We often use the term Dry Frizzy hair whenever the hair seems to have pesky flyaways or when it doesn’t retain its shape. The reason is simple. Symptoms from dry hair overlap those of frizzy hair. It is sometimes hard to distinguish one from the other.
Let’s discuss those terms to understand what they really imply.
Dry hair explained
Dry hair occurs when the hair fiber cannot retain its moisture and is left with a less than optimum moisture level. But it is also a personal perception because the hair feels poorly lubricated from lack of lipids on the surface. When hair is dry, problems such as static electricity emerge causing what we observe as flyaways. Luckily, conditioning can counteract this effect. [Read more about Statics in hair here.]
Some hair types such as curly hair are more prone to dryness due to the poor distribution of sebum (from the scalp) on the twists and turns of the curls. The curls are not ideal for hair to wick sebum efficiently from the scalp. Sebum acts as a hydrophobic barrier to seal moisture in the hair but it also imparts the feel of lubrication. With less lipids present, the moisture can leave the hair more rapidly and hair feels dry. The natural porosity of the fiber and lipid content of hair are also factors governed by our genetic makeup. Damage inflicted to hair through an abuse of heat styling, or chemical treatments will also deprive the hair of its protective layer making hair unable to retain enough moisture.
Frizzy hair explained
In brief, frizzy hair has to do with how well the hair attracts water molecules from the atmosphere and how the hair reponds. Some hair types are more hydrophilic than others (even if they are virgin). This has to do with the individual’s genetic makeup. The hydrophilicity is governed by the type of proteins present. [Read more about Frizz here.]
Damaging the hair is another way to increase the hydrophilicity of hair. The more the damage the more cysteic acid is produced which makes the hair more negatively charged. For that reason, moisture in the air gets attracted to damaged hair more quickly. The hair fibers swell even more.
Moisture disrupts freshly styled hair, making it lose its definition and shape. Frizzy hair also looks dull and takes on more volume.
Dry Frizzy hair
Dry frizzy hair is very likely to happen for damaged hair. Damage can create frizz as discussed above from increased hydrophilicity of hair and will also cause hair dryness because of the lack of lipids.
In the case of mildly damaged/virgin hair, frizzy hair and dry hair can be 2 separate issues. Undamaged hair can face frizz issues without having dryness issues due to the hair structural makeup. Interestingly products that treat dry hair will usually help alleviate frizz as well because of the thick layers of oils, creams or butters. But the reverse might not be true. Products designed for frizz only might not provide enough conditioning for dry hair.