How To Style Puffy Hair: A User’s Guide

Lauren Caruso
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How to style puffy hair
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Photo: Imaxtree

We all want shiny, voluminous hair that’s full of body—but anyone whose hair has ever mushroomed out into shrub territory knows there’s a huge difference between volume and frizz. Before you rush to grab all the hair oil in the world in an attempt to keep it in check, first you have to figure out why your hair’s so damn puffy.

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“Humidity is a huge factor for frizz,” says hairstylist and co-founder of IGK Haircare, Leo Izquierdo. “The type of hair you have can also make you more prone to frizz.” Izquierdo cites curly or thick hair as the most likely to puff up, and mentions that humidity isn’t exclusive to summertime—dry, frizz-prone hair is more porous, so it sucks up the moisture in the air causing the shaft to swell; it’s liable to go haywire any time it’s damp out.

But humidity isn’t the only culprit: Breakage can also cause frizz thanks to a damaged cuticle, which lies flat in healthy hair. There’s good news, though: You don’t have to spend your entire paycheck on a Keratin treatment for sleek hair. Click through below to find out how to style puffy, frizzy hair.

MORE: How to Wash Your Hair—The Right Way

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Start In the Shower
Start In the Shower

You can start managing frizz while still in the shower by using the correct shampoo and conditioner for frizzy hair types, says Izquierdo. Look for one that’s for frizzy or “unmanageable” hair, which is basically just PR-speak for frizz. If your hair is curly, he recommends IGK’s Smoke & Mirrors, a conditioning cleansing oil that’ll get rid of product buildup. If you’ve got straight or limp strands, try a hydrating shampoo.

Photo: ImaxTree
IGK Smoke & Mirrors Cleansing Oil
IGK Smoke & Mirrors Cleansing Oil

IGK Smoke & Mirrors Cleansing Oil, $29; at Sephora

Photo: IGK
Alterna Caviar Moisture Shampoo
Alterna Caviar Moisture Shampoo

Alterna Caviar Moisture Shampoo, $34; at Saks Fifth Avenue

Photo: Alterna
Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti-Frizz Shampoo
Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti-Frizz Shampoo

Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti-Frizz Shampoo, $3.99; at Target

Photo: Dove
Use a Leave-In
Use a Leave-In

Once you’re out of the shower, skip the rough-dry which can damage your cuticle even further. Instead, invest in a microfiber towel (or grab a cotton T-shirt) to blot hair dry. Then, prime hair with a leave-in conditioner to help plump up the hair shaft the right way.

Photo: ImaxTree
IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm
IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm

IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm, $27; at Sephora

Photo: IGK
Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream
Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream

Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream, $3.42; at Target

Photo: Garnier
Evolvh Ultimate Styling Lotion
Evolvh Ultimate Styling Lotion

Evolvh Ultimate Styling Lotion, $28; at Credo Beauty

Photo: Evolvh
And a Heat-Protectant
And a Heat-Protectant

If you heat-style your hair often, add in a heat-protectant spray. Spritz it liberally from root to tip before blow-drying. Grenia also recommends you invest in an anti-static brush, like this one from ConAir.

Photo: ImaxTree
Ghd Heat Protect Spray
Ghd Heat Protect Spray

Ghd Heat Protect Spray, $22; at Nordstrom

Photo: Ghd
Eva NYC Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer
Eva NYC Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer

Eva NYC Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer, $11.99; at Ulta

Photo: Eva NYC
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer

Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer, $28; at Sephora

Photo: Bumble and Bumble
Seal the Ends
Seal the Ends

Finish with an oil or cream on the ends to prevent the dreaded mushroom-hair.

Photo: ImaxTree
Ouai Finishing Cream
Ouai Finishing Cream

Ouai Finishing Cream, $24; at Sephora

Photo: Ouai
Matrix Biolage Smoothproof Serum
Matrix Biolage Smoothproof Serum

Matrix Biolage Smoothproof Serum, $17; at Ulta

Photo: Matrix
Sachajuan Intensive Hair Oil
Sachajuan Intensive Hair Oil

Sachajuan Intensive Hair Oil, $50; at Net-A-Porter

Photo: Sachajuan
Mask It Up
Mask It Up

And lastly, invest in a hair mask a few times per week. And for the truly lazy, leave yours in the shower so you have no excuse to skip it. Just make sure you let it marinate for at least 10-15 minutes.

Photo: ImaxTree
Pacifica Coconut Damage Mask
Pacifica Coconut Damage Mask

Pacifica Coconut Damage Mask, $16; at Ulta

Photo: Pacifica
Rajua Omega 9 Hair Mask
Rajua Omega 9 Hair Mask

Rajua Omega 9 Hair Mask, $58; at Le Vert Beauty

Photo: Rajua
Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask, $36; at Sephora

Photo: Briogeo

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  • Start In the Shower
  • IGK Smoke & Mirrors Cleansing Oil
  • Alterna Caviar Moisture Shampoo
  • Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti-Frizz Shampoo
  • Use a Leave-In
  • IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm
  • Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream
  • Evolvh Ultimate Styling Lotion
  • And a Heat-Protectant
  • Ghd Heat Protect Spray
  • Eva NYC Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer
  • Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer
  • Seal the Ends
  • Ouai Finishing Cream
  • Matrix Biolage Smoothproof Serum
  • Sachajuan Intensive Hair Oil
  • Mask It Up
  • Pacifica Coconut Damage Mask
  • Rajua Omega 9 Hair Mask
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

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