What causes static in hair and how to get rid of it

Nothing is as shocking as waking up to a hair that looks shocked. 

Static hair can become a challenge to tackle, especially during colder months. If you’ve ever wondered what causes static in hair and how to get rid of it, wonder no more! 


Why does my hair suddenly have static?

Why does my hair suddenly have static

Static” sounds like it belongs in Star Wars more than natural hair. Yet, it still frustrates some people, like watching an ad in the middle of a fascinating Youtube video. 

There’s an answer to the constant “Why is my hair static all of a sudden” cries that you yell at the clouds every day. This time, you will need physics to comprehend your dilemma.

If you ever rubbed your feet on a carpet vigorously, you’d see your hair strands standing up

What happened was that the loose electrons found on the strands of your hair transferred to the carpet, leaving your strands to all have positive charges. As a result, they stand on end to get away from repulsion.

Here’s where it gets painful. 

When you touch a conductive material, for example, a metal doorknob, you provide a way for the charge build-up to dissipate. The sudden transfer of electrons from the material to you (or vice versa) creates a shock to your body. Ouch!

It may be confusing since the hair in your head does it too. “Why do I have so much static in my hair?” you ask. You surely aren’t rubbing carpets against it! Where is it coming from?

Everywhere, it seems!

From the water you shower with, the season, humidity levels, and down to the choice of headpiece you have, it will all have a probability of creating static in your hair!

Friction is the main culprit of a static build-up. However, external factors may be simply out of your control, like the weather. Whatever the case may be, there are ways you can save the day and even prevent it from happening again. 

Below are some scenarios that left your hair in an all-too-familiar goosebumps state and quick explanations of what causes static electricity in your hair.

Why is my hair static after washing?

Two possibilities may have contributed to the static charge in your hair after you showered. The first is your choice of shampoo. The second will be the type of hair towel you have. 

The regular shampoo contains anionic surfactants in the form of sulfates

Despite the nasty rumors around them, they have the critical job of eliminating sebum and dirt from your hair. However, they can also impart a negative charge on your hair and cause individual strands to repel each other, giving you flyaways

The second suspect, the towel, creates friction. The regular terry-cloth towel has a rough fabric and may induce static when rubbed against the hair. This usually leads to frizz and flyaways

What causes static in hair in winter?

You already know that static charge comes from electrons collecting at one point and having nowhere to go. 

In the case of a doorknob vs. positively-charged hair strands, the electrons from the metal were free to move towards your hair and dissipate the charge.

Water is a conductor, which means electrons can freely move through it, decreasing the collection of electrons in one place like your body. 

Come wintertime, and it all goes away, of course. Cold air holds less water vapor than hot air, resulting in low humidity. 

If your body picks up electrons as you move, there’s less water vapor where it can transfer. And if your hair is positively-charged, the low humidity will not be enough to counter the charge in your hair. This causes the flyaways often seen during winter. 

What causes static in hair in summer?

Cold weather and static do make sense, right? Less water vapor equals less free travel for electrons. 

So why do you still experience it during summers when humidity is high?

You may not get static build-up often with the increase of water vapor in the atmosphere, but it can still happen. 

For example, heat styling in an already damaged hair leaves it visibly dry and creates a positive charge on your hair. 

The moisture in the environment contains negative charges, which can counteract that charge imbalance. And if there is a significant charge difference and prolonged contact, you’ll undoubtedly feel the static shock. 

So yes, it may happen, albeit not as often as in winter. 

What causes static in hair after coloring?

Coloring your hair doesn't necessarily cause static build-up. 

However, bleaching and dyeing your hair lifts your hair cuticle layer, which dehydrates your hair and strips the natural oils protecting it. 

Dry hair can build up charge easier than moisturized hair since there’s no water to neutralize the charge. 

So if you are into DIYs, check for conditioning or moisturizing agents included in the formulation of your chosen hair dye so you don’t end up with static!

What causes static in hair and clothes?

Clothes may develop a static build-up if you tumble-dried them. 

Tumble drying causes the fabrics to rub against each other and create a charge imbalance on the surface. Rough-type materials like polyester and nylon are more likely to initiate friction and static. 

When this static build-up does not dissipate, it can cause your hair to either cling onto your clothes or repel against them. 

Either way, it is not a great look! 

What causes static in hair brushes?

“Why does my hair get static when I brush it?” Honestly, you are not the first to wonder in curiosity and annoyance. 

The main reason brushing induces static is friction

Yes, again! When you brush your hair, the electrons transfer to and fro the hair and the brush. Your hair becomes negatively charged, and the brush positively charged or vice-versa. 

This creates an attraction between them, resulting in your hair moving towards the brush as it draws close. This effect is more apparent when using brushes with synthetic fiber. 

Brushing is a necessary part of hair grooming. If you want to invest in your hair, start here!

What causes static in fine hair?

Fine hair refers to the thickness of individual strands. 

If you have fine hair, the natural oils from the scalp can coat each strand easier than those with coarse hair. The presence of natural oils prevents static build-up. So why do you still experience it?

One of the most common enemies of fine hair is tangling. 

With knots and tangles, you develop the tendency to brush them often. Also, an overabundance of natural oils looks like oiliness, and you may want to shampoo it more often than necessary. These two habits can cause static build-up. 

Conditioning with a lightweight oil or mousse should be your first step on how to stop static in fine hair. 

Lightweight moisturizers will protect your hair from tangling but not leave your hair lifeless and flat. It's best to go for sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping your natural oils during a shower, 


Does static hair mean unhealthy?

Does static hair mean unhealthy

While it isn’t the standard for assessing hair health, static hair may give you an idea—the tendency to have static hair increases when you have dry and brittle hair. 

The lack of moisture in your strands allows charges to collect without getting neutralized. Dry strands which develop a static charge appear frizzy. 

So, while it may not apply every time, static hair can signal that your hair is on its way to further damage. 


How can I get rid of static in my hair?

If you find yourself struggling with how to remove static from hair, you are in luck! 

Today will be the moment you learn how to cope with static hair. Below are some tips on eliminating the goosebumps plaguing your head. 

  1. Use anti-static sheets— the name already speaks for itself. They are also known as dryer sheets commonly used for laundry. 
  2. Smoothen your strands— whether you are using hair spray, leave-in conditioner, face moisturizer, or lotion, your strands need moisture to neutralize the static build-up. In a bind, moisten your finger with water and rub it against the static strands. 
  3. Ditch your plastic comb— metal and wood are better conductors than synthetic materials. So in case you are on a hunt for brushes and combs, choose these materials instead.

While all of them may offer temporary relief from static hair, the only way to prevent it entirely is to change your hair habits. How should you do it? And can DIY help you eliminate it?


How do I stop my hair from being static?

How do I stop my hair from being static

Prevention will always be better than cure. 

If you want to minimize static hair during your lifetime, treating your hair right and creating the right environment are must-dos. 

Keeping away from drying ingredients, tools, and chemical processes as much as possible will secure your success. 

Without further ado, here are your much-need pointers:

  1. Hair products in the shower— a crucial part of maintaining your natural oils come from choosing shampoos free of harsh ingredients. The formulation is your priority when selecting shampoo and conditioners since they ultimately influence the moisture balance in your hair.
  2. Use of hair tools— Heat damages the cuticle layer, which creates an avalanche of symptoms like dryness and brittleness. When using heat tools, it’s best to protect it from the heat with a hair serum. It would be best to opt for ionic dryers, which neutralize the accumulated positive charges in your strands. 
  3. Choose natural fibers— when using a headpiece, opt for silk, cotton, and wool. This is also true when selecting a hair brush. Boar bristles are better than plastic since they don’t induce static. 
  4. Invest in a humidifier— you cannot control the season, so this is your best bet against static hair during winter.

Do you prefer the au-natural ways? Fret no more! Here are your options on how to get rid of static hair naturally. 

  1. DIY deep conditioner— combine ½ avocado and one jar of mayonnaise in a bowl until you get a smooth consistency. Apply it evenly on your hair, especially the ends. Wrap it with a shower cap and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
  2. DIY clarifying treatment— dry and brittle hair may also be a simple case of product build-up. Try half a cup of baking soda and warm water followed by a vinegar rinse every week. Do not forget to condition since this can be drying to your hair. 

Have you decided yet what changes to incorporate into your routine? Don’t leave your hair static-ky! Try these methods and change your hair game completely!

Last Updated: June 8, 2022

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