For so many of us, summer hair is nothing to brag about. It’s dry, greasy, and unmanageable. While there are hundreds of leave-in products that promise to keep your hair frizz-free, who has time to wash hair often enough so the conditioner kicks in? Many busy people (myself included) would prefer to have an anti-frizz spray handy so we can fix untidy hair no matter where we’re heading. On a quest to find a perfect frizz-controlling solution, I tested a dozen popular hair products and selected the top five that will definitely satisfy the needs of those struggling with frizzy hair.
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The Selection Process
It would be difficult to find a better time to test anti-frizz products than this summer in New York City. When the heat and humidity is almost intolerable, having your hair straight is a mission impossible (at least for me). Having fine, straight hair, my usual go-to style in the summer is a ponytail or a bun, as my hair immediately gets frizzy when the humidity level rises. The situation is even worse if I try to wash my hair less often.
While dry shampoo is a perfect solution for removing excess oil from the scalp, it doesn’t really do much for calming frizz. I was looking specifically for a product that could be applied not only on damp hair, but also when hair is dry, so you can use it on those days when you’re not washing your hair. With this in mind, I was very excited to test drive some of the top-rated anti-frizz sprays and finally upgrade my collection with products that really work.
After reading dozens of reviews on top-selling beauty websites such as Sephora, Ulta Beauty, Nordstrom, Amazon, and so on, I narrowed the list down to 12 customer favorites and put them to the test on the over-heated streets of New York City. While I had no control over the temperature, what I was able keep an eye on was how much of the product I applied in the morning and how long into the evening it continued working. I also made sure to use the same shampoo and conditioner while testing all the anti-frizz sprays in this list, Aveda Color Conserve Shampoo ($21; nordstrom.com) and Aveda Restructuring Conditioner ($29; nordstrom.com).
During the experiment, I documented how the product felt during the application process and throughout the day. At the end of the first round of testing, I selected five products that worked the best for my hair, which is naturally straight, color-treated, and falls just a little below my shoulders.
1. The Winner: Living Proof No Frizz Humidity Shield
This one is a no-brainer. It’s a top-rated anti-humidity spray that feels like dry shampoo, adds volume like a texturizing spray, and manages to fix even the most severe frizz situation. I explored this product about a year ago when Living Proof hairstylist Chris McMillan handed it to me and said, “This product will change your life!” It sure did! Every beauty-sale season I hunt for this magic anti-frizz product.
Perhaps the best thing about it is that it comes in a hairspray-type of can that allows you to distribute it continuously and evenly. This feature of the Humidity Shield is a true time saver, especially if you want to quickly fix your hair while you’re on the go. For these purposes, Living Proof also offers a travel size—and it’s so convenient to have this tiny can in your purse at all times. When it comes to anti-frizz capacities, this product outperformed all the other competitors. While no one prohibits you from adding layers of this beautiful-smelling product to your hair throughout the day, a few spritzes in the morning is all you need for the whole day.
The product comes in a typical—for the brand—light grey spray bottle that features a convenient nozzle. The applicator allows you to distribute the product evenly all over your hair. The formula provides over-the-top anti-frizz capacities and is excellent for adding texture to your hair. It’s a long-lasting, non-greasy, and lightweight formula that truly works!
Living Proof | $22
2. Best Multitasker: Alterna Haircare Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist
The idea behind this product is that anti-frizz spray shouldn’t serve just one purpose: In addition to taming hair and making it look and smell luxurious, this lightweight mist also helps repair split ends and nourish your hair. If applied on damp hair, this dry oil mist also works as a style primer and color protectant. The spray is made with organic ingredients and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that could potentially damage your hair. It’s also one of the most pleasantly fragranced products in the category. In fact, the mist smells so delicious that I also sprayed it on my wrists as an alternative to dry perfume.
The product comes in a simple plastic bottle with a spray applicator that evenly distributes the mist on hair. Since this mist is oil-based, there is a little build-up of product on the spray’s head. Taking it into consideration, and also that the bottle contains 4.2 oz. of product, it’s not the most airplane-friendly packaging. When it comes to the product’s effectiveness, I have to say that it definitely worked for me. The mist did a spectacular job at taming my hair and prolonging the life of my blow dry.
Alterna Haircare | $17
3. Best For Curls And Waves: Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray
At first, I had mixed feelings about this product, as it made my hair look wet for a few seconds after application. Then I fell for this delicious-smelling and light curl-refreshing spray. While the product works equally effectively for straight hairstyles too, after a few test runs I came to the conclusion that it works best for wavy and curly styles. While it might sound counterintuitive to wet your hair to keep strands in place, this hair milk actually delivers what it promises: a few moments after application the liquid spray effect dissolves, while your curls become bouncier and frizz-free.
This product comes in the biggest bottle of any on the list, which makes it even cheaper than the drugstore find I mention below. I also enjoyed using the ergonomically designed trigger; while the bottle doesn’t look like your typical hair product, this water-bottle type of packaging provides decent product distribution. And despite the above-mentioned temporary wet effect, this hair milk’s performance is excellent. It refreshes curls, doesn’t over-dry your hair, adds shine, and keeps the frizz away.
Carol's Daughter | $12
4. Drugstore Gem: OGX Hydrate + Defrizz Kukuí Oil Anti-Frizz Hydrating Oil
Among other drugstore anti-frizz products, this one is as good as it can possibly get. For just $8 you get a decadent nut-oil-based product that not only eliminates frizz, but also adds shine and nourishes your hair. The product comes in handy packaging that allows you to easily distribute it from the roots of your hair to the ends. Maybe it’s just my dry and color-damaged hair, but I could tell as soon as I applied it that my hair literally inhaled the lightweight oil in a second. A few moments later, when I brushed my straight hair with a bristle brush, I experienced an “a-ha” moment: If this oil works so well, why opt for more expensive options?
The product features a very handy applicator that distributes the tiniest amount of product at a time. Even though the bottle looks smaller than your typical drugstore packages, all you need is a few spritzes per usage so the product will last you forever. And in terms of effectiveness, this is a good one! If you’re on a budget, definitely consider purchasing this oil mist.
This glamorous spray could have been my number one choice if it was a bit more affordable. The $39 price tag for a bottle of this hair product seems a bit pricey for everyday use, but it’s totally worth the investment for special occasions. If you’re heading to an important outdoor event, spritz your hair with this luxurious product for all-night frizz protection. I would also suggest keeping it in your bag if you’re heading to a wedding—with this product, you’ll have the best-looking hair in photos. It’s very convenient, and a pleasure to have on your bathroom shelf. Also, it’s extremely photogenic! The effectiveness is above and beyond – frizz-free results from morning to night.
Oribe | $39
6. Runner Up: AG Hair Frizzproof Argan Anti-Humidity Spray
This top five anti-frizz products list wasn’t long enough to include the rest of the wonderful products that are designed to dramatically change your hair when it’s losing its shape in the humidity and heat. The following three runners up are worth your attention.
First up: AG Hair Frizzproof Argan Anti-Humidity Spray is a great alternative to other dry oil sprays mentioned in this rating as it provides thinner coverage while delivering all the benefits of argan-oil-based mists.
7. Runner Up: Rusk Anti-Frizz Spray
RUSK Anti-Frizz Spray is perfect for those with color-treated hair. Use it before leaving the house, as this spray creates a barrier between hot air and your hair. This product doesn’t weigh down your hair, and it even adds extra texture to your style.
8. Runner Up: KMS California Hair Stay Anti-Humidity Seal
KMS California Hair Stay Anti-Humidity Seal is another anti-frizz multitasker. While the product performed great during my humid-day experiment, I also found it handy to use as a finishing spray after a blow dry. Even though it’s not a hairspray, somehow it manages to prolong the life of my blow dry.