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Hair Static Vs. Frizz. What’s The Difference And How To Prevent Both

hair static vs frizz

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For most people, the seasons go like this: spring, summer, fall, winter. But for others (and you know who you are), the seasons look more like this: frizz, frizz, static, static. Surprisingly, the root cause of both frizz and static is moisture—in the case of frizz it’s about too much moisture and in the case of static it’s due to too little. Here are insights from the pros at Biolage on how to keep both conditions in check.

How Hair Frizz Happens

Frizz is caused by an abundance of moisture in the air, which you know as humidity. Humidity is most common in the spring and summer in most areas. The physiology of frizz goes like this: the surface of a hair strand is called the cuticle layer, and these cuticles lay on top of one another like shingles on a roof. Dryness and damage can cause these normally compact “shingles” to lift, which allows moisture from the atmosphere to breach the hair shaft and cause it to swell. That’s when you get puffiness and frizzy hair.

How To Manage Frizzy Hair

1. Moisturize Like Mad
Humidity loves dry hair because it has plenty of room to settle into all the dry, empty spaces in the hair strand. Keeping your hair moisturized not only prevents moisture from the atmosphere from invading strands, it also helps prevent the damage that can cause cuticles to lift and allow humidity to penetrate. So select moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, as well as ultra-rich masks and treatments that hydrate dry hair.

2. Use a Moisturizing Leave-In Conditioner
Consider a leave-in formula as extra insurance in your moisturizing mission. Because it stays in your hair, it works around the clock to keep your hair’s moisture level balanced and keep your cuticle layer hydrated and smooth. Many leave-ins also protect your hair from heat damage when you’re using hot tools, which is another frizz-fighting factor since damaged hair is more susceptible to absorbing atmospheric moisture.

3. Style with Moisturizing Formulas
When it comes to styling your hair, it doesn’t have to be an either-or situation—either treatment or styling. Many styling creams and styling oils actually treat and moisturize your hair while offering shine, hold and control. So if you’re deep into the humid months of the year and fighting frizz, work a good styling cream into your damp hair before styling for added protection. Concentrate on the lengths and ends and keep it off of your scalp so it doesn’t get oily.

4. Avoid Damaging Hair by Limiting Heat Styling
As noted heat damage is no friend of frizzy hair. So frizz season is the time to avoid your dryers and irons if at all possible. Instead, apply an air-dry lotion to your damp hair—it will encourage your natural curl or wave while tamping down unwanted frizz. Try putting your damp hair in a loose bun for the day. When it dries, take it down and you’ll have gorgeous, loose beach waves—perfect for a hot summer night!

How Hair Static Happens

In the winter, when temperatures plunge, humidity drops right along with it. Added to that, indoor heating sucks even more moisture from the air. From a scientific point of view, when air is humid, the electrons on atoms flow easily back and forth because the moistness acts as a conductor. But in dry air, the electrons get trapped on the surface of the stronger atom and can’t flow, causing little sparks. Put more simply, dry hair + dry air = friction that leads to hair static. And hair static can lead to dullness, dryness, split ends, flyaways and even a stressed scalp.

How To Manage Hair Static

1. Moisturize Inside and Out with a Deep Moisturizing Hair Mask
Now is not the time to hold back when it comes to conditioning your hair. Now is the time to moisturize as often and as deeply as possible. Treatment masks are the best solution for deep moisture—they’re packed with ingredients like aloe and spirulina that really infuse parched hair with hydration. To enhance your hair mask performance, apply it in the shower and pop on a plastic cap. Leave it on as long as you can—the steam from the shower will help the mask penetrate even more deeply. After rinsing, you’ll be amazed at how silky your hair feels!

2. Add a Leave-In to Your Hair Care Routine
All-in-one leave in formulas are the workhorses of haircare. They detangle, protect your hair from damage, add shine and moisture, help prevent split ends and yes, even control static. Look for leave-ins that contain coconut for the ultimate in moisture and smoothing.

3. Embrace Hair Spray
Even if you’re not a hairspray kind of gal, you may want to change your ways if static is your issue. A quick spritz of a humidity-resistant hairspray can help repel those hair-raising electronic charges. And if you experience static-y hat hair, direct some hairspray onto your roots before popping on your topper. Lift sections around your part and spray underneath each section. Not only will this prevent hat static, it will also prevent your hair from getting smooshed.

4. Invest in a Silk or Satin Pillowcase, a Micro-Fiber Towel and a Humidifier
Friction leads to static and rough fabrics cause friction. So in static season, consider swapping out rougher cotton pillowcases for smoother fabrics like satin or silk, and switch out your cotton bath towels for a smooth-surface micro-fiber version. Never rub with your towel, simply blot. And finally, if walking around your house in the cold weather is an electrifying experience due to the heat, think about installing a humidifier on your furnace to add some moisture to the air. Not only will your hair stop flying around, you’ll be less likely to get shocked whenever you touch a charged surface.


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