Aug 13, 2021

Flyaway Hairs: How To Tame 'Em

Buh bye, flyaways!

Formulate user Sophie wants to know what's up with her flyaways:

I work at a summer camp every year and I'm always outside, so I constantly have my hair up in a ponytail. It's too hot to wear hair down! But I have the WORST flyaways, and I always look crazy by the end of the day! I feel like I always have a halo of flyaways all the way around my scalp. How can I tame my flyaways so that I can wear my hair up and not look like my hair is out of control? Also -- how do I know if I'm doing the wrong things to tame my flyaways? I usually just get annoyed and put in a ton of bobby pins or hairspray or a headband, but someone told me that doing stuff like that makes it worse. Is that true?

Thanks for getting in touch, Sophie! There are a couple different ways to answer your question. Let's start out at the most obvious place: how do you reduce flyaways right away on a particularly bad hair day?

To find out, we spoke with Vegamour's in house beauty/hair editor, Crystal Fenton. Here's her advice for dealing with acute flyaways:

Crystal Fenton: There's the dryer sheet (you can also lightly mist a dry cotton round with a texturizing or hairspray if you don't have a dryer sheet handy) trick: Gently rub the sheet or cotton pad starting at the crown/roots in a downward motion on strands. Moving downward is key - this smoothes the cuticle and keeps flyaways in place. If you have the time, you can actually pin a sheet and/or cotton pad on each temple with a hair clip while you finish getting ready to keep hair in place. Finish with a light (emphasis on light) mist of a holding spray or a few drops of a hair oil to further tame any strays and seal in the smoothness.If you plan on wearing a hat, hair scarf or headband, you can also mist the inside with dry shampoo or texturizing hair spray to keep any strays at bay. 

Editor's note: if you'd like to see a stylist in action using dryer sheets to remove static from hair, check out this video from Youtuber Savedbythestylist. The dryer sheets make their appearance at the video's 2:40 mark.

Esthetician, hairdresser, and makeup artist Essie Button, founder and owner of essiebutton.com, also shared some advice:

Essie Button: Take a vented round brush and, using the "roll and pull" technique used by most hairdressers. (editor's note: if you're unfamiliar with this technique, this video from Youtuber Brighton Keller provides a great example. She refers to it as the "Roly Poly" technique. If you'd like to skip the intro, start 50 seconds in!) Gently tug on your strands to keep them taut and straight as you dry. Make sure the nozzle is attached to the blowdryer for a more sleek flyaway-free finish. Then, use a hair serum to treat any static.  Use 1-2 drops of serum on medium-length hair. Rub the serum between your palms well and evenly distribute it onto the midsection and ends of hair. Be careful not to use too much serum, it may make your hair greasy and heavy if you do. Cover hair with a silk scarf for extra hold while getting ready, and remove before leaving.

So those techniques are great for a quick, one day fix, but how can you lessen the amount of flyaways that you experience long term? Here's Crystal's advice:

Crystal Fenton: "Flyaways can actually be a sign of breakage, so it's a good move to take preventative measures before they start. Start with your sleeping habits. I started using a satin or vegan silk pillowcase years ago (I even keep one in my travel beauty bag!). These are great because they're soft, gentle and don't create unnecessary friction or damage, preventing both flyaways and frizz as you get your beauty rest. You can apply a few drops of hair oil or dry shampoo before you hit the pillow to tame tresses before you sleep. You can also loosely braid hair and secure with bamboo or satin scrunchies; again, this will prevent friction that leads to flyaways. In the morning, gently unravel and use any of the same techniques listed above to keep your strands smooth and flyaway-free."

Cool. And now for the last part of Sophie's question: can some methods of controlling flyaways actually make them worse? Crystal says yes:

Crystal Fenton: "The most common mistakes are when people go overboard. Think: Spraying on way too much hairspray or product overload. And for those using accessories like bobby pins, think again. The pressure from using too many bobby pins or other clips can actually cause breakage and/or make the flyaway situation worse, rather than taming them."

Alrighty, so here's our final answer for Sophie:

How can I tame my flyaways so that I can wear my hair up and not look like my hair is out of control? 

You can short-term deal with flyaways on the cheap by smoothing them down with dryer sheets from your very own laundry room. Another method is to blow dry your hair with the "roll and pull" method, using a vented round brush and a hairdryer. If you'd like to reduce the likelihood of flyaways long-term, be mindful of your hair while you sleep. Investing in a silk pillowcase and sleeping with hair in a loose braid may help.

How do I know if I'm doing the wrong things to tame my flyaways?

Again, mindfulness is key here. If you're suffocating your scalp with hairspray, that might not end up doing your flyaways much good in the long term, as it affects hair health. Same thing goes for bobby pins and clips.

Looking for more haircare info? Here's what's next:

How To Go Back To Your Natural Hair Color

How to ditch the artificial color and go all-natural with your hair

Shag Haircut 101

Your guide to cutting and styling the shag haircut of your dreams

Salon Wash Techniques: Why Is Wash Day SO Much Better At The Salon?

Is it possible to have your own salon experience at home?

Waist Length Hair: Is It Attainable For You?

Time to rock some mermaid hair 🧜‍♀️

Finding The Right Hair Colors For Your Skin Tone

A handy-dandy guide to finding the right color for you.

Caroline Schmidt