New This Month

The Answer to Conquering Frizzy Hair Is Surprisingly Simple

It's not as elusive as it may seem.

woman brushing hair
Photography by: Getty

Frizz is a bummer, especially when the weather seems to work against your hair dryer. And, truth be told,  at one point or another, your hair has probably made you feel totally blah.


So what’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re lucky enough, you talk to Gail Federici, co-founder of Color Wow and the godmother of anti-frizz, because she helped develop one of the most iconic anti-frizz products of all time at John Frieda. Frizz happens to good people, and mostly because of damage that happens to the hair cuticle over time. According to Federici, this could be caused by chemical processing: dyeing, relaxing, or perming your hair, or overexposing it to the sun. But it also includes excessive shampooing, mechanical stress, such as wet combing or brushing, and last but not least, it can also be an inherited trait. Hair that hasn’t been affected by any of the aforementioned problems, means that your hair has a cuticle that lies flat against the hair shaft, it has gloss or shine, it feels smooth, and it’s silky and supple.


Frizzy hair, on the other hand, has a raised cuticle and is porous, -- which means it has minimal elasticity, thereby it is prone to breakage and splitting, but it is also very susceptible to high humidity conditions. In other words, when there is a ton of moisture in the air, the hair will reach out for it, and you end up with frizz. And because frizzy hair has a jagged cuticle, the uneven surface layer does not catch or reflect light uniformly, so not only does the hair look frizzy, it also looks dull.


Thankfully though, solutions do exist and they do work. Typically speaking, anti-frizz products contain a blend of silicones which are applied to wet hair. As the hair dries, the product forms a film that coats each hair, holding the cuticle cells quasi-flat and bonding them in place against the hair shaft. Federici explains, “The coating on the cuticle cells doesn’t allow them to have the opportunity to become raised and opened, therefore eliminating the frizz.” What you get is a smoother and shinier hair surface.



A post shared by Color Wow (@colorwowhair) on


The good news is there are a number of amazing anti-frizz products on the market, and they are all super effective. For example, Frizz Ease by John Frieda launched a pre-shower treatment that lasts for 10 days, or there’s the classic formulation that is as effective as it was when it first launched. Color Wow has a spray frizz-busting miracle called Dream Coat, launching in June, that works the same way a raincoat does to protect your hair from frizz, while not wearing it down. If you are looking for a vegan-friendly option, Reverie Milk Anti-Frizz Leave-In is a great buy, and silicone free. Or if you want to spring for something luxe Phillip B Formula 57 is a wonderful splurge and works magic.


Interestingly enough, whether you have curly or straight hair, the way you would use these products is the same, however, the amount of hair you have on your head and its texture is what makes a difference. People with thick hair or coarse texture require a heavier product and likely need to use more of it, while people with fine hair that has frizz need to use less product to avoid weighing the hair down.


And if you really want to conquer frizz, this advice from Federici is key: Use an anti-frizz conditioner. This is especially important if you don’t wash your hair every day: “Start with a shampoo that does exactly what a shampoo should do -- clean and freshen your hair and scalp” says Federici. Your frizz-fighting ingredients should be in your conditioners, treatments, and styling products. And if you do use a frizz-fighting conditioner, it is essential that you apply it two inches below your scalp and concentrate it on dry ends. Our pro tip: To ensure the product applies evenly in the shower, twist your hair as you apply it down to the ends, then repeat twisting the other way. Another big no-no? Don’t rub your hair with your towel, Instead, use your towel to grab your hair in sections and squeeze and release from root to tip. Once your hair is towel dried, apply your treatments or serums, and proceed to style or air dry. Fighting frizz is actually surprisingly simple, provided you know how frizz-fighters work. Maybe a perfect hair day isn’t as elusive as we originally thought.