Let us talk about Frizz

Frizz in my view is a greatly misunderstood term. The image to the right is the typical picture hairdresser's use to illustrate frizz. In my view it is not frizz, it is moving from hair with a curl to straightened hair.

Frizz in my book is where you have flyaway hair, meaning where your hair can naturally form clumped spiral curls or waves but fail to do so due to

-weather (humidity),
-products (not using a holding product e.g leave in conditioner or gel)
-poor styling (usually more successful to get hair to clump when wet or damp rather than when dry)
- handling (i.e constantly touching the curls as they dry) the clumps break

The second definition is for hair which does not have a clumped/spiral curl but is styled into a controlled style such as twists or braids. Over time frizz or as I call it a fuzz halo forms after hair is washed or if the style is kept for a longer time.This type of frizz is due to shorter pieces of hair escaping from the main braid.

What is your definition of frizz? Is it important to you? If you are concerned about frizz and would like to contribute, I would like to see your hair in its frizzy state and none frizzy state ............. email me some pictures so we can talk about frizz.


  1. I dislike when afro hair is collectively referred to as 'frizzy hair,' because I subscribe to the same definition of frizz as you do. My hair in its natural state doesn't form defined spirals so calling it 'frizz' is wrong to me. I see that in a lot of non-black english/uk descriptions abuot afro hair - the kind you would see on the channel 4 website. I refer to my hair as frizzy when its in the second state you described - when a twist out starts to come apart.

    I prefer my twist out somewhat frizzy and I don't like the defined sprial look. A little frizz makes the hair look more natural and not too overly styled.

  2. FURTHER THOUGHT: To me frizz is the state when hair does something its not supposed to do - like lose definition. Since my hair isn't defined, I don't see it as frizzy. But i do understand why others (especially non-blacks see it as frizzy).

    1. I completely agree with your and Jc's assertions. I've been thinking of a way to explain what exactly frizz is but was never able to put it in a logical sequence!

  3. I like frizz! Because my hair is so fine, having a bit of frizz gives it more body and makes my hair look more playful

  4. My hair is often frizzy. It is mainly due to the fact that I wear my hair in twists for two weeks. During that time I usually rinse my hair in water, which causes even more frizz.

    I agree with your definition of the term. And, it is something that does not concern me. Although, I do get comments from others about brushing the sides of my hair! :)

  5. Frizz is your individual hair strands doing their own thing.It's fine if you are wearing an fro but no so much when you want your hair to be uniform like a braid.twist out or straighten you hair,

  6. My definition is the same as yours and I have no problem when i experience frizz, it doesnt bother me at all.
    I do have a question I was unable to locate an answer to in The Academy.
    I only use water, castor, coconut , olive and avocado oils in my hair. Since the coconut olive and avocado penetrates and I end up putting those back on my hair after I wash anyway, if I started co-washing ONLY would that cause buildup issues seeing they are not as heavy as other products?
    What would you recommend?

  7. I think my hair is constantly in a frizzy state - the fuzz halo is my eternal companion! I don't worry about it...well, at all because I've gotten this far in my life not caring and I don't think I'll have the time in the future to start! >.<

  8. Hi Jc
    I think I understand how you feel concerning how frizzy hair is defined or bias. I am aware how some people, Web Sites, and commercial advertisements tend to define frizzy hair as unruly.
    I define frizzy hair as natural with spiral curls. I have natural hair. My hair is curly and wavy. My hair is naturally frizzy. I do like a styling aid sometimes. Such as hair gel. I like the way the gel smoothes my curly waves.I also like the way the gel makes my hair look. (SW)

  9. Jc, I agree with your definition.

    When twisted "tight" with gel and I get frizz. When moisturized in twists I get frizz; when dry I get frizz. When I sneeze I get frizz. On buns- water, oil and scarves subdue frizz but it sprouts at the end of the day. I prefer some on out-styles, which took some getting used to because "everyone" extols the "ideal" of defined hair. My hair thinks people are too uptight, and I'm inclined to agree.

  10. I disagree with Lela. I posted this on another board recently: Why are people with type 4 hair complaining about frizz? Frizz is what this hair type DOES and there's NOTHING wrong with it. The sooner type 4s in particular accept that there will ALWAYS be some form of frizz involved (if they're natural), the easier their hair care will be.

    I believe a lot of women are still brainwashed (yes, I said it) by Madison Avenue's definition of what "good hair" (yes, I said it) is. Just like "manageability," "frizz" has been defined within a straight-haired paradigm, and it is absolutely ridiculous to me to hear women whose hair frizzes NATURALLY complain about frizz.

    Most of my hair defines itself in small tight coils (what I'm guessing is now being called "4b") but I can rinse it everyday for months on end (to the point where hydration isn't a problem) and I will STILL get frizz because there will always be strands that simply will not clump. Some of those are the fabled "4c", to be sure, but some of them (including my increasing number of grays) might be considered some kind of 2b or 2c. In neither case are these strands unhealthy or damaged.

    It seems to me that the "good hair/bad hair" dichotomy in the black community isn't going anywhere any time soon...it's just reshaping itself to fit a new paradigm. And that's sad IMO.

    1. Wow! Thank you that was an excellent post. I was surfing the web looking for answers about my frizz (4a Hair I guess) I personally internally don't mind it but was concern it might be too frizzy sometimes BUT YOU are so right I am still brainwashed! And here I thought I was better then that. So I will now hug my frizzy'o/maybe curls and keep it moving. Thank you!!!!

  11. I have natural 4a/4b hair and since I'm re-learning how to accept my hair in it's natural state frizz is not really a concern of mine. I'm focusing more on it being healthy, I don't personally view it as unhealthy or unacceptable. I was more concerned with frizz and flyaway when my hair was relaxed, since I abandoned the relaxer I've abandoned the thoughts about my hair always having to be perfect.

    BTW - I've been lurking around your site for quite sometime and find your scientific view on hair health quite interesting.

  12. Flyaway hair is what frizz is to me. I have found that frizz is related to moisture as well. Ironically, I experienced more frizz when I used to blow dry my hair alot. But less so when I started air-drying. Depending on what style I am wearing it may or may not bother me. I tolerate a reasonable amount with cornrows or twists. Less so with updo's which I prefer to be a little smoother. I think acceptance is a psychological or mental issue in the sense that frizz in hair has been touted as an "out-of-control" situation in the media. That's why there are so many products to fix it.

  13. To me frizzy is the translation of "frisé" in French (my mother tongue) so I don't see it as an insult or something derogatory or something that shouldn't be said. Frise is kind of like 3c/4a hair (using this so that you can picture what French call frizzy hair) but I guess in English maybe you would say "kinky curly".. I think frizzy is the state of my hair in all it's states whether it be clumped with gel or not. It means "a small curl" to French people so it means that to me. But I could say it frizzes if I do something like a set (twist out braid out Bantu knot flexi Rods) and the hair reverts back.


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