Flyaways: How to stop flyaway hair and get rid of flyaways naturally

Flyaways 101: How to stop flyaway hair and get rid or tame flyaways for good

25th April 2024 | Author: Victoria Woollaston-Webber

Flyaway hair can make even the most well-styled hair look fluffy – here’s how to stop flyaway hair and tame flyaways for good

While frizzy hair is usually the reserve of curly and dry hair types, almost everyone – regardless of hair type – has battled with flyaways.

Flyaways are the tiny hairs that stick out from the top of your head that seem to have their own miniature electric current. If you’ve ever rubbed your hair on a balloon, or touched a Van de Graaff generator, you’ll know how hair can seemingly defy gravity thanks to a build up of static.

As a result flyaway hair can be one of the greatest adversaries of anyone hoping to maintain a sleek and styled look. Such is their ubiquity, Dyson even sells a Flyaway Attachment for its Supersonic hair dryer.

If you’ve had enough of these frustrating strands and want to get rid of them for good, or at least understand more about their causes, then keep reading.

Everything you need to know about flyaways

Below we explain everything you need to know about how to get rid of flyaways or stop them appearing in the first place.

Is it frizz or flyaways?

frizzy-hairGetty Images/iStockphoto

Texture: Closeup of frizzy hair.

Before you attempt to stop or get rid of flyaway hairs it’s worth knowing whether you actually have frizz or flyaways. The two terms are often used interchangeably because they have similar causes, yet there are subtle differences.

As you can read in our science of frizzy hair guide, frizz appears on hair that typically lacks definition and shine, and has rough, irregular texture. It can be fuzzy or “pouffy” and your hair strands tend to jut out in different directions instead of lying smooth.

While anyone can get frizz, it’s more common in those of us with naturally curly or wavy hair. This is because it’s harder for the scalp’s oils to travel around the natural curl pattern of curly hair and this can lead to dryness.

There are then different types of frizz. If you have straight hair, frizz might look like short strands sticking out around the hairline and throughout the hair length. If you have curly or wavy hair, frizz could be undefined curls that don’t clump together properly.

The main culprit of frizz is dry hair. Dry hair absorbs moisture from the environment, including humidity, which causes the hair to swell. Damaged hair, genetics, and even heat styling can contribute to frizz.

By comparison, flyaway hair refers to the finer hair strands that defy gravity and extend from around the hairline, crown, and near the ends. Flyaways are usually shorter hairs, also known as baby hairs, and are typically the result of the strand breaking and then regrowing.

Flyaways can have the same causes as frizzy hair. For example, if your hair is dry, either naturally or because it’s been damaged from chemical and heat styling, the lack of moisture can make it more prone to breakage and static, or it can be caused by friction and static. We explain more about the causes of flyaways below.

In short, frizz affects all of your hair, while flyaways are the odd wispy strands found at the roots.

What causes flyaways?

Damaged hair? Here's the signs to look for and how to repair damaged hair and split endsShutterstock

We’ve briefly mentioned a couple of flyaway causes above but the main factors are:

  • Dryness: Hair that lacks moisture is more susceptible to static and breakage, both of which can lead to flyaways. When hair is dry, it tries to get moisture from the air, often leading to frizz and static that makes flyaways more prominent.
  • Damage: Regular exposure to chemical treatments, like hair colouring and bleach, as well as heat styling tools, and pollution can weaken the hair. This makes it brittle and prone to flyaways.
  • Friction: Vigorous brushing or using a harsh towel can create friction, roughing up the hair cuticle and leading to breakage and flyaways.
  • Static: Particularly in the winter months, dry indoor air can increase static electricity in your hair, causing short strands to stand on end.

Are flyaways damaged hair?

Flyaways can be a result of damaged hair, but they’re not always. When you hair is damaged it becomes brittle which can lead to the strands breaking. Without the extra length and weight, these broken hairs are more likely to stand on end.

However, our hair also sheds and grows in cycles so the shorter flyaways may also just be a sign of new hair growth. In this way they can be a positive. Annoying still, but positive!

How to stop flyaways naturally

Best anti-frizz products for curly hair and humid conditionsmamabella | mamabella

There’s a subtle distinction between knowing how to stop flyaways from appearing, and how to get rid of flyaways once they appear.

The best ways to stop flyaways or prevent them include:

  1. Hydrate
  2. Add serums and hair oils
  3. Avoid overwashing
  4. Dry your hair gently
  5. Cut down on heat styling
  6. Brush properly
  7. Control static

We explain more about each step below.

1. Hydrate

Keeping your hair hydrated and moisturised is key to addressing the dryness that is likely causing your flyaways. Look for hydrating shampoos, hair moisturisers and conditioners suited for your hair type. Adding a deep conditioning treatment once a week can also help maintain moisture levels in your hair, making it less prone to flyaways and static. If you’re not sure what hair type you have, check out our What type of hair do I have? Find out with our hair types guide.


2. Add serums and/or hair oils to your routine

How to hair oil step by step guide and adviceShutterstock

Products like leave-in conditioners, serums, and hair oils can improve the hydration, and thus the smoothness of your hair. Both of which can help stop flyaways. These products are designed to add moisture but you need to make sure you choose formulations that suit your hair type to avoid weighing your hair down or making it greasy. Hair oiling has made a significant difference to the texture and condition of our hair but be aware that hair oiling can encourage hair growth so your flyaways may get worse before they get better. This is just the new hair growth but it’s worth noting!

3. Avoid overwashing your hair

Washing your hair too much can strip it of its natural oils, which help keep flyaways at bay. If you can, try to limit hair washing to a few times a week and consider using a hydrating dry shampoo, like the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day dry shampoo (£14), on off days to balance your hair. We also recommend switching to a hair cleanser like the Hairstory New Wash which removes build up and gently cleanses the hair.

4. Dry Your Hair Gently

How-to-get-rid-of-frizzGetty Images/iStockphoto

Instead of roughly towel-drying your hair, try to gently squeeze the water out of your hair, to minimise damage and prevent breakage, which can lead to flyaways. Your hair is at its most fragile when it’s wet. Alternatively, use a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt to wrap your hair. This reduces friction and helps to keep the hair cuticles smooth. Similarly, switching to a silk or satin pillowcase, or wearing a silk turban in bed, reduces friction against your pillow.

5. Cut down on heat styling

Frequent use of hair dryers, straighteners, curling wands and more can dry out and damage your hair, increasing the likelihood of flyaways. When using heat, always apply a heat protectant spray, and try to use the lowest temperature setting you can get away with for your hair type. Additionally, consider styles that don’t require heat as part of your routine.

6. Brush properly

How-to-clean-a-hair-brusGetty Images/iStockphoto

Just as rough-drying your hair with a towel, or using heat can lead to friction, damage and flyaways, so too can the brush you use. For the best results, use a wide-tooth comb or a brush with natural bristles to detangle and style your hair. These brushes are less likely to cause breakage and static, which can contribute to flyaways. Start detangling from the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots to avoid pulling and breaking the hair.

7. Control Static

Static electricity can make flyaways worse, especially in dry environments. Consider using a humidifier in your home to help maintain humidity levels, particularly during colder months. You can also buy anti-static hair products.

Tip: Running a dryer sheet lightly over your hair, can also help manage static and get rid of flyaways.

How to get rid of flyaways

Mermade Wave Flyaway StickMermade

While you’re working to stop flyaways from appearing in the first place, there are a number of products you can use to get rid of, or at least tame, flyaways.

Some products have been designed specifically with flyaways in mind, while others are multi-purpose products that you can repurpose, such as eyebrow gels.

The Jerome Russell Bstyled Precision Gel (£6.99) helps tame flyaways, edges and baby hairs, but it also shapes and defines brows.

It has a firm hold formula but contains hyaluronic acid to make sure you hair stays conditioned and healthy.

The clear gel is also non-sticky and is designed to last for hours. A little goes a long way so avoid using too much if you don’t want you hair to look greasy.

Other products that help to tame flyaways include the Larry King anti-flyaway set (£20).

This set contains Larry King’s A Social Life for Your Hair finishing cream and a dual-ended bamboo brush and comb to tame baby hairs and help tidy your frizz.

We also rate the Mermade Hair Wax Stick (£12) and the £9 Color Wow Travel Pop & Lock High Gloss Finish.

The Color Wow mist is a hair spray that has the conditioning benefits of an oil and the properties of a serum.

And if you don’t want to spend money on new hair products, spraying an old toothbrush with hair spray and running it over your flyaways can help you get rid of flyaway hair quickly.

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