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The top 3 causes of frizzy hair

Bluz Cluz Is Dizzy About Frizzy Hair

Hi Beauty Brains. Love the site. My question is what causes frizzy hair and what can I do to prevent this? My hair tends to go crazy in rainy weather or if there’s a lot of humidity in the air.

The Right Brain Gives Her A Scientific Spin:

BC, here are the 3 main reasons your hair gets frizzy:

1) The Natural Shape of Your Hair:

Hair that grows out curly tends to more frizzy than hair that grows out straight. The shape of the shaft is primarily determined by the shape of the follicles, the little tubes under your scalp that your hair grows out of. Sadly, there’s not much you can do to change the genetics of your hair, although you could chemically straighten it.

2) How You Cut and Style It:

If you’ve got longer hair that’s experienced a lot of brushing and combing you’ve probably created your hair share of split ends and broken hairs. Once the hair breaks the shorter stub that remains tends to spring outward uncontrollably. That’s because the proteins in hair get “stretched” when the hair is pulled and they don’t go back to their original shape. The result: those frizzy pieces that stick out mid-way down your do. By choosing a shorter cut you can control frizz to some extent.

3) The Environment:

Humidity can affect your hair two ways: it can make fine, curly hair fall flat and it can make smooth, straight hair frizz out. Why? Because the inside of your hair, also known as the Cortex, is actually made out of two kinds of protein, the Orthocortex and the Paracortex. These two regions are sandwiched together inside your hair. When it’s humid, moisture penetrates into the hair and is absorbed by these ortho and para regions. The problem is that these areas absorb water differently, so they don’t swell the same. One part may absorb a lot of moisure and swell a lot, while the other stays relatively the same. This differential swelling causes the hair shaft to bend or twist to one side or the other. So, if your hair starts out straight high humidity can make it bend and twist like a snake on a hot sidewalk. (We’ve never actually seen a snake on a hot sidewalk, but we imagine it would get pretty snakey. But we digress…)

Because everyone has different amounts of ortho and para in their hair, everyone can have a different reaction to humidity. What can you do about it? Well, you can’t do anything to fight the basic genetic structure of your hair, but thankfully there are styling and treatment products that can fight that battle for you. You can’t competely overcome the effect, but a good conditioner can help block the effects of water on your hair. (Look for something with a good slug of dimethicone in it) and then use high quality styling products that are effective against humidity.

By the way, this post’s picture is courtesy of Beth Robinson over at Strangedolls.net. Beth makes the most bizarre custom dolls we’ve ever seen. This one happens to have frizzy hair, hence the tie-in to today’s post. Beth’s dolls are haunting in a delightful way. We LUV ‘em – go see for yourself!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Deeday January 1, 2014, 10:41 am


    I would like to know why it is so sad that you cannot change the genetics of your hair. You should be proud of your hair, either way.

    • Randy Schueller January 1, 2014, 12:09 pm

      It’s only sad if you really, really don’t like the hair you have and you wish you could change it. Because you can’t! (At least not genetically.) But I agree, hopefully most people are happy with themselves as they are.

  • Deborah October 8, 2015, 12:42 am

    Why does a black baby’s hair change?

  • Joy February 24, 2016, 4:08 pm

    I guess this advice was not meant for natually curly hair. Using dimethicone on naturally curly here is a big NO NO! You failed to address the fact that frizzy hair is often a result of lack of moisture and rather than advise to deep condition and moisturise the hair you suggest blocking moisture from the cortex by coating the strands in silicone….. I am now unsubscribing to this site.

  • Jen December 19, 2016, 10:05 pm

    Joy, there is an entire portion of one of the Beauty Brains books that discusses hair. I don’t believe this quick list was intended to be an owner’s manual, simply a place to start. Thank you Brains.