What Causes Fly-Away Hair?


Fly-away hair can nearly ruin the style you've spent time creating. Or, it can make creating a style take a lot longer than necessary. There are certain conditions and hair types that are prone to static cling, but there are ways around common pitfalls. The causes of static cling aren't hard to understand; your middle school science teacher would tell you that it's all a matter of charges -- not the kind on your credit card.

Static Science

Essentially, fly-away hair is caused by a phenomenon known as static electricity. Static electricity is when two objects come together that have an excess of either positive or negative charges. In terms of fly-away hair, you've got static electricity working with your comb to pull your hair away from your head in a Bride of Frankenstein kind of way. OK, maybe it's not as dramatic, but fly-away hair is still a hassle to deal with. The more you comb static-y hair, the more those charges are reinforced.

Causes and Hair Type

Static electricity tends to get all riled up in conditions of dry air and dry hair. So, if you've just blown dry your hair and there's low humidity, you're at risk for some fly-aways. Some fibers (such as polyester, wool or acrylic) will create or exacerbate the problem, too. While you may not wear a polyester shirt on your head, you could put on a hat made from it; if the hair is dry, you may have some fly-aways when you pull the hat off. Women with oily hair or natural body and texture rarely have to deal with fly-aways. But, you're out of luck if your hair is fine and thin. If it's particularly dry from over-dyeing, you're at risk.


The best way to deal with your fly-aways is to avoid getting into the situation in the first place. Use conditioner to keep your hair moisturized. Avoid over-washing, which strips your hair of natural oils; every other day is a good routine to have. Try an ion ceramic hair dryer; it eliminates static charges and helps keep moisture in your hair during the process. Avoid plastic combs, which conduct static electricity. Instead, use metal, natural fiber or rubber combs and brushes. Don't use gel unless you have to; it dries you hair out. And try to stick to cotton hats and caps.

Rid Static

So, you already have static fly-away problems. Grab an anti-static dryer sheet and rub it on your noggin. You can use a little bit of hairspray to tame fly-aways, too. A bit of moisturizer will get rid of dry situations that create fly-aways, but be careful; too much and you run the risk of making your hair look greasy.

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