frizz. Read them all or skip through to find your specific hair type. And if you are looking to go all in, here’s my everything shower guide.

Curly/Natural/Textured Hair graphic

Product recommendations to fight the frizz for thick, curly and textured hair

Delilah Orpi, founder of The Holistic Enchilada and expert curly girl explains exactly how to get a handle on curls in humid weather. 

“To maintain a curly style, it’s important to use products that seal your hair to protect it from the environment, and that have enough hold to keep your curls from frizzing. Here’s how: 

  1. Make sure your hair is hydrated by using a good cleansing shampoo and moisturizing conditioner. This will help reduce the frizz by ensuring your hair has enough moisture. 
  2. Style your hair with products that have humidity-resistant ingredients and a medium to hard hold. These two are key to curls maintaining their shape, shine, definition, and hold for more than just a few hours. Using something without humidity-resistant ingredients or with a lighter hold, like a cream, does not work well in humid environments and you’ll notice your curls fall flat, frizz up, and puff out quickly.” 

Delilah recommends the EVOLVh WonderBalm which she says is a fantastic product to layer under your main styler, as the key ingredients act like a silicone to block out the humidity and protect your hair. She then suggests layering a hard hold mousse or gel over the WonderBalm to hold curl / style and reduce frizz. 

Caaliyah Greer, Youtuber, Instagrammer and owner of Goddess Curls, encourages women with natural hair to really play with their hair and see what works best for them. She also notes that more moisture will reduce frizz so use a good conditioner or a deep conditioner, moisturizing styling products (including water)—and don’t be afraid to use “too much”! More here.  


Medium weight/wavy hair graphic

Product recommendations to fight the frizz for medium weight, wavy or straight hair

Kate says, “Medium weight hair can usually handle significant levels of amino acids and oils to keep frizz in check without weighing it down, but can also benefit from some lighter products depending on your texture.” 

This is my specific hair type so I was excited to see that Kate recommends EVOLVh’s SuperFinish Polishing Balm, among others, as a good fit for this hair type.

SuperFinish Polishing Balm is hands down my favorite hair product. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you know I won’t shut up about it as I’ve talked about it again and again and again. But basically I use it daily to protect, smooth and add shine. Here’s my personal tips on how to apply: 

  1. Don’t be afraid to use “too much”. This is a water-based product and it won’t weigh hair down. Sometimes I do like 25 pumps. More is literally more here. 
  2. Section hair off and apply in sections to ensure an even application. 
  3. Apply specifically to hair’s most vulnerable areas. For me this means the whitest white parts of my hair. For you it could mean your blondest blonde parts or new growth or your ends. 

Fine/thin hair graphic.

Product recommendations to fight the frizz for fine or thin hair

Before all the fine haired people run away screaming, “NOOOO! Product weighs my hair down!” WE KNOW! And we wouldn’t do you dirty like that. Kate clarifies, “Fine and thin hair still needs to be adequately nourished, but the key is sticking with lightweight ingredients that won’t weigh your hair down.”


Hair styling tips to fight frizz

Outside of making sure hair is pH balanced, has enough moisture and the hair cuticle is sealed so that the excess moisture in the air doesn’t swell your hair shaft—there are also styling tips to consider. 

Orpi recommends curly girls diffuse their hair for at least a few minutes to help set your style since, “diffusing results in a longer lasting style than you’ll achieve with air drying.”

For medium weight hair like mine, The Dyson Airwrap Styler has a flyaway smoother which really works and noticeably makes my hair look shinier and smoother. However you don’t necessarily have to spend $600 for an Airwrap when tinfoil and dryer sheets seem to do the same thing. Or you could consider the Shark FlexStyle which is only $249 and has similar functionality. I compare the Airwrap and the FlexStyle in this post.

But we wanted more so we picked up a few humidity hacks around the interwebs and one of our faves is applying a hairspray or texturizing spray to a hair brush and brushing it through your hair after blow drying to give hair “a little bit of grit” to fight that humidity a la’ @mattloveshair —also executed a little simpler by @maggieanne.n

@mattloveshair

if ur hair feels too poofy or frizzy this can be a good way to depoof without losing volume #hairtips #hairhacks #blowdry

♬ When Will My Life Begin? – From “Tangled” / Soundtrack Version – Mandy Moore


Hairstyles to beat frizz

And I know I said the answer to beating frizz is not all buns and braids but of course you can use these and updos in general as a beat the frizz tactic too. 

Basically, the key to not losing your mind during wet or humid weather is to embrace your texture and not fight it. If your hair doesn’t grow out of your head stick straight don’t expect your perfectly flat ironed hair to last more than .5 seconds after stepping outside. Same goes for the curls you spent 30 minutes on if you’ve got fine, straight hair. Save yourself time and frustration and just lean into what your mama gave ya. 

Or, pull it up into a sleek pulled back bun, braid or updo. Here are a few to try:


So.. which of these tips or products will you try?

xo, lisa in cursive

TNK Team Note: This article may contain affiliate links, including Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.


By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of The New Knew. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

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