Silky-smooth (or not!) hair takes shape before you even shampoo. Discover the hair products and styling techniques to use—and steer clear of—for frizz-free strands.
1. SHAMPOOING TOO FREQUENTLY
Sodium lauryl sulfate, the key ingredient in most traditional shampoos, is an effective cleanser, but can leave hair dry and frizzy.
To keep yours hydrated, try a 100 percent sulfate-free shampoo like DevaCurl No-Poo Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser, or a cleansing conditioner like Ouidad Curl Co-Wash—and shampoo less often.
For fine hair, cleanse every other day; those with thick strands can usually go three or more days without a wash.
(See also: Lush Blousey "no shampoo" shampoo review)
2. SKIPPING DEEP CONDITIONER
Unless your hair is extremely fine, load up on a deep conditioner like Redken All Soft Heavy Cream Super Treatment or L'Oréal Paris EverSleek Smoothing Deep Conditioner each time you shampoo to add moisture and shine.
Be sure to leave it on for at least five minutes in the shower so it can really penetrate.
3. TOWEL-DRYING YOUR HAIR
Roughing up wet strands with a towel will only ruffle the hair's cuticle, so gently press and squeeze out the water with a microfiber cloth like the Turbie Twist Hair Towel. It's a ShamWow for your head, but, you know, chicer.
4. PICKING THE WRONG PRODUCTS
Anti-frizz serums are best for hair that's straight or wavy. Try Living Proof No Frizz Restyling Spray for fine hair and Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smooth & Shine Serum for thick hair. For curly hair, choose a creamy formula, such as Pantene Pro-V Silky Moisture Whip.
And don't be afraid of silicone (unless you have fine hair): It makes strands softer and sleeker and guards against heat-styling damage.
One ingredient you should avoid? Alcohol. Styling products high in alcohol can suck up moisture, leaving strands crunchy. To give hair a non-brittle boost, try Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard Natural Styling Gel.
5. BLOW-DRYING LIKE A BEGINNER
Here's how to do it like a pro: Start with a high-wattage ionic blow-dryer, like this T3 Featherweight 2 Dryer.
It will reduce frizz by compressing the cuticle, which locks out puff-inducing moisture. (It will also cut drying in time in half—nice.) Set it on medium heat, since high heat causes the cuticle to swell; if your hair is curly, use a diffuser to dry curls evenly. Style hair with a brush made of boar and nylon bristles—boar bristles help distribute natural oils and product, sealing and smoothing the cuticle.
If your hair is curly, ditch the brush and use your fingers.
And you know how humidity causes frizz? Well, drying your hair in a muggy bathroom has the same effect as standing in a rain forest. Move the dryer to your bedroom, or wait for the bathroom fog to lift. Don't shut off the dryer until hair is 100 percent dry.
6. TOUCHING IT
Resist the urge to run your fingers through your hair. The more you muss with it, the more frizz you create. Leave it alone.
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