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Smooth Sexy Hair: Frizz-Controlling Tricks

Heat, humidity, and sweaty workouts can turn your hair into a puffball. In fact, 43 percent of FITNESS readers say frizz is their biggest styling challenge. Keep strands sleek with these pro tricks.

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Michelle Holden
Avery Powell
Avery Powell
Dove Hair Nourishing Oil Care Detangler
Avery Powell
Avery Powell
Avery Powell
Michelle Holden
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When you're blow-drying strands

Unless you're Willow Smith, it's best to not whip your hair back and forth as you dry it. Instead, use your blow-dryer's concentration nozzle. "It makes the air come out in a flat plane instead of a circular flow," says Nathaniel Hawkins, a celebrity hairstylist and the creative director of Keratin Earth. Always aim the air downward so it smoothes the strand's cuticles. Pull hair taut with a round brush and dry it section by section. When your hair seems dry, its inner layers are probably only 80 percent there, and if you don't get it 100 percent dry, the moisture that's left will cause frizz. So spend an extra five minutes blow-drying hair. For supersleek results, wrap dry sections around big Velcro rollers while you do your makeup.

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When it's steamy outside

Humid days don't have to mean unruly hair. To preempt fuzzies, forget shampooing -- scalp oils make a great natural moisture barrier -- and whip out your flatiron or curling iron. A good one: Paul Mitchell Express Ion Curl TurnStyle ($138, salons). "The combo of heat and pressure seals the hair shaft so tightly that it takes a great deal of moisture to penetrate it," Hawkins says. (Don't iron more than a couple of times a week, though; it'll parch your hair and exacerbate frizz long-term.)

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When you're in the shower

Rinse out your conditioner with cold water. Yes, brrr, but chilly H2O smoothes hair, says Matt Fugate, a hairstylist for Sally Hershberger Downtown salon in New York City. Rather than rub hair dry with a rough towel, squeeze it with soft paper towels or an old T-shirt. (Less friction means less frizz.) Then apply an oil-based serum, like Organix Macadamia Oil Dry Styling Oil ($8, drugstores). To make it more effective, don't just dab it on, Hawkins says. Apply the serum as evenly as possible by diluting it: Put two drops in one hand, run the other under the faucet, rub them together, and then rake both hands through two-inch sections of hair.

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When you're at the beach

Relax! People will be gawking at your volleyball skills, not flyaways. "Embrace your natural texture," says Charles Baker Strahan, an Herbal Essences celebrity hairstylist. Just bring along a bottle of leave-in conditioner -- we like Dove Hair Nourishing Oil Care Detangler ($5, drugstores) -- and mist it on, Hawkins says. In a pinch, use spray sunscreen instead; the oil adds a little weight to help the hair cuticle lie flat. And no need to abandon your boogie board for the sake of a pretty 'do. "Salt water makes hair stick together and weighs it down, which helps control frizz and gives you that sexy beachy texture," Fugate says.

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When you're working out

Your hairstyle can survive Spinning class. Pre-cardio, make a braid or bun instead of a tight pony; you'll avoid the hair-tie crease, and there's less loose hair to stick to your sweaty neck and puff up later. Use a headband with a synthetic fabric like nylon, such as the Athleta Pilayo Headband ($10,, to keep hair off your forehead. Once damp, cotton can promote frizz (the exception: a rolled-up bandanna, because it's thick enough to absorb perspiration). Post-workout, quickly blow-dry your scalp; leaving any sweat to evaporate slowly will cause frizz. If you get seriously drenched, pat a moisture-sopping powder, such as Shu Uemura Art of Hair Volume Maker ($45,, onto roots.

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When you have free time

Indulge in a deep-conditioning treatment that will replenish your hair's lipid barrier so it repels water better and is less prone to frizz. Try a lightweight mask or apply a gloss, such as Tresemmé Nourishing Rituals Liquid Gold Shine Therapy ($4, drugstores) once a week or Clairol Natural Instincts Shine Happy ($9, drugstores) every six weeks. "It's like the clear protective topcoat you put on your nails," Hawkins explains. "It makes hair really shiny and helps smooth down frizz."

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Go Natural

If you pause for a second in your battle with frizz, you'll find that there are situations in which it actually looks -- gasp! -- pretty. To convey that your frizz is a look, not a bad hair day, do some strategic styling: Put on a headband so the front of your hair is neat, and let the back do its thing. If your hair is straight, add some wave with a curling iron; flyaways blend better with strands that have plenty of texture. Strahan suggests that you rough up your hair for beachy messiness. "I rub the tips of my fingers into the scalp and use hair spray all over to boost body," he says. Another ideal style for frizzy days: Make a pony, braid the tail and bobby-pin it into an undone bun. Then pull out random loose hairs along the sides for the perfect bed-head look.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July/August 2012.

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