5-Step Experiment to Know if You Have Frizzy Hair or Curly Hair

When I began my healthy hair journey to embrace my hair is it is naturally, I went in with the mindset that I had nothing more than puffy, frizzy straight hair. However, what I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that frizz is simply a wave or curl waiting to happen.

If you are still not certain about your hair type, I challenge you to follow these tips and see the potential in your natural pattern. I promise I’ll keep this little experiment as simple as possible, and we can stick with products you likely already own.

Why is My Hair So Frizzy?

There are many factors promoting frizz, but most often, frizz is just a peculiarity of a wavy and curly hair that you need to embrace. Now, did you know an estimated 65% of the population has naturally wavy, curly, kinky or coily hair?

I hear so often from others that they don’t believe they have any natural texture to their hair. In fact, most tell me they simply have frizzy, puffy, or unruly straight hair. Does this sound familiar?

This may be due to the fact that you haven’t learned how to properly style YOUR natural hair type. Or, due to the belief that frizzy hair needs to be pressed using heat styling tools. After all, aren’t all major beauty brands telling us to tame and smooth frizz with serums and other products?

Flowy straight hair has long been seen as the standard of beauty in our society and there is nothing wrong with having beautifully blown-out hair! I, myself, enjoy a good blow out from time to time. However, knowing your natural hair texture is the journey to healthy hair, the hair that you love, not fight with.

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So, if you feel you have frizzy, puffy or unruly straight hair – like I did – keep reading. The very simple experiment I’ll ask you to do may surprise you.

Frizzy Hair Before and After

Instagram / @wavycurly

Hair Type Test

It is often difficult to determine your hair type by simply looking at the hair type chart, as wrong styling will not let you see the true pattern of your waves or curls. Answering the hair type quiz questions is not helpful either, as you base your answers on what you already know about your hair. What I offer instead is challenging your assumptions about your hair type and reveal its true identity.

Please note that this is a simplified experiment for those interested in seeing what their hair might do when styled with common wavy/curly techniques for the first time. This is not meant to cover the intricacies of the Curly Girl Method or any product ingredients that are normally recommended for naturally wavy, curly, kinky or coily hair. This is also not meant for those already familiar with all the details of the curly girl process.

Step 1 – Wash your Hair

Nothing special here, I won’t get into ingredients and products that work best for your hair type, but let start by cleaning your hair.

When conditioning, use your fingers to help keep your hair detangled. Then try squishing your conditioner in an upward motion into your hair. Do so in the way that can encourage a wave or curl to form. Rinse as usual.

Step 2 – Leave-in Conditioner and Stylers

On soaking wet hair, rake in some leave-in conditioner. Avoid applying it to the roots. If you don’t have a leave-in conditioner, then leave in a tiny bit of your regular conditioner (again, we’re keeping this simple, so use what you have!)

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As for stylers – find any hold styler you have laying around (a Mousse/foam or gel is ideal as it offers a bit of hold). You can rake this product into your hair or use a praying hand method:

  • With the styler on your hands, place your hair between your hands and push your palms together like you would if you were praying.
  • Then smooth your hands down the lengths of your hair to evenly distribute the product. Section your hair however is easiest for you, but make sure to coat your strands with product.

Here are the methods curly girls use to apply the products, praying hands among them:

Step 3 – SCRUNCH!

Using that same upward scrunching motion, collect sections of your hair into your palms and scrunch those strands up. This will help encourage any natural wave/curl to form.

You should hear a squishing noise when pushing your hair up. This means your hair is still wet enough for styling (water is your best friend when styling!)

Step 4 – Drying

You have a few options here: towel drying, air drying or diffusing.

Option 1: Towel drying

Something we like to call “micro-plopping.” For this drying technique, you’ll want to use a microfiber towel or a cotton shirt. Regular towels are too rough and will create additional frizz and tangles.

Use that same upward scrunching motion to continue encouraging the shape and gently squeeze the water from your hair.

Option 2: Air drying

This one is straight forward. Once you’ve scrunched your stylers into your hair, let it dry on its own. I encourage you not to touch your hair very much as it dries. The more you touch it in the drying process, the more it will begin to frizz.

Option 3: Diffusing

This is using that goofy looking bowl attachment many of us get as part of purchasing a hair dryer. On low to medium heat and low speed, collect small sections of your hair into the diffuser from the ends and push it up to the roots. Again, encouraging the natural pattern to keep taking shape.

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Don’t turn the dryer on until you’ve placed your hair into the diffuser and pushed it up into your hair. Then shut it off again before you bring the diffuser back down. If you keep it on the entire time, your hair will blow around and, you guessed it, you’ll create frizz.

If you don’t have a diffuser attachment, try using a strainer in your kitchen. Don’t worry, we’re using lower heat settings, so the material of the strainer should not be getting so hot that it warps or overheats. If you feel it might, the temperature setting you are using is too hot for your hair!

BONUS TIP: flip your hair upside down or side to side to encourage more volume at the root! You can also use more than one of the above techniques in the drying process.

Step 5 – Break the Product Cast and Fluff

Breaking the cast is also known as “Scrunch out the Crunch.” Once your hair is 100% dry, you may have some crunchy hair. Don’t worry, we can break this shell of dry product to reveal a softer version of your natural pattern. Here is how you do it:

  • Scrunch your hair in the same upward motion to help maintain the shape it dried in naturally (seeing a pattern here?!). You’ll do this until you feel all of that product shell has gone away.
  • Use a little hair oil, serum on your hands or a silk/satin scarf when scrunching to reduce frizz.

Here is how my own hair looks before and after breaking the cast:

Curly Hair Before and After Breaking the Cast

Instagram / @wavycurly

If this is your first time trying, your hair may feel product-y. That’s ok. It may mean that you used a little more product than you needed or the product isn’t best for your hair’s needs. Either way, remember that this is just an experiment to see what your natural pattern might look like!

Then, there is my favorite step – fluffing! Take your fingertips and slide them into your roots. Give it a gentle shake to help release any hair that may be sticking to your scalp and preventing some volume. Do this all around your head, as desired.

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Now, what do you see in the mirror? Is your hair frizzy or wavy/curly? If you can spot a curly pattern, start trying new methods and techniques to create a perfect routine for your hair type and wear it as your natural texture. The more you learn and practice, the more you reveal what your hair likes, the better it gets. Remember, taking care of your curly (not frizzy or fluffy!) hair is a journey to healthier hair and doesn’t oblige you to wear it curly all the time.

Straight Hair vs Curly Hair

Instagram / @wavycurly

Ready to dive-in and take them to the next level? Check out my Instagram @vawycurly or my YouTube channel Wavy Curly Ali for in-depth tutorials, product reviews and steps to help you love your hair as it is naturally.

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