What Is Wet Frizz?
Wet frizz is when hair is frizzy while still wet. Rather than forming “clean” curl clumps, the curl clumps will have strings of hair sticking out. A small amount of wet frizz is normal, but having a lot of we frizz can be a sign that your har isn’t getting what it needs.
If your hair is really frizzy while wet, it will likely dry very frizzy, too. If you struggle with frizz and that frizz is present even when your hair is soaking wet, your core issue may be wet frizz rather than regular frizz.
What Causes Wet Frizz?
Wet frizz can be caused by a lack of moisture or conditioning, product build-up, having high porosity hair, flash drying or moisture overload.
If your hair is frizzy while it’s wet, it’s usually lacking moisture and needs to be better conditioned.
In some cases, wet frizz may be caused by build-up. If your hair has significant build-up, it may disrupt your hair from clumping “nicely” in its normal way.
High porosity hair is more likely to experience wet frizz due to the raised cuticles making nearby hairs tangle rather than align together. If you’re new to the concept of hair porosity, I’d recommend checking out my blog post how to determine your wavy hair type.
For some people, moisture overload can include wet frizz. If your hair feels really soft (almost mushy?) and has lost its ‘strength’, gotten very poofy/fluffy or lost its regular definition, and your curls are looser than usual, these are signs of moisture overload and you may benefit from doing a protein treatment.
Flash drying causes wet frizz for some. Some people have hair that responds poorly to certain ingredients. If you find that your hair is soaking wet, and you apply a product and your hair instantly frizzes up while feeling like it got drier – that’s flash drying. In this case, you’ll need to learn what ingredient your hair has flash drying from and avoid that ingredient in your hair care products.
How To Correct Wet Frizz
If you’re experiencing wet frizz and haven’t clarified recently or suspect build-up, you can start by using a clarifying shampoo to see if that helps. I have a whole blog post about clarifying wavy hair if you want to learn more.
If you clarify at least monthly and your hair doesn’t feel like it has build-up, you likely just have dry hair. In this case, the main solution will be to use a deep conditioner. I’d recommend doing one with little or no protein if you suspect your hair is just really dry. Using “squish to condish” each wash day when you have conditioner in your hair can help your hair get more hydrated over time.
If your hair is dry, you may also benefit from adding in a leave-in conditioner to your routine.
Oils may help if used correctly. Oils help seal moisture into the hair, but they do not help moisturize hair on their own. Meaning, washing your hair and then applying just an oil won’t help, but using a leave-in conditioner or cream and then an oil on top may help to lock in the moisture from the conditioner or cream.
If your hair isn’t especially dry, but you regularly experience wet frizz as a result of having high porosity hair, using bond repair products like Olaplex #3 or Curlsmith bond rehab salve may help. Keeping a close eye on your protein-moisture balance is also key.
If your wet frizz is caused by flash drying, you’ll need to experiment until you can pinpoint what ingredients cause flash drying for you, and then avoid products with those ingredients.
How Much Wet Frizz Is Normal Or “Okay”?
How much wet frizz is normal or okay is going to vary somewhat depending on your hair type. Higher porosity hair is likely to have more we frizz than lower porosity hair. Your haircut may make a difference as well. How easily (or not) your hair clumps while wet can depend somewhat on your haircut.
I’d recommend watching your own wet frizz level so that you learn what your normal is, and so that you can recognize if it increases.
However, to give you a rough idea, I made the graphic above to show you what my hair looked like recently when I was experiencing higher-than-normal amounts of wet frizz. I took the top two photos after shampooing and conditioning with my regular products. I realized my hair had excessive wet frizz. I had also started to get some tangles while my hair was wet, which is not typical for me at all.
I knew that my hair was needing moisture. I didn’t want to try to style my hair when it was staying so frizzy, so I decided to use a deep conditioner. I used Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Masque (it is protein-free) and let it sit in my hair about 10 minutes then rinsed it out. My hair felt less tangly, got better curl clumps and less wet frizz. The lower two photos on the graphic are my hair after the deep conditioner.
I have low to normal/average porosity hair so my amount of wet frizz is less than other hair types are likely to experience. I had a curly cut last summer, but I haven’t had my hair cut or trimmed in over 9 months so my hair cut is definitely grown out a lot and not clumping as well as it used to.