What Causes Flyaway Hair?

Flyaway hair, or hair that stands straight up and floats around, is caused by static electricity, which happens in dry, cold conditions or situations where two different materials are rubbed against each other. The friction creates a negative charge in hair, which does not conduct electricity efficiently. This results in floating electricity throughout the hair, causing hair strands to repel each other like two ends of a magnet.

The static electricity that causes flyaway hair typically happens during the winter when the air is cold and dry, and hair is constantly rubbing up against hats, scarves, sweaters and coats. Increasing the hair's ability to conduct electricity is one effective way to minimize flyaways. Leave-in hair products containing ingredients ending in "amine" or "quat" are better conductors than typical ingredients like silicones or oils, and they can be reapplied to the hair throughout the day. Instead of applying a leave-in hair product, an anti-static spray, such as Static Guard, may also be used on hair brushes and combs. Rubbing dryer sheets directly on the hair also reduces static.

Besides improving hair's conductivity, improving hair's condition also alleviates static electricity. Dry, damaged hair is more porous, creating an ideal environment for static electricity to build up. Regular use of a moisturizing deep conditioner keeps hair healthy and supple and makes it less likely to build up a charge.