We love having fun in the sun, but with the heat of summer comes another bummer: humidity. Then all the hard work we put into our ‘dos is totally undone by frizz and unplanned volume.
To beat the heat and the humidity, we’ve collected the best advice and products to stop frizz once and for all.
Why does hair frizz in humidity?
Each strand of hair is a little bundle of keratin proteins formed into tubes. These bundles are held together by strong disulfide bonds and weaker hydrogen bonds. While the disulfide bonds can only be broken and reformed by permanent hair treatments, the hydrogen bonds are broken and reformed easily with water, meaning they’ll reform every time they become wet and dry.
In times of high humidity, the hair follicles swell with all the new hydrogen bonds. The cuticles become rough and then the strands bind together, fold on themselves, and dry into new wavy or frizzy patterns, often accompanied by tangles and damage.
It’s also not just humidity that affects frizz, but dew point as well. The dew point is the temperature where vapor cools to become water droplets. A low dew point is below 35ºF while a high dew point is above 60ºF (high porosity hair is more affected by high dew points). So, when you’re picking products while looking at the weather, remember that high humidity won’t affect your hair nearly as much at lower temperatures, while even 60% humidity at 70ºF can poof your ‘do.
Whether there’s a high or low dew point, avoid ingredients such as agave nectar, honey, glucose, fructose, glycerin, propylene glycol, butylene Glycol, hyaluronic acid, collagen, silk, keratin, panthenol, nettle leaf tea and extract, guar gum, xanthan gum, pectin, aloe vera, flaxseed, marshmallow root, and carrageenan, which also goes by sea algae, vegetable, or emollient, Irish moss, or seaweed extract.
On the other hand, most butters, oils, and waxes—such as argan, grapeseed, sunflower, coconut, jojoba, olive, and avocado oils; mango, cocoa, and shea butters; emulsifying wax, and peg 8 beeswax—work wonders at both high and low dew points.
What makes my hair likely to frizz?
While fine and curly hair types see a lot of frizz in humidity, it’s dry and damaged locks—especially hair that’s been over-styled, over-processed, or over-cleansed with harsh products—that tend to frizz the most.
Also, the more porous your hair is, the more it’ll frizz. You can learn more about porosity in our Curly Girl Guide, but generally, hair that has a high porosity absorbs moisture more easily and therefore soaks up more moisture from the air than normal or low-porosity locks.
What can I do about it?
Because dry hair is more likely to frizz, both keeping it hydrated and avoiding practices that increase dryness are a must.
Frequent trims also help keep hair healthy and frizz resistant. Split ends happen most when hair is dry and damaged, so keeping it trimmed up every few months prevents longer-term damage from occurring.
Both washing tresses every day and using hot water can lead to dry, easily-frizzing strands. Avoiding towel- or blow-drying your hair is also a great place to start, but there are a lot of products that help tame those flyaways as well. When in doubt, you can always opt for a humidity-resistant hairstyle as well, such as a ponytail, braid, or bun.
From the start to finish of a hair care routine, we’ve got products that are bound to keep that frizz at bay.
Some ingredients work better for one hair type more than another. Silicone, for example, creates a barrier against humidity, but it can also weigh down thin hair and pull out curls. Other formulas and specific ingredients work better, like how keratin is naturally found in the hair so it strengthens strands.
These are our favorite product picks, but remember to check the ingredients to find the best options for your hair type (curly girls, I’m looking at you—avoid those silicones and sulfates).
In the Shower
My Curly Girls know that a great way to avoid frizz is to skip the shampoo altogether, but sometimes it’s a necessity. To best combat frizz, find a shampoo that won’t strip away moisture.
Formulas that use hair-healthy oils are also a plus, but make sure to follow up with a conditioner no matter what you use. Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Smoothing Anti-Frizz Shampoo, for example, softens strands for up to 72 hours with a nourishing blend of Abyssinian, camellia, and avocado oils, as well as omega 3 fatty acids, proteins, minerals, and vitamins A, C, and D.
Living Proof’s sulfate and silicone-free No Frizz Shampoo manages frizz with a weightless lab-designed, humidity-blocking formula that’s even safe for chemically treated and colored hair. Then there’s also Chi’s Enviro Smoothing Shampoo, which uses a paraben and sulfate-free pearl and silk complex to moisturize, smooth, and add shine to tresses.
With most frizz-related problems stemming from dehydrated hair, it’s important to maintain moisture. Anti-humidity conditioners do double duty by keeping locks hydrated as well as protecting against frizz. Matrix’s Biolage Smoothproof Conditioner tames tresses for up to 72 hours, even in 97% humidity, while also minimizing static.
R+Co’s Television Perfect Hair Conditioner maintains hydration for camera-ready hair, and the Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner tames unruly locks and restores elasticity. Redken’s Frizz Dismiss Sulfate-Free Conditioner uses Babassu oil to tame frizzy hair and Kerastase’s Discipline Fondant Fluidealiste contains a surface-morphing polymer that coats the hair fiber for strand nutrition and control. There’s also Ouidad’s VitalCurl+ Balancing Rinse Conditioner, which is lightweight and packed with omega 3, 6, and 9, and Goldwell’s Dual Senses Just Smooth Taming Conditioner, which nourishes and controls unruly & frizz-prone hair for a sleek, tamed look.
For extra-dry and overworked manes, masks are a must. They pack in more moisture than conditioners can alone to really revive thirsty locks. However, when there’s a high dew point, avoid heavy moisturizing products like hair masks and opt for lighter moisture instead.
Label.M’s rinse-out Anti-Frizz Mask tames unruly coarse locks with smoothing, long-lasting hydration to make styling more manageable. Living Proof’s No Frizz Intense Moisture Mask protects tresses from breakage, and deeply conditions hair without weighing it down.
Agadir’s sulfate-free Moisture Masque uses argan oil and keratin, along with vitamin E and antioxidants, to not only repair and strengthen strands, but also to smooth and add shine. Oribe’s Intense Conditioner For Moisture Control intensely hydrates and repairs dry and damaged hair to revitalize and add shine.
While serums typically use oils in their formulas, they tend to be lighter than just using oils by themselves, which helps to not weigh down locks or create a greasy appearance if overused. TIGI’s Bed Head Control Freak Serum is light and greaseless, yet seals and adds shine. Speed up drying time with Paul Mitchell’s Super Skinny Serum while the lightweight silicones condition and seal the cuticle.
Fudge’s Finish Aqua Shine Serum is lightweight while adding shine and protecting against the weather, the Matrix Biolage Smoothproof Serum creates perfectly smooth hair for up to 72 hours even in 97% humidity, and the Brazilian Blowout Daily Smoothing Serum detangles and conditions while sealing the hair cuticle against humidity. Rusk’s Thermal Serum is highly concentrated for silky-smooth hair and Davines This Is A Curl Building Serum is perfect for curly or coiled locks.
If you need more ideas, we also recommend the Olaplex No.9 Bond Protector Hair Serum and SheaMoisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Hair Serum.
Leave-in conditioners add instant and long-lasting hydration to the hair while frizz-preventing formulas protect each strand. These are perfect when there’s a low dew point because they tend to not weigh down locks.
For a sweet summer scent, Sun Bum’s 3 In 1 Leave In detangles locks, protects against UV rays, and can be used anywhere or any time to quench dry tresses and prevent split ends. If you like to air-dry your hair, Living Proof’s No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner smooths strands and blocks humidity for a polished look without lots of styling.
It’s A 10’s classic cult-favorite Miracle Leave-in Product can be used on wet and dry hair to seal strands and heal and protect locks, as well as a myriad of other bonuses like adding body, shine, softness, and smoothness. Virtue’s The Polish Un-frizz Cream uses keratin protein to naturally repair and seal hair for a healthy mane.
For thick tresses, we recommend Oribe’s Supershine Moisturizing Cream to soften and hydrate dry locks while adding shine, protecting tresses from heated styling tools, minimizing frizz, and sealing split ends. For straight hair, try Davines’ This Is A Relaxing Moisturizing Fluid or Unite’s Lazer Straight – Relaxing Fluid.
Oils are perfect for not only hydrating but protecting hair. Because they can weigh down locks, it’s best to use lighter oils for fine and medium hair, while thick and coarse hair can handle oils like castor, coconut, or even whipped shea butter. Oils also work best when there’s a high dew point to really tame tresses.
There are several 100% hair oil options, such as SheaMoisture’s 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, John Masters Organics’ 100% Argan Oil, Agadir’s Argan Oil Hair Treatment, Sunny Isle’s Organic Jojoba Oil and Extra Dark Jamaican Black Castor Oil, and Melvita’s Avocado Oil.
Coconut oil works wonders for weak and damaged hair, sweet almond oil moisturizes and protects, grapeseed oil is perfect for thinner locks, and argan oil softens without being too greasy, as a start. Find which oil works best for your hair needs, and remember you only need a few drops at a time.
There are also oil blends that combine multiple types of oil with other nourishing ingredients.
Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Smoothing Anti-Frizz Nourishing Oil uses Abyssinian, camellia, and avocado oils in its smoothing and strand-shining formula. Olaplex’s No. 7 Bonding Oil is lightweight and works with all hair types using primarily grapeseed and fermented green tea oils.
Moroccanoil’s Moroccanoil Treatment is best for finer hair as it uses nourishing but lightweight argan oil and hair-healthy linseed extract, and it can be used in wet hair or to finish frizz making an appearance on a dry ‘do. Similarly, Agadir’s Hair Treatment also uses argan oil for a healthier and more manageable mane.
There’s also Oribe’s Gold Lust – Nourishing Hair Oil, Phyto’s lightweight Phyto Specific Baobab Oil Spray, Living Proof’s fast-absorbing No Frizz Vanishing Oil, Pravana’s Hydra Pearl Oil, mori beauty by Natural Beauty’s Treatment Oil, and OGX’s Renewing Argan Oil Of Morocco Weightless Healing Dry Oil and Renewing Argan Oil Of Morocco Extra Strength Penetrating Oil Dry, Coarse Hair.
For touch-free oil application, try the OGX Nourishing Coconut Oil Weightless Hydrating Oil Mist, Avlon KeraCare Oil Sheen with Humidity Block, Redken Frizz Dismiss Anti-static Oil Mist, Evo Love Touch Shine Spray, L’anza Keratin Healing Oil Finishing Spray, or Sun Bum Anti-Frizz Oil Mist.
Gels create a thick cast around the hair as it dries that then gets broken to reveal soft, protected locks. Curly Girls know that gel can make or break a ‘do, which is why it works best when there’s a higher dew point and those tresses need the protection.
Ouidad’s Advanced Climate Control Heat And Humidity Gel (or the Stronger Hold formula) is packed with protein and locks in moisture while still giving locks flexible hold, making it perfect for curls and coils. Bumble and bumble’s Bb. Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil combines Brazilian oils with a gel to create glossy curls and coils that still have movement and flow.
For those with curls—or those without who want perfected topknots, slicked-back looks, or just have short hair—R+Co’s Wall Street Strong Hold Gel adds body, shine, and protection without being flaky or crunchy.
From the start of a style until it’s time to shower, there are sprays that protect, finish, lock-in, and refresh. This is true even with products aimed at preventing and minimizing frizz.
Sexy Hair’s Big Sexy Hair Weather Proof Humidity Resistant Spray uses a polymer-based formula to create a shield against humidity. Living Proof’s No Frizz Instant De-Frizzer is a dry conditioning spray that instantly tames and smooths up to 92% of frizz on dry hair, and Color Wow’s Dream Coat Supernatural Spray fights frizz after heat activation with a hairdryer or styler.
Joico’s Humidity Blocker Finishing Spray 02 protects against humidity, minimizes existing frizz, and maintains a mane’s volume, and Chi’s Keratin Flex Finish Hairspray blocks humidity, prevents frizz, and fixes flyaways while letting locks move with a natural flow. For more hold, Kenra Professional’s Platinum Finishing Spray 26 provides maximum control and humidity resistance without flaking, and Sebastian’s Shaper Plus Extra Hold Hairspray holds up in high humidity with 24 hours of control while never being sticky.
On the other hand, Wella’s EIMI Nutricurls Fresh Up Anti-Frizz Refresh Spray livens up locks already affected by the weather by adding definition, volume, and shine as it protects against frizz.
Creams are great for styling because they provide that extra moisture frizzy hair tends to lack. They’re also versatile in their hold, meaning there’s a formula for every hair type and occasion.
Tigi’s Bed Head Straighten Out 98% Humidity-Defying Straightening Cream creates smoother, straighter strands for up to 48 hours. Rusk’s Str8 Anti-Frizz and Anti-Curl Lotion also helps tames curls and frizz for straight, sleek strands without frizz for 24 hours.
For fine hair, try Kevin Murphy’s Easy.Rider Anti Frizz Creme, which strengthens strands and activates curls while holding down frizz and flyaways, or Joico’s Zero Heat Air Dry Styling Creme (don’t worry—there’s also a formula for thick hair). Aveda’s Brilliant Pommade Humectante also activates and maintains waves in textured or treated hair while adding shine and control. For more curl control, try All About Curls’ Curls For Days Finishing Spray, Oribe’s Curl Control Silkening Creme, Ouidad’s Advanced Climate Control Featherlight Styling Cream, or R+Co’s Turn Table Curl Defining Cream and High Dive Moisture + Shine Creme.
The Innersense Inner Peace Whipped Creme Texturizer is lightweight and uses hydrating shea butter, honey, and other ultra-moisturizing, petroleum-free ingredients to work with all hair types. Living Proof’s No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream is also a weightless smoothing cream that moisturizes locks without being heavy or greasy.
An in-between to cream and gel, mousse formulas add volume and protection without being crisp or crunchy. They can also add texture and are a particularly fond product for curly hair.
Wella’s EIMI Nutricurls Soft Twirl Anti-Frizz Styling Foam, for example, uses jojoba oil to add nourishing volume and definition as it creates bouncy and manageable frizz-free curls and waves with up to 72 hours of light hold. Joico’s Power Whip Whipped Foam 09 also locks down locks for 72 hours while adding major volume and hydration, but no weight. Kenra Professional’s Volume Mousse Extra 17 fights humidity for 60 and adds body and fullness as a firm hold, lightweight mousse, and the Curl Glaze Mousse 13 adds extra shine, hold, and definition to curls and coils for 60 hours.
SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse lightly softens locks while adding major volume and perfecting curls and waves.
Finally, there’s Sexy Hair’s Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Volumizing Spray Mousse (and Root Pump Plus, which has extra hold for heavy and thick manes), the medium-hold Style Sexy Hair Blow It Up Volumizing Gel Foam for weightless lift and 72 hours of humidity resistance, and Texture Foam Party Lite Texturizing Foam to give tresses texture, buildable hold, additional shine, and 24 hours of humidity resistance.
For questions, concerns, or article ideas, feel free to reach out to our eCosmetics Beauty Editor directly at [email protected]