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Could the New John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Air-Dry Waves Styling Foam Mean No More Summer Blowdrying Sessions?

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I believe I speak for a large portion of the female population, when I say that I hate blowdrying my hair when it’s 90+ degrees outside — not to mention painfully humid and muggy. Now, I love having my hair blown out by a professional at a comfortable salon with central air conditioning, of course, but I can’t exactly carve out the time (or shell out the funds) to do so once or even twice a week. So, like everyone else, after washing and conditioning my hair, I have to fight the frizz with my handy-dandy blow drier. And, even with all the time-saving primers and frizz-smoothing serums in the land, which are designed to quicken the overall heat styling process, it’s still a nightmarish experience when that piping hot air hits my scalp and I start perspiring though it’s literally been minutes since I exited the shower. As beads of sweat begin to emerge along my hair line, I start to see the fly-aways come out to play, which then makes me have to double up my efforts to smooth them away with my boar bristle brush. It’s exhausting!

Now, growing up, I had healthy curly hair and could often just comb my hair while damp and then let it air dry but, after decades of coloring my hair and subjecting it to countless treatments and styling procedures, my curls have lost their springy quality so that most of my strands have more of an unenthused wave to them than a bouncy curl pattern. Because of this, even when I want to wear my hair curly, I typically have to apply a moisturizing serum or leave-in conditioner, followed by a curl-boosting spray, then blow dry my mane with the help of a diffuser, using my fingers rather than a comb or brush. When I use this technique, my curls do come to life a bit but it still pales in comparison to my pre-dyeing days. I could also resort to using mousse or gel and scrunching up different sections of hair, but I loathe the sticky (or utterly stiff and almost crunchy) texture these products leave behind— not to mention the alcohols and chemicals typically found in their formulas, which leave strands parched and distressed.  Bottom line: air drying simply hasn’t been a styling option for me regardless of whether I wanted to wear my hair straight, curly, or wavy.

So, when I heard news of a new styling product that could potentially bring me back to my wash-and-go days, I rejoiced.  The product in question: the new John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Air-Dry Waves Styling Foam ($9.99 at mass food and drug retailers). Could it be, I thought? Would this be the summer when I’d finally be liberated from my blow drier?

Billed as a “lightweight foam,” the moringa oil-enriched styling product is  meant to be applied to damp strands in order to enhance any natural waves. The instructions call for you to press down on the pump dispenser until you have two to three dollops of the frothy foam atop your palms, then spread the product evenly through a section of hair, working from roots to tips, then scrunching the hair upwards, balling up each sections within your hands as if crumpling up a piece of paper, thereby helping to give the wavy look a bit more hold. Next, you’re advised to repeat the process as many times as necessary to cover the entire head. After that, you can simply sip some lemonade, browse through your Instagram feed, or answer some e-mails as your hair dries. Sounds amazing, right?

Unfortunately, the air-drying reality was nothing like the fantasy. Yes, when I applied the styling foam, I marveled over the airiness of the texture, which was nothing like the mousses of yore, which tended to make hair sticky and also left behind a flaky residue. But the key consideration was whether or not this foam could accentuate my waves, give them definition while fending off frizz, and lend the style some longevity without making those squiggly hairs look as rigid as uncooked Ramen noodles. What I found was that the product did virtually nothing to energize my waves or even help me attain a slightly tousled effect. It also didn’t help to minimize the most stubborn frizz. While my hair remained soft to the touch, my wavy strands didn’t come to life — at least not any more so than had I simply air-dried my strands in the first place, without using any product at all.

If, like me, you’re grappling with less-than-cooperative, sometime-y curls that don’t have a consistently bouncy coil form or a rotini-like spiral pattern, I’d advise you to walk right past this product when you spot it at your local drugstore. For now, at least, the idea of soft, sexy, voluminous waves that can be achieved without heat styling tools remains a fantasy.

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