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How can I tame my frizzy hair?

Answer by:
Louise Chang, MD

Internist, WebMD Medical Expert
Medical Editor, WebMD

You love your wavy hair, but the frizzy, fly-aways you get when you brush those curls? Not so much. Fortunately, there are ways to tame the frizz. You just have to give it a little effort. Here are some quick tips to keep your hair frizz-free.

Don't brush dry hair. Brushing not only disrupts your hair's cuticle, it can also stretch hair, leading to breakage. Instead, Connie Eeyerlin, a stylist at Dionysius Salon in Eugene, Ore., suggests towel drying hair after a shower. Then gently brush, comb, or finger-comb it while wet, adding just a touch of your preferred conditioner or anti-frizz product. 

Don't over-process your hair. Relaxers and straighteners can make hair brittle and lead to breakage, says Carolyn Jacob, MD, a Chicago dermatologist. Instead, look for a protein-infused conditioner to help you manage frizz, and make it shine, too. You might also try frizz pomades or oils, such as Moroccan oil, to help "calm down the outer layer of the hair shaft" and make it slicker, she says.  

Stop 'cooking' your curls. "Anything that would blister your skin doesn’t feel so great on your hair either," writes Teri LaFlesh, author of Curly Like Me. To minimize frizz, LaFlesh suggests avoiding flat irons, curling irons, and limiting heat sources to a blow dryer with a diffuser.

Put moisture back in your mane. Frizzy hair tends to be drier, so you need to put moisture into it. Use a conditioner, a natural oil like Moroccan oil, or a frizz cream, says Dennis Baker, stylist and owner of Baker Lanier Salon and Day Spa in Atlanta. He says natural oils are better than synthetic because they are absorbed into the hair, while synthetic silicon moisturizers lay on top of the hair, making it appear dirty.

Go alcohol-free. Because alcohol can dry hair out, setting you up for frizz, look for alcohol-free products. That may mean switching to salon-quality shampoos, conditioners, and hairsprays, says stylist Eeyerlin. "Salon-quality products don't have to last as long on the shelf, so they don't contain as many harsh ingredients -- like alcohol -- as supermarket and drug store products do."

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