What Causes Frizzy Hair ?

I have been working with hair for over 35 years and understand the frustration of frizz. In this blog, I’ll be talking about what causes frizzy hair; genetics, hair damage and humidity all play a part in creating hair frizz. Discover the meaning of frizzy hair and what’s causing your hair to be frizzy.

What is Frizzy Hair ? | Overview

Frizzy Hair Causes Dyed

If you want to understand what causes frizzy hair, we should start with the hair structure. Every individual strand of hair has different layers. I’ll focus on the outer layer, The Cuticle, and the inner layer, The Cortex.

When hair is in good health, The Cuticle is smooth and flat. Acting as a protective layer around The Cortex, it locks in moisture so that your hair maintains its flexibility and shine. 

However, The Cuticle is a series of tiny scales; if hair becomes dry, those scales can lift. Once lifted, The Cortex is unprotected from the elements. Unprotected, it can’t retain moisture and absorbs it from the atmosphere instead. That moisture absorption causes hair to swell; the result is a dry, frizzy texture, with some hairs following a different pattern to the rest of the hair. That change in hair pattern is the frizz.

What is Frizzy Hair?
The diagram shows the difference between a smooth, well-hydrated hair shaft. The hair shaft on the left is smooth and closed. That means the scales are doing the job of protecting The Cortex. On the right, the cuticle scales have lifted, leaving The Cortex unprotected from the elements.

3 Causes of Dry, Frizzy Hair

Frizzy Hair Causes Dry

1. It's in the Genes

For those of us with curly hair and coarse or dry hair textures, frizz may be something we’ve been fighting all our lives.

Some hair is naturally drier; dry hair is more prone to becoming frizzy. Environmental factors such as the sun or heated styling exacerbate the problem of moisture loss in already dry hair. Hair also becomes drier with age; hormonal changes such as menopause can also impact moisture loss in hair. Hair loses melanin as we age, resulting in grey hair; grey hair adds to moisture loss, increasing frizz. 

I believe adding moisture to hair is the foundation of good hair care. I’ve written a blog on taking care of grey hair, focusing on smoothing the texture of wiry grey hair, leaving it silky and shiny. If you want to know how a deep conditioner can smooth and soften thick curly hair, you’ll find everything you need to know in Thick Curly Hair | Expert Tips.

2. Humidity Causes Frizzy Hair

Frizzy Hair Caused by Humidity

A humid environment exacerbates the risk of Frizzy Hair

Humidity is the concentration of water present in the air. 

If you live in the UK, this can be a problem most of the year-round. Except for a couple of months in the summer.

Expose damaged or dry hair to humidity or water in the atmosphere, and it’s the perfect storm.

Because, in a humid environment, with a lifted cuticle, the hair’s cortex will soak up moisture from the atmosphere. That’s when frizz will occur.

You may even find hair becomes frizzy after washing. That’s why conditioning and deep conditioning are vital in preventing and taming frizzy hair.

3. Damaged Hair

Damaged hair is a significant cause of frizzy hair. We refer to hair as damaged when the cuticle is lifted. The texture of the hair will feel rough, and visually, it doesn’t have any shine; the hair looks dry and dull. There are many causes of damaged, frizzy hair; I’ve highlighted some of those causes below.

1. The Weather

The sun, wind, cold weather, and all elements leave our hair dry. Exposure to the elements adds to the stress and damage of the hair. For some lucky people, their hair can handle it. But for most of us, the weather will have a hand in making our hair dry; the sun’s heat lifts the cuticle, and the wind roughs up our hair, leaving it in need of moisture to reduce frizz.

2. Heated Styling

Heated styling damages the hair; hairdryers, straighteners or heated rollers all have a part to play. Heated styling is an excellent way of manipulating and styling your hair. However, if frizz is a problem for your hair, it’s a factor to consider. By reducing the heat, you can minimise damage to the hair. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on heated styling. Instead, you can consider reducing the impact of heated styling. You can use your hairdryer on a lower setting or use styling products that add moisture to your hair as you style. My styling range contains moisture-boosting ingredients to nourish as you style.

You can consider non-heated styling tools; I’ve written a blog on how to use Velcro rollers. You’ll find expert salon tips on using Velcro rollers in Velcro Rollers | 8 Reasons to Love this Styling Tool.

Get Volume and Shine

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3. Excessive Brushing

Excessive brushing, excessive towel drying, combing, and excessive touching contribute to hair damage and frizz. If you rub your hair with a towel when it’s wet and at its most fragile or touch it a lot during the day, both lift the cuticle, causing moisture loss. Brushing is good for the hair and scalp, but you can overdo it. Even scraping your hair into a ponytail or bun several times a day can have an impact. Touch your hair less to minimise damage.

4. Bleaching or Colouring Hair

Bleaching hair and colour treatments cause hair damage. For colour treatments to work, they open up the cuticle and change the pigment of your hair. The pigment is in the cortex, where your hair retains its moisture. That opening up of the cuticle impacts the hair’s ability to retain moisture, and colour treatments or bleach leave hair more dry and damaged. The answer is to replenish the moisture of dyed hair and smooth the cuticle with a deep hair conditioner.

What Causes Frizzy Hair ? |Take Aways

What Causes Frizzy Hair - Grey

I have a simple mantra for hair. Put back what you take out.

If you use heated styling tools or colour or bleach your hair, use a deep conditioner to add moisture to the cortex and smooth the cuticle to stop hair frizz. 

If your hair is naturally dry, keep the hair nourished with regular deep conditioning treatment. Protect your hair where you can; wear a hat in the sun and be more gentle when brushing and styling. 

Ensuring your hair has regular moisture will help preserve The Cuticle; keeping The Cuticle smooth and nourished will enable the balance of moisture levels in The Cortex. Restore and Shine Hair Masque targets moisture levels in The Cortex and smoothes The Cuticle to lock that moisture into the hair. Use it weekly to get frizz-free hair.

I’ve written a more in-depth piece on how to get rid of frizzy hair. You can find all the information you need to get rid of frizz for good in How to Stop Frizzy Hair | Tame and Smooth. You’ll discover my 7 Tips for Frizz-Free Hair and answers to questions such as, How to Stop Frizzy Hair After Washing.

What Causes Frizzy Hair ? | About the Author

Picture of Norris Ogario

Norris Ogario

Norris Ogario is founder and Creative Director of Ogario London. Developed in his London salon, the Ogario London haircare products reflect his belief that hydration is the key to fixing most hair problems. Hydrated hair can be styled with ease. Plus, hydration leaves hair shiny and healthy. Norris has over 35 years of hair know-how. With expertise in all hair types; from dry hair to fine or grey hair, from frizzy to damaged or bleached hair, curly hair and afro hair, Norris offers his expert advice.

What Causes Frizzy Hair? | Shop the Blog

Restore and Shine Hair Masque

Restore and Shine Hair Masque

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About Us

Ogario London is a salon developed range of natural hair care products. Because we are passionate about our products, delivering the best results is at the heart of what we do. Do you have questions about our products? Or, would you like advice on the best products for your hair type? Maybe have another question about how to look after your hair? If you do, please get in touch at info@ogariolondon.com.

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Beauty Bible Recommends Ogario London Hair Masque Hair Treatment

Restore and Shine Hair Masque was awarded best hair mask in the Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible Awards. As an independent hair care brand, we are incredibly proud to be recognised alongside some of the industry’s biggest haircare brands. Because I spend time ensuring that our products deliver the best results, I couldn’t be happier to get this review and win this prestigious award.

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