No disrespect to Mr. Porcupine, but we’d prefer our hair not stand up on top of our heads. If you, like us, find that every sweater or shirt turns your strands into instant dandelion fluff, we’ve got some solutions for smoothing things over—stat.
What Causes Static Hair?
To know how to tackle static, we must first know what causes it. Please bear with us for a moment as we attempt to explain the (very) basic science of static: Static happens when two objects with the same charge—in this case, your sweater and your strands—come into contact and repel each other. As our pals at the Library of Congress further explain, “Your hairs are simply trying to get as far away from each other as possible!” Think back to grade school science. Remember when you tried to press two negative or positives magnets toward each other? They repel each other! That’s what’s happening with your hair.
Dryness exacerbates static, so if you don’t have enough moisture in your hair or there’s not enough moisture in the environment (aka all of winter), you’re more prone to getting that dreaded halo of fuzz around your head.
What Can I Do to Prevent Static Hair?
1. Condition your hair thoroughly with every wash
Again, dry hair is more susceptible to static charge so adding more moisture will help neutralize said charge.
2. Dry your hair the right way
Use a microfiber towel (which will soak up excess water from your strands without roughing up the surface of your cuticles) and using an ionic blow-dryer (to help neutralize any positive charges in your hair).
3. Sleep with a humidifier
Not to hit you over the head with it, but more moisture equals less static. Unless you live in a year-round tropical climate, it may be time to give this device a go.
What Should I Avoid That Can Cause Static Hair?
1. A plastic brush or comb
An unsuspecting, but common culprit. Plastic is non-conductive and will make your hair even more likely to stand up on top of your head. Instead use a brush with metal bristles or a wide-tooth wooden comb.
2. Products that have drying ingredients
It’s best to skip anything that has ingredients with certain types of short-chain alcohols like ethanol, SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, propyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, which are often found in hairsprays and gels and can rough up the cuticle.
3. Clothes made from synthetic materials
For your clothes and accessories that touch your hair (i.e., hats and scarves), be wary of synthetic materials like wool, rayon or polyester; you’re better off with a breezy cotton—which is better for this time of year anyway. (Tip: For extra protection against static, rub a dryer sheet over any clothing that tends to get too clingy.)
What Are Some Products to Combat Static Hair?
The simplest and quickest solution is water. Yup, just wet your hands in a sink, shake off the excess droplets and smooth down your hair using your palms. And though this is certainly the easiest option, the only downside of using plain agua is that it’s a temporary fix.
For a longer lasting remedy, we’d recommend incorporating any of the following styling products into your routine:
1. A leave-in conditioner
Spritz it all over damp strands to protect against heat and add more moisture throughout. (We’re currently loving Innersense Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditionerbecause it doesn’t weigh our hair down or feel greasy and it smells fragrantly floral.)
2. A flexible hold spray
As a finishing step, spray it directly onto your (non-plastic) comb before running it through your hair to tame any stubborn fuzzies. Herbal Essences Bio-Renew Hairsprayincludes hydrating ingredients like aloe and bamboo to add a touch of moisture and shine, while combatting those pesky flyaways.
3. A moisturizing cream or pomade
Stylist Erickson Arrunategui(who is responsible for some of the sleekest strands in the fashion industry) swears by Bumble and Bumble’s Grooming Créme because it “tamps down any flyaway pieces and gives control to the hair without being too heavy or stiff.”
OK, But Does the Dryer Sheet Trick Really Work?
In short, yes, but dryer sheets are probably best saved for when you’re in a pinch rather than relying on them as a permanent solution.
Instead, we’d recommend using any of the products above—or swapping in a strand-friendly sheet for when you’re traveling or on-the-go. Nunzio Saviano’s Anti-Frizz Sheets get the job done and won’t leave a sticky film of detergents behind. (Just a subtle hint of coconut oil.)