What Causes Flyaway Hair?

Don’t you just hate it when you spend an hour styling your hair but then you see rogue hair strands? 

A lot of times, you just go with it. It even adds three-dimensionality to hair, so it does not look too stiff.

Admit it or not, your appearance often dictates the degree of attention and, to an extent, respect you get. A well-kept hair makes a difference in formal settings like work and social events.

Pretty much a bummer to us who don’t have hours of preparation in our morning routine.

I mean, you probably have stood there waiting for a taxi or walked to your workplace, and suddenly, you notice your hair’s flyaways show up before you can even clock in for work. 

Great, another morning of looking haggard. 

So what causes these flyaways?

You may be wondering if your hair texture is the reason behind this. Or maybe the weather was at fault. 

But before you play the blaming game, let’s dive deep first into the science of why your hair isn’t as smoothed out as you would like them to be.


What Is The Scientific Reason For Flyaway Hair?

New hair growth, damage, humidity, and static cause or increase susceptibility to flyaways.

Do flyaways mean your hair is unhealthy?

Good news! It doesn’t. Not all the time. 

It may be a good sign of new hair growth. These baby hairs taper at the end and have the same length. 

Chemical damage, on the other hand, weakens the hair strands and causes dryness and split ends. Both of which can cause flyaways.

If you notice coarseness at the edge, irregular texture, and varying lengths due to breakage, your strands may be unhealthy and in need of moisturizing. 

Other more complex reasons for flyaways include static and humidity. 

Static Effect

On an atomic level, our hair is composed of electrons and protons in equal numbers, making it neutral. When you comb your hair, the electrons at the surface travel to the comb, making the comb negatively charged while some hair strands become positively charged.

Since objects with similar charges repel each other, hair strands tend to literally fly away from the other positively charged hair strands.

Hair towels, pillowcases, and hair accessories cause static as well. The friction against your hair increases static as you rub your hair against a relatively rough texture like terrycloth in regular towels. 

Humidity

Humidity is the amount of moisture present in the air. Both the lack of it and excess of it cause frizz and flyaway hair.

What causes flyaway hair in winter? 

Moisture from the air counteracts static from combing or brushing your hair. This is because water is a relatively good conductor. When the positively charged strands of your hair come in contact with water from the air, the water absorbs the extra charges, which turns your hair back to neutral. 

Winter months have low humidity. Cold air does not hold as much moisture as the warmer air in summer. If you live in a country with a dry climate or have a winter season, it is in your best interest to moisturize your hair well. 


What causes frizzy flyaway hair?

Frizz is caused by a disrupted external layer of the hair. This is different from just a normal flyaway. 

Surface frizz or frizzy flyaways occur when your hair cannot retain moisture due to damage to the outer cuticle layer. 

Humidity and hair porosity are two main factors that contribute to the frizz you may be experiencing.

What causes frizzy flyaway hair?

Hair Porosity

Hair porosity is the measure of how much moisture your hair can absorb and retain. 

Curly hair is generally more porous and can absorb a lot of moisture but cannot retain it for long. Hence, you will often see curly people with frizzy flyaways. 

Chemically treated hair that was damaged due to bleaching and styling frizzes. This is because the outer layer of hair has already been disrupted along the process. The hair becomes porous making it prone to frizz. 

Humidity

Sebum distribution also plays a role in frizzing. 

When oil or sebum, which helps your hair stay moisturized, cannot travel the entire hair length, dryness occurs and causes frizz when subjected to moisture.

Dry hair absorbs a lot of moisture from the air. When water molecules penetrate the hair shaft, they bind with the proteins, which causes an expansion. This swelling disrupts the external layer and creates a more porous hair strand. 

So dry hair and a humid atmosphere in the summer season is a formula you do not want to try unless you are prepping for frizzy flyaways. 


How do I stop flyaway hair?

Ultimately, moisture unlocks the puzzle to the phenomenon that is flyaway hair. 

If you are prone to flyaways, you can try the following to fix and smoothen them.

1. Hair Serum

Apply 1-2 pumps of hair serum to damp hair before blow-drying. This also prevents frizz and static.

2. Hairspray

Get yourself a clean toothbrush and spritz some hairspray onto it. Gently brush your flyaways until they are locked in place.

3. Dryer Sheets

Gently rub a sheet on the flyaways until they become flat as you want them to be. Dryer sheets reduce static in your laundry. And it will do the same for your hair!

4. Haircut

Chemically damaged hair causes flyaways, and it’s often best to cut it off. Unhealthy strands on the hair only contribute to an unkempt look.

How do I stop flyaway hair?

Do flyaways grow out?

Not all flyaways. 

Newly grown baby hairs reach a certain length where they sit with the rest of the hair. However, growth slows down as you age. The hairs on the temples experience shorter hair growth cycles until they no longer grow.

Even damaged flyaways grow out eventually to give you back healthy hair. 

However, flyaways resulting from hair texture will be there no matter how much you grow it out. Fortunately, you can always start with a hair care routine that ensures your hair stays moisturized.


How do you get rid of flyaway hair? 

Moisturizing your hair starts from the shower. Shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks all prevent dryness and are a must. 

Routines that include detangling hair while it is damp must now be consciously followed. Start untangling the knots from the tip to the roots. And while you are at it, try to lay off the heat and over-styling. 

Replace regular towels with microfiber ones that have a smoother texture overall. These ultra-fine fibers lessen friction and static. 

Getting rid of flyaway hair means deeply caring for your hair.

Since flyaways do not mean that your hair is unhealthy, researching your hair type and texture gives you a personalized hair care routine to combat unwanted flyaways. 

Last Updated: November 13, 2021

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