You might be familiar with frizz and what it looks like, but understanding what exactly causes it is key when trying to prevent and tame it. Allow us to explain: When there is a lack of moisture in your hair, the outermost layer of each strand (called the cuticle) opens up and lets moisture from the air into it. What this does is causes the hair to swell and create the buhaghag effect you're familiar with seeing.
So, what can you do to prevent humidity from entering your hair and altering your style midday? Celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend, New York-based stylist Mark Garrison, and Ursula Stephen, who does Rihanna's hair, offer up their expert tricks for fighting frizz.
Choose a sulfate-free, glycerin-packed shampoo.
Shampoos with sulfates strip and dehydrate your strands, which is the opposite of you want when looking to maintain moisture. Instead, look for one with glycerin high up in the ingredients list (the closer ingredients are to the top of the list, the more concentrated they are), since it helps combat frizz by penetrating the hair shaft and hydrating it from the inside out. It also creates a protective coating over the outside of the hair shaft, so it doesn't break, says Townsend.
Don't skip conditioner.
It's all about depositing moisture in your hair, or else the cuticle will open up to let moisture from the air in, turning your hair from smooth to frizzy. Look for a conditioner that contains glycerin as well as other hydrating ingredients (like coconut oil and shea butter), and apply it from midshaft down to your ends, keeping it away from your roots if you're worried about it weighing down your hair.
Twice a week, use only conditioner on your hair instead of shampooing it.
You might think your hair needs to be shampooed several times a week but it doesn't. Every two days, apply conditioner instead of shampoo and then rinse it out. Conditioner contains a small amount of surfactants (what shampoo uses to cleanse your hair), so it will clean it without stripping your hair of its natural oils.
Use a hydrating mask once a week.
Doing a special treatment at least once a week will help fill any holes in your hair shaft that soak up outside moisture and contribute to frizz.
Let your hair dry 90 percent of the way before you blow-dry.
Too much hot air focused directly on your strands dehydrates it, making it frizzy. If you have straight-to-slightly-wavy hair, let your hair air dry 90 percent of the way, Garrison says, and then use a dryer on it for the last 10 percent.
Brush your hair regularly to help distribute its natural oils.
Hanging your head upside down and brushing your hair with a boar bristle brush helps distribute the oils from your scalp/roots onto the rest of your hair, keeping your hair hydrated and helping to block out humidity, Garrison says.
Keep straight hair from getting frizzy by brushing dry oil through it with a mixed bristle brush.
While your hair is still wet, apply a moisture-locking dry oil from your ends to midway up your hair shaft. Oil acts as a barrier so it will keep liquids from penetrating.
Once your hair is 90 percent dry, use a round brush with mixed bristles (the plastic ones pick up the hair and pull it into the boar bristles for added tension, which makes the hair super straight) to seal the cuticle for a smooth finish. You can also flat iron your hair after it's dry—nothing will seal the cuticle like intense heat, Garrison advises.
De-frizz wavy hair by putting it in a bun after it's dry or defining your waves with a curling iron.
After you've shampooed, conditioned, and applied the dry oil from ends to midshaft, blow dry your hair, and either put it in a bun if you want looser waves (the frizz-fighting happens as your hair cools, when your cuticle locks into place) or define your curls with a barrel iron. Townsend says the heat will keep the frizz at bay.
Use hand or body lotion to tame a frizzy ponytail.
If your hair is in a ponytail and the sides start to frizz up, smooth them down with hairspray. But if the back of your pony turns into a frizz ball, squeeze some lotion into your palms, rub them together, and gently run your fingers through your hair to make it look polished, Garrison suggests.
If the underside of your updo tends to get frizzy, pack bobby pins to help tuck away your flyaways.
Keep a travel-size hairspray in your purse. Whatever you do, don't try to smooth frizz with serum because it doesn't hold, Garrison says.
Put product in your hair prior to your workout.
The sodium in your perspiration can dehydrate your hair so it's always a good idea to apply a leave-in conditioner to your strands before working out.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.