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. “A thorough brushing prior to getting in the shower will help to smooth down the cuticle layer of your hair,” says Jeffrey Altenburg, owner of London, Ontario-based salon, Shampoo Planet and host of Star TV’s hit show Look-A-Like. “A rough, raised cuticle is one of the major causes of frizz.”
- 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 tap and let the bathroom steam up. “Steam helps the product penetrate more deeply into the cortex of the hair shaft,” says Altenburg. Then apply your usual conditioner to dry hair. Give the conditioner a minute or two to soak in, then hop in the shower and rinse. 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 Altenburg: 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. “This will ensure even distribution of the treatment and also smooth the cuticle,” says Altenburg.
- 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 treatment. “Leaving a little in the hair is a fabulous way to turn your conditioner into a styling product!” says Altenburg. “It will help tame the curl and has the benefit of adding moisture all day.” Start with a little and leave more as needed, he advises.
- Rinse with cool water
Right before you leave the shower, turn the tap so the water runs cool and give hair a quick rinse, suggests Altenburg. “Cool temperatures soothe and also shrink the cuticle, creating more shine and decreasing tangles,” he says.
In addition, this seals in moisture and keeps frizz 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. But doing so will lead to breakage and split ends, says Altenburg. Instead, he recommends you pat your hair with the towel to absorb excess water. 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.