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Puffy Hair: What to Do?

How to Determine the Porosity of Your Hair? Reading Puffy Hair: What to Do? 7 minutes

The only reason your hair is puffy is because your hair cuticles are open and aren't flat and smooth like they're supposed to be.

When this happens, moisture from inside your hair shaft escapes and air molecules from outside enter the hair cortex, causing your strands to change shape. Result ? Puffy hair!

Why is my hair so puffy?

Your hair is dehydrated and dry

Hair cuticles are supposed to lie flat on top of each other, like the scales of a fish. But when cuticles are left open for any reason, like using a harsh product, heat, or excessive friction, hair loses moisture. This leads to frizz.

However, the opposite is also true. If you lose a lot of moisture in your hair for any reason, you may end up with puffy hair.

Some of the most common causes of dry hair include using heated styling tools, washing hair with hot water, excessive UV exposure, and using too many chemical treatments on hair.

All of these reasons can lead to hair dryness.

Another thing to remember is that naturally dry hair is more prone to frizz. Puffy hair cannot distribute oil from the scalp evenly throughout the hair due to its shape, making this hair more "dry" than straight hair.

You overprocessed and damaged your hair

The main reason your hair looks puffy is because its cuticles are opening. Cuticles can be damaged if you style your hair a little too much.

The use of chemical treatments such as perming, straightening, etc. or using hair bleaches or dyes can make hair dry, damaged and also cause cuticles to open. Hence the frizz.

So if you want to control frizz, I highly suggest taking a break from your straighteners, curling irons, and hair dryers. Yes, hair dryers too! It's best to air dry your hair or use a diffuser.

Also be sure to regularly moisturize and nourish your hair using masks and conditioners if you color or bleach it often. This will minimize the damage to your hair cuticles and control frizz to a great extent.

You are using too much heat

I mentioned above that using many heated styling tools can damage hair, leaving cuticles open and strands prone to frizz and breakage.

But did you know that it's not just tools like hair straighteners that cause heat damage?

Your hair can also be damaged if you use water that is too hot while shampooing. The heat from water may not be as direct or powerful as that from styling tools. But it can still cause frizz, as there can be a lot of friction on the hair during the shower (more on that later!).

Another detrimental effect of using hot water on your hair (and therefore opening your cuticles) is that your hair color fades very quickly because the dye easily escapes from the open cuticles.

So there are many reasons why you should at least use lukewarm water to wash your hair. And for best results, rinse one last time with cold water to seal the cuticles.

There is too much friction on the hair

The easiest way to damage your hair cuticles and get puffy hair is to create too much friction between the strands.

If you are very rough when washing your hair or use a shampoo with harsh surfactants, your hair can become damaged and even tangled very easily. And that leads to frizz.

It's not just about how you wash your hair, but when you do it. If you shampoo your hair every day, stop. It can also cause frizz by causing damage from friction and over-drying.

Another way most people create bouncy hair is to vigorously towel dry it after showering. Go easy on the hair after washing it.

I recommend purchasing a microfiber cloth and gently squeezing wet hair with it to remove excess moisture before air drying or diffusing.

The movements you make while you sleep are a very common, but overlooked, reason for hair friction. Eh yes ! All this movement during the night causes friction between your hair and the pillowcases.

So it's best to use a silk bonnet for sleeping or invest in silk/satin pillowcases as they reduce friction.


Sometimes it's just the humidity! When the humidity level of the outside air is higher than the humidity level of your wicks, water molecules from the air enter the wicks.

This excess moisture binds to the proteins in your hair that give it its texture and causes the strands to change shape.

A simple solution to this problem is to use a product that repels moisture from the outside and prevents it from penetrating your hair.

You can use silicone-based leave-in conditioners or opt for coconut oil if you want a more natural solution.

What is the solution to puffy hair?

If you want to prevent your hair from becoming fluffy, here are some smart tips to follow.

  1. Reduce the use of heated styling tools on your hair.
  2. Use the hair dryer on a low setting or with a diffuser.
  3. Do not vigorously towel dry your hair, but instead use a microfiber cloth to gently squeeze excess water from the hair.
  4. Use lukewarm water to wash your hair and rinse it with cold water to seal the hair cuticles.
  5. Avoid using harsh shampoos, especially those containing sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate, as they dehydrate the hair.
  6. Apply a hair serum or leave-in conditioner to wet hair to seal in moisture and prevent frizz.
  7. Brush hair gently and detangle using a wide-toothed comb, as rough handling can cause hair cuticles to open.

FAQs on Causes of Puffy Hair

Why is my hair puffy after showering?

When you wash your hair, the friction caused by shampooing and rinsing can leave cuticles open. The hair may then become swollen. And even if you're gentle with your hair, the heat and humidity of hot shower water can also cause puffy hair.

What is the best shampoo for puffy hair?

The best shampoos for puffy hair are gentle, smoothing shampoos. They do not contain harsh sulfates and clean the hair without damaging the cuticles too much. They also contain agents such as silicones, oils and humectants that moisturize and smooth the hair.

Does coconut oil help hair deflate?

Yes, coconut oil can help with puffy hair. It's an occlusive, meaning it prevents moisture from escaping your hair. This oil can also help your hair cuticles to flatten and prevent hair from becoming limp. Sometimes frizz also occurs if your hair absorbs excess moisture in humid climates. Coconut oil can prevent hair from absorbing more moisture and therefore prevent frizz.

How to get rid of puffy hair in 5 minutes?

If you want to get rid of puffy hair in 5 minutes, the easiest thing to do is to apply a leave-in conditioner for puffy hair. These products contain smoothing agents that instantly flatten hair cuticles and reduce frizz in minutes. If you don't have conditioner or serum on hand, you can use hair oils like coconut oil or argan oil for a quick fix. Simply rub the oil in your palms to warm it and apply it to your scalp and hair. However, this tip can make hair greasy , so be careful.