Frizzy Hair: Why Hair Frizzes and 8 Tips to Tame Frizzy Hair Naturally

Frizzy Hair: Why Hair Frizzes and 8 Tips to Tame Frizzy Hair Naturally

You leave home looking normal, but if your commute exposes you to the outdoors, you arrive at your destination looking frazzled because your well-coiffed mane looks like it's been electrocuted. Welcome to one of the biggest downsides of summer - humidity-induced frizz. But guess what? You can tame your frizz without any chemical products. We're here to explain the science behind why hair frizzes and leave you with 8 tips on how to tame frizzy hair naturally. 

Why hair frizzes

Frizzy Blonde Hair

We know that you know hair frizzes because it absorbs the moisture in the air, but in order to be a good frizz-fighter, you need to understand the why behind the why, i.e. the 'root' why, pun intended! So, here's why your hair absorbs the moisture in the air: 

It's porous

High porosity hair is hair that absorbs moisture way too fast, likely because its been damaged and is riddled with gaps, tears and openings that allow moisture to seep in easily. What makes hair porous? Chemical processing (i.e. coloring, relaxing, straightening), excessive washing and heat styling. Not preaching at all by the way. We color, highlight and style our hair too (who doesn't?), but that's sadly what changes low or medium porosity hair into high porosity hair that frizzes easily.

It swells with moisture

Porous hair absorbs the moisture in the air to form hydrogen bonds that make it swell up. The swelling inside the hair forces the cuticles, which are meant to be lying flat on the outside, to rise up....and its these raised cuticles on the outside of a swollen hair chamber that make your hair look frizzy.

8 Tips to Tame Frizzy Hair Naturally

Frizzy Black Hair

1. Shampoo your hair less frequently

The more you wash your hair, the more you strip it of its natural oils and somewhat ironically, actually dehydrate your hair. Excessive washing will increase hair porosity and therefore increase frizzy-ness. If you wash your hair more than twice a week, try and cut back on one wash. It might feel gross at first, particularly if you work out every day, but your hair and scalp will eventually adapt and stay cleaner for longer. 

2. Find a detergent-free shampoo with the right pH

Find a sulfate free shampoo with a pH between 4.5 and 6.5 as that's the range where hair is least vulnerable to damage. While most brands aren't forthcoming about the pH levels of their products, you can request this information or check out pH values for a list of popular shampoos here: http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/ 

3. Comb your hair more frequently 

 This is in order to help distribute the natural sebum that your scalp produces to the shaft and ends of your hair. Once you've de-tangled your hair, make sure the comb gently rakes your scalp before travelling all the way down your shaft and to your ends. While you don't need to do 100 strokes, comb until you think you've distributed your scalp sebum throughout your hair. Your hair should look shinier and healthier following the combing. 

4. Get your natural oils moving 

A more manual method than number 3 but equally effective, here you gently massage your scalp using the pads of your fingers and press the sebum coating your fingertips into the shaft and ends of your hair. Do this daily and if possible, massage your scalp while bending from your waist with your head upside down to increase the blood flow to your hair follicles. Check out the scalp massage ritual in the ritual section of our Ultra Luxuriant Hair Elixir product page. It focuses on the accupressure (marma) points on your scalp to further increase micro-circulation to your hair follicles. 

5. Do a pre-shampoo hair oil treatment 

When you wash your hair without oiling it first, it can absorb too much water too quickly. As a reminder, this makes the strand swell on the inside. The cuticle layer on the outside, however, can’t expand. As a result, the cuticle scales that are meant to be lying flat, are forced to rise up – a position in which they break very easily and look frizzy.

Hair Cuticle Pre Shampoo Hair Oil Treatment

Oiling before washing allows your hair to absorb oil before you expose it to water and thereby prevents it from absorbing more water than it needs. This helps reduce frizz....just as long as you resist the urge to use more shampoo than you normally would. 

Note that not all oils soak into the hair. Coconut oil  and sweet almond oil  are up there on the list of the ones that have lipids with a molecular structure small enough to penetrate the hair shaft.

If you want to know more about Pre-Shampoo Hair Oil Treatments check out:

- 10 Pre-Shampoo Hair Oiling Questions Answered


- How to Oil Hair in 5 Quick Steps

6. Apply a dab of oil post shampoo as well

All you need is a pea sized dab to spread across your palms and coat your hair with post shampoo to help protect the hair shaft and keep the cuticles sealed.

7. Use a microfiber towel

The tighter weave and higher GSM (grams per square meter of a microfiber towel allow for faster drying with less friction than a regular cotton towel. Both of these are great frizz-fighting benefits 

8. Use a satin pillow case

As Celebrity stylist  Jen Atkin told Cosmpolitan in an interview. "Cotton absorbs moisture, while silk retains it, so when you lie on a silk or satin pillowcase, the oils from your strands are maintained rather than soaked up, leaving your hair nourished rather than dry," she says. "This is especially beneficial for hair types that are prone to frizz, such as coarse hair types or girls who have wiry curls."


Right, you're now armed with all the frizz-fighting aresenal you need! If you'd like more convincing, check out our video experiment on How to Tame Frizz Naturally.

May your summer be frizz-free! 



Tejal Ramnathkar Engman is the co-founder of Malavara. Having left India at 17, she has come full circle to her herb-mixing granny's Ayurvedic beauty traditions. Tejal lives in Washington, DC, and her new year's resolution is to squeeze more hot yoga into a schedule that is currently consumed by a rambunctious 4-year-old, a day job in real estate, and her passion, Malavara.

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