Fight Frizz Before It Starts
Does the following scenario sound familiar? Each morning, you spend a few minutes fixing your hair, and that’s about all the time you have for it. As soon as you walk out the door, it frizzes into a poofy mess, at which point it’s back into a ponytail -- again. The next week, you try yet another anti-frizz product, and the cycle starts all over.
The problem, however, may not rest with your products or styling techniques. Truthfully, the battle to combat frizz really starts before you do your styling.
Check out these simple, anti-frizz strategies that even busy people can squeeze into a hectic day. Try a few (or all!), and you’ll soon notice more good hair days than ever before.
- Brush before you shampoo Use a paddle brush to detangle strands prior to getting in the shower. By taking care of knots and snarls ahead of time, your shampoo and conditioner can distribute more evenly, keeping strands healthy and moisturized from root to tip, says New York City stylist Kerrie Urban.
- Give coarse and curly hair a double dose of conditioner Textured strands are naturally drier and never get enough hydration. Their outer layer -- called the cuticle -- is more likely to be lifted up, allowing moisture to escape. (On smooth, shiny hair, the cuticle lies flat like fish scales.) Solution: Give hair a quick conditioning treatment before your morning shower. Turn on the faucet and let the bathroom steam up, then apply your usual conditioner to dry hair. The steam will help soften the cuticle so hair can better absorb the moisturizing ingredients. Give the conditioner a minute or two to soak in, then hop in the shower and rinse. Next, shampoo and condition again as usual, says Mark Garrison, owner of the Mark Garrison salon in New York City. You’ll notice later in the day that hair feels softer and resists frizz better.
- Shampoo for smoothness When lathering up, it’s tempting to just pile all your hair on top of your head and scrub willy-nilly. Big mistake, says Urban: You can create tangles and lift the hair’s cuticle, leading to frizz later. Instead, use your fingertips to gently lather up at your roots first. That’s where hair gets oiliest and usually needs washing the most. Work the lather down the hair shafts, softly rubbing until you get to the tips, then rinse.
- Comb in conditioner Hair tips are the oldest part of strands. They’re also the driest and most in need of conditioner. So, when applying conditioner, instead of putting it all on one spot at your roots, rub it between your palms and start applying it from the ends up. Once you’ve distributed it through hair, use a wide-tooth comb to gently work out any tangles. By smoothing strands in the shower, you’ll deal with fewer tangles -- and eventually frizz -- when you get out, says Garrison.
- Save some moisture If your hair is very curly or thick, don’t completely rinse out all the conditioner. A hint of leftover will work almost like a leave-in. It helps give thick, frizz-prone strands a little needed weight to keep them from poofing up, says Garrison. Make sure you rinse until your hair no longer feels slippery but not for so long that it feels squeaky clean.
- Rinse with cool water Right before you leave the shower, turn the faucet so the water runs cool and give hair a quick rinse, suggests Urban. The cold constricts your hair’s cuticle, causing it to lie flat. This seals in moisture and keeps frizz and tangles at bay. A flat cuticle also allows light to bounce off evenly, so hair will look shinier too.
- Be gentle when towel drying After showering, most people grab a towel and vigorously rub hair dry. This tends to roughen up the cuticle, essentially opening the door to frizz and undoing all previous efforts to smooth strands. Instead, squeeze water out of hair and gently blot strands with a towel to absorb the excess water, says Garrison. A super-absorbent towel makes the job quick and is easy on tresses.
Next, continue with your styling routine as usual. After you’re done, try to keep from touching or twirling hair. Your fingers can also disrupt the cuticle, allowing frizz-triggering humidity to get in.
And now that you have beautiful, smooth, healthy hair, you can just enjoy the compliments that will inevitably come your way.
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Photo: Corbis Images