I’ve been there.
For a long time last year, my curls were frizzy even after washing.
I could see my hair wet but frizzy at the same time.
My curls were also not clumping properly, and I could see several bits hanging limp and not coiling tightly.
I honestly couldn’t understand why this was happening.
I started applying a hair mask frequently, and I also started oiling my hair.
But I noticed that neither helped.
I went to a curly hairdresser (that everyone was raving about), and in less than 2 seconds, he could identify what was wrong with my hair.
He said there were 2 issues.
He said my water was hard, and I also required more protein.
He also said that I had a lot of split ends, and they were rising up, damaging the rest of my hair – he cut off all the split ends without decreasing the length of my hair too much.
He then washed my hair with fresh mineral water and used a protein cream – my hair immediately returned to its original bouncy self.
Now, there are multiple reasons why your hair could be frizzy even while wet.
And in this post, I will tell you everything you need to do to fix it.
I’ll cover all the possible causes – so if one method doesn’t work for you, move to the next.
And if all else fails, you must trim your ends before the damage spreads. Split ends rise and damage the rest of the hair, so this will be the last option.
Let’s dive in!
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So, let me answer the big question first.
Why are my curls frizzy after washing? How do you keep wet curls from frizzing?
You must understand that hair grows from the root (in your scalp), not from the tips – meaning fresh hair grows out of your scalp.
So your ends are the oldest parts of your hair, making them very vulnerable to wear and tear.
Keep this in mind – let’s move on to why your curls are frizzy right after washing.
1. You are using a very harsh shampoo
If you have very sensitive hair, then harsh shampoos might be the reason why your hair is frizzy even when wet.
This happened when I used shampoos that my hair couldn’t take. I won’t list brands because I don’t want to be pinned with a lawsuit.
But just in case you aren’t sure whether your shampoo is too harsh for your hair, try a curl-friendly shampoo and see if your hair is behaving differently.
When you use a regular shampoo that might be too harsh, it can cause frizz. What happens is the shampoo throws off the moisture balance in your curls, and the cuticle layer gets affected. A harsh shampoo can:
- Strip Natural Oils: Harsh shampoos often contain sulfates, which are strong cleansing agents. These sulfates can strip your hair of its natural oils (sebum), leaving it dry and more susceptible to frizz. Curly hair tends to be drier by nature, and removing too much oil can exacerbate this dryness and lead to frizz.
- Disrupt the Cuticle Layer: Curly hair already has a raised cuticle layer due to its spiral shape. Harsh shampoos can further roughen and raise the cuticle, making the hair’s outer layer more porous. This can lead to increased moisture absorption from the environment, causing the hair shaft to swell and frizz when exposed to humidity or moisture.
- Affect your curl definition: Harsh shampoos can disrupt the natural curl pattern by removing moisture and causing the hair to become more brittle and prone to breakage. This can result in curls losing their shape and becoming frizzy and undefined.
- Weaken your Hair Shaft: The chemicals in harsh shampoos can weaken the hair shaft over time, making it more vulnerable to damage and frizz. Weakened hair is more likely to develop split ends and breakage, which contribute to frizz.
Please note that I’m not saying you can never use regular shampoo.
I’m just saying that you can’t use it as often as you like.
I still use regular shampoos when I travel and can’t carry my shampoo with me but it’s alright because it’s not happening every day.
Since I workout, I do have to wash my hair daily and it’s better to use a shampoo created for curly hair specifically – so that you can maintain your curl health.
My favorite shampoos, that I recommend are:
- SheaMoisture Curl Shampoo (with coconut and hibiscus): This shampoo has been a standard for curly girls worldwide, and I discovered this about 8 years ago. It’s been my go-to shampoo forever.
- Cake Shampoo Curl Next Door with Avocado and Argan Oil: I recently tried this out because I’d heard a lot about it, and it’s seriously nice! It’s new, but it’s surprisingly good!
- Morrocanoil Shampoo for Curly Hair You can’t go wrong with Morrocanoil products. I know it’s not in everyone’s budget, but I’m throwing this in here because I do want you to consider it. (it’s pricey, but if you can afford it, then get this. I do use this shampoo now and then because I genuinely love the smell and the way my hair feels afterward.)
2. Your hair is damaged from heat and/or color
If you constantly use hot styling tools like flat irons, curling irons, or even blow dryers, you can end up damaging the cuticle layer of your hair (it’s the outermost layer), and this can cause it to become dry and brittle over time.
I stopped using heat, and my hair improved drastically.
Now, even if you have to use heat – minimize it. Use the blowdryer in a cold setting.
Also, remember that no matter what chemical treatment you do, it does affect your hair.
Dying your hair, bleaching it, perming, or relaxing damages the hair cuticle, and your hair becomes more dry and brittle.
So, how do we fix this?
- Deep condition: Incorporate regular deep conditioning treatments in your hair care routine. I love, love, love this Argan Oil Hair Mask, and I use it religiously every week.
- Wear your hair in protective hairstyles: Styles like braids, buns, or updos (where the ends are tucked and shielded away from harsh environments) will help protect your hair and prevent further damage.
- Reduce chemical treatments: Limit or avoid further chemical treatments such as coloring, perming, or relaxing until your hair has recovered. I know this is not what you want to hear, but these treatments can exacerbate the dryness and damage – making it harder for your hair to regain its health.
And always, always use a heat protector before styling. I only recommend Chi Heat Protectant because this is the best one I’ve used, and you can just read the reviews to see that this is one of the best products in the market.
Every few months, cut your split ends. While trimming won’t repair split ends – it does prevent them from rising further up the hair shaft.
So, I highly recommend trimming every 6-8 weeks if you notice that your ends are always dry – this will promote healthy hair growth.
3. Your water is too hard
Hard water can potentially damage curly hair due to its high mineral content, particularly calcium and magnesium ions.
When you wash or rinse your hair with hard water, it can have several negative effects on curly hair:
- Mineral Buildup: The minerals present in hard water can accumulate on the hair shaft over time. This buildup can weigh down your hair, make it feel rough and dry, and interfere with its natural texture.
- Dryness and Frizz: Hard water can strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and more prone to frizz. Curly hair is already prone to dryness, and the mineral buildup from hard water can exacerbate this issue.
- Dullness: Mineral buildup can cause your hair to lose its natural shine and appear dull and lackluster.
- Curl Pattern Disruption: The mineral deposits can interfere with the hair’s ability to hold its natural curl pattern. This can lead to curls becoming less defined and losing their bounce.
- Difficult Product Absorption: The minerals in hard water can create a barrier that prevents hair care products, like conditioners and treatments, from fully absorbing the hair. This can limit the effectiveness of these products.
Now there are 2 ways to fix this:
- Get a water softener for your shower head – you can change the filters every 6 months. This is more expensive, I know, but it’s also a more permanent solution.
- Rinse your hair with clean water after a shower: My hairdresser gave me this tip. Now if you cannot afford a water softener, just rinse your hair with bottled water after a shower – this works too!
I understand this extra step is cumbersome, but it does make a huge difference, and trust me, it did wonders for my hair.
4. You are overwashing your hair
I bet you didn’t think of this one, right?
If you put very heavy oils, you use stronger shampoos to eliminate the oily, sticky feeling – this overwashing can dry out your hair.
So, you need to be very careful when you wash your hair – wash your hair too much, and you’ll strip your hair of its natural oils.
- Reduce washing frequency: Start by gradually reducing the frequency of your hair washing. If you have the habit of washing your hair daily, slowly space it out to every other day and then move it to once in 3 days. This will allow your scalp to produce and maintain its natural oils, which is essential for healthy hair!
- Use mild shampoo: Don’t use harsh shampoos because they strip away the natural oil your scalp creates. Choose a mild, sulfate-free shampoo that is suitable for your hair type. I highly recommend the Pura D’Or anti-thinning shampoo because this shampoo is gold for people who have postpartum hair loss or just have very sensitive hair in general. It’s very mild and only cleans the hair. It contains a lot of natural and organic ingredients.
- Avoid hot water: Please wash your hair with lukewarm or cool water instead of hot water. Hot water can strip away the natural oils and leave your hair feeling dry and brittle. Cooler temperatures help your hair retain moisture.
5. Environmental factors
Just normal exposure to harsh weather conditions like sun, wind, and even snow can cause dry and brittle ends.
The sun damages your hair, so it’s crucial always to braid it or use a hat to protect your hair from the sun.
- Shield from UV rays: As I mentioned, your hair (just like your skin) can be affected by the sun’s harmful rays. So, you can protect your hair by wearing a hat or scarf when you’re exposed to prolonged sunlight. In UAE, I wear a large sun hat like this constantly to prevent my hair from getting damaged by the constant and harsh sun.
- Rinse after swimming: Chlorine from pools can damage your hair. I explain this in my post on how chlorine makes hair sticky afterward. After swimming, always rinse your hair with fresh water to remove any chlorine or salt residue. It’s also very important to use a clarifying shampoo made specifically for swimmers to cleanse your hair and remove any buildup thoroughly!
6. Lack of moisture
If you have curly or wavy hair, then you need to work twice as hard to moisturize your hair.
Have you noticed that your skin dehydrates and becomes more scaly and patchy if you don’t moisturize it enough?
My mum had this weird habit of applying moisturizer on my skin every day since I was a child. So my skin now as an adult is still soft and baby smooth.
Likewise, you need to do the same for your hair.
Now if you have straight hair or greasy hair, you’re in luck because you don’t have your work cut out for you.
Dry hair needs extra moisture to stay healthy. That’s why you must use a deep conditioning treatment to help nourish and moisturize your hair.
Deep conditioning doesn’t work wonders overnight.
It takes time to see results. So be patient.
Here are some ways to moisturize your hair, especially if you have very dry and brittle ends:
- Use a deep conditioner at least 3 times a month (once in ten days is plenty). After you’ve shampooed and rinsed out the shampoo, apply the deep conditioner mask. Let it sit in your hair for 30 minutes and then wash it off. Have a simple and uncomplicated routine – this will help you build this sustainable habit.
- Oil your hair once a week – start with a mild oil like Olive oil and mix it with a carrier oil like jojoba oil or argan oil. Just do that 1 time a week. Oil your hair and rinse it with shampoo after 2 hours. I talk about how you can pre-poo here. Sometimes, I mix olive oil with honey because it makes my hair extra soft and shiny.
Do this for a few months and watch how your hair transforms.
It does require a bit of patience, I won’t deny it – but it works, and I’ve seen my hair become so soft and shiny because of this.
7. You require protein – your hair has very less protein
Your hair is made up of protein, just like your skin and nails.
This means your hair needs certain nutrients, like proteins, vitamins, and minerals, to stay strong and healthy.
Now, the quick way to fix this is just to use a protein treatment for your hair.
This product costs 2 times more here in India than in the USA, but I still buy it and use it 2 times a week since this is what my hair needs!
Because of the reviews, I didn’t hesitate to buy this product – and it lives up to the hype, trust me.
My hairdresser was so right, and it was protein my hair was lacking all this while.
I just shampooed my hair regularly, gently towel-dried my hair, and applied this leave-in for 20 minutes. I made breakfast and rinsed my hair – and I could tell the difference immediately!
My hair was soft but, at the same time, stronger.
My hair fall has reduced drastically after only 3 applications, and my hair has finally recovered!
I even noticed that the tangles have reduced. This also happens if you regularly remove all of your split ends and deep-condition.
You’ll notice your curls clumping better and able to maintain curls after you use a protein treatment (especially if that’s what your hair is lacking):
But either way, protein is important!
Also, if your diet lacks certain nutrients, your hair may get drier and more brittle, especially at the ends.
You need to eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats to nourish your hair from the inside out.
I’m not a nutritionist, so I’ll link to a post that I’ve found on the right foods to eat to improve your hair health.
Also, just a word of caution: Please don’t take hair supplements without consulting a doctor first. Even if you want to take biotin or collagen supplements, talk to a doctor beforehand.
I also recommend getting a blood test done. My hairdresser told me that if we have a vitamin D deficiency, or B12 deficiency, or lack iron, our hair will become less healthy and be more brittle. So, please check whether your stats are okay.
8. You are not being gentle with your hair
Just your hair brushing against the pillow, your clothes and constantly swooshing up and about does cause some wear and tear – not to mention constant touching and styling.
This is another reason why I mention that you should avoid touching your hair frequently.
Your hair isn’t destructible and needs a lot of moisture and care.
Here are some ways to reduce the wear and tear you have daily:
- Tie your hair up in a satin scrunchy when you’re not outside or even sleeping – this will reduce friction drastically, and you’ll be protecting your hair. I use these hair scrunchies and keep buying them because they’ve drastically decreased my hair tangles and kept my hair very soft. You can also use a bonnet – but I find them incredibly uncomfortable. I feel suffocated sleeping on them.
- Use a satin pillowcase – This will really help reduce friction. When you sleep on a satin pillowcase, your hair glides over the pillowcase with minimal friction as opposed to cotton.
- Be gentle when handling wet hair: Wet hair is more prone to breakage. To reduce the damage, avoid brushing or combing hair vigorously when it’s wet. Use a wide-toothed comb designed for wet hair to detangle from ends and slowly go upwards gently. I also suggest using a conditioner to make it easier to detangle – it works like a charm for me, and I have incredibly curly and frizzy hair.
9. You are using too much gel/mousse
Gel and mousse can potentially dry out curly hair if they contain certain ingredients or if they are not used properly. Here’s how these styling products can contribute to dryness in curly hair:
- Alcohol Content: Some gels and mousses contain alcohol, particularly types like denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol. These alcohols can dry the hair by stripping it of its natural moisture. Look for products that use fatty alcohols (such as cetyl alcohol or stearyl alcohol) instead, as these are less likely to dry out your hair.
- Ingredient Quality: The quality of ingredients in styling products matters. A gel or mousse containing low-quality or harsh ingredients can potentially strip the hair of moisture and contribute to dryness and frizz.
- Overuse: Using too much gel or mousse can create a buildup on the hair, which may prevent moisture from being absorbed into the hair shaft. This can lead to a dry and crunchy feeling.
- Lack of Moisture: If you apply gel or mousse to hair that is not adequately moisturized, the products can trap any existing dryness, making your hair feel even drier.
So, I know we can’t avoid them completely – I too use gel sometimes when Bangalore is super windy, but I try to make do with hair creams most of the time.
I hope this post explained why the ends of your hair are dry and brittle and how you can fix it.
These tips have worked for me wonderfully – and as you know, having curly hair does mean that my tips suffer from constant dryness.
So, moisturize your hair a little extra if you have curly or coily hair – your hair will thank you for those extra deep conditioning treatments.
Here are some more posts you’ll find useful:
- How to Protect Your Hair from Chlorine Without a Swim Cap
- Is it Bad to Touch Your Hair a Lot + How to Stop Touching Your Hair
- When Can I Wash My Hair After Giving Birth? How to Do It
- Pre Pooing with Jamaican Black Castor Oil – Everything to Know
- 5 Reasons Why Your Hair is Sticky After Swimming + How to Fix It
- 9 Genuine Reasons Why Your Hair is Always Tangled in the Back
- Can You Bleach Permed Hair? Everything You Need to Know!