What makes your hair frizzy... and what you can do to manage your frizzy hair!

Published on Mar 16, 2016

It doesn’t matter whether you are Shakira, Beyonce or Victoria Beckham.

Come to a place with as high a humidity level as Singapore and you'll find yourself battling with frizz every day!

Victoria Beckham Instagram frizz

Victoria Beckham Fighting her Frizzy Hair in Singapore

Bad hair days like the one Victoria sported can be really irritating, particularly if you have to deal with it EVERYDAY!

In this article, we hope to explore the reasons behind frizzy hair and what you can do about it!

Why Does Your Hair Frizz?

Before we talk about frizziness, we have to first understand a little more about hair. If you look at your hair through a microscope, you’ll realize that your hair is made up of many layers.

Schematic of hair fibre structure

Picture Credits

The cortex of your hair is made up of bundles of keratin proteins, which are held together by chemical bonds created by sulfur atoms or hydrogen atoms. Sulfur atoms give hair its strength while hydrogen atom bonds give hair its temporary shape.

Schematic Hair Fiber 2

Picture Credits: Hairkeratins.com

When hair absorbs water, a single strand of hair will form a lot more hydrogen bonds between keratin strands. This causes the hair to form an S shape as it forms bonds and swells with water until the outermost layer of hair, the cuticle is disrupted. Multiply this one strand of hair by your entire head of hair and that's where you'll get an extremely frizzy bedhead!

But Singapore is so humid! I can't move out of Singapore just to avoid humidity, can I?

You may not be able to avoid going out into humid Singapore but you can try to minimize the amount of water that the hair absorbs.

1) Make sure your hair cuticle is sealed (as much as you can)

The more your hair absorbs water from outside, the more hydrogen bonds form and the frizzier your hair will get.

Your first line of defence against water entering your hair is therefore the cuticle - the outermost layer of your hair.

Hair Conditions under microscope

Although not completely closed, healthy cuticles can keep out most water molecules, keeping your hair relatively straight and frizz free.

However, if your hair becomes damaged due to chemical services, environmental factors or age, it will become more porous.

More water can now enter the hair, resulting in frizziness!

Ladies with curly, wavy hair tend to have more issues with frizziness as well. As curly wavy hair has a spiraling shape, cuticles cannot close completely. Therefore, water enters more easily, causing frizz.

2) Make sure that your hair is properly nourished and moisturized

medula cortex

It is important for the cortex to be full and swelled with nutrients as it forms the core structure of the hair. It determines the colouring, flexibility and tensile strength of the hair.

Even if your cuticle is properly sealed, the hair strand will lose its shape faster if the cortex is devoid of nutrients. Your hair will also break more easily and it will not be easy to saturate your hair with colour!

So, what can I do to make sure that the cuticle is sealed and the inner layers of the hair are properly nourished?

Proper home care is possibly the most important in helping you manage your frizz. Most of us stick to some sort of a facial care routine... why not put a little more time to maintain a proper haircare routine too?

A proper haircare routine should include washing, conditioning, application of heat protectant and blow drying your hair properly and finally application of serum.

Of the above steps, we find that Singaporean women tend to skip blowdrying of hair which is to us one of the key steps to preventing frizz. Although heat opens cuticles, blowdrying is important as it helps gets rid of the excess water in your hair and helps you style it the way you want it to look. Once you have completed drying your hair, remember to turn on the cool shot button to close the cuticles and set your style.

There are more things to include in your homecare routine so look out for our next article on Minimizing Frizz at Home!

My hair is already so frizzy! Are there salon services that can help give me frizz-free hair fast?

Homecare may be important but most are not strong enough to repair your hair cuticle or nourish your hair from within.

Here are some popular hair services people go for in salons to help them manage their frizz.

1. Rebonding

For wavy haired ladies, one popular treatment of choice is Rebonding.

Rebonding essentially changes their hair texture from curly to straight, making it easier for their cuticles to close and their hair to be a lot more manageable.

before mucota omega rebonding
after mucota omega rebonding

MUCOTA Omega Rebonding at Focus Hairdressing

Rebonding is however not the perfect choice for ladies with curly hair.

This is because Rebonding is ultimately still a process which breaks all your existing bonds, creates new style and fixes the new bonds you have just built. The hair still undergoes some level of damage. This means that your hair may end up drier and more damaged than before.

Also, the final hair texture tends to be quite different from the natural hair texture. This means that your hair may be smooth and straight now but the hair that grows out will still be really wavy. The hair regrowth will therefore be really ugly!

It will also take away all your beautiful natural curls, which isn't the ideal thing to do!

2. Keratin Treatment

We mentioned earlier that sealing of cuticles helps to keep water out of the hair. Keratin Treatments rely on that principle and basically seals the hair cuticle with a layer of keratin / protein. Once coated, the hair is flat ironed (heat activates the keratin!). Keratin Treatments can give you frizz free hair for 1 to 5 months depending on the quality of keratin used, how many times you shampoo and how strong your hair cortex is. Every time you shampoo, more keratin falls off, making the sealing less and less effective over time.

Having said that, Keratin Treatment is one of the few hair treatments you can do when your hair is completely damaged! Even if your hair feels completely like hay after multiple rounds of bleach, Keratin treatment will coat your hair with keratin and make it possible for you to comb through your hair... at least until the keratin falls off!

Note also that the Keratin Treatment seals your cuticle with Keratin and does not necessarily contain any treatment to nourish your hair. Some Keratin Treatments may also produce formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic, during the ironing process. Therefore, it is important to look for a salon carrying a good brand of Keratin Treatment (that does repair your hair and is formaldehyde free!).

If you are thinking of going for Keratin Treatments, one of the industry leading Keratin Treatment brands is Goldwell Kerasilk

Goldwell Kerasilk Keratin Treatment at Flamingo Hair Studio  

3. Hair Treatments @ Salons

There are many salons out there offering a variety of hair treatments. Most offer hair treatments created by major haircare companies such as Shiseido Detox Treatment and Redken Chemistry Treatment.

Some, however, create their own blend of hair treatment.

COVO Japanese Hair Salon is one of them. The owner of the salon created a special blend of keratin proteins that help to nourish the hair shaft and reduce frizziness by increasing the hair's natural resistance to water.

before COVO Treatment side view
after COVO Treatment side view

Before vs After COVO Super Treatment

Read more about Agent H's experience with COVO Treatment here.

Note however that the effects of the hair treatments (even the ones above) last for usually 2 to 3 weeks, depending on how often you wash and how strong / advanced the coating is.

This means that you do have to go back to the salon monthly to keep your hair looking smooth and silky!

4. Revolutionary Retexturizing cum Treatment Services

In recent months, we saw the rise of two retexturizing services that we feel are truly innovative!

1. Resculpting Supreme by Chez Vous Hair Salon

Launched as part of the new Trilogy Hair System by Chez Vous Hair Salon, Resculpting Supreme is the first service of its kind we've heard that somehow fuses Keratin technology with typical retexturizing technology (perm / rebonding)!

It basically contains 3 steps:

  1. Shape: In this step, only a small percentage of hair bonds are broken to allow for reshaping of the hair later on. Depending on how much natural curl you want to retain, the stylist can customize this step to adjust the amount of hair bonds that are broken.
  2. Smooth: In this step, keratin and some other satin ingredients are infused into the hair. Hair is then retexturized with heat to achieve the desired shape and activate the keratin treatment. Neutralizer is also applied to fix the shape achieved earlier.
  3. Refinish: In this step, skincare-inspired ingredients are applied to nourish the hair from within and strengthen the silicone layer that will coat the keratin treatment.

Overall, this can help manage frizz significantly as keratin coating will prevent moisture from entering. The hair cortex is also strengthened with the numerous treatments applied during the service.

Resculpting Supreme is revolutionary because on top of being able to close hair cuticles with the keratin treatment, it allows curly haired ladies to keep their curls. In Resculpting Supreme, much of the natural curls are retained as not all bonds are broken in the first step! This sets it apart from Keratin treatment which usually causes hair to be straightened.

Before Trilogy
after Trilogy

Agent C tried Resculpting Supreme and the results of the treatment can be seen here!

The more natural curl you retain, the more frizziness is retained as well. In Agent C's case, Resculpting Supreme will probably cut about 30% of her frizziness as she chose to keep most of her curls.

Note however that it relies on Keratin treatment to seal the cuticle and manage the frizziness. It is therefore important to use Keratin Shampoos to extend the effectiveness of this service as long as possible and even come back to the salon for "retouches" every 2-3 months to keep the keratin in place!

A lot of people say that frizz is inevitable especially in humid Singapore. That is why many prefer to go for rebonding so that they don't have to worry about unmanageable frizzy hair.

As people improve their knowledge about frizz and salons innovate and create new techniques to manage frizz, we wonder if there will come a day where most Singaporean ladies can have frizz-free hair without rebonding?

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