12 Reasons Why Your Hair Is Curly When Wet But Frizzy When Dry

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On wash day, you put in some effort to achieve smooth, soft, and defined curls. After getting out of the shower, you dry your hair, hoping to unleash the fruits of your labor, only for the big reveal to be a big disappointment.

Instead of seeing perfect curl clumps, you have frustrating frizz.

Why is hair curly when wet but frizzy when dry? How exactly does this happen?

This article highlights some reasons your hair might be curly when wet but frizzy when dry.


Why Is Hair Curly When Wet But Frizzy When Dry?

1. The Weight of the Water Could Be Ruining Your Waves

Typically, when compared to curly hair, waves are delicate. For this reason, it is easy to disrupt your natural waves before drying up. Sometimes just letting your waves dry in the air could be enough to disrupt them. 

The water weight in your hair can stretch it straight before it is completely dry.

To combat this, it is important to use a diffuser to dry up your hair. Alternatively, you could opt to plop your hair after a shower, as it helps preserve your pattern better.

2. You Might Need a Product With More Hold

If your curls are also falling out besides seeing frizz, you likely need a styling product with a stronger hold. Different hair textures require different amounts of hold. In addition to a firmer hold gel, ensure your hair is well moisturized as some curl definers could dry out your hair, making the frizz more prominent.

3. Breakage Could Be The Reason

If you are into the habit of not cutting off your damaged ends, your hair might begin experiencing breakage. Unfortunately, this is one of the irreversible causes of frizz. The best way to handle this situation is to understand what is behind the breakage. 

For example, it could be the hair color you are using or that heat tool you use often. Once you’ve established this, avoiding such problems will be easier.

If you are into the habit of not cutting off your damaged ends, your hair might begin experiencing breakage. Unfortunately, this is one of the irreversible causes of frizz.

4. You Are Brushing Your Hair After Showering

While detangling curly and wavy hair is a must lest you end up with mats, brushing immediately after stepping out of the shower isn’t recommended. Your hair will clump best when soaking wet, so getting it to clump will be pretty difficult once you get out of the shower. 

By brushing your waves, you remove the definition you had tirelessly worked for while in the shower.

So, how do you keep your curl definition?

You could either detangle or brush your hair as you shower when you have conditioner in your hair. 

Because you do not want to break or stretch your hair, hair experts recommend finger combing or using a gentle brush that won’t pull tangles or snag.

Gentle bristles will bend, allowing you to get the tangles out in a few brushes.

5. You Are Not Moisturizing Your Hair Enough

Frizzy hair is dry hair, so if you are experiencing frizz, your hair is likely deprived of moisture. To moisturize your hair, you can start by applying a deep conditioning hair mask packed with moisture at least once weekly.

Alternatively, you can try a lasting leave-in conditioner that will lock in moisture and give your hair a vibrant hue (note: don’t use a regular conditioner for this!)

6. How’s Your Towel Dry Technique?

Some people can use regular terry cloth towels and experience no problems whatsoever. However, the cloth is known to drain the hair of moisture for naturally curly and wavy hair. The abrasive loops cause deformation of curl clumps and ultimately frizz, particularly when you don’t have a good towel-dry technique

The good news is that this, too, is fixable. Considering their reduced abrasiveness, you could try drying your wet hair with a t-shirt or microfibre towel. Besides, they won’t draw as much moisture from your hair.

7. Your Diffuser Is Using Too Much Heat

If you use a diffuser, always remember to go slow and low. Using high heat settings or blow settings could cause significant frizz. At the same time, this may take longer.

Always set your diffuser to cool instead of warm or hot. It helps to let your hair dry up partially before using the diffuser.

Always set your diffuser to cool instead of warm or hot. It helps to let your hair dry up partially before using the diffuser.

8. You Are Removing Clips Roughly

You can use clips to create lift at the roots to achieve volume on curly and wavy hair. However, if you go this way, you must remember to be extra careful when removing the clips.

While it may seem easy, sometimes the clips at the back are hard to see, and if they get stuck, you might ruffle up your hair and cause frizz. 

Find a mirror and pull it out gently if you experience difficulty getting out a clip. Besides causing frizz, roughly taking out a clip could lead to snags and breakage.

9. You Are Touching Your Hair Before It Dries Completely

Another reason your hair is frizzy when dry is that you might be touching it before it dries completely. Natural hair is beautiful, and wanting to touch it is understandable, but normalize keeping your hands off it until you’re confident it is dry

. After that, you can start tousling your waves before scrunching out the crunch.

10. You Are Using Too Heavy Products

Most people with wavy hair have a hair pattern that can be easily weighed down. If the products you use have heavy butter or oils, this could be weighing your pattern down.

11. Disrupted Cuticle Layer

It is possible that your hair cuticle layer isn’t lying flat. Because of this, humid air can easily penetrate your hair, causing it to swell up and roughen up. 

12. Excessive Moisture

Most people may not be aware of this, but too much protein and moisture could also be the causes of frizzy hair. Protein overload can lead to dry, brittle, and damaged hair that is frizzy and breaks easily.


Everyone loves their hair looking beautiful and with some sheen on it. For those with wavy and curly hair, it is essential to take extra care of your hair if you want the waves to remain in place.

Several factors could be behind your frizzy hair, as shown above. 

However, the good news is that there are solutions to this problem. Ensure you regularly trim your edges, moisturize and be gentle on your hair. If you are in a dilemma about the condition of your hair, the above tips should shine some light.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).