How To Tame Frizzy Curly Hair: Your Complete Guide

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If you have frizzy, naturally curly hair, you might have a love-hate relationship with it. And while frizz can give your hair volume, it can also make your curls loose its definition. 

So how do you keep curls from frizzing? Whether you have waves, super frizzy curly hair, or stubborn curls that seem to have a mind of their own, we’ve got you covered.

Portrait of a beautiful female fashion model with curly hair

Here’s a guide about the causes of frizz and the different ways to manage it. So read on if you’re ready to transform your frizzy curly hair turn into defined, sleek curls.

Top Causes of Frizzy Curly Hair + How To Get Rid of It

An infographic featuring the top causes of frizzy curly hair and how to get rid of it with their examples designed in two columns

Frizz happens when the hair cuticle is damaged or broken. It becomes raised, searching for moisture from the air, and causing your hair to look puffy or fluffy.

Some people think that curly hair and frizzy hair are the same, but they are not. Those with wavy or curly hair are only prone to frizz and they may happen to everyone, not only to those with naturally curly hair.

Here are some of the most common reasons why curls frizz and what you can do to prevent it.

Weather Conditions

The humidity in the air makes the hair cuticles swell, which causes frizz. Always keep your hair hydrated so it stops looking for moisture in the air. Hydrated, moisturized hair withstands the elements.

Another factor that affects hair is the dew point. It is different from humidity. Dew point is the temperature below which dew drops begin to form.

When the dew point is between 45 and 60 degrees, the humidity in the air is just right for hair. But when the dew point is above 65 degrees, the hair shaft will inflate with the excess moisture, resulting in frizz.

Dew point can also affect some ingredients in your hair products, like humectants, which are the ingredients that work to draw moisture into your skin, nails, and hair.

So if your product has a high concentration of humectants and dew point is high in your environment, your hair inflates even more due to so much moisture. 

Some examples of humectants to look out for are glycerin and panthenol (vitamin B5).

The solution: Use products that lock in moisture, such as oils and hair gels, to create a barrier from the excess moisture in the environment instead of drawing more moisture from the air.

Damaged or Dry Hair

You may have damaged or dry hair if you often use heat styling tools or chemicals on your hair, such as dyes, straighteners, etc. 

These cause cracks in the cuticle layer, making cuticles lift, which in turn makes the hair brittle and prone to breakage.

The solution: To prevent this, practice proper hair care. Limit your hair’s exposure to heat and harsh chemicals. But if you need to use heat styling tools, apply a heat protectant first and use the lowest heat setting possible.

Using the Wrong Products

One basic rule to remember for curly hair is to avoid using sulfates and silicones. These ingredients are present in shampoos and conditioners.

Why? Sulfates can dry out natural hair, so choose low-poo shampoos for cleansing. Silicones can cause buildup by coating your hair with a false shine, which prevents moisture from penetrating the hair shaft.

The solution: To prevent curly frizz, use products that contain curly-friendly ingredients. Some products that claim to be safe for curly harm contain ingredients you should avoid. So don’t just rely on the label. Read the list of what’s in the product.

Product Buildup

Using products with heavy ingredients like shea butter can cause product buildup. Even natural oils like castor oil can cause buildup. These ingredients will remain on the hair and scalp unless you thoroughly cleanse them.

Hair with product buildup looks dull and weighed down. It may also look wet and get greasy quickly.

The solution: Use a clarifying shampoo to remove product buildup. Also, shampoo your hair twice every wash day if you apply a lot of oils, pomade, butter, or other oil-based products to your hair.

You can also switch your products to water-based alternatives. For instance, use a lightweight leave-in conditioner or gel instead of butter and pomades to style your hair.

Another thing: use only the right amount of products when styling your hair. Using too much or layering products can also cause buildup, which in turn causes frizz and leaves your roots greasy.

Protein and Moisture Imbalance

If your hair lacks hydration, it will frizz, looking for more moisture. However, too much moisture will also cause it to frizz because it needs protein. That’s why balance is important.

According to the Curly Girl Method, curly hair needs a good balance of moisture and protein. But how do you know if your hair lacks protein or moisture?

SignsWhat It Means
Curls are too soft, elastic, frizzy, and stretched out. Doesn’t hold style very well.Moisture overload
Curls are rough, brittle, and frizzy. Breaks easily whether wet or dry.Protein overload
Hair stretches slightly and returns to its original length without breaking. Holds style very well.Balanced protein and moisture

The solution: To achieve balanced curls, deep-condition your hair once or twice a week, alternating the use of moisturizing and protein conditioner.

Wrong Product Application Techniques

Another reason you might have curly frizzy hair is that you’re applying your product incorrectly. Curly hair must be soaking wet when applying styling products.

If you see wet frizz, it means you need to add more conditioner and water to hydrate your curls.

The solution? Below are different techniques on how to apply products to your hair. These methods help distribute the styling product evenly, promote curl clumping and curl definition, and get rid of frizzy hair.

  • Bowl method: To do this, set a bowl on the sink or counter. Then apply the product to your dripping wet hair.

    Scrunch (squeeze tightly) your hair, from the ends to the roots, until the excess water and product fall into the bowl. Lower your hair and scoop the liquid from the bowl and onto your hair until you get the curls you want.
  • Squishing: Squishing promotes optimal hydration to your hair. To do this, apply a generous amount of product to your hair, focusing on the mid-lengths and ends.

    Flip your hair upside down and use cupped hands to scoop some water, and “squish” the mixture into your hair. Repeat the squishing process until your hair is thoroughly moisturized and slippery.
  • Roping: To use the roping technique, apply product to damp hair, then take small sections of hair and twist them around your fingers, working from root to tip.
  • Praying hands: This technique is a gentle way to apply products to your hair without disturbing the natural curl pattern.

    To do this, take a small amount of product in your palms, rub your hands together, and then sandwich your hair between your flat palms (like you’re praying).

    Gently glide your hands down the length of your hair, pressing the product into the strands.
  • Raking: To rake, apply the product to your hands, and then spread your fingers like a rake. Starting at the roots, comb your fingers through your hair, ensuring the product is applied evenly across all strands.

    This method can help to detangle and define curls. But for some hair types, raking might cause additional frizz or disrupt the curl pattern, so it’s important to experiment and see if it works for you.

Brushing Your Curls

Those with straight hair can brush their hair anytime to detangle it. But it’s different for those with curls. A comb’s teeth may snag or worsen tangles in curly hair.

A woman with afro hair is holding a purple comb in front of her mouth on a brown background

The solution: You should only brush your curly hair with a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush in the shower when it’s wet and has conditioner and styling products on it.

Using the Wrong Towels and Drying Methods

It’s time to ditch your terry towel and use an old T-shirt or microfiber towel instead. Why? Terry towels are the culprit for frizz! This is because its rough texture attaches to each hair strand, which can snag your hair and cause damage.

The solution: Microfiber towels have less friction and keep your cuticles smooth. 

When drying your hair, gently squeeze out excess water instead of rubbing your hair to dry.

Or you can dry your curls using the plopping method. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place a microfiber towel or a cotton T-shirt on a flat surface
  2. Flip your head and put your wet hair in the center.
  3. Wrap the towel or shirt all over your head, ensuring your hair’s covered.
  4. Tie the ends to secure your hair and flip your head up gently.
  5. Leave this for 20 minutes. And voilà! You’ve plopped your hair.

After drying your hair, you can leave them to air-dry. Or you can speed up the process by using a diffuser. Just make sure to use the lowest heat setting to avoid heat damage.

Touching Your Hair When It’s Dry

Do your curls look great when wet but get frizzy once dry? You must love touching them while drying.

The solution: Never let anyone — not even you — touch your hair if it’s drying. Just leave them alone until they’re completely dry.

You want your hair to dry in clumped curl patterns, not get frizzy hair curls. And touching your hair while drying can disrupt your curl pattern, causing it to frizz. 

Using a Cotton or Polyester Pillowcase

Most people use cotton or polyester pillowcases. But these absorb the moisture out of your hair, making you wake up with frizz.

The solution: Use a silk pillowcase. This is because the smooth texture creates less friction and keeps moisture locked in.

If you don’t want to change your pillowcases, use silk scarves or caps to protect your hair while you sleep. But if you want a cheaper alternative to silk, you can opt for high-quality satin material.


When you’re stressed, the body produces a hormone called cortisol, which is responsible for regulating the cycle of the hair follicles.

If cortisol levels increase, they can disrupt the hair growth cycle, which can slow the production of your natural oil. This will make your hair brittle, frizzy, and more prone to breakage.

The solution: To manage stress, practice relaxing activities like meditation and exercise, and don’t forget to get enough sleep. Also a healthy diet and drink enough water!

Frequently Asked Questions About Frizzy Curls

Can I use oils to control frizz in curls?

Yes! You can use oils to control curly frizz. But only use lightweight or essential oils like argan, coconut, rosemary, or tea tree oil to avoid product buildup. Use only a small amount and distribute it evenly on your hair.

Why is my curly hair always frizzy?

The structure of natural curls makes it hard for the scalp’s natural oils to travel down the hair. That’s why curly hair is prone to dryness and frizz. And if your hair isn’t moisturized enough, you’ll get curly frizzy hair.

How do I tame frizzy kinky hair?

You can tame frizzy, kinky hair by keeping your hair well-moisturized and using products that contain curly-safe ingredients. Deep-condition once or twice a week, and avoid using heat styling tools.

Say Goodbye to Frizz In Curly Hair

Curly hair requires a lot of TLC because it’s prone to dryness and damage. And while you can’t get rid of frizz completely, there are several ways to manage it.

Afro-american woman with pink balloons on a pink background.

Always keep your hair moisturized, use curly-friendly ingredients, and practice the proper techniques in applying products. Just follow our tips above to get those beautiful, defined curls you’ll be proud to show off.

Want to Learn More About Curly Hair Care?

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  • Shai Urbano

    Shai is a licensed pharmacist with a Bachelor of Arts in Pharmacy. She uniquely intertwines her medical expertise with a fervent passion for beauty. With an intrinsic understanding of ingredients and formulation, she's the proud creator of her own line of products designed exclusively for naturally curly hair. Over her four-year writing career, Shai consistently delivers content enriched by her distinct blend of knowledge and enthusiasm.

  • Jessica Hoelscher

    With thirteen years in cosmetology, Jessica Hoelscher is a seasoned stylist recognized for her modern techniques. A graduate of Paul Mitchell the School in St. Louis, her expertise has been showcased on Fox Two News and in People Magazine. Self-employed at Salon Lofts, her work has graced TV screens, styling for renowned events and Ole Miss cheerleaders.

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