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What is Fly-Away Hair?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 21, 2024
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Fly-away hair is hair that is dry, frizzy, and full of static cling. It often sticks straight out from the sides of the head, and is a common occurrence in the winter when the air is especially dry. Luckily, there are many ways to manage the problem and prevent it from ruining a good hair day.

Preventing fly-away hair begins in the shower. A person with dry hair should choose a shampoo and conditioner that are moisturizing and designed to prevent frizzy hair. If possible, he or she should shampoo every few days or every other day to prevent stripping the hair of its natural oils. These natural oils are what keep the cuticle on the hair flat, preventing frizz and fly-aways. Conditioner should be used every day, and once a week, a deep conditioning treatment such as a hot oil treatment should be used. Right before exiting the shower, the hair should be rinsed quickly with cool water to smooth the cuticles.

Fly-aways are made worse when hair is broken or damaged. After the shower, the person should apply a leave-in conditioner or frizz-fighting serum, and gently comb wet hair with a wide-tooth comb. Hair should only be brushed when it is dry, and then with a soft-bristled brush, never one with plastic bristles, which can pull and break the hair.

It is best to allow hair to air dry, but if it must be dried with a hair dryer, the lowest heat setting should be used, and the dryer should be aimed down the hair shaft. Once hair has been dried, blasting it quickly with cold air can help set the style and prevent fly-aways. If it is necessary to wear a hat, one made of cotton rather than wool will be less likely to conduct electricity and cause static cling.

Even after all of this preparation, it is still possible to get fly-away hair in the winter. If that occurs, there are some quick fixes to try during the day. An unscented dryer sheet rubbed on the hair can calm hair quickly and can decrease static cling when rubbed on a shirt or jacket. A small amount of face lotion or hand cream can be rubbed on the hands and then through the hair to calm frizz; the roots should be avoided when doing this, because they could easily become greasy. An ice cube rubbed on the hair or even a slight misting of the hair from a spray bottle can also add a bit of moisture.

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Discussion Comments
By bunni — On Aug 22, 2012

I live in an environment that has 60-100 percent humidity during the summer. Shea butter works for me. I have very dense hair (lots of strands) but the strands are fine so the least bit of touching my hair will cause it to get more frizzy. When I wear my hair in a ponytail, the thickness of my hair makes my head look bigger! Weighing my hair down cures the fly-aways and makes it look less dense.

Weighing the hair down is not bad for frizz-prone hair because it needs extra moisture from products. However, weighing hair down only makes oily hair look worse because oily hair does not need extra moisture from products.

I rub shea butter in my hands and apply it to my hair in sections from root to ends (if you do not want it to be greasy, only apply the shea butter on roots or fly-away prone areas).

It works wonders for me. The effect only lasts on my hair for maybe two days but I do not tie up my hair before bed and my hair is not straightened. So for those who sleep in a satin scarf/sleep in a satin bonnet/sleep on a satin pillowcase and/or for those who straighten/perm their hair, one application may last longer.

I have not tried it yet but I have been told that whipping the shea butter with a very small amount of an oil such as olive oil will stretch the butter. If desired, after you apply the shea butter to your hair, you could blast your hair with a blow dryer (always point the blow dryer down when drying hair if you want your hair to hang that way. Holding the blow dryer parallel to the floor while drying will make your hair "poofy.") or cover your hair in a showercap for 15 minutes to deep condition.

By anon134462 — On Dec 14, 2010

Before I went through menopause my hair was fairly manageable, though dry, not requiring daily shampooing (usually once/week was enough). After menopause my long hair (about shoulder length) became very fly-away and frizzy. I haven't been bothered with any thinning hair - as a matter of fact it is quite thick and manageable on top of my head. it is the sides - just above my ears, all the way to the ends that is so flyaway.

I usually wear my hair up in a "scrunchie" and the hair around the back of my neck. Up towards the scrunchie usually just sticks out in every direction. My husband is ashamed to be seen with me. I don't know what to do with it. I don't have the money to try every product that promises to help me. I'm too busy to research the cause of my problem (this is my first effort- going online to solicit opinions of other people, rather than just pushers of the products. Anyone got any ideas?

I noticed that one of the comments (above) mentioned a silicone sealant. Never heard of this, but will inquire. Anyone else got any ideas? I don't wash my hair often because it so very dry - almost ashamed to say how long I've gone without washing it - it seems to have no natural oils whatsoever.

By medicchristy — On Aug 23, 2010

I have naturally frizzy flyaway hair. I have dealt with bad hair all of my life. It is curly and frizzy and gives me huge problems. I think I have spent enough money on hair products to buy a car! I straighten my hair whenever I have time but I still have a few stray hairs that seem to have a mind of their own right in the front of my head.

I bought some frizz-ease and it actually works. I just put a little drop between my fingertips and apply it to the strays and it lays them down.

Sometimes, I use a little hair wax to tame those unruly hairs. That works pretty well too.

By wesley91 — On Aug 23, 2010

I have horrible fly-away hair. I have tried so many different things and nothing worked. I finally talked to my beautician about it. First, she said that regular trims would help. We tried that and I still had fly-away’s.

She suggested a silicone sealant. It was kind of expensive but it worked great. You can buy them at most salons. It is the best money I have ever spent!

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