How to manage frizzy hair? Products and expert advice for humidity

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“While I’m glad the weather is warmer here, the rain and humidity means my hair is in the air. Before I accept that I will have puffy, frizzy hair all spring/summer, including is there anything that really works to prevent it?” —Exhausted and frustrated

Anyone else feel like it’s been too long since they’ve had a good hair day? I think about that a lot. Was it the fault of the pandemic? I’ve spent many hours in my life taking care of my hair, but it’s like all that hair styling knowledge belongs to another person. Really, at one point in my life, I had breakouts twice a week! Who was this woman? I wouldn’t recognize this stylishly haired iteration of myself if she walked up to me on the street and poked me in the eye.

But I agree, Frazzled: I draw the frizz line. In order to acquire new knowledge on the subject, I spoke with Janet Jackson, hair expert from L’Oréal Paris Canada, founder of the JouJou hair salon in Toronto and regular guest on The Marilyn Dennis Show and The social, with celebrity clients like Iman, Rita Ora and Winnie Harlow. “Frizz is universal,” says Jackson. “But how you deal with it — and how much maintenance work you have to do — depends on your hair type.” To determine your hair type, “pull a strand and look to see the shape it gives”: type 1 is straight, type 2 is wavy, type 3 is curly and type 4 is coiled. “If you have type 1 hair, your follicles are much smoother, so you’re less likely to experience frizz,” she says.

So what causes frizz in the first place? It all comes down to humidity. “The main thing is that the hair is very dehydrated and dry – the frizz is caused by a lack of humidity,” says Jackson. It refers to the moisture inside the hair shaft, which we need to keep locked in. But external humidity can also cause frizz. “Rain and humidity add another layer of frizz,” she explains. Using the wrong shampoo, conditioner and hair products adds to the problem. “Sulfates and anything with alcohol in the base are very drying,” says Jackson. Hot water is also a major contributor to frizz – and cold water helps seal the cuticle, which is why hairstylists always end with a cold water rinse, and she says we should do the same at home.

You can prevent frizz, you can reduce frizz, but you can’t eliminate frizz.

Here’s some bad news, because every woman I know is as guilty as I am of this frizz-causing crime: touching hair. “The more you touch it, the more you ruffle the hair, which opens the cuticles,” Jackson explains. Think of shingles on a roof, she says, that’s what your hair cuticle looks like. Playing with your hair makes the cuticle “shingles” coarse, and coarse hair looks curlier.

“You can prevent frizz, you can reduce frizz, but you can’t eliminate frizz,” she warns. “Keeping your hair hydrated is your best defense against this.” Jackson is a fan of L’Oréal Paris’ new Hyaluron Plump collection, which consists of a shampoo, conditioner, serum and mask containing hyaluronic acid, a skincare ingredient. popular moisturizer. “The molecule can hold 1,000 times its weight in water,” she says, and the moisture lasts in the hair for up to 72 hours. This speaks to me, as someone who would never shampoo more frequently than 72 hours unless I got sprayed by a skunk.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to do a hair mask at least twice a month,” Jackson adds. The serum, however, you should use every time you wash your hair. That’s where this hair chart comes in. “Type 1 hair gets weighed down easily,” she says, so use lighter formulas and less product. “You really need less than the size of a dime. You can only use it on the ends of your hair where it’s drier. If you’re type 3 or 4, adjust the amount and weight your products accordingly, and use it all over the strand, from root to tip, as needed.

“Experiment with what works for you,” says Jackson, which is great advice, since I often give up on hair products if it’s not an eye-opening experience the first time I put them out. “You can use the serum before drying or after drying your hair.”

As for the weather: “When it starts to rain, run!” says Britt Dion, creative director of Aveda in North America. But, she says, if you’ve applied the right product for you, it will act “like a rain jacket for your hair.” Then, even if your locks get wet, they will air dry better because the cuticles are closed.

Dion points to Aveda’s new Smooth Infusion line, which is silicone-free and relies on castor beans to achieve 72-hour humidity protection. I’m intrigued by the Perfect Blow Dry spray, which she says is lightweight and can be used to target specific areas of frizz, like unruly sections around the hairline or patches of gray hair, which tend to to be coarser. “It gives you the ability to personalize.”

So what about all the anti-frizz pomades, balms, potions, waxes and smoothing pastes? “What they do is coat the hair,” Jackson says, “and that smoothes the cuticle. Let’s go back to shingles on a roof: you coat it, which smoothes the hair shaft. The more natural it is , the better,” Jackson says. “It’s really based on preference. Try stuff!

Moving on to hair dryers, “when you force your hair dry, you’re going to get frizzy, with any hair type,” Jackson says, because you’re actively pounding your cuticle. “If you have textured or curly hair, you should use a hooded hair dryer or diffuser.” If you have straighter hair and want it to be smooth, use a round brush and pull it to smooth the cuticle.

That said, Jackson is a fan of air-drying, nature’s way to create frizz-free texture. “Air-drying is a healthier choice for your hair,” she says. Investing in a special towel that absorbs moisture and speeds up “air-drying” is another good tip. Dion recommends a microfiber towel or even a t-shirt for minimal chafing.

As the warmer months approach, “putting your hair in a ponytail or braid has two benefits: reducing frizz and protecting hair from drying out,” Jackson says. Where you lay your head matters too. Dion recommends a silk pillowcase to avoid the chafing of a rough cotton pillowcase, and says she herself sleeps with her hair loosely tied back in a soft scrunchie to reduce frizz.

“It’s a lot,” admits Jackson. “I give lessons on it. Frizz is the number 1 question for students and customers. This goes back to the good old days of hair. We all deserve more of these.

Buy the tips

Our top picks for locking in humidity and reducing frizz.

L’Oreal Paris Hyaluron Plump 2% Moisture Plump Serum, $6, amazon.ca

buy now

Experiment when (before or after drying) and how much of this hydrating serum gives you frizz control.

Aveda Smooth Infusion Perfect Brushing Spray, $48, aveda.ca

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A plant-based polymer shield and botanical smoothing oil promise to last 72 hours of smooth blow-drying and protect against frizz in humid conditions.

Kerastase Discipline Maskeratine Hair Mask, $74, kerastase.ca

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This keratin treatment mask from this cult professional hair care line is a splurge, but the shine, suppleness and anti-frizz action are dazzling.

Amika Velveteen Dream Anti-Frizz Smoothing Shampoo, $34, sephora.ca

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A vegan, sulfate-free shampoo that locks in moisture and acts as a primary defense against humidity-induced frizz.

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Melissa R. Brumfield