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Here’s How to Make Your Hair Less Static and Prevent It for Good

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Photo by Mango Productions/Getty Images

When it comes to your hair, there's one thing that can jeopardize the smooth look and soft feeling of your silky strands, often in the blink of an eye: static. Unlike frizz, static is a seemingly inescapable, hair-raising, audibly crackling mess that usually comes without warning or detectable reasoning at all. Since we refuse to let staticy hair be another annoying thing we're forced to live with (we’re looking at you spam mail and split ends!), we're getting to the root of hair static and how to bid farewell to it forever.


About the Expert:
Jennifer Korab is a professional hairstylist and founder of Renaissance Salon & Spa in Hillsborough, NJ.

But First, What Causes Staticy Hair in the First Place?

You might've been in school or at a birthday party when you learned to rub a balloon on your hair and make your strands stick straight up. It was more than just amusing; it was also a real-life science experiment that demonstrated the effect of static on hair. "Static hair occurs when your hair builds up an electric charge," says hairstylist Jennifer Korab. "Your hair gains extra electrons thanks to friction or change of humidity. This makes the strands of your hair repel each other, leaving your hair frizzy and difficult to style."

We know you're not rolling around in a pit of balloons, so what causes those electrically charged strands in the first place? Putting on and taking off hats, beanies, and scarves in the winter causes friction. Locations with low humidity levels can leave strands dehydrated and exacerbate the problem. Heat styling too often can also be another culprit. But since some things are just out of your control, we're rounding up the best ways to prevent static and how to get rid of it when it sneaks up on you.

How to Stop Static in Hair

1. Use the Right Brush

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When static has your hair raising, you may be tempted to run a comb through it—just be sure to use the right one. Plastic combs and nylon bristles can make the problem worse. Instead, look for boar-bristle brushes and wooden combs to detangle and settle static. We’re loving COMPLEX CULTURE Vegan Boar Bristle Oval Paddle Brush for the benefits of boar bristle but in a cruelty-free way.

2. Try Anti-Frizz Sheets

A photo of a woman showing her defined curly hair on a beach background
Photo by Iprogressman/Getty Images

When your strands are sticking straight up, "try gently rubbing a dryer sheet on your hair," says Korab. While this has been our go-to since high school, there are similar products that give you the same result without making your hair smell like laundry (unless that fresh-air scent is what you’re after). Anti-frizz sheets are perfect for banishing all traces of static, and the best part is they're infused with hair-loving ingredients to add shine.

3. Say "No" to Drying Products

A photo of various products for grooming the beard laid on a pink background
Photo by Dani Serrano/Getty Images

When it comes to settling frizz, Korab recommends staying away from products that will dry your hair out. If you turn to styling products to tame static, be aware that some gels, styling foams, hairsprays, and dry shampoos can be loaded with alcohol that dries your strands. Dry hair is especially vulnerable to static, so drying it out more is never the answer.

An image of a woman with her hair flown by air
Photo by Ridofranz/Getty Images

How to Prevent Static in Hair?

• Keep Your Strands Moisturized

You already know dried-out strands are susceptible to static, so Korab recommends "keeping your hair hydrated by using a moisturizing shampoo, conditioner, and a leave-in product." By using high-quality, hydrating hair-care products, your scalp keeps its natural balance of moisture and oils, and your hair shaft stays flexible and nourished. Moisturize before styling and you won't have to worry about static ruining your 'do.

• Step Away From Your Towel

It's convenient to wrap your hair in the same towel you dried off with post-shower, but if this is part of your hair-care routine, you've probably noticed you're especially prone to static. Rubbing your strands between two pieces of terrycloth can exacerbate frizz and static and damage your fragile wet hair. Instead, Korab urges you to swap your traditional towel for an antistatic microfiber version. In a pinch, you can also use a cotton T-shirt to absorb excess water.

• Use an Ion Blow Dryer

One of Korab's favorite ways to stop frizz before it begins is to swap your traditional blow dryer for an ionic one. More than just a cool name, ionic dryers neutralize any positive charge in your hair, minimizing static electricity. They also break down water molecules rather than evaporate them, leaving your hair dry but not dehydrated. And what's more, they also reduce drying time and prevent frizz. 

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About the author
Stephanie Montes
Stephanie Montes
Stephanie is a freelance contributor covering all things beauty. She writes about her adventures testing the latest trends in skincare, hair, and makeup. Stephanie's bylines have also appeared on Who What Wear, Elle, Byrdie, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated July 21, 2022 12:00 AM