by Victoria Wurdinger on Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Unlike the secretive rule behind the book and movie “Fight Club,” frizz fight is all the talk of salons. With summer humidity around the corner, conversations are heating up. But as clients get more educated about their curl, an emerging mini-trend is to go natural in summer and choose frizz-fighting treatments in winter, when blow drying is required if you don’t want to leave the house with wet hair.
“The key to going natural in summer is to keep the hair well moisturized on the inside; the weather keeps the outside moisturized,” says Irvine Russo, owner of Eclips in Mclean, VA .
For those who want to fight the frizz anytime, in-salon services are plentiful. The newest options stop short of the traditional approach—reduce frizz by killing curl—used by Japanese TR, which takes up to 8 hours, and “Brazilian” keratin services, which have suffered from lack of transparency about their use of various aldehydes. The holy grail is a long-lasting frizz controller that works in increments, uses no aldehydes and doesn’t break bonds—and it looks like it’s arrived.
In-Salon Treatment Options
Some frizz reducers rely on ammonium thioglycolate sans the expected perm rods. For instance, Rusk Anti Curl AntiFrizz, is a frizz remover and anti-humectant that does not remove natural curl. It takes 30 minutes in the salon. Create Ion’s demi-permanent, thio-based re-texturizing treatment, Texture Management, allows stylists to reduce texture by degree, smooth hair and fight frizz. It is intended to “maintain the positives of Japanese TR, while removing the negatives” (costly, time-consuming, hard to retouch). After about 6 weeks, it fades away. These services cannot be used on hair that’s been exposed to sodium hydroxide.
“Brazilian” treatments break no bonds and actually make trashed hair look better. In a twist on these, Rejuvenol Brazilian Keratin Treatment with Collagen uses Vanilin, and the company’s Pure Collagen is a unique protein-delivery, take-home treatment that helps smooth curly hair and fight frizz, while restoring condition. Watch for more of these, but be sure you ask what’s in them.
A number of newer treatments like BioIonic KeraSmooth Demi-Permanent Anti-Frizz use a mild perm solution, which is increasingly likely to be cysteamine—the main active in thio-free permanent waves, which cleaves inter-protein bonds. For those familiar with the perms, cysteamine usually must be rinsed for more than 5 minutes to avoid an unpleasant smell, and the hair cannot be shampooed for 48 hours. The newest cysteamine treatments can be used incrementally for anything from frizz reduction to total smoothing.
For instance, Russo uses Smooth and Healthy Protein Treatment from Surface. He says the hair must be “competent,” meaning it must have healthy, structural protein for the product to soften, and he likens the process to loosening or relaxing the spring in curl, then reinforcing the protein structure with more proteins. Basically, a protein cream is misted on before a smoothing cream is applied off-the-scalp in sections. Then the hair is smoothed, processed and rinsed before it is re-misted with protein cream and oxidized with a hydrogen peroxide locking lotion. By changing variables such as timing and potential blow drying or flat ironing, Smooth and Healthy allows customized options, from frizz reduction to smoothing.
According to the company, an amino acid complex softens the hair’s structural, protein and Amaranth protein binds to hair during the smoothing process. The smoothing cream contains ammonium hydroxide and cysteamine HCL. However, Surface’s president Wayne Grund says the protein cream provides a low pH with a heavy base, so that when the smoothing cream is applied over it, the cysteamine softens the structural protein, including the disulfide bond, without breaking it.
Caribbean Dream Relaxer (CDR) also uses cysteamine and is a “four in one” system that allows you to reduce frizz, tame hair, create softer wave or straighten, according to retexutrizing experts Homer and Dani Prefontaine, owners of Salon Prefontaine in Carsbad, CA.
“The differences are in how the product is applied; for the frizz killer, you mix all four ingredients together at once,” says Dani. “The treatment can take less than an hour and bring in $150 to $180. Also, I can use CDR on hair that has been exposed to a sodium relaxer or a thio-based product.”
Adds Homer, “About 75% of our curly haired clients choose a CDR service for one of the four ways it can retexturize hair, and many of them are men.”
Just as Brazilian keratin treatments require sulfate-free shampoos, many of the frizz fighters require their own ancillary maintenance products. Darlene Lodge, owner of Galleria in Waldorf, MD, who replaced her Brazilian system with Smooth & Healthy, says home use of the protein creme is a must. For clients who prefer it totally natural, diffuse drying goes a long way to eliminating frizz.
“It makes any wave pattern more consistent; the hair dries frizz-free because there is no finger-manipulation,” says Lodge. “Once the hair is dry, you can go back in and break it up.”
Any salon can offer anti-frizz systems, like bain de terre’s All About Curls Camelina Collection, which includes a shampoo, conditioner and defining crème, and reduces frizz by 50% while moisturizing natural-looking curls. Additional frizz-fighting tips:
- • You can only air dry if you start with the right shampoo and conditioner for the hair type.
- • Avoid towel-drying, which mats hair; squeeze out moisture instead. Or, use a T-shirt which doesn’t have the hair-grabbing nubs of a towel.
- • The shorter the hair, the more likely it is to frizz. Longer hair is heavier, which can help pull out the frizz.
- • Frizzy hair should rarely be cut with a razor; keep ends blunt so they stick together. If a razor is even slightly dull, it will make hair frizz more.
- • Frizz can be a problem for any hair type, but naturally dry hair that lacks moisture tends to frizz the most. Because the cuticle is open, the moisture escapes.
- • Don’t style naturally textured hair with a brush, unless you want to pull it straight. In that case, use a paddle brush. The more you brush through the hair as you dry it, the more it will separate and the frizzier it will get. Instead, use a wide-toothed comb, smooth in the product with your hands and style with your fingers.
- • Once you’ve shaped curly or wavy hair, don’t touch it again. After it’s dry, you can work through pomade for shine or molding products to subdue texture or break it up.
Notes Russo, “There are two types of frizz. Once is from damaged ends, and those can be cut off. The other is ‘style frizz’ from overworking a style or too-dry hair. The more moisture you add, the heavier the hair is and the less big it will get. Get moisture into the cortex, and you’ll avoid frizz for good.”