Long Curly Hair and the War on Frizz

In Educate by John Paul25 Comments

The Rules of Engagement w/ JP

John Paul is a longtime follower, curly longhair, and college lacrosse player at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. He deals with tight curls on the daily and offered to share a few tips for our curly haired brethren.

The Daily Battle

Having long, curly hair is a blessing and a curse. It’s wild, burly and all natural, but at the same time it can be fiercely unpredictable and a pain to deal with. The enemy is frizz, and the war on frizz is real.

For most curly hairs this constitutes a daily battle, and the day you let your guard down is the day frizz wins, shutting down your operation in a Texas tornado of tendrils.

To avoid that unpleasant scenario, there are a few simple rules to follow that will help you keep that bounce in your curl, feeling fresh and frizz-free.


Rule #1: Wash Less

One of the biggest early mistakes I made as a curly longhair was shampooing my hair every day, often multiple times, because I thought it was healthy for my hair. WRONG! If you have curly hair you should NOT be washing every day.

Shampooing strips your hair and scalp of natural oils which help to strengthen and moisturize your curls. These essential oils are your front line defense against frizz. Every time you wash your hair you strip these oils away, drying out your hair and leaving your flank exposed to the enemy.

Aim to wash your hair 2-3 times per week at most, preserving the oils your hair needs to stay strong, hydrated, shiny and frizz-free.

Rule #2: Wrap It Up!

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with curly hair is rubbing it dry with a towel. This leads to split ends, knots and tons of frizz. Instead of rubbing your hair, wrap it up in a towel or better yet a soft t-shirt.

Personally I just use a regular towel. I simply bend over, drape my hair down towards the floor, place a towel on the back of my skull and drape it over my head towards the ground. Then I twist the towel around my hanging hair and tuck the “wrapped” locks behind my head.

Using this drying method helps you in a couple ways. First, you want to avoid the friction and static buildup caused by rubbing it dry, that’s a virtual frizz machine. Also, when you leave it to air dry, the moisture evaporates leaving your hair dried out. Using a towel or t-shirt wicks the excess moisture from your hair without exposing it to air.

Rule #3: Use a Leave-in Cream or Pomade

After 5-10 minutes with your hair wrapped up, gently unfold your towel and let your hair down. With your hair still slightly damp, apply your leave-in cream, starting with the tips of your locks (which are most prone to dryness and messy frizz) and then throughout the full lengths, including your scalp. Let the cream dry in your hair.

Life rule: never put product on your hair when it is completely dry. Trust me on this.

Don’t have leave-in cream? Styling pomades, water-based gels or creams can also work, but try to stay away from hard gelly-based gels. Hard gelly gels can tear your hair when you try to comb it and make your locks too stiff. Make sure your gels are WATER based. I recommend using products with argan and/or macadamia oil in particular. Natural is always better.

All of these products tend to be a little pricey at the register, but they go a long way. You only need a couple drops of your product when you apply it to your hair, so you won’t go through a whole bottle in 2 weeks (most of these last me 2-3 months).

Also, these products should give you good results with curly hair, when I used them they did not act up on me, cause knots, or frizzing, so in the long run you will save money from not having to buy multiple different products that don’t work.

Here are some products I’ve had success with:

American Crew Forming Cream

Biolage Matrix Gelee (all purpose) Styling Gel

Macadamia Natural Oil: Healing Treatment

Rule #4: Let Your Hair Down

This is super important. After you apply your leave-in cream, let your hair down for a bit and let your locks hang loose. Putting your hair in a knot or tail immediately after putting the cream in will cause frizz and make your hair look like Bob Ross after a steam bath. Make sure you let your hair down and let it dry before tying it up.

Carry The Fight On

There ya have it boys, rules to live by.

It’s true, curly hair takes a lot more maintenance than straight hair. But we should embrace it and be proud of the little genetic variation that gifted each of us with a luscious waterfall of ringlets.

So stay vigilant, and never let your guard down. Follow these rules and you’ll come out on top in the war on frizz.

Got any of your own tips for curly hair? Share in the comments, amigo.



  1. Great tips. I’m 14 months in with curly hair. Sure, it’s more work than straight hair, but it is absolutely worth it. We curly maned longhairs have it good with our thick locks. Personally I’m in a rush most mornings, I don’t have time to wrap and dry, so I use the scrunch technique, then apply argon oil to my damp hair, sometimes a styling creme too. Regarding brushing, personally I find that it makes my hair super frizzy when I brush it, so I’ll either brush it at the end of the day or before my morning shower, that way I can tame it again when I dry it. At the moment my routine is to only shampoo twice a week, but I’ll rinse every day so that it’s damp for oiling. I’m experimenting with conditioning every day too.

    Keep up the awesome work, guys. Love your content and cause \m/

    1. El Rizado! Excellent man, appreciate you sharing your routine! We will continue mate, thanks for tuning in and keep lettin it ride.

  2. Aloe Vera gel is the best styler for curly hair. So hydrating and great at combating frizz. After shampoo, conditioner and detangling my hair, I rake a hair cream through my curls and smooth over aloe Vera gel and directly scrunch. I manage to have good second-day curls. Dry combing or brushing mean death to our curls. Stick to finger detangling, which is great for length retention. Sleep on satin and always put your hair in protective styles before bed.

  3. I wash/condition once a week. In between, I use a really cheap WalMart plastic shower cap during a shower. These also work really well with a pre/post-shower conditioner. I am a 65 YO silver now at 16 mo. growing out. I use Main ‘N Tail in the shower and Fructis Marvelous as a daily conditioner. My breakage and frizz is greatly reduced, and my comb-over looks much much better after only a couple of months. Hair is soft and very manageable. Very nice.

    For the awkward stage guys, GET A HAIRCUT! But only by a real professional stylist, not a Barber. Any hair on your neck that will grow into your tail in the next couple months should be kept, but it pays to clean up your neck. Everyone will notice ! I use a very little dot of styling gel to pull those loose strands up into (almost) my tail. Works like a charm and have had many compliments on my “cleaning up”. Can also use the gel to settle any side locks still a little too short.

    PS. Money short? You can use Olive Oil on your hair without any worry about odor, just don’t use too much. AND, if you have extra WalMart shower caps, put your sandy beach sandals or shoes in them to keep from spreading the sand in your closet or luggage.

    1. Thank you Mr. Dad from Kansas! Appreciate the solid tips—especially the shower cap trick.


  4. I’ve been planning on giving my hair the chop this week, with one of my main issues being upkeep, as well as the awkward stage, but I’m once again on the fence about this after stumbling onto this!
    Any advice on what I should do?
    (I’m walking in totally blind to growing it out, after previously shaving it down completely for years)

    1. Yo dude, you’re not far away! If you haven’t read it already, I hope this post provides you with everything you need to power through the awkward stage with courage and commitment.

  5. Awesome post yo the frizz is the enemy! I have the same hair type and leave-in conditioners work great on the curly locks. Paul Mitchels “The Conditioner” is my go to and it smells manly as ever ??

  6. I was about ask about curly hair, and voila, I see this in my mailbox. Awesome. Thanks for this info. I recently started using argan oil like you mention and it makes a world of difference.

    I’m also interested in hearing experiences/suggestions about when to comb/brush, and how to sleep with your hair. I’ve seen youtube clips where they suggest you wrap your hair when going to bed (usually in silk/satin) to help with reducing frizz etc. Thoughts?

    1. Yo Daniel! Glad the argan oil is working for you, and we have more tips for curly hair coming down the pipeline.

      Check these out for combing and brushing, why you shouldn’t brush wet, and how to sleep with long hair without suffocating.

      A word of caution, the brushing tips are more for straight hair. Again, more on curly hair coming soon, but most reports indicate they don’t brush at all, only maybe finger combing while in the shower with conditioner in your hair.

      Stay tuned amigo, pow!

      1. caution, el Rubio !!!
        you relate that many curlylonghairs use only fingers to comb their hair; i’nt agree with that practice, for curly hair make much knots, and a good daily detangling is absolutely necessary, or they will turn hairy rastafarians….
        i’ve meet that problem on curly ladies, and the detangle was very difficult, with some breakage

        1. We can always count on your for good advice Chamane! Thanks for writing in as always. Merci ami!

        2. Hi Chamane,

          The hair at the back of my head gets quite tangled and knotted if I don’t do some form of regular detangling. Right now I try to run my fingers through it often during the day, but that breaks the curls and cause quite a lot of volume which leads to more knots and frizz 🙁 So, I am thinking now that I should just daily detangle it and leave it. What I’m not sure about is _when_ to detangle and _how_. Should I do it before I wash on dry hair or on wet hair with conditioner? I have a thick tooth comb that I use as well. I used to brush my hair too (to spread the oils etc) but I don’t do that anymore.

          1. excuse for i’ve not seen your comment before
            i’ should use leave in conditioner detangler ( with a cationic tensive name XXXium) on a brush to daily detangling then let quiet the hair for the day
            avoid the too greasy shampoos and conditioners
            you can also wash with a low shampoo ; a good formulation is the Yves Rocher low poo with lauryl glucoside ( non ionic mild tensive) and two quats ( cationic, detangler, antistatic)
            caution: if your hair tend to be greasy, don’t use for the produce contains fatty alcohols
            it’s better to détangle on wet hair after used a detangler conditioner ( in the States, much conditioners are no detanglers…)

    2. Hey Daniel,

      I actually use a satin cap myself. My hair is about shoulder length and it’s really thick and coarse, so it’s definitely not as long as El Rubio’s or the same hair type, but it works really well for me. It’s basically like wear a silk-lined swimming cap to bed, but it’s nice and loose and really comfortable. Like El Rubio said, utility over form!

      1. Hi Aaron

        Do you perhaps have a link to the kind you use? I can’t seem to find any, and I am a bit embarrassed to ask in some of the salons. I tried sleeping with the t-shirt wrap and that seems to help in reducing knots etc, but I know that silk is much better so I am really keen on trying that out. My hair is just over should length. Do you tie your hair in a sort of bun or pony tail before you put the cap on?

        1. Daniel, My hair is thin & fine with an approximate bustline length. Following the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” idea, I just Tie a cloth around my neck by its diagonal corners. A handkerchief works fine for me. Its a lose hold on the hair which generally requires only some finger combing of the ends in the A.M. It’s not perfect, but it is cheap, simple, fast & reasonably effective.

  7. I don’t see the shame in a curly mane. Then again, where I live is practically 0% humidity year-round.

  8. most of the frizz come from static electricity, against it, use a leave-in conditioner with cationic surfactants ( usually, the name finish ” ium”)
    one of my female testers with very curly hair had a good result with that home made conditioner
    vegetable butter 25g, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine 5g, vinegar 8%vol 10 ml, geogard 221 20 drops
    put a little in the wet hands, then the hands on the hair; a few minutes, then rinse
    much french hair blogger does control the curly hair with spray water 70%, aloe vera gel 15%, water from rice cooking 15% and preservative

    as i live in France, it’s easier to make home made cosmetics; we have the greatest purchaser on the world..

  9. Thanks for the info! I have the same hair type–it’s definitely a struggle, lol.

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